Hikaru Nakamura represents the best hope American chess has had since Bobby Fischer nearly 40 years ago – and we all know how that ended. Nakamura has been on the radar since a very young age, and is now playing the best chess of his life. While many in the US chess scene initially complained when Nakamura decided to abstain from the majority of chess tournaments in the states, it seems the general public has overcome this shortsightedness and is eager to see Nakamura make a legitimate bid at the World Chess Championship in the near future. So just what is Nakamura’s secret to success? Apart from being a “natural prodigy” and the fact that his step-dad is a FIDE Master, Nakamura recently moved to the newly crowned center of American Chess, St. Louis. Although I think St. Louis is famous for something (hot wings, a big bridge?) – it is definitely not reknown in the chess world as the “Moscow of the West”. So just how has Hikaru Nakamura gone from top 50 in the world last year at this time to firmly establishing himself as a top 10 elite player currently? Find out more about how Garry Kasparov is coaching Hikaru Nakamura

Garry Kasparov, Nakamura’s new Secret Weapon

When I first heard this, it simply sounded too good to be true. Kasparov was still coaching Magnus Carlsen last year, however these two incredible chess players had something of a falling out and they stopped working together. Apparently Kasparov had some free time on his hands and reached out to Nakamura via top American chess liason Rex Sinquefield. Nakamura accepted Kasparov as a chess coach, later describing his excitement [highlight]“I knew right away that I would definitely take up the offer simply because there are certain times – certain opportunities you have in life that just don’t come around that often, and certainly having the opportunity to work with, at least what I consider to be, the greatest chess player ever, is sort of an opportunity you can’t turn down.”[/highlight] Nakamura began working with Kasparov before the Tata Steel Classic, where he won the tournament to achieve his first major victory at a Super-GM tournament. This was an incredible breakthrough in Nakamura’s career, and he is making powerful strides not just for his own path to the very top of the chess world but also giving a big hand to the popularization of chess in the US.

Deception, Trickery: All in a Day with Chess Coach Garry Kasparov

Chess Coach Garry Kasparov has a few tricks up his sleeve, and not showing your hard too early is definitely one of them. Aggression, flexibility, and precision were trademark characteristics of Kasparov’s playing style. Kasparov opened with Nakamura aggressively, coaching his newest protege to the largest success of his career at the Tata Steel Tournament in January, 2011. Kasparov then switched gears and did not foolishly turn his cards over – instead preferring to keep his status in the dark as the chess coach of the best US player since Fischer. And finally the precision – working with Nakamura in the last 12 months has caused the young prodigy a total rating gain of 50 points at the highest level, establishing Nakamura among the world’s very best chess players. As an American chess player myself – I could not be more excited about the future of this relationship between Nakamura & Kasparov and eagerly await the day that Nakamura joins Carlsen, Anand, Aronian, and Kramnik in the 2800 club. On a side note, I would also like to see Nakamura playing for the title of World Chess Champion in the next few years accompanied by none other than Chess Coach Garry Kasparov!

Find out more about how Garry Kasparov is coaching Hikaru Nakamura

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William Stewart is a National Master. He specializes in Online Chess Coaching and maintains a daily updated Chess Blog

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