In a daring display of destructive power, Hikaru Nakamura again showed why he has rejuvenated interest in U.S. chess. Nakamura (2752 USCF) won the Foxwoods Open tournament with a strong 7½-1½ score leaving behind a number of marquee players such as the #1-seed Ilya Smirin (who he crushed in 22 moves), Ildar Ibragimov and Alexander Ivanov who both tied for joint 2nd on 7-2. Former U.S. champ Alexander Shabalov, who lost to Nakamura in a 3rd round encounter, was off form on 5½-3½.
Nakamura, who triumphantly won the U.S. Championship last year, has provided renewed interest in U.S. chess and has started a new era with his first major win as U.S. Champion. Nakamura will participate in Maurice Ashley's HB Global Chess Challenge in perhaps the most highly-anticipated event in years. In other news, IM-elect Stephen Muhammad scored a solid +1 on 5-4 including wins over GM Varuzhan Akobian and Columbian Grandmaster Alonso Zapata. In the process, he earns his 4th IM norm and will be conferred the title later in the year.
Evgeny Najer, "Foxwoods Open 2005 - Nakamura's Convincing Victory," 31 March 2005 (posted on Association of Chess Professionals website).