Four American Grandmasters Battled for a $100,000 Prize Fund During Online Tournament
SAINT LOUIS, MO. (May 29, 2020) – The Saint Louis Chess Club is thrilled to announce that Grandmaster Wesley So is the inaugural winner of Clutch Chess, a new online tournament that was created by Grandmaster Maurice Ashley and hosted by the Saint Louis Chess Club. As the grand prize winner, Wesley So has won a total of $40,000 during the tournament.
“Overall, a day with a lot of mistakes”, was GM Fabiano Caruana’s summation of day one of the Clutch Chess Finals. The world number two explained that their mistakes were understandable as all the games were complicated and difficult to play with little time on the clock.
After another exciting day of rapid chess, rivals and Olympiad teammates GM Fabiano Caruana and GM Wesley So will face off in the finals of Clutch Chess. Caruana found himself in hot water in several of the games but the 5 point lead was too much for Leinier Dominguez to overcome.
Day one of Clutch Chess concluded with two clutch victories by Caruana and Nakamura, both of whom earned 2 points and an extra $2,000 for their wins. GM Fabiano Caruana was unstoppable in his match against GM Leinier Dominguez, winning four out of the six possible games.
Dominguez is a five-time Cuban national champion, who switched federations to the United States in December, 2018. This super grandmaster’s career features stunning results like that of the victory in Barcelona. He won the Magistral Ciutat de Barcelona tournament, with a performance rating over 2900. Two years later, he won the Capablanca Memorial Tournament, and then became the 2008 World Blitz Champion ahead of top grandmasters like Peter Svidler and Alexander Grischuk.
He went on to win the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece while earning thirty rating points in the process. Most recently, Dominguez was part of the team that helped prepare Fabiano Caruana for the 2018 Candidates tournament and then the World Championship match that followed. Dominguez narrowly missed winning the first U.S. Championship in which he appeared last year, finishing just a half point behind Hikaru Nakamura.
At fifteen years and 79 days Hikaru Nakamura became the youngest American Grandmaster in history. Although that record has since been broken, his reign as a chess prodigy did not stop there. At the age of sixteen he qualified for the FIDE World Championship 2004, and advanced to the fourth round taking down three other Grandmasters along the way. When he turned eighteen, Nakamura got selected for the Samford Chess Fellowship. In the five years after that, he won two US championships, and became a top ten player in the world. In 2011, Hikaru won the Tata Steel Masters tournament and received a key to the city of Memphis.
Nakamura took a third US Champion title in 2012, and in 2015 his peak FIDE rating of 2816 was the second highest in the world. In 2018, Nakamura won the rapid section of the Tata Steel India tournament, as well as the Paris and Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz legs of the Grand Chess Tour. Nakamura clinched the title of 2018 Grand Chess Tour Champion with the defeat of Maxime Vachier-Lagrave in the London semifinal match. He is the reigning U.S. Champion after winning last year with a powerful performance of 8/11 points.