Nakamura gets key to Memphis!

Hikaru Nakamura at 2011 Tata Steel.
Photo courtesy of memphischess.blogspot.com.

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.

Proclamation, Tennessee

City Proclamation

Key to Memphis, Tennessee

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.

Daaim Shabazz

Daaim Shabazz is the founder of The Chess Drum, while serving as a tenured faculty member of Global Business & Marketing at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA. He holds a B.S. Computer Science from Chicago State University, an MBA in Marketing and a Ph.D. in International Affairs & Development, both from Clark Atlanta University. He has served the journalist community for more than 30 years and still competes in tournaments occasionally.

7 Comments

  1. Congratulations Nakamuara! I knew you were worthy and you could reach the great hights that you have achieved thus far! I said two years ago that you would not only aquire a 2700+ fide rating but you’d also be one of the top of the ten players in the world! And I won’t be surprised when you will become World Chess Champion one day! Keep making big marks and puting America on the map!

  2. I have not heard much about Hikaru but complains in the media. Like why he is not playing in the US Championship. I know he played last year and several years before. Is it a requirement for him to play every year??? :((

  3. Congrats to ya young Naka! Taimanov is right about what he says, Oldschool- playing with the real geniuses, check out his games back in 1960! ROFL. Peace.

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