Nakamura wins Magistral D'Escacs in Barcelona

by ChessBase
10/27/2007 – US Grandmaster and former child prodigy Hikaru Nakamura, who turns 20 in December, dominated the strong Barcelona tournament from the start. After six rounds he had collected 5.0 points with an Elo performance of over 2900. Then came a shock loss, from which he recovered nicely with two final round wins, to take first place by a full point. Report and games.

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The Casino de Barcelona tournament took place from 18th to 26th October 2007. It was dominated by US grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, who stayed in the lead from start to finish. After six rounds he had five points and was leading by one and a half, with an Elo performance of over 2900. Then came the shocker: a loss against GM Josep Pallise Oms of Spain, 142 points lower than him on the Elo scale. Nakamura still led, but by just half a point, with two rounds to go. In round eight he beat Miguel Illescas Cordoba, and in round nine (with the black pieces) GM Marc Narcisco Dublan. Here are the final standings:

With a draw quotient of 35% (and with 36% wins for White, 29% for Black) the event was very well-fought.

A view of the playing hall of the Casino in Barcelona [photos by Ana Matnadze]

Mark Narciso Dublan ponders his position in round six

Hikaru Nakamura was born on December 9, 1987 in Hirakata, Japan, to a Japanese father and an American mother. The family moved to the United States two years later. Hikaru began playing chess at the age of seven and was coached by his Sri Lankan stepfather, FM Sunil Weeramantry. He became the youngest chess master in US history (at the age of 10 years and two months. In 2003 he entered the record book for chess prodigies by making his GM norms at the age of 15 years and 79 days, breaking the record of Bobby Fischer for youngest American to have claimed the GM title. In one-minute "bullet chess" he is number three.

Nakamura is a very aggressive player who never takes "grandmaster draws". He will seek winning chances even in positions that do not seem to yield any. His style is characterised by "astonishing creativity, relentless determination, the ability to make unexpected moves and a will to win" (US Chess Federation). He is also an exceptionally skilled blitz chess player, easily the stongest in America. On the server he is currently number 12 in the world, but has been in the top three in good weeks. His personal notes say simply: "May the force be with you" (his handle is "Star Wars").


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