Young Frenchwoman Alizera Firouzja dominated the game with quick time checks and took an impressive victory with two rounds to spare and a performance rating of 3025 in blitz in St. Loius. Last year’s winner Hikaru Nakamura couldn’t easily make up for his late start, but his performance in the blitz was impressive.
Next: the Sinquefield Cup with Classic Time orders and the exciting conclusion to this great Chess Tour.
Streamer extraordinaire and online chess enthusiast, Nakamura entered the competition as the titleholder in 2021, winning an impossible streak while completely in the middle of the tournament. This year he felt stiff in the final moments and finished last in the rapid portion of matches, and ultimately limited his chances of defending his championship.
Undoubtedly, he made a major run of the game, scoring 14 points on a dot and performance rating of 2976, as Firouzja is the young French superstar who finally started painting a marker on the first half of the year.
Firouzja opted to stay away from the more elite events in 2022 as he was set to host the first Candidates Tournament it would likely surprise him and his fans. He’s fine, losing just one game to Fabiano Caruana in the rapid game (and thus finishing second in that part of the competition) before going on an absolute tear in the blitz.
He eclipsed Nakamura with eight points, and thanks to his early success in rapid play, he won the title with four games to spare. The impressive result earned him a salary of $40,000, with Nakamura worth $30,000 and two-thirds Caruana and MVL worth $22,500.
The fourth event of this year’s Grand Chess Tour has taken place, and with just one more event, Firouzja is the team ahead of Wesley So (who did not participate in the tournament).
After winning last year’s tour, So will love to repeat that feat with strong performances in the Sinquefield Cup, an international legend game at the same St. Louis chess club with classic time controls and a man reliable called Magnus Carlsen.
Levon Aronian and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave are in contention, but only with a chance out the window.
This event starts on Friday, September 2 in two days.