Saturday, March 11, 2006

Nakamura: I'm not Bobby

As the defending US Champion, GM Hikaru Nakamura didn't exactly get off to the best of starts. After 3 rounds in San Diego, he was on the unbelievable score of .5/3. However, like that other remarkable champion, Veselin Topalov, this young American is pulling off a miraculous comeback. Going into round 9, Nakamura is now on 5.5 points.

In this long piece by Salon, Nakamura expresses some frustration at being compared to the great Bobby Fischer. "It's nice to hear people say that," Nakamura is quoted as saying, "but it gets annoying. I'm not Bobby Fischer."

David Kushner writes:

But don't call him a geek. While chess gets written off as nerd play, Nakamura represents a brash new generation of champs reared on video games, hip-hop and the Internet. Known for his speed and aggression, he has been dubbed "the world's most impolite player" -- fighting words in one of the last sports that still prizes modesty and grace. While other players discuss the art and beauty of chess, Nakamura talks like a street fighter. After getting skipped over one year for the chess Olympiad team, he crushed a rival player and called it "payback." In one notorious interview, he cockily anointed himself the best player in America and deemed his peers conniving foreigners. "There aren't really any 'American' grandmasters that are higher rated than me," he said. "That's actually why I still work alone. It's very hard to trust anybody."

More from Salon.

By the way, speaking of the US Championships, the Americans are certainly doing something right in terms of coverage. The Champblog is proving to be a wonderful read. The entries are entertaining and quite insightful. Just take a look at Serper's entry on his encounter against the world famous Emory Tate. Classic!

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