Carlsen, Caruana & Aronian decided NOT to have playoff and share chess title


The craziness of playoff rule for Carlsen, Caruana and Aronian!

It is kind of confusing but here is my understanding. If 2 players tie, they would have a playoff. If there are more than 2, then the top 2 on tiebreaks would head to the playoff. But it seems that no one thought of the idea of 3 or more players having identical tiebreak criteria.

  1. Carlsen, Caruana and Aronian drew each other.

  2. All three have an identical amount of wins (2 each).

  3. All three have the same identical amount of wins with black (0) as they all won with white.

  4. The final option is a drawing of lot which means that one player would be eliminated without playing a single move.

The players did not like that idea. So a proposal was made to amend the rules to have a 3 way playoff but Caruana refused because he already has a playoff against So scheduled. It would be unfair for him to have to have 2 playoffs.

Without any other fair and logical option, the 3 players decided to share the title. This is my understanding.

What do you think? What should the rules be?

Below are the playoff rules in case of ties. But the players had the last words and decided to share the chess title, as announced by the organizers.

2018 GCT Tiebreak Regulations

  1. Preamble

    This addendum specifies the regulations for tiebreaks and playoffs for the Rapid & Blitz events, and for the

    Sinquefield Cup, and for the Standings of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour at the end of the Sinquefield Cup.

    A Playoff shall only take place in the event of a tie for first place in an individual Event or in the case of a tie

    for any of the top four places in the Standings of the Grand Chess Tour at the end of the 2018 Sinquefield

  2. Regulations for the Rapid & Blitz Events and the Sinquefield Cup

    2.1. In the event of a tie for first place in any of the Rapid & Blitz Events or in the Sinquefield Cup, there

    shall be a playoff between the top two players in the Event standings who shall be determined as


    2.1.1. The results of the games between or amongst all the players involved in the tie (regardless

    of time control).

    2.1.2. The total number of games won by each of the players involved in the remaining tie after

    the application of Regulation 2.1.1 (regardless of time control).

    2.1.3. The total number of games won with black by each of the players involved in the

    remaining tie after the application of Regulation 2.1.2 (regardless of time control).

    2.1.4. If more than two players remain tied for first place after the application of Regulations

    2.1.1 - 2.1.3 above, the two participants in the playoff shall be determine by lot.

    2.1.5. If two or more players remain tied for second place after the application of Regulations

    2.1.1 - 2.1.3 above, the second participant in the playoff shall be determined by lot.

    2.2. In any such playoff, a Rapid mini-match consisting of two games shall be played at a time limit of

    game in 10 minutes with a 5 second delay per move from move 1.

    2.3. If this fails to break the tie, a single Armageddon game shall be played to split the tie:

    2.3.1. White shall have 5 minutes and Black shall have 4 minutes, without any increment or delay.

    2.3.2. In the event of a draw Black shall be declared the winner.

    2.3.3. Colours shall be determined by the toss of a coin, conducted by the Event Chief Arbiter.

    The winner of the toss shall have choice of colour.

    2.4. The playoff shall determine the winner of the Event only. The playoff shall not affect the distribution

    of the Event prize money or the allocation of the Event GCT Points, both of which shall be divided

    evenly amongst all players involved in the tie for first place.

    2.5. Where there is a tie for any position other than first place in an Event, both the Event prize money

    and the Event GCT Points shall be divided equally amongst all the tied players.

You can read the rules here:

Final round results

Anand, Viswanathan Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar ½-½

Aronian, Levon Grischuk, Alexander 1-0

Carlsen, Magnus Nakamura, Hikaru 1-0

Karjakin, Sergey Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime ½-½

So, Wesley Caruana, Fabiano ½-½

Final standings

1 Aronian, Levon 5.5 23.5

Carlsen, Magnus 5.5 22.75

Caruana, Fabiano 5.5 22.75

4 Mamedyarov, Shakhriyar 5 22

5 Anand, Viswanathan 4.5 20.25

Vachier-Lagrave, Maxime 4.5 20.25

Grischuk, Alexander 4.5 19

8 So, Wesley 4 18

9 Nakamura, Hikaru 3 13.25

Karjakin, Sergey 3 12.75

Click here to replay the games!

The Sinquefield Cup sees Magnus Carlsen and 9 more of the world's best chess players compete in the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis from 18-27 August 2018.

The event is the penultimate leg of the 2018 Grand Chess Tour, with the tour regulars joined by wild card World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen.

In addition to tour points, the chess prize fund is $300,000, with $75,000 for 1st place. Chess players receive 100 minutes for 40 chess moves then 60 minutes for the rest of the chess game, with a 30-second delay from move 1.

A tie for first place will be decided in a 2-game Rapid chess mini-match (10 min + 5 sec delay), only between the top two, and if necessary an Armageddon chess game (5 vs. 4) on 28 August at 13:00 local time.


Round 1 Aug 18, 2018 18:00

Round 2 Aug 19, 2018 18:00

Round 3 Aug 20, 2018 18:00

Round 4 Aug 21, 2018 18:00

Round 5 Aug 22, 2018 18:00

Round 6 Aug 24, 2018 18:00

Round 7 Aug 25, 2018 18:00

Round 8 Aug 26, 2018 18:00

Round 9 Aug 27, 2018 18:00