Hikaru Nakamura’s star in the chess firmament is rising even as Gata Kamsky’s is flickering (and will hopefully rekindle). The 19-year-old resident of White Plains, New York, came in an uncontested first this weekend in the National Open in Las Vegas.
Nakamura first broke records at the age of 10, when he became the youngest master ever in America, and then again at 15, when he became a grandmaster at a younger age than Bobby Fischer. His interest in chess seemed to wane when he entered college but now the passion is back—and he is playing and studying chess with avengence.
Nakamura was gracious—a rare and welcome quality in a world of grandmasters known for their runaway cocksureness—when Jennifer Shahade interviewed him for Chess Life Online She told him that he owed his victory to “playing real openings for a change” and to the encouragement offered by fans.
“Considering my recent results have been less than stellar,” he said, “and the fact that my confidence hasn’t been as high as in the past, it was so nice that so many players offered me kind words and wished me good luck. That other people still believe in me, meant a lot.”