The Saint Louis Chess Club Hosts the Trial of Champions: The Chess 9LX Event

The Saint Louis Chess Club hosts its annual Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX exhibition tournament, featuring living legend GM Garry Kasparov and nine of the world’s top active GMs competing on the popular Chess960 variant.

Also called Fischer Random, Chess960 is a variation in which the back ranks are re-randomized each game, using simple setup rules to total 960 different possible starting positions, which nearly eliminates the value of memorization and preparation of openings. Only knowing the order of the pieces on the home leaderboard 15 minutes before the start of each game, players are forced to fall back on their creativity to navigate through new positions.


Hikaru Nakamura, 2019 9LX (SLCC / Lennart Ootes)

The Chess9LX tournament will be played from Wednesday, September 8 through Friday between 10 of the world’s best GMs, including reigning Chess960 World Champion Wesley So, who won the variant’s first-ever FIDE Championship in 2019; as well as Hikaru Nakamura, Levon Aronian and Russia’s Peter Svidler, who together were Chess960 World Champions for six years when the international championship was unofficially held in Germany until 2009.

Showdown of Champions: 9LX Chess Ground


URS Ranking

GM Hikaru Nakamura


GM Wesley so


GM Maxime Vachier-Lagrave


GM Fabiano Caruana


GM Levon Aronian


GM Shakhriyar Mamedyarov


GM Leinier Dominguez


GM Peter Svidler


GM Sam Shankland


GM Garry Kasparov



Peter Svidler, 2019 9LX (SLCC / Crystal Fuller)

Ahead of Chess9LX, the Champions Showdown kicks off on Tuesday, September 7 with the Ultimate Moves exhibition event, a casual team game between the super-GM roster and Saint Louis Chess Club benefactor Rex Sinquefield.

Ultimate Moves will begin Tuesday at 1:00 p.m., while Chess9LX matches begin Wednesday and daily at 2:00 p.m. COVID restrictions have prevented live spectators from these events, although the action can be watched live online at the Saint Louis Chess Club. YouTube and Twitch.TV channels, plus commentary from general managers Maurice Ashley and Alejandro Ramirez.

Games for each day will begin at 2:00 p.m. CDT (GMT-5) from September 8-10 for Champions Showdown: Chess 9LX. The tournament will feature expert commentary featuring Maurice Ashley and GM’s Alejandro Ramirez. Due to COVID-19 precautions, no live viewers will be permitted, but fans can watch the action online at or the Saint Louis Chess Club YouTube and channels.

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