Cooperation between Nakamura and Kasparov already over

0 | Chess Event Coverage

The cooperation between Hikaru Nakamura and Garry Kasparov was short-lived. Just before the start of the London Chess Classic the American grandmaster decided to continue working on his chess without the assistance of the 13th World Champion. This was reported on Thursday by Macauley Peterson in an article for Chess Life Online.

In 'Nakamura: Second, and Going Solo' Peterson wraps up the London Chess Classic for the American chess fans, and therefore focuses on Nakamura's performance in London. However, besides discussing his games the article includes the news about the end of the cooperation between Nakamura and Kasparov - a cooperation that was made public by Peterson as well in New in Chess Magazine issue 2011/07.

It basically started exactly a year ago in London. Nakamura said in the NIC interview:

I knew right away that I would definitely take up the offer simply because there are certain times – certain opportunities you have in life 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.

The following month was Nakamura's biggest triumph, when he finished clear first at the Tata Steel tournament in Wijk aan Zee. However, the rest of 2011 was mostly disappointing for Nakamura, who rarely managed to reach the level he was capable of. Except for the 3rd London Chess Classic, where he finished clear second behind Vladimir Kramnik. Peterson:

But this success bookends his short-lived collaboration with Kasparov. Shortly before the tournament, Nakamura decided to strike out on his own.

During the 7th round of the London Chess Classic it was Nakamura's turn to assist the commentators. Naturally he was asked about his cooperation with Kasparov. Nakamura explained that the two had mainly been working on openings, as this was Kasparov's strongest point. The American then added that during Kasparov's career, other players had been stronger in the middlegame and endgame, notably Vladimir Kramnik. Here's the full dialogue between GM Danny King and Nakamura (thx to Colin McGourty):

Now we’re on that subject, tell us a little bit more about working with Garry Kasparov. Are you enjoying those sessions? Or enjoying is perhaps not the word. Do you feel you’re getting something out of it?

I mean there’s something to be gained. I think mainly it’s the opening preparation he did with his team over the past 20, 25 years of his chess career. That’s really the strength of working with someone like Kasparov. It’s his opening preparation, because a lot of his wins came from just getting good positions out of openings against players. So, it’s mainly just looking at openings and working from there. There are other things like studies and some endgames but it’s pretty much the openings.

Oh right, so he doesn’t sort of look at particular middlegames that much with you?

No, like I said, his strength was in openings. You look at middlegames or endgames and I’m quite convinced there are other players who were better than he was but he was able to get advantages out of the opening, so that was his main strength. And when he wasn’t able to do that that’s why he lost his title to Kramnik.

As simple as that?

Well, pretty much.

But your training sessions are continuing anyway?

We’ll see.

Garry Kasparov actually visited the tournament in London, where he signed copies of his latest book Garry Kasparov on Garry Kasparov Part 1: 1973-1985 (which will be reviewed very soon here at ChessVibes). According to Macauley Peterson,

he and Nakamura avoided speaking.

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