Nakumara jumps to joint lead in Tata Steel chess
: When it comes to rapid chess, Hikaru Nakamura of the United States is a different beast altogether. One of the top classical players in the world, Nakamura is far more accomplished in the shorter format and his rating in speed chess is higher than in the traditional form of the game.
With a rating of 2844 Elo (rapid), the 30-year-old of Japanese origin is ranked second in the world behind Magnus Carlsen (2880) of Norway, which makes him the highest ranked player here and the top seed at the Tata Steel Chess India 2018, being played at the ICCR here.
At the end of three rounds on the first day, Nakamura had 1.5 points from three draws. He played two strong players in Levon Aronian and Pentala Harikrishna and an in-form Vidit Santosh Gujrathi. On Saturday, the American star seems to have found his rhythm as he scored two successive wins in the fourth and fifth rounds to jump into contention for the top prize of $10,000.
At the end of fifth round, Nakamura was sharing the top spot with Aronian at 3.5 points with India’s Harikrishna and Sergey Karjakin of Russia just half a point behind. Three players — India’s Viswanathan Anand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan and Wesley So of the United States — are clubbed together on 2.5 points.
Nakamura was the biggest gainer of the day as he made the most of his chances. He started the day with a creditable win against Mamedyarov and followed it up by outplaying local star Surya Shekhar Ganguly, who is going through a horrendous time here, having lost three of the five games.
Both Nakamura and Mamedyarov are aggressive players, they have sound basics and comfortable playing all positions.
V Anand (2.5) drew with P Harikrishna (3)
S Karjakin (3) drew with L Aronian (3.5)
H Nakamura (3.5) beat SS Ganguly (1)
Nihal Sarin (2) drew with S Mamedyarov (2.5)
Wesley So (2.5) beat Vidit Gujrathi (1.5)
Standings (after Round 5) 3.5 points Aronian, Nakamura; 3 Harikrishna, Karjakin; 2.5 Anand, Mamedyarov, Wesley So; 2 Nihal Sarin; 1.5 Vidit Gujrathi; 1 SS Ganguly
Their clash was expected to be a close affair as Mamedyarov is ranked eighth in the world and a former World Rapid Champion. But Nakamura made better use of his resources and capitalised on his chances as he pressed home the advantage he got in the middle game. Mamedyarov made some inaccurate moves and lost another game, his second in four (he won the other two).
Nakamura was then merciless against Ganguly.