In chess news, Hikaru Nakamura took clear first place at the annual chess extravaganza in Wijk aan Zee in the Netherlands, ahead of world champ Viswanathan Anand, former world champ Vladimir Kramnik, and current world number one Magnus Carlsen. Here’s Gary Kasparov explaining the significance of this result for American chess:
Fischer never won a tournament ahead of the world champion. He was second in Santa Monica. Of course there were far fewer such events back then, and Fischer had several great tournament results like Stockholm 62, but it’s interesting. Reuben Fine only equaled Keres on points at AVRO in 38. Then you have Marshall at Cambridge Springs in 1904 ahead of Lasker, though Tarrasch wasn’t there. So unless you include Capablanca as an American player, I think you can go back to Pillsbury at Hastings 1895 for an American tournament victory on par with Nakamura’s!
Nakamura is only twenty-three, and is currently ranked seventh in the world. He is the first serious American challenger for the World Championship since Fischer. He also has the advantage of not being out of his mind. Congratulations to him on a great performance.