The Showdown: Nakamura vs. Caruana

The Showdown: Nakamura vs. Caruana

Nov 13, 2015, 11:50 AM |

For many years, Hikaru Nakamura has been the undisputed highest ranked player in the country. He’s the reigning US Champion and has won the championship four times total. He’s had the highest FIDE and US Chess ratings of any American since 2009.

This year, however, Nakamura has some competition. Fabiano Caruana recently transferred federations from Italy to USA, making him the only other American player to have broken a 2800 FIDE rating. Additionally, with his dazzling performance at the SInquefield Cup in 2014, he’s proven that he’s capable of anything.

Ever since Caruana decided to call St. Louis his home (incidentally, Nakamura also resides in St. Louis), the question has been in the air: What would happen in a match between the two?

This week, the question will be answered.

The two will compete in an exhibition match, playing 18 games over the course of the next four days (November 12-15). The match will include rapid, blitz, basque, and fischer random games. There will be no classical chess games.

While the two are fairly closely ranked in classical and rapid chess, Nakamura has a significant edge in overall game score and blitz ranking.

Solve a tactic from their game at Tata Steel in 2013.

Tactic #1

Caruana vs. Nakamura

How did Nakamura turn this seemingly equal ending into a win?

White seems to have stopped the pawn. Now what?

Additionally, Yifan Hou and Parimarjan Negi, both in the top 100 in the world, will play an exhibition match in the same format.

Hou has a rating edge, but Negi has a slight edge in overall game score.

Can you find Hou’s clever maneuver to win a pawn in this rook endgame?

Endgame #1

Hou vs. Parimarjan

For an in-depth comparison between these elite grandmasters, read the full match preview: The Showdown: Nakamura vs. Caruana

Watch live games and commentary from GM Yasser Seirawan, WGM Jennifer Shahade, and GM Maurice Ashley at, starting at 1 P.M. CST everyday from November 12-15.