How Hikaru Lost the World’s Strongest Chess Tournament

Historically, Hikaru Nakamura has been a great and recognized Chess player. He has won many games and has lost few. He always fights for a win, and as you may know and gather by now, he is my favorite chess player!

Being a four-time United States Chess Champion made him one of the favorites to win the Norway Chess Tournament 2017.

In the first round that took place on 6th June, Hikaru showed perfect technique and managed to defeat Anish Giri. After the first round, Hikaru was the sole lead. The second round that took place on 7th June illustrated that even the world’s best players make mistakes. During the second round, Aronian tried his best to break through Hakaru’s defense without success. They eventually reached an endgame where both of them had two rooks and a knight each. Finally, the players reached a dead draw position and withdrew the game.

In the third round, Hikaru chose a rarely seen variation while Carsen went for a calm approach. The game ended after 40 moves with a threefold repetition.

The fourth round suggested that Hikaru must have had a good day off. This is because he chose Nd5 followed by an expansion on the queenside while Vachier Lagrave chose a kingside attack. Hikaru had everything in control, and he finally won the game.

Round 5 was indeed an interesting battle for Nakamura against Kramnik. They exchanged queens, and resulting positions seemed pretty equal. On the 20th move, the players repeated the position twice, and Kramnik managed to get a pawn up, but that was not enough for a win. After the 5th round, Hikaru was still leading with 3.5 points while Kramnik and Aronian were half a point behind.

In the sixth round, Hikaru tried all he can against a resilient Karjakin who defended perfectly. After 54 moves, the players withdrew the game.

In the seventh round, the game started with a quick a4 position. Anand got a spacious advantage in the centre but later went for complications with 20 e6. The players agreed to withdraw after 46 moves.

In the eighth round, Nakamura had a great edge since his pieces were better placed, but Wesley So found a great way to exchange the pieces. The game finally ended after 35 moves.

In the ninth round, Hikaru spent most of his time in the opening while Caruana seemed very comfortable with the position. Later on, Hikaru had to give the knight back, and Caruana took solid advantage being a pawn up. Hikaru finally resigned on move 59. Taking the tournament away from him and leaving him with nothing and Levon Aronian as the winner (upsetting Magnus Carlsen who was deemed hot favourite to retain the title).

While I am sad he did not manage to win this awesome tournament, the strongest this year, he had a great performance, and I enjoyed writing over every step and misstep he took. In other chess news, I’ve been doing my repetitions on Chessable and playing some games on Lichess.org, but not much else. I missed the Grand Chess Tour Paris but will try and catch the Leuven one. Until next time 🙂

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