Nakamura jumps to joint lead with Aronian
KOLKATA: When it comes to speed chess, Hikaru Nakamura of the United States is a different beast altogether. One of the top classical players in the world, Hikaru is far more accomplished in the shorter format of the game and his rating in rapid and blitz is higher than in the longer format of the game.
With a rating of 2844 Elo (rapid), the 30-year-old American of Japanese origin is second only to Magnus Carlsen (2880) of Norway in ranking, which makes him the top seed at the Tata Steel Chess India 2018.
At the end of three rounds on the first day, Nakamura had 1.5 points from three draws. On Saturday, the American star seems to have found his rhythm as he scored three wins out of three to position himself as the favourite for the title and the top prize of $10,000.
At the end of sixth round, Nakamura was sharing the top spot with Levon Aronian of Armenia at 4.5 points with India’s Harikrishna a point behind. Four players — India’s Viswanathan Anand, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov of Azerbaijan, Wesley So of the United States and Sergey Karjakin ofrussia are clubbed together (3.0 points).
The day belonged to Nakamura as he established his ascendancy with impeccable results. He started off with a creditable win against Mamedyarov, followed it up by outplaying local star Surya Shekhar Ganguly, who is going through horrendous time here having lost three of the five games, in the fifth round before rounding it off with another clinical win against teenager Nihal Sarin.
The fourth round clash between Nakamura and Mamedyarov was the match of the day as both players are well accomplished in speed chess and quite highly rated. However, things did not go as planned for Mamedyarov as he went for win from an Levon Aronian beat Wesley So
SS Ganguly lost to Sergey Karjakin Pentala Harikrishna drew with Nihal Sarin Shakhriyar Mamedyarov lost tohikaru Nakamura
Vidit Gujrathi drew with Viswanathan Anand V Anand drew with P Harikrishna S Karjakin drew with L Aronian H Nakamura (3.5) beat SS Ganguly (1) N Sarin (2) drew with S Mamedyarov (2.5) Wesley So (2.5) beat Vidit Gujrathi (1.5) Ganguly (1) lost to Aronian (4.5)
Vidit Gujrathi (1.5) beat Karjakin (3) Harikrishna (3.5) drew with Wesley So (3)
equal position and in his anxiety to conjure something, blundered and lost.
Having accounted for the overnight leader, Nakamura was merciless against Ganguly and capitalized on his mistakes to punish him.
In the sixth round match, teenager Nihal Sarin put up a better fight against Nakamura but lost the plot when the inexperienced 14-year-old tried to create pressure on his opponent from an equal position.
“He should have shown more patience in that situation but tried to create something. That was mainly due to inexperi- Mamedyarov (3) drew with Anand (3) Nakamura (4.5) beat Nihal Sarin (2) 4.5 pts Aronian, Nakamura
3.5 pts Harikrishna 3 pts Anand, Mamedyarov, Wesley So, Karjakin
2.5 pts Vidit Gujrathi 2 pts Nihal Sarin
1 SS Ganguly
ence,” said Nakamura of Sarin.
Viswanathan Anand’s search for his first win continued as he played out three more draws on Saturday. The Indian maestro had promising positions in two games but that was not enough. One of his draws was against compatriot Harikrishna, whom he was playing for the first time on home soil.
Vidit Gujrathi salvaged his day in the sixth round when he defeated Sergey Karjikan of Russia. Playing with white pieces in Bogo Indian defence, Vidit created pressure against a player who is known for his defensive capabilities.
Hiraku Nakamura (left) and Shakhriyar Mamedyarov at TATA Steel Chess India 2018 in Kolkata on Saturday.