I loved his last game too- starting out with a KID move order and then playing e6 to go for a sharp Benoni, even offering an exchange sacrifice for several moves that Hao never accepted. I was somewhat surprised at the draw agreement on move 22, but I guess that’s common for the last round of a tournament where neither party has anything to gain from playing on.
In any case, what an incredible performance for Naka, finishing +5. When was the last time an american won an elite tournament so convincingly? A good point made by mig over at chess dirt was that with Nakamura putting up such an impressive score, it will force Kramnik and similiar players to reevaluate their approach to these tournaments if they ever expect to win them again. I hope he is right.
Another impressive performance in the tournament was Giri, with his convincing victory against Carlsen and strong performance otherwise, he is a rising contender at the tender age of 16.
Dissappointingly, Shirov finished dead last. I want to go back over some of his games, in particular the Cambridge Springs games he played, and try to find where he went wrong. Not that I expected him to win the event, but finishing behind Smeets is a result I wasn’t expecting from him.
What’s next for Naka? Now he will be firmly entrenched in the top ten at number 7 in the world rankings. While I’m a huge fan of Kamsky’s, I secretly think that Naka perhaps would have a better shot in the upcomming candidates matches now after this performance in Wijk.
Maybe next cycle Naka…
Below, find all 13 games Naka played in Tata-