The Sinquefield Cup was my last tournament prior to the World Championship match in November, and it exceeded expectations both with regard to the excellent organisation of the event and my own result.
Kamsky had a promising position against Nakamura in their sharp encounter in the last round yesterday, but the latter put up a tenacious defence and it ended in a draw. Kudos to both players for putting up a real fight.
Well before the first time control Aronian and I knew the stakes. I needed a draw to win the tournament, he needed a win for a three-way play-off.
Aronian had outplayed me early in the middle game from the black side of the Ruy Lopez in a line we played also in London Chess Classics 2012. His piece activity more than compensated for his pawn weaknesses. He won a pawn on a5, but suddenly his pieces were tied up defending the knight on a5 and the pawn on b4. Black looked much better after the pseudo sacrifice Rd4, but he had missed my Ne1 resource with the threat Rxe4 Nd3 Rb5 c4! winning a piece.
With his rook on d2 the position was balanced, and when he withdrew his rook white was already better despite the pawn down.
He offered a draw, but I decided to play on as the game continuation looked fairly promising and I really wanted to win the last game. After capturing on c4 his position just collapsed. 1-0, and with 4.5 points I won outright ahead of Nakamura at 3.5 points, Aronian 2.5 points and Kamsky 1.5 points, gained 8 rating points to get back to 2870 and gained confidence prior to the match in November.
I was my first tournament in the US but certainly not my last. I.d like to thank the Sinquefields for organizing this great event, and everyone involved for being helpful and showing great hospitality!
I spent the evening today playing football and basketball at the Webster University and enjoyed another dinner at the Cheesecake Factory.
We are leaving for Europe tomorrow.
Magnus Carlsen, St. Louis, September 16th, 2013