2019 Champions Showdown The Kings

Five Unique Matchups Showcase Elite Chess Talent at the Saint Louis Chess Club

SAINT LOUIS, MO, February 26, 2018 – Over five days of electric rapid and blitz chess play, ten kings showed their tenacity and fighting spirit, even in games after the matches were decided. During the event, each player faced the same opponent in head-to-head matches. In the end, Fabiano Caruana, Hikaru Nakamura, Wesley So, Veselin Topalov, and Richard Rapport won their matches against Pentala Harikrishna, Jan-Krzysztof Duda, David Navara, Leinier Dominguez, and Sam Shankland, respectively.

2019 Champions Showdown Recap – Day 5

With 12 more blitz games left to play, the final day of the Champions Showdown was undoubtedly going to be action packed. The fans were in for a treat as the players came ready to fight - making only 16 draws in 60 games! At the end of the day, five winners were crowned all of whom earned $36,000 for their efforts, with their opponents taking home $24,000.

2019 Champions Showdown Recap – Day 4

With the rapid portion of the matches in the books, 12 games of blitz were in store for the players. Today brought everything one would expect from such a hectic day: blunders, flagging and a lot of fireworks across the boards. There were no big shake-ups in the standings, as the leaders either maintained or extended their leads, with Caruana already clinching the win.

2019 Champions Showdown Recap – Day 3

Today was the last day of rapid chess, and the pressure was on for the players to not go drowning into day one of blitz that starts tomorrow. With every game counting double, it was especially important to score today. Shankland was trying to keep afloat against Rapport, but to no avail, and Harikrishna, although he didn't lose the day to Caruana, was unable to put a dent in their score difference. Topalov showed why he is one of the all-time great players of the World in today's rounds against Dominguez, while So's time management keeps Navara in tremendous pressure, which the Czech has so far been unable to withstand.

2019 Champions Showdown Recap – Day 2

Day two saw more riveting chess, as two players tried to make a comeback, while the other matches started the day as a close competition. After a tough start, Shankland and Harikrishna trailed 7-1 against Rapport and Caruana respectively. Topalov and So started the day with the minimum advantage while Duda and Nakamura came in tied 4-4.

2019 Champions Showdown Recap – Day 1

Day one of the 2019 edition of the Champions Showdown kicked off with fireworks and excitement. What’s unique about this particular event is the number of fresh faces who made their debut in Saint Louis, who otherwise don’t get many opportunities to share the stage with the very best in the world. Both the newcomers and the veterans showed their mettle and determination to outplay their opponents.

Richard Rapport


Hungary is a country with a strong chess tradition that has had its share of prodigies, and this 22-year-old is no exception.  Born in Szombathely, Hungry, in 1996, Rapport learned chess from his father at the age of four. He won the 2006 European Championships in the U10 division.  His rise was meteoric after that, achieving National Master, International Master, and Grandmaster in three successive years from 2008-2010. His final Grandmaster norm was scored by tying for 2nd at the Gotth’Art Kupa, perhaps fittingly with GM Lajos Portisch, one of the strongest players to ever come out of Hungary.  Richard got the title just short of his 14th birthday, becoming the 5th youngest GM in history at that time, which is nearly six months faster than his famous compatriot Peter Leko.

Rapport’s career continued to skyrocket after becoming a Grandmaster.  In May of 2013, he tied for first at the Sigeman & Co Chess Tournament with strong GMs Nigel Short and Nils Grandelius, with Richard winning on tiebreaks due to a head-to-head score.  The young Hungarian also won the European Rapid Championship and finished 4th in the European Blitz Championship, and is known to be especially dangerous at quicker time controls.  Rapport won a match in 2016 against Chinese prodigy Wei Yi, taking it in an Armageddon game after the two elite Grandmasters were neck and neck throughout the match.  Richard is also the 2017 Hungarian Champion. Known for his unpredictable openings as well as unpredictable results, when on form, he is truly capable of beating anyone, as shown when he defeated World Champion Magnus Carlsen at the 2017 Tata Steel Tournament.  The mercurial Hungarian will be a fun player to keep an eye on at the Champions Showdown.


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