Naku­mara jumps to joint lead in Tata Steel chess

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Htsportsmax - B Shrikant shrikant.bhag­vat­

: 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.


Round 5

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.

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