Dominguez squeezes Niemann but no winner

Only one game in the fifth round of the 2022 Sinquefield Cup came close to seeing a winner, and that was when the two American general managers Leinier Dominguez and Hans Niemann met. Dominguez had an overwhelming position but let Niemann off the hook. The other three games were largely uneventful draws.

That means GM Wesley So remains in the lead, now with 3 points. Niemann and Ian Nepomniachtchi are in second place with 2.5 points in four games.

There seemed to be a dark mood among players and commentators during the Tuesday round. The events of the previous day put a damper on ambitions and emotions.

Danish GM Bent Larsen explained that after GM Bobby Fischer dropped out of the Sousse Interzonal in 1967, no one except Larsen seemed interested in winning the tournament. Based on player feedback, it could be a similar situation, or maybe they’re just emotionally drained from the speculation.

Wednesday is the official rest day, so I hope the players come back refreshed on Thursdaywhen the games resume 2:00 PM PT/11:00 PM CET.


Tournament leader Wesley So had the pleasure of playing with the white pieces against fellow Olympic GM Levon Aronian.

The battleground of their game was a line in the Catalan opening, where Black plays 4…dxc4 followed by 5…c5, something both players played many times, including one against the other ; their game was in the recent Superbet Rapid & Blitz Poland in Warsaw which was also part of the Grand Chess Tour.

Tournament leader So didn’t get much out of the white pieces against Aronian. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

White looked like he had to press on, which ultimately amounted to a pawn victory. However, using the extra pawn was another matter altogether. So he quickly abandoned any illusions he or the public might have had about him playing for a win and invited Aronian to wholesale trades which led to a draw ending.


American GM Fabiano Caruana ultimately won in round four, and in round five he launched a home build that even impressed GM Hikaru Nakamura on his Twitch stream. It was only after the 26th move that he went under the first 90 minutes that had been allocated to him at the start of the game.

In contrast, his GM opponent Shakhriyar Mamedyarov was definitely on his own, spending considerable time, but managed to navigate complications to an opposite-colored bishop ending.

A concentrated cup of Caruana’s homebrew was served to Mamedyarov in today’s round. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

With such a draw in hand, Caruana is definitely ready to sprint for the tournament victory, although with just three games left he will need to put even more points on the scoreboard.


It’s hard to underestimate the impact of the last few days on Niemann. On Sunday, he beat the world champion with the black pieces in an impressive, if far from perfect, match. On Monday he had another good position but let it go and then had to battle to a draw while also being the subject of online rumors following Carlsen’s withdrawal from the tournament.

In his fifth-round match, he had to collect all those emotions, throw a sack and forget about them while playing the black pieces against one of his strongest compatriots, Dominguez.

In an Italian game, Black seemed to equalize relatively easily, but early in the middle game White then began to gain the upper hand, and when Niemann then recklessly removed his black-squared bishop at b8, the problems began to arise. materialize.

Niemann struggled but managed to stay afloat in round five against Dominguez. Photo: Lennart Ootes/Grand Chess Tour.

Systematically, Dominguez improved his position until the engines told commentators that Blanc was indeed the complete winner.

Then something weird happened. On move 37, Dominguez, who had no unusual time problem, lost almost all of his advantage by exchanging knights at b5. He gained a pawn, but this material advantage was largely inconsequential in the end of the double rook. After another lapse, the rest of the advantage was gone and Niemann could check his way to a repeat move.

We chose this game as our game of the day by general manager Rafael Leitao.

It must be hard for attendees to just focus on the games right now. No wonder the level of play and the fighting spirit of the tournament have dropped in the last two rounds. Fortunately, tomorrow is a free day and I hope that everyone’s energies are renewed and tempers calmed so that the tournament continues with great matches in its final phase.


Russian GM Nepomniachtchi had clearly had enough of the experiences in the Najdorf, and returned to his trusty Petroff against GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.

The result became a rather boring game where both sides eagerly traded pieces until arriving in a double rook and bishop ending where white was slightly better.

An expression that says it all: nothing exciting is happening here. Photo: Bryan Adams/Grand Chess Tour.

Once it was established that there was no obvious way for white to break through, the players found a way to trade a few more pieces and then initiate a repeat.


After Carlsen’s withdrawal from the tournament, GM Alireza Firouzja was granted an extra day off as Wednesday is the official rest day.

All Games Day 5

Ranking after the 5th round

# Last name Rtg Perf 1 2 3 4 5 6 seven 8 9 Points SB
1 So Wesley 2771 2835 ½ 1 ½ ½ ½ 3.0/5
2 Nepomniachtchi, Ian 2792 2851 ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 5.75
3 Dominguez Perez, Leinier 2745 2750 ½ ½ ½ ½ ½ 2.5/5 5.5
4 Caruana, Fabiano 2758 2761 0 ½ 1 ½ ½ 2.5/5 5
5 Niemann, Hans Moke 2688 2848 ½ ½ ½ 1 2.5/4 4.5
6 Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 2757 2695 ½ ½ ½ 0 ½ 2.0/5 4.75
seven Firouzja, Alireza 2778 2750 0 ½ ½ 1 2.0/4 4
8 Aronian, Levon 2759 2657 ½ ½ ½ 0 1.5/4 4
9 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 2757 2655 ½ ½ 0 ½ 1.5/4 3.75

The 2022 Sinquefield Cup is the fifth and final leg of the 2022 Grand Chess Tour. The 10 players compete in an all-in round robin for their share of the $319,000 prize.

2022 Sinquefield Cup coverage

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