Now it's official: Kasparov no longer training Nakamura

12/16/2011 – In a carefully orchestrated scoop the Dutch magazine New in Chess broke the news on November 1st: Garry Kasparov, who famously trained Magnus Carlsen, was now working with US GM Hikaru Nakamura. Now, just a month and a half later, it is official: the two will not be working together any longer. This comes after Nakamura's second-biggest career win in London.

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The lavish eight-page exclusive New In Chess Magazine story, plus an additional column in the same issue by Garry Kasparov himself, provided "details, straight from the protagonists themselves." We brought you a summary six weeks ago, and asked you to purchase the November issue of NIC for full details.


Rex Sinquefield, Garry Kasparov and Hikaru Nakamura

The man financing the cooperation was Rex Sinquefield, whose many contributions to the game in recent years include the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis – possibly the finest chess club in the world, and the current venue for the U.S. Championship. Sinquefield also donated generously to the Kasparov Chess Foundation in the US, after which Kasparov and Nakamura started working together. There was a seven-day work session in New York in December, a month before the very strong Tata Steel Tournament in Wijk aan Zee in January. During the event the two were in constant contact, with Kasparov providing round-by-round advice to his charge. The tournament ended with Nakamura's greatest triumph to date.

The 2011 London Chess Classic became Nakamura's second biggest triumph to date (clear second place behind Vladimir Kramnik). But it also marked the end of a short-lived collaboration with Kasparov, as became amply evident – to all who hadn't picked up the signs much earlier – when Kasparov arrived at the tournament. The two were not seen to speak to each other, and in fact even seemed to avoid eye contact.

But even before that Hikaru had some not-so-complimentary things to say about his teacher. In a video interview with Danny King, broadcast on the official site and on Playchess, he said that there is something to be gained from his sessions with Kasparov, mainly in the opening preparation, but not much else. "I mean you look at middlegames or endgames and I’m quite convinced there are other players who are better than he was, but he was able to get advantages out of the openings so that was his main strength." When King asked him if the training would be continuing anyway he replied: "Uh…. We’ll see."

"It is common to want to change something when things are not going well," writes Macauley Peterson in his Chess Life Online column, "and Nakamura's tournament results throughout 2011 were uninspiring, by his own admission." Macauley quotes Nakamura as saying "After the Tal Memorial in Moscow, I pretty much wanted to quit chess, but I guess I was smart not to do that."

 

 

 


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