Nakamura wins 2011 Tata Steel!

GM Hikaru Nakamura
Photo by Chessvibes.com.

In his biggest win of his career, Hikaru Nakamura won the 2011 Tata Steel Chess Tournament held in Wijk aan Zee, Netherlands. This tournament featured the top four highest-rated players in the world including World Champion Viswanathan Anand and the world’s highest rated player in Magnus Carlsen.

Seeded in the tenth position, few believed that Nakamura had a chance to win the tournament, but there has been a buzzing about his improved performance in the past couple of years. In this tournament, he lost only to Carlsen and ended on 9/13. Anand was undefeated and finished second at 8.5/13. Carlsen and also-undefeated Levon Aronian ended on 8/13. Nakamura stands to gain a handsome amount of rating points and will ascend up the ranks toward the top five.

This is the first win for an American player since 1980 when the “Hoogovens Wijk aan Zee” was won by Americans Walter Browne and Yasser Seirwan. Nakamura’s next tournament will be the Amber Tournament March 11th-25th 2011 in Monaco, France where he will compete against many strong players in rapid and blindfold chess.

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7 Comments

  1. I’m ecstatic that Hikaru won, but I’m not too pleased that they keep mentioning “best result ever” and “first win at elite level”. It makes it appear as if he hasn’t played well prior to this. I don’t remember the same “best result ever” headline for other players. Most of this is coming from the European press. The reporters sound very surprised at the result.

  2. My understanding is that Europe does not see the US chess system as being very srong since there is no US gov. sponsorship to fund and grew strong US players. What I have heard it that Nakamura was taught by his father and continues to self-teach himself to become the great players he is. If this is true this makes his accomplishment so much greater and inspirational. He is not only beating top players but is beating the top teams which support the top players. Congrats to Nakamuru!!

  3. Of course not, but I want to bring attention to it because these things go unnoticed. The U.S. has more of a chess tradition than Norway, yet Carlsen’s early victories were accepted as natural outgrowths of improvement and not with shock.

  4. I was not really into chess when Boby Fisher was making headlines, but I wonder if the Europeans spoke about his early accomplishments in the same manner they are discussing Nakamura’s sweep at Tata Steel. I think Naka himself gave the answer as to why his immense talent is still being taken with a grain of salt. He said “ I don’t play Q-h5 on move 2 anymore.” I am glad to hear that he’s decided to take chess seriously!

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