Hikaru Nakamura breaks Fischer's record

by ChessBase
2/15/2003 – At the beginning of February an unassuming 15-year-old from White Plains, New York, who loves spaghetti, tennis and pingpong, broke Bobby Fischer's 1958 record to become the youngest American grandmaster ever. Hikaru Nakamura earned his final GM norm at the Bermuda International Chess Festival, and since he has a rating of 2520 the title is certain. More

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Hikaru Nakamura at the US Championship 2003 in Seattle

Since Bobby Fischer's more or less self-imposed retirement from the game after winning the world title in 1972, Americans have been continually searching for his successor.

The most celebrated is unquestionably Josh Waitzkin, whose eminent rise through the notoriously tough junior competitions to become a leading contender was memorably chronicled by his journalist father, Fred, in his compelling memoir "Searching For Bobby Fischer"; a book that went on to become a major Hollywood film starring Joe Mantegna, Max Pomeranc, Joan Allen, Ben Kingsley and Laurence Fishburne.

The latest wunderkind to follow in Fischer's footsteps is Hikaru Nakamura, 15, from the City of White Plains, New York. Nakamura started playing tournament chess in 1995 at the age of 7. Whilst reading the Guinness Book of World Records at 9, he made a chance discovery that that he had only three-months to beat a record by becoming America's youngest National Master - so he decided to do something about it. After breaking this record, he then progressed to become (at 11) the youngest player in the world to beat a grandmaster in serious tournament praxis.

Hikaru against GM Maurice Ashley at the US Championship

Now, playing only last week at his favourite hunting ground of the Bermuda International (scene of his first GM norm last year), Nakamura earned his third and final GM norm by scoring 7.5-3.5 (six wins, three draws and two loses) to finish in clear second place in the Invitational GM 'B' tournament - in the process, breaking a long-standing Fischer record of some 44-years to now become the youngest American player to attain the hallowed title of Grandmaster.

M Mulyar - H Nakamura
Bermuda GM 'B', (11)
Sicilian Najdorf
1 e4 c5 2 Nf3 d6 3 d4 cxd4 4 Nxd4 Nf6 5 Nc3 a6 6 Be3 e6 7 Qf3 Nbd7 8 Be2 Qc7 9 0-0-0 b5 10 a3 Bb7 11 Bg5 Rc8 12 Bd3 Be7 13 Qg3 Qd8 14 Bd2 Ne5 15 Kb1 0-0 16 h4 Nfd7 17 Bg5 Rxc3 18 bxc3 Nb6 19 Bc1 Na4 20 Ne2 Qc7 21 f4 Nd7 22 Qe3 Bf6 23 Bd2 Rc8 24 g4 d5 25 e5 Be7 26 Bc1 d4 27 cxd4 Bxh1 28 Rxh1 b4 29 Qe4 g6 30 Ka2 bxa3 31 f5 Rb8 32 c4 Ndc5 33 dxc5 Nxc5 34 Qf3 Qxe5 35 Bxa3 Nxd3 36 Qxd3 Bxa3 37 Nc3 Qa5 38 Qc2 Rb2+ 39 Qxb2 Bxb2+ 40 Kxb2 Qb4+ 0-1

Article and pictures by John Henderson

Article in The Journal News

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