Hikaru Nakamura is still in a celebratory mood weeks after winning the strong Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee. The question that has been posed by many fans across the world was “How will Nakamura’s victory effect American chess?” There were utterances of Bobby Fischer’s success, but there was a common thought that American-bred players haven’t won at the top level in a long time. You would have to go back to 1980 to find an American who won the tournament at Wijk aan Zee (then called Hoogovens). Yasser Seirawan and Walter Browne tied for first.
Here is what Nakamura posted on his blog:
After arriving back in Saint Louis, I came back to the unfortunate reality that there was a lot of work to be done as I had to annotate games for New In Chess and Europe Echecs. There were also several interviews I did for 64, Chessbase and The New York Times. Most readers will probably notice there is a glaring lack of American publications listed above. It is simply a fact that American chess still has a long ways to go before it starts garnering widespread media attention. However, I hope that as I continue to go forward and chase the ultimate my goal things will eventually change. Maybe they will, maybe they won’t, but it is something that us American chessplayers can certainly hope for. (full comment)
Nakamura was given a royal welcome which included receiving the key from the Mayor, being received by city officials and being treated to an NBA basketball game of the Memphis Grizzlies. He also played a simul with a number of city officials and posted a picture to his twitter account.
Key to Memphis
With a live rating of 2773, Nakamura is now ranked #8 on the world FIDE rating and told The Chess Drum that he has been working hard to improve. Time will tell whether the U.S. media will be able to capture the magic seen during the “Fischer Boom”. Nakamura seems to have the most momentum of any top 20 player, so it will be interesting to see how far he can go.