Chess Player Spotlight

Maurice Ashley

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For other people named Maurice Ashley, see Maurice Ashley (disambiguation).
Maurice Ashley
Maurice Ashley
Maurice Ashley in 2015
Full nameMaurice Ashley
CountryUnited States
BornMarch 6, 1966 (age 52)
St. AndrewJamaica
TitleGrandmaster (2000)
FIDE rating2440 (February 2019)
Peak rating2504 (July 2001)

Maurice Ashley (born March 6, 1966) is a Jamaican-American chess grandmaster, author, commentator, app designer, puzzle inventor, and motivational speaker.[1][2] In 1999 he earned the grandmaster title,[3] making him the first black person to attain the title of grandmaster.[4]

Ashley is well known as a commentator for high-profile chess events.[5] He also spent many years teaching chess.[6][7] On April 13, 2016, Ashley was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame.

Early life[edit]

Ashley was born in St. AndrewJamaica. He attended Wolmer's Boys School in Jamaica, then moved to the United States when he was 12.[8]

He went to Brooklyn Technical High School.[9] Ashley graduated from City College of New York (CCNY) with a B.A. in Creative Writing. While at City College, he represented in intercollegiate team competition.

Ashley said he discovered chess in Jamaica where his brother played chess with his friends. He got more serious about chess during high school where he grew up in Brooklyn and played in parks and clubs throughout New York City.[9]

Always promoting chess among youth, Ashley coached the Raging Rooks of Harlem, and the Dark Knights (also from Harlem), both of which have won national championships under his guidance.[6][10]

Career[edit]

Ashley in 2005

In 1992, Ashley shared the United States Game/10 chess championship with Maxim Dlugy.[11]

On March 14, 1999, Ashley beat Adrian Negulescu to complete the requirements for the Grandmaster title. This made him the first black chess Grandmaster.[4]

In September 1999, Ashley founded the Harlem Chess Center,[5] which has attracted such celebrities as Larry Johnson[12] and Wynton Marsalis.

Along with GM Susan Polgar, Ashley was named 2003 Grandmaster of the Year by the U.S. Chess Federation.

In 2003, Ashley wrote an essay The End of the Draw Offer?, which raised discussion about ways to avoid quick agreed draws in chess tournaments.

In 2005, he wrote the book Chess for Success, relating his experiences and the positive aspects of chess. He was the main organizer for the 2005 HB Global Chess Challenge, with the biggest cash prize in history for an open chess tournament.

In 2007, Ashley returned to his birth country of Jamaica and became the first GM to ever participate in a tournament in that country. The tournament, a six-round Swiss called the Frederick Cameron Open, was held at the Jamaica Conference center on the 15th and 16 December 2007. After sweeping a field consisting of several of Jamaica's top players and Barbadian FIDE master Philip Corbin, Ashley was upset in the final round by Jamaican National Master Jomo Pitterson. Ashley placed second on five points behind Pitterson (5.5).[8]

In 2008, Ashley was featured in an interview for the CNN documentary Black in America. He was shown during one scene in the film Brooklyn Castle mentoring a young chess player. He was mentioned in the chess movie Life of a King starring Cuba Gooding, Jr.

Starting in the Fall of 2012, Ashley was a Director's Fellow at the MIT Media Lab and, between 2013 and 2015, Maurice was also a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society in a joint fellowship at both Harvard's Berkman Center and the Media Lab at MIT. Currently, Maurice is a Research affiliate at the Media Lab at MIT.[13][14][15]

In 2013, Ashley announced he was planning the highest-stakes open chess tournament in history, Millionaire Chess Open. Its first edition took place October 9–13, 2014 in Las Vegas.

In 2015, Maurice announced a partnership with the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis and Ascension, Your Move Chess. This program supports after school chess in the Florissant-Ferguson School District alongside other schools in the Saint Louis area. Longer term, the goal is to expand the program on a national level.[16]

In February 2016, a video of Ashley defeating a "trash-talking" amateur chess player in Washington Square Park went viral.[17][18]

On April 13, 2016, Ashley was inducted into the US Chess Hall of Fame along with Chess Grandmaster Gata Kamsky.[19]

Commentator[edit]

Maurice during Today in Chess program

Ashley was one of the commentators of the two matches between world champion Garry Kasparov and IBM's Deep Blue that took place in 1996 and 1997. He provided commentary for the Kasparov vs. Anand World Championship match in 1995, the 2013–16 Sinquefield Cups, as well as several US Chess Championships. In 2003, Ashley hosted ESPN's broadcast of Kasparov's match against X3D Fritz.

Personal life[edit]

In 1993, Ashley married Michele Ashley-Johnson. Their daughter Nia was born the following year. Nia graduated from Barnard College in 2016. Their son Jayden was born in 2002. The couple divorced in 2014.

Maurice's sister is world boxing champion Alicia Ashley and his brother is former world kickboxing champion Devon Ashley.[20][21]

Quote[edit]

  • "African continent GMs do exist; but, according to the system of racial classification, I am the first Black GM in history... it matters, and doesn't matter, all at the same time."[22]

Works and publications[edit]

Monographs[edit]

Multimedia[edit]



Awonder Liang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Awonder Liang
Liang Awonder.jpg
Awonder Liang at the 2013 World Youth Chess Championship in Al-Ain
CountryUnited States
BornApril 9, 2003 (age 14)
Madison, Wisconsin, United States
TitleGrandmaster
FIDErating2578 (February 2018)
Peak rating2572 (February 2018)
Medal record
Representing  United States
Chess
World Youth Chess Championship
Gold medal – first place2011 Caldas Novas (Brazil)Under-8
Gold medal – first place2013 Al-Ain (UAE)Under-10

Awonder Liang (born April 9, 2003)[1] is an American chess prodigy and Grandmaster. He is the second-youngest American to qualify for the Grandmaster title (after Samuel Sevian), and eleventh-youngest in history.

Career[edit]

On April 16, 2011, when he played in the Hales Corners Challenge chess tournament in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Awonder became the youngest chess expert in United States Chess Federation (USCF) history with a rating of 2000 at the age of 8 years and 7 days.[2]Awonder broke the earlier record, held by Samuel Sevian, by 64 days.

On August 5, 2011, at the age of 8 years 118 days, he became the youngest to defeat an International Master (IM) in a standard tournament game.[3] This occurred in round 6 at the U.S. Open in Orlando, Florida, when Awonder defeated IM Daniel Fernandez (rated FIDE 2401 and USCF 2448 at that time). The previous record, which was held by Fabiano Caruana, was broken by 4 months and 15 days.[4][better source needed]

On November 27, 2011, he won the gold medal in the under-8 open section of the World Youth Chess Championship in Caldas Novas, Brazil. This win earned him the titles of U-8 world chess champion and FIDE Master.[5]

On July 29, 2012, he became the youngest player ever to defeat a Grandmaster (GM) in a standard time limit tournament game. It occurred in round 3 of the Washington International in Rockville, Maryland, when he defeated GM Larry Kaufman. Awonder was 9 years, 111 days old at the time, breaking the previous record by about 2.5 months.[6] the record was previously held by Shah Hetul at the age of about 9 years, 6 months.[7] At the same time, Awonder broke the USA record for the youngest to win against a GM by 10 months, 9 days; the previous record having been held by Fabiano Caruana.

On March 23, 2013, he became the youngest person ever to obtain a master's rating within the United States Chess Federation. While playing in the Midwest Open Team Chess Festival in Dayton, Ohio, his win over a Life Master in round 2 brought his estimated USCF rating to 2206. Liang was 17 days shy of his tenth birthday at the time of this achievement, 10 days younger than the age at the previously existing record (held by Samuel Sevian, 7 days prior to his tenth birthday). On September 2, 2015, Maximillian Lu broke Awonder's record by 12 days. At the 2013 World Youth Championship, which took place in Al Ain, Liang won the under-10 open section.

On June 30, 2014, at the age of 11 years and 92 days, while competing in the 2nd Annual DC International, he became the youngest American to achieve an International Master (IM) norm. Liang earned his third and final IM norm in Dallas on November 25, 2015 at 12 years, 7 months and 6 days old, thus becoming the youngest American ever to qualify for the title of International Master.[8]

From July 8 to July 17, 2016, Awonder Liang participated in the U.S. Junior Closed Chess Championship at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis, Missouri. Liang achieved a score of 6/9, for second place behind Jeffery Xiong, who won with a score of 6.5/9. He won four games, drew four, and lost one game to Xiong.

In May 2017, Awonder Liang earned his final two Grandmaster norms in back-to-back tournaments at the Spring Chess Classic in St. Louis (Group B) and the Chicago Open, with the latter won on May 29. He won the former tournament with a score of 7.5/9 and ended up getting 6.5/9 at the latter tournament to share 5th to 9th place. At the time, he became the tenth-youngest player ever to achieve the Grandmaster title in chess.

On July 17, 2017, Awonder won the US Junior Closed Championship with a score of 6.5/9. This earned him a spot in the 2018 US Chess Championship.

References[edit]

  1. Jump up^ IM title application FIDE.
  2. Jump up^ Lewis, Chelsey. "Chess whiz". Wisconsintrails.com. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  3. Jump up^ "Awonder Liang vs Daniel Fernandez (2011) "It's Awonder Full Life"". Chessgames.com. 2011-07-30. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  4. Jump up^ "Google Discussiegroepen". Groups.google.com. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  5. Jump up^ McClain, Dylan (December 3, 2011). "8-Year-Old American Wins a World Championship". New York Times. Retrieved August 4, 2012.
  6. Jump up^ A new record by AwonderSusan Polgar Chess Daily News and Information. 2012-07-30. Retrieved on 2012-10-11;
  7. Jump up^ "The Hindu News Update Service". Chennai, India: Hindu.com. 2009-01-11. Retrieved 2014-01-24.
  8. Jump up^ Silver, Albert (2015-12-02). "Awonder Liang is youngest ever IM in US". ChessBase. Retrieved 3 December 2015.

External links[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Samuel Sevian
Youngest ever United States chessmaster
2013–15
Succeeded by
Maximillian Lu
Preceded by
Samuel Sevian
Youngest ever United States International Master
2015–present
Succeeded by
Incumbent



Pontus Carlsson

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Pontus Carlsson
Pontus Carlsson 2013.jpg
Pontus Carlsson, Warsaw 2013
Full namePontus Carlsson
CountrySweden
BornDecember 18, 1982 (age 36)
Cali, Colombia
TitleGrandmaster (GM)
FIDE rating2465 (February 2019)
Peak rating2515 (October 2008)

Pontus Carlsson (born December 18, 1982)[1] is a Swedish chess grandmaster.[1]

Early life[edit]

When Carlsson was one year old, his family died.[how?] He was subsequently adopted by a Swedish couple and it was his stepfather, Ingvar Carlsson (former chairman of the Swedish Chess Federation),[2] who taught him the game of chess when he was 4.[1]

He studied Spanish during the time he was based in Spain, playing in the chess league.[1] Now he is fluent in Spanish (having earned a certificate) as well as Swedish, English, German and French. Carlsson also plans to learn Russian, since there is good chess literature that is only published in that language.

He is a dual citizen of Sweden and Colombia, and is a hip-hop fan.[1]

Chess career[edit]

Pontus Carlsson, 2007

Carlsson has represented his country since his school years and is now a member of the senior national team. He has spent most of his chess career traveling throughout Europe. His first international tournament of record was the under-10 European Championships in Rimavská Sobota.

Having a propensity for rapid chess, he has won the Swedish Tusenmannaschacket Rapid tournament three times, becoming the only player in its history to do so.

Carlsson also won a number of youth championships at the national and regional level. He played in his first national championship in 2001 at age 18 in his hometown of Linköping.

His performance stagnated from mid-2001 to mid-2005[3] due to losing small amounts of rating points in successive tournaments during that period. He attributed this delay to not playing enough tournaments and activating himself.

In 2007, Carlsson played for the Swedish national team in the 16th European Team Chess Championship and scored 6/9 without a loss. His performance rating was 2686, having faced strong opposition, including Dmitry Jakovenko and Mark Hebden.[4] He was also a member of the national team at the 2006 37th Chess Olympiad in Turin (+3=1−2).[1][5]

He plays for the Sollentuna SK chess club, with which he took part in the European club cups in 2002, 2005, and 2007. Beyond the Swedish league he has also played in the Spanish league and other tournaments in Spain.[1]

Carlsson became an International Master and Grandmaster in three years. He achieved the IM title in August 2005, and the grandmaster title in October 2007 after earning four GM norms. This made him the 16th Swede to become a GM[1] and only the second of African descent. He earned his first GM norm at the 2005 European Team Championship,[6] his second at the Open de Tarragona (Spain),[7] the third at the Torneig Internacional Ciutat de Sóller, and the fourth in the 3rd round at the European Club Cup.

Having received the Grandmaster title, he is to be elected into the Swedish Chess Academy. The Chess Academy is an organization of dignitaries and sponsors of chess, and all Swedish Grandmasters are members.

His long-term goal is reach the 2600 rating mark.[1] He says that he is undergoing a serious training program include both Mark Dvoretsky's Dvoretsky's Endgame Manual and New in Chess magazine as part of it.

Quotes[edit]

  • "The training that I have done this far have taken me to 2500, but in order to reach 2600 I need to work hard on my weaknesses."
  • "Before that I only played two or max three ELO tournaments per year. Between 2001 and 2004 I had problems to reach my normal playing strength during the tournaments since I was too rusty all the time. I always started the tournaments bad and then when I got warm and recovered, the tournament was over and it was a half year left to the next one. I had 2400 in 2001 and in 2004 I had 2360 after losing five ELO points in almost every tournament that I played during this period. Therefore I decided to activate myself and start to play more and a bit more serious."
  • "No I don't think so. I mean there are only two black GMs in the world and I'm the only one that plays in Europe so everyone knows who I am. It's not possible for me to hide!" (when asked if international opponents are surprised when placing his name and country with his face)  


  • Hikaru Nakamura
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Jump to navigationJump to search
    For the manga artist, see Hikaru Nakamura (artist). For the American football player with a similar name, see Haruki Nakamura.
    Hikaru Nakamura
    HikaruNakamura13a.jpg
    Full nameHikaru Nakamura
    CountryUnited States
    BornDecember 9, 1987 (age 31)
    Hirakata, Japan
    TitleGrandmaster
    FIDE rating2749 (February 2019)
    Peak rating2816 (October 2015)
    RankingNo. 17 (November 2018)
    Peak rankingNo. 2 (October 2015)
    Hikaru Nakamura
    Japanese name
    Kanji中村 光
    Kanaヒカル・ナカムラ
    showTranscriptions

    Hikaru Nakamura (ヒカル・ナカムラ Nakamura Hikaru, born December 9, 1987) is a Japanese-American chess grandmaster.

    He is a four-time United States Chess Champion,[1] who won the 2011 edition of Tata Steel Group A and represented the United States at five Chess Olympiads, winning a team gold medal and two team bronze medals. He has also written a book about bullet chess called Bullet Chess: One Minute to Mate.[2]

    His peak USCF rating was 2900 in August 2015.[3] In October 2015, he reached his peak FIDE rating of 2816, which ranked him second in the world. In May 2014, when FIDE began publishing official rapid and blitz chess ratings, Nakamura ranked number one in the world on both lists.[4]

    Early life[edit]

    Nakamura was born in HirakataOsaka PrefectureJapan, to a Japanese father, Shuichi Nakamura, and an American mother, Carolyn Merrow Nakamura, a classically trained musician and former public school teacher.[5][6] When he was two years of age his family moved to the United States. Nakamura's parents divorced in 1990, when he was 3 years old.[7] He began playing chess at the age of seven and was coached by his Sri Lankan stepfather, FIDE Master and chess author Sunil Weeramantry.

    Chess prodigy[edit]

    At age 10, Nakamura became the youngest player to achieve the title of chess master from the United States Chess Federation, breaking the record previously set by Vinay Bhat. (Nakamura's record stood until 2008 when Nicholas Nip achieved the master title at the age of 9 years and 11 months.) In 1999 Nakamura won the Laura Aspis Prize, given annually to the top USCF-rated player under age 13. In 2003, at age 15 years and 79 days, Nakamura solidified his reputation as a chess prodigy, becoming the youngest American to earn the grandmaster title, breaking the record of Bobby Fischer by three months. (Nakamura's record was subsequently broken by Fabiano Caruana in 2007, followed by Ray Robson in 2009, and further lowered by Samuel Sevian in 2014.)

    Chess career[edit]

    In April 2004 Nakamura achieved a fourth-place finish in the "B" group at the Corus tournament at Wijk aan Zee.[8]

    Nakamura qualified for the FIDE World Chess Championship 2004, played in Tripoli, Libya, and reached the fourth round, defeating grandmasters Sergey VolkovAleksej Aleksandrov, and Alexander Lastin before falling to England's Michael Adams, the tournament's third-seeded participant and eventual runner-up.

    On June 20, 2005, Nakamura was selected as the 19th Frank Samford Chess Fellow, receiving a grant of $32,000 to further his chess education and competition.[9]

    Nakamura won the 2005 U.S. Chess Championship (held in November and December 2004), scoring seven points over nine rounds to tie grandmaster Alex Stripunsky for first place. Nakamura defeated Stripunsky in two straight rapid chess playoff games to claim the title and become the youngest national champion since Fischer. Nakamura finished the tournament without a loss and, in the seventh round, defeated grandmaster Gregory Kaidanov, then the nation's top-ranked player.

    Following that victory, Nakamura played a challenge match dubbed the "Duelo de Jóvenes Prodigios" in Mexico against Ukrainian grandmaster Sergey Karjakin and defeated his fellow prodigy, 4½–1½.[10]

    In November and December 2005 Nakamura entered the FIDE World Chess Cup in Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia, seeded 28th (of 128 players) but failed to advance beyond the first round. He lost each of his two games to Indian grandmaster Surya Ganguly.[11]

    In 2006, Nakamura helped the U.S. team win the bronze medal in the International Chess Olympiad at Turin, playing third board behind Gata Kamsky and 2006 U.S. Champion Alexander Onischuk. In the same year he won the 16th North American Open in Las Vegas.[12]

    In January 2007 Nakamura shared second place at the GibTelecom Masters in Gibraltar.[13] He placed joint first in the tournament the following year, finishing with five straight wins to tie with Chinese GM Bu Xiangzhi, whom he then proceeded to beat in the rapidplay play off.[14]

    In October 2007 Nakamura won the Magistral D'Escacs in Barcelona[15] and the Corsican circuit rapid chess tournament.[16]

    Nakamura won the 2008 Finet Chess960 Open (Mainz).[17] In November 2008, he won the Cap d'Agde Rapid Tournament in Cap d'Agde, defeating Anatoly Karpov in the semifinals and Vassily Ivanchuk in the finals.[18] In February 2009 he came joint third at the 7th Gibtelecom Masters in Gibraltar, again finishing strongly with 4½/5 to end the event on 7½/10.[19]

    2009: Second U.S. Championship and other tournament successes[edit]

    Nakamura won the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship (St Louis, Missouri, May 2009), scoring 7/9 to take clear first ahead of 17-year-old GM-elect Robert Hess, who shared second with 6½.[20]

    In July 2009, Nakamura won the Donostia-San Sebastian Chess Festival, tying with former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov with 6½/9 before defeating Ponomariov in a blitz playoff to win the title over a field including former undisputed world champion Anatoly Karpov, former FIDE world champions Rustam Kasimdzhanov and Ponomariov, 2009 World Junior champion Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Peter Svidler among others.[21] In August 2009, Nakamura became the 960 World Chess Champion, beating GM Levon Aronian 3½–½ in Mainz, Germany.

    In November 2009, Nakamura participated in the BNbank blitz tournament in Oslo, Norway. He reached the final by winning all 12 of his games. In the championship, he faced the world No. 2 and reigning World Blitz Champion Magnus Carlsen. Nakamura won the match 3–1, further cementing his reputation as one of the best blitz players in the world, despite having not been invited to the 2009 World Blitz championship.[22][23]

    Nakamura skipped the Chess World Cup 2009 in favour of the London Chess Classic in December 2009. Although he drew with the black pieces against eventual winner Magnus Carlsen and with white against former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, Nakamura failed to win a game during the tournament and ended in seventh place out of eight.[24]

    2010: Gold medalist and top-ten player[edit]

    Nakamura began 2010 playing first board for the United States at the World Team Chess Championship held in Bursa, Turkey. Nakamura's impressive performance, including a convincing win over world No. 6 and recent Chess World Cup winner Boris Gelfand on the black side of a King's Indian Defense won him the individual gold medal for board one, and led the U.S. to a second-place finish behind Russia.[25][26]

    Nakamura participated in the 2010 Corus chess tournament in Wijk aan Zee. He finished with +2, tying for fourth with Viswanathan Anand, behind Carlsen, Shirov, and Kramnik.

    In May, Nakamura participated in the 2010 United States Chess Championship in Saint Louis, Missouri attempting to defend his 2009 title. Seeded first, he scored 5/7 points to qualify for the round-robin stage against 1991 champion and current Candidates Player Gata Kamsky, 2006 champion Alexander Onischuk, and 2008 champion Yuri Shulman. In the round-robin stage, he drew Kamsky before losing to Shulman, with the white pieces in both games.[27] The loss to Shulman eliminated him from defending his 2009 title.

    Nakamura competed in the 39th Chess Olympiad. Although he defeated Lê Quang Liêm and drew Kramnik with the black pieces during the tournament, the U.S. team failed to medal.

    From November 5 through 14th, Nakamura competed in the 2010 Mikhail Tal Memorial in Moscow; the field consisted of world No. 3 Levon Aronian, world No. 4 Vladimir Kramnik, world No. 6 Alexander Grischuk, world No. 8 Shakhriyar Mamedyarov, world No. 9 Sergey KarjakinPavel EljanovBoris GelfandAlexei Shirov, and Wang Hao. The average Elo of the field was 2757, making it the third strongest tournament in chess history at the time. Nakamura finished at +1, defeating Eljanov and drawing every other player to finish in a tie for fourth place and missing out on a tie for first place by blundering into a draw in a winning position in the final round against Grischuk.[28] Nakamura's round two win over Eljanov placed him in the world top-ten in the live ratings for the first time in his career.[29] Nakamura's performance at this tournament, his first involving an entirely super-elite field allowed him to "force (the chess elite) to respect him", according to noted Russian commentator grandmaster Sergey Shipov.[30]

    From November 16 through 18th, Nakamura made his debut at the 2010 World Blitz Championship in Moscow. Despite a disastrous start and losing four of his first five games to Magnus CarlsenVladimir KramnikMaxime Vachier-Lagrave, and Sergey Karjakin, he recovered to score 5/7 in the second half of the day and finished with a score of 7½/14, 2½ points behind coleaders Carlsen and Levon Aronian, whom he defeated in their individual games. On the second day, Nakamura avenged his earlier losses against both Carlsen and Kramnik and scored 8/14, for a total of 15½/28, three points behind Aronian and a point and a half behind Carlsen. Nakamura finished with 21½/38 for fifth place behind Gelfand, Carlsen, Teimour Radjabov and champion Aronian.[31]

    In December 2010 Nakamura finished fourth in the London Chess Classic, among a field including Anand, Carlsen, Kramnik, Michael AdamsNigel ShortDavid Howell, and Luke McShane. This included a win with Black against Kramnik, evening their career head-to-head record at 2½/2½. The tournament was won by Magnus Carlsen.[32] Nakamura's performance ensured that he would officially join the world top ten as of January 1, 2011.

    2011: Tata Steel Group A victory[edit]

    In the January 2011 FIDE rating list, Nakamura was ranked number 10 in the world with a rating of 2751.

    Nakamura began training with former world champion Garry Kasparov. The first of several training sessions was held in New York at the beginning of January,[33] but the training ended in December 2011.[34]

    From January 14 through January 30, Nakamura competed in the Tata Steel Grandmaster A tournament in Wijk aan Zee among a field of world No. 1 and defending champion Magnus Carlsenworld champion and world No. 2 Viswanathan Anand, world No. 3 and reigning World Blitz champion Levon Aronian, world No. 4 and former world champion Vladimir Kramnik, world No. 7 Alexander Grischuk, former FIDE world champion Ruslan Ponomariov, reigning Russian champion Ian Nepomniachtchi, reigning Chinese champion Wang HaoMaxime Vachier-LagraveAlexei ShirovAnish GiriJan Smeets, and Erwin L'Ami. The average rating of the field was 2740, making this thirteen-round event a category 20 tournament. After twelve rounds, Nakamura was in clear first place with 8½ points going into the final round, half a point ahead of Anand and a full point ahead of Carlsen and Aronian.[35][36] In the final round, Nakamura drew against Hao with the black pieces in a King's Indian Defense. With the draw, Nakamura finished with 9/13 (+5), a tournament performance rating of 2879, and guaranteed at least a share of first place. With Anand's final round draw against Nepomniachtchi, Nakamura clinched sole possession of first place,[37] making him the first American to win the Wijk aan Zee tournament since 1980. The win also guaranteed that Nakamura would join Carlsen (winner of the 2010 Pearl Spring chess tournament) as qualifiers for Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 in September 2011.[38] Nakamura after the tournament stated that his goal was to reach a 2800 rating by the end of the year; the win raised his rating from 2751 to 2774 and from world No. 10 to world No. 7 on the unofficial live rating list.[39]

    Kasparov called Nakamura's victory the best by an American in more than 100 years:

    In an e-mail, Kasparov said, "Fischer never won a tournament ahead of the world champion. He was second in Santa Monica", referring to the Second Piatigorsky Cup. "Of course, there were far fewer such events back then, and Fischer had several great tournament results like Stockholm 62", the interzonal qualifier for the world championship. "Reuben Fine only equaled Keres on points at AVRO in 38." Referring to the breakout performance of Frank J. Marshall, the United States Champion from 1909 to 1936, Mr. Kasparov continued, "Then you have Marshall at Cambridge Springs in 1904 ahead of Lasker, though Tarrasch wasn't there. So unless you include Capablanca as an American player, I think you can go back to Pillsbury at Hastings 1895 for an American tournament victory on par with Nakamura's.[40]

    Following his supertournament triumph, Nakamura was given the key to the city of Memphis, Tennessee on February 15, 2011.[41] The victory also opened the door for Nakamura to receive invitations from other supergrandmaster tournaments for the first time, and increased his world ranking to a career-high number eight. In May he contested a six-game match in the United States against world No. 11 Ponomariov where he lost the first game but rallied to win the match 3½–2½, raising his rating to 2777 and ranking to world No. 6 on the unofficial live rating list, both career-highs to date. From June 11–21, he made his debut at the Bazna Kings Tournament in Romania in a field including Carlsen, world No. 5 Vassily Ivanchuk, world No. 6 Sergey Karjakin, world No. 13 Teimour Radjabov and Liviu-Dieter Nisipeanu; the tournament was a Category XXI event with an average ELO of 2760, making it the third strongest tournament in history; Nakamura finished 4½/10; the tournament was won by Carlsen on tiebreak over Karjakin.[42] Despite the disappointing performance at Bazna, he reached a new career-high world ranking of No. 6 in the July 2011 FIDE list with a 2770 rating.

    From July 21–31, Nakamura made his debut at the Dortmund Invitational in Germany; the field comprised world No. 5 Kramnik, world No. 10 Ponomariov, world No. 27 Lê Quang Liêm, world No. 40 Giri, and Georg Meier.[43] Nakamura had a second consecutive disappointing performance, beginning at −3 before winning his last two games, including a last-round win over tournament winner Kramnik on the black side of the King's Indian Defense, to finish at 4½/10.[44]

    Nakamura competed in the Grand Slam Masters Final 2011 in September, after which he played in the Tal Memorial for the second consecutive year in a field comprising Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, Karjakin, Kramnik, Ivanchuk, Gelfand, Hao, and Nepomniachtchi. He finished the year by participating in the London Chess Classic for the third consecutive time.[45]

    2012: Third U.S. Championship[edit]

    Starting in 2012, he participated in the Reggio Emilia Tournament, tying for second with Alexander Morozevich of Russia, and Fabiano Caruana of Italy. Anish Giri got first place in the tournament, a half-point ahead of the field. Nakamura then played in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament, finishing 5th.[46] He won the US Championship in May with a score of 8½, one point ahead of Gata Kamsky.[47]

    In June 2012, Nakamura played in the Tal Memorial in Moscow. In a tightly bunched field he finished tied for eighth with Luke McShane, 1½ points behind winner Magnus Carlsen.[48]He participated in the Biel Chess Festival, finishing third with Anish Giri, behind Carlsen and Wang Hao.[49] At the 2012 Chess Olympiad in August and September, he led the U.S. team to a fifth-place finish with a +4−1=4 record on the first board.[50] Nakamura then suffered through the FIDE London Grand Prix tournament, at one point losing four games in a row. He finished tied for last with Giri.[51] After another lackluster performance in the European Club Championship in Eilat, Israel, Nakamura finished first in the "crown group" at the Univé tournament in Hoogeveen, the Netherlands.[52] In December he tied for third with Mickey Adams in the London Chess Classic with a +3−1=4 score.[53] Nakamura finished the year by winning three silver medals in the three chess events (rapid, blitz and blindfold) at the World Mind Games in Beijing.[54] After this tournament, Nakamura achieved a 2844 FIDE blitz rating and a 2795 FIDE rapid rating.

    2013: Top FIDE blitz rating[edit]

    Nakamura began 2013 with a 7/13 (+3−2=8) result at the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee, finishing sixth.[55] He scored a win against then world number five Fabiano Caruanawith the black pieces in an Old Indian Defense. He then played at the FIDE Grand Prix tournament in Zug, Switzerland in April, scoring 6½/11 (+3−1=7) and finishing clear second behind Veselin Topalov.[56]

    Nakamura did not participate in the 2013 U.S. championship. Instead, he played in the Norway Chess tournament, finishing tied with Magnus Carlsen for second behind winner Sergey Karjakin. His 5½/9 score (+4−2=3) featured a win over then world champion Viswanathan Anand with the black pieces in a Ruy Lopez.[57] He then scored 5/11 at the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece.[58] Nakamura had an up-and-down Tal Memorial in June, at one point winning three straight games and then later losing three straight. He finished in sixth place with a 4½/9 score (+4−4=1).[59] However, he won the blitz tournament before the classical competition, raising his FIDE blitz rating to 2879, first in the world at the time. In the World Cup in Tromsø, Norway, Nakamura scored 6/8 (+5−1=2), eventually losing in the fourth round to Anton Korobov.[60] Nakamura finished second at the Sinquefield Cup in his hometown of St. Louis, behind Carlsen with a 3½/6 (+2−1=3) score, including a win over then world number two Levon Aronian.[61]

    At the FIDE Grand Prix in Paris Nakamura scored 6½/11 (+3−1=7) and tied for third with Étienne Bacrot, behind co-winners Caruana and Boris Gelfand. He defeated Caruana in their individual encounter but lost to Gelfand. Overall, Nakamura finished sixth in the FIDE Grand Prix 2012–13 series.[62] He then played first board for O.R. Padova in the European Club Championship in Rhodes, Greece and scored 4/6 (+2−0=4).[63] He defeated current Russian champion Peter Svidler with the black pieces in an extremely sharp King's Indian Defense.[64] At the World Team Chess Championship in Antalya, Turkey, Nakamura led the U.S. team to a fourth-place finish.[65] His personal record of 4½/7 (+3−1=3) earned him an individual silver medal on board one.[66] Nakamura closed out his tournament schedule for the year with a win at the London Chess Classic, which was converted to a rapid chessevent in 2013. He won his pool in the first stage of the tournament, then defeated Nigel ShortVladimir Kramnik and Boris Gelfand in the knockout stage. His overall record was +5−0=7.[67]

    2014: No. 3 ranking and Zurich Chess Challenge[edit]

    Entering 2014, Nakamura had achieved a No. 3 position in the FIDE ratings, below Carlsen and Aronian. He began his 2014 schedule with a ninth-place finish in the Tata Steel Chess Tournament at Wijk Aan Zee, with a 5/11 score (+2-3=6).[68] He then played the Zurich Chess Challenge, drawing with Caruana in the first round and winning against Anand in the second. In the third round, Nakamura achieved a winning position against Carlsen, but later made several mistakes and eventually lost the game.[69] Nakamura finished fourth of the six players in the event, with a 7½/15 score.[70]

    In April Nakamura finished third of the six players in the Gashimov Memorial. In the double round-robin event he lost both of his games to Carlsen but defeated Shakhriyar Mamedyarov twice, to close with a 5/10 score (+2−2=6).[71] He then played a four-game match against Czech grandmaster David Navara in June and won easily 3½/4.[72]

    In November Nakamura played a match against Levon Aronian consisting of four classical and sixteen blitz games. The two tied the classical games 2-2; Nakamura won the match with a 9.5-6.5 score in blitz games.[73]

    2015: 2800 rating and Grand Prix 2nd place[edit]

    On the February 2015 FIDE rating list, Nakamura fell behind Wesley So, the first time since January 2013 that Nakamura has not been the top FIDE ranked player in the United States.

    Gibraltar Chess Festival: In January, Nakamura won the Gibraltar Chess Masters tournament scoring 8.5/10 (+7-0=3).[74]

    Zurich Chess Challenge:The ZCC was a hybrid event which was composed of two legs. A classical leg which would count for full points and a rapid leg which would count for half points. Nakamura started out the Zurich chess challenge with a disappointing 4th-place finish in the blitz event which decided colours. Nakamura finished the classical portion of the Zurich Chess Challenge scoring 3.0/5. In the Rapid event Nakamura finished shared second with a score of 3.0/5. With Anand and Nakamura tied in the overall standings the organizers introduced an "armageddon" playoff which Nakamura would go on to win with the black pieces winning the 2015 Zurich Chess Challenge.[75]

    World number 3 Nakamura had one of his best ever months as a chess professional in February 2015 and as a result on the March FIDE classical list Nakamura moved to his career highest 2798 and #3 in the world.[76]

    Grand Prix In the final stage of the 4-stage Grand Prix event, Nakamura finished equal first with Fabiano Caruana and Dmitry Jakovenko with 6.5 out of 11 points at Khanty-Mansiysk. This was enough to finish 2 place in the Grand Prix, behind only Caruana, which automatically qualified him for the Candidates tournament to determine the challenger for Magnus Carlsen in the next Chess World Championship.[77]

    Norway Chess - Grand Chess Tour In the first stage of the Grand Chess Tour, Nakamura finished equal 2nd with Viswanathan Anand with 6.0 out of 9 points and a 2900 performance at Norway Chess (June 16 to 25). This gives Nakamura 8 points in the first leg of the Grand Chess Tour. It also propelled his rating to a career high of 2814, and he was at number 4 in the July 2015 world rankings.[78][79]

    2016[edit]

    In February 2016, Nakamura won the Gibraltar Chess Festival for the second year in a row, scoring 8/10 (+6-0=4) and beating Maxime Vachier-Lagrave on tiebreaks.[80]

    In February 2016, Hikaru won the Zurich Chess Challenge for the second year in a row. He tied with Viswanathan Anand on the number of points; however, Nakamura was declared the overall winner due to his higher Sonneborn–Berger score.[81]

    In September 2016 Nakamura was part of the U.S. team that won the 42nd Chess Olympiad that took place in BakuAzerbaijan.[82]

    2017[edit]

    In January–February, Nakamura won the Gibraltar Chess Festival with a score of 8/10 points (+6-0=4) and beating David Antón Guijarro in the tie-break final by 1½-½.

    2018[edit]

    In January, Nakamura took second place in the Chess.com Speed Chess Championships after winning matches in 2017 with Sergey Grigoriants, Fabiano Caruana, and then-World Blitz Champion Sergey Karjakin, only losing to Carlsen in the January finals.[83]

    In February, Nakamura participated in the unofficial Chess960 Championship, losing 10–14 to Carlsen.[84]

    From 28 May to 7 June, he competed in the sixth edition of Norway Chess, placing third with 4½/8 (+1–0=7).[85]

    The Paris Grand Chess Tour Rapid and Blitz tournament took place 20th to 24th June 2018. Nakamura won the event with 23 points, ahead of Sergei Kajakin with 21.5 points and Wesley So who had 21 points.

    Nakamura won the St. Louis Rapid & Blitz tournament that ran from 11-15 August 2018.[86]

    Nakamura won the Rapid portion of the inaugural Tata Steel India Chess tournament, held in November 2018 in Kolkata.[87] He also finished runner-up, losing 1.5-0.5 in a tiebreaker to Viswanathan Anand, in the blitz portion of the same event.[88][89]

    From 11 to 17 December, Nakamura defeated Fabiano Caruana with a score of 18–10[90] in the semifinal match at the London Chess Classic and, in the final match with Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, scored a victory in the fourth and final blitz game after the previous seven games were drawn.[91] Nakamura thus won the 2018 Grand Chess Tour.[91]

    Other[edit]

    Nakamura is very skilled at blitz chess, and has been called "one of the best blitz players in the world".[92]

    Nakamura is well known in the chess community for frequently playing on the Internet. He plays primarily on Chess.com (as "Hikaru"), the Internet Chess Club (formerly as "Smallville", nowadays as "Capilanobridge") and Playchess (as "Star Wars"). He streams online games on Twitch.tv under the channel name "GMHikaru" and occasionally collaborates on streaming events with other chess players active on the site.

    Nakamura has served as a commentator and game annotator, most prominently on the ChessNinja website, operated by chess author Mig Greengard.

    Nakamura has been described as having an uncommon enthusiasm for chess and as being much more approachable than other players of his ability. For instance, just after winning his first U.S. Championship in 2005, he played numerous 1-minute games with all comers in the lobby of the hotel where the competition had taken place.[93]

    He is sometimes nicknamed "The H Bomb" because of his explosive style of playing.[94]

    Nakamura's long-time second is Kris Littlejohn, a master-level player who works with chess engines to prepare lines for Nakamura to play.[95]

    Nakamura attended Dickinson College for a short while in Pennsylvania as a member of the class of 2010.

    Nakamura maintains a Twitter account under the username "GMHikaru".[96] After what was to him a disappointing tournament at the 5th Edition of the Kings Tournament in Medias (although Nakamura placed third of sixth among a cadre of top Grandmasters),[97] Nakamura tweeted that he was focusing on the 2011 World Series of Poker,[98] in which he played, although busted out on the second day.[99] Kasparov, who had been training Nakamura at the time, publicly grumbled about his interest in poker.[100]

    Hikaru has set several "youngest-ever" records in U.S. chess history, including:[101]

    • Youngest to defeat an International Master in a USCF-rated game (10 years, 0 months); later surpassed by Praveen Balakrishnan at 9 years 29 days, and then by Awonder Liangat 8 years 118 days;
    • Youngest to defeat a Grandmaster in a USCF-rated game (10 years, 117 days; later surpassed by Fabiano Caruana at 10 years, 61 days); recently surpassed by Awonder Liang at 9 years 112 days;
    • Youngest International Master (13 years, 2 months); later surpassed by Ray Robson at 13 years, 1 month, and then by Samuel Sevian at 12 years, 10 months.

    Notable games[edit]

    This section uses algebraic notation to describe chess moves.

    The following game is Nakamura–Novikov, played in the 29th New York Masters 2002. Nakamura's annotations are given along with the text.[102]

    abcdefgh
    8
    Chessboard480.svg
    d8 black king
    h8 black rook
    g7 black pawn
    a6 black pawn
    c6 black bishop
    d6 black bishop
    f6 black knight
    g6 white rook
    a5 white pawn
    d5 black pawn
    f5 white pawn
    h5 black pawn
    c4 black pawn
    d4 white rook
    a3 black queen
    c3 white knight
    e3 white queen
    c2 white pawn
    e2 white bishop
    h2 white pawn
    b1 white king
    8
    77
    66
    55
    44
    33
    22
    11
    abcdefgh
    Position after 34...Kd8. Typical of Nakamura's complicated and tactical style, Nakamura, age 15 at the time, finds a tactic to win some material and the game.

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. g4 Nb6 10. 0-0-0 Bb7 11. Nb3 Rc8 12. Na5 Ba8 13. a4!? This rare line has only been played two times, both games were draws. (13.g5 Nfd7 14.a4 b4 15.Na2 Nxa4 16.Bxa6 Qxa5 17.Bxc8 Ndb6=/+ Perez–Novikov, Aosta Open Italy 2002.) 13... Nc4 13...d5 14.g5 Nfd7 15.exd5 Bxd5 16.axb5 Bb4 17.Nc6 Bxc6 18.bxc6 Rxc6 19.Bxb6 Rxb6 20.Qd4 0-0 21.Na4! Rb8 22.Qxd7 Qxg5+ 23.f4 Qxf4+ 24.Kb1+/− Andreev–Voitsekhovsky, 2000. 14. Nxc4 bxc4 15. Qd4 Qc7 16. g5 Nd7 17. f4 17.h4 e5 18.Qa7 Qxa7 19.Bxa7 h6 20.Bh3+/= De la Villa GarciaSuba, Benasque Open 1995. 17... h6 18. g6!? The idea behind sacrificing the pawn is to weaken the e6 and g6 pawns, and force Black to move his king to f7. (18.gxh6 Rxh6 19.f5 Rh7 [19...Rh4 20.fxe6 fxe6 21.Bf2 Rh7 22.Bg3!+/=] 20.fxe6.) 18... fxg6 Novikov accepts the challenge. Perhaps f5 was better because once he takes on g6 his pieces get tied down, and Black ends up with a very passive position. (18...f5!? 19.Bg2 Nf6~~.) 19. Rg1 Kf7 19...e5?! 20.Qd2 g5 (20...exf4 21.Bxf4 Qb6 22.Rxg6 Rb8 23.b3 cxb3 24.Re6+ Kf7 25.Bc4+/−; 20...Qb7 21.Qd5! Qxd5 22.Nxd5+/=) 21.fxg5 hxg5 22.Nd5+/=. 20. f5 gxf5 20...exf5 21.exf5 gxf5 22.Bh3→. 21. exf5 e5 22.Qh4?! Missing a chance to get a winning position. (22.Qg4! Nf6 23.Qg6+ Ke7 24.Bg2+/−.) 22... Nf6 23. Be2 Ke8 24. Rg6 Qf7 25. Qg3 Rb8 26. a5! Bc6 27. Bb6 h5 This is the only move which makes any sense here, but it allows White to win the exchange. Maybe Novikov felt like giving up the exchange to get some counterplay because if he does not play h5 White has all the play. 28. Qh4 d5 29. Qg3 Qe7 30. Bd4! Rxb2 31. Kxb2 exd4 32. Rxd4 Qa3+ 33. Kb1 Bd6? 33...Qb4+ 34.Kc1 Bd6~~ After the game, when I analysed with Novikov, he suggested this line. I did not find anything which was winning for White, and I think that Black is at least even in this position if not better. 34. Qe3+ Kd8 (see diagram) 35. Nxd5!! Clearly Novikov did not see this brilliant tactical shot as he used up most of his time trying to come up with a good move. In the end he had to settle for a losing endgame down an exchange. 35... Qxe3 35...Bxd5 36.Qxa3 Bxa3 37.Bxc4 Bc5 38.Rd3+ −; 35...Qxa5 36.Nxf6 Qe1+ 37.Qc1+ −; 35...Nxd5 36.Qxa3 Bxa3 37.Rxc6+ −. 36. Nxe3 Kc7 37. Rxg7+ Nd7 38. Nxc4 Rb8+ 39. Nb6 Re8 40. Bf3 Re1+ 41. Ka2 Ra1+! Desperation. 42. Kxa1 Be5 43. c3 Bxg7 44. Bxc6 Bxd4 45. cxd4 1–0 45.cxd4 Kxc6 46.d5+ Kd6 47.Nxd7 Kxd7 48.f6+ −.

    1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6 6. Be3 e6 7. f3 b5 8. Qd2 Nbd7 9. g4 Nb6 10. 0-0-0 Bb7 11. Nb3 Rc8 12. Na5 Ba8 13. a4!? This rare line has only been played two times, both games were draws. (13.g5 Nfd7 14.a4 b4 15.Na2 Nxa4 16.Bxa6 Qxa5 17.Bxc8 Ndb6=/+ Perez–Novikov, Aosta Open Italy 2002.) 13... Nc4 13...d5 14.g5 Nfd7 15.exd5 Bxd5 16.axb5 Bb4 17.Nc6 Bxc6 18.bxc6 Rxc6 19.Bxb6 Rxb6 20.Qd4 0-0 21.Na4! Rb8 22.Qxd7 Qxg5+ 23.f4 Qxf4+ 24.Kb1+/− Andreev–Voitsekhovsky, 2000. 14. Nxc4 bxc4 15. Qd4 Qc7 16. g5 Nd7 17. f4 17.h4 e5 18.Qa7 Qxa7 19.Bxa7 h6 20.Bh3+/= De la Villa GarciaSuba, Benasque Open 1995. 17... h6 18. g6!? The idea behind sacrificing the pawn is to weaken the e6 and g6 pawns, and force Black to move his king to f7. (18.gxh6 Rxh6 19.f5 Rh7 [19...Rh4 20.fxe6 fxe6 21.Bf2 Rh7 22.Bg3!+/=] 20.fxe6.) 18... fxg6 Novikov accepts the challenge. Perhaps f5 was better because once he takes on g6 his pieces get tied down, and Black ends up with a very passive position. (18...f5!? 19.Bg2 Nf6~~.) 19. Rg1 Kf7 19...e5?! 20.Qd2 g5 (20...exf4 21.Bxf4 Qb6 22.Rxg6 Rb8 23.b3 cxb3 24.Re6+ Kf7 25.Bc4+/−; 20...Qb7 21.Qd5! Qxd5 22.Nxd5+/=) 21.fxg5 hxg5 22.Nd5+/=. 20. f5 gxf5 20...exf5 21.exf5 gxf5 22.Bh3→. 21. exf5 e5 22.Qh4?! Missing a chance to get a winning position. (22.Qg4! Nf6 23.Qg6+ Ke7 24.Bg2+/−.) 22... Nf6 23. Be2 Ke8 24. Rg6 Qf7 25. Qg3 Rb8 26. a5! Bc6 27. Bb6 h5 This is the only move which makes any sense here, but it allows White to win the exchange. Maybe Novikov felt like giving up the exchange to get some counterplay because if he does not play h5 White has all the play. 28. Qh4 d5 29. Qg3 Qe7 30. Bd4! Rxb2 31. Kxb2 exd4 32. Rxd4 Qa3+ 33. Kb1 Bd6? 33...Qb4+ 34.Kc1 Bd6~~ After the game, when I analysed with Novikov, he suggested this line. I did not find anything which was winning for White, and I think that Black is at least even in this position if not better. 34. Qe3+ Kd8 (see diagram) 35. Nxd5!! Clearly Novikov did not see this brilliant tactical shot as he used up most of his time trying to come up with a good move. In the end he had to settle for a losing endgame down an exchange. 35... Qxe3 35...Bxd5 36.Qxa3 Bxa3 37.Bxc4 Bc5 38.Rd3+ −; 35...Qxa5 36.Nxf6 Qe1+ 37.Qc1+ −; 35...Nxd5 36.Qxa3 Bxa3 37.Rxc6+ −. 36. Nxe3 Kc7 37. Rxg7+ Nd7 38. Nxc4 Rb8+ 39. Nb6 Re8 40. Bf3 Re1+ 41. Ka2 Ra1+! Desperation. 42. Kxa1 Be5 43. c3 Bxg7 44. Bxc6 Bxd4 45. cxd4 1–0 45.cxd4 Kxc6 46.d5+ Kd6 47.Nxd7 Kxd7 48.f6+ −.

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