Hikaru Nakamura came to St. Louis with a mission… qualify for the World Cup and to win his second U.S. Championship. In rousing fashion, Nakamura won his last game against the talented Josh Friedel to win the $40,000 prize and to solidify his status as one of world’s marquee players. Seeded second to Gata Kamsky, Nakamura played some very interesting games but was particularly careful about Friedel with whom he has had some problems with in the past. This game would turn out to be anti-climatic as he would win in a mere 22 moves.
In the press conference, Hikaru praised the venue and the conditions stating that it was the best U.S. Championship he has ever played in. He mentioned the cleansiness of the restrooms which got a laugh from the audience… something chess players can appreciate in tournaments. He also mentioned the importance of winning this year’s event given that many of the top players were competing. He praised mentioned that he had a few invitations in Europe and while he plays roughly 8-10 times a year, that he would continue to reside in the U.S.
Nakamura is only 21 years old, but perhaps has several more victories in his career. When asked how many he would shoot for he stated, “Maybe five. If Gata and Alex stop playing we’ll see how many more.” Certainly there may be another Bobby Fischer record waiting to be broken. Nakamura is just the person to do it. Congratulations!
Photo by Daaim Shabazz.
Video by Macauley Peterson (ICC/Chess.FM)