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Nakamura Perfect On Tuesday Once Again

Nakamura Perfect On Tuesday Once Again

NathanielGreen
| 14 | Chess Event Coverage

After GM Hikaru Nakamura scored the first 11/11 in Titled Tuesday history on August 17, 2021, it took 98 weeks for someone to repeat the feat until GM Magnus Carlsen finally did so on July 4, 2023. But audiences only had to wait seven weeks for a third 11/11 score—and, of course, it is Nakamura again doing the honors.

With the performance, Nakamura won the late Titled Tuesday event on August 22 by two full points. GM Nihal Sarin won the early event with 10/11.


Late Tournament

Let's cover the late event first, which was joined by 501 players, a larger field than the 432 that Carlsen scored 11/11 against, although still smaller than the 572 from Nakamura's first perfect event in 2021.

Nakamura didn't begin to totally separate from the rest of the field until the eighth round, when he defeated GM Alexey Sarana, who had also been perfect, scoring 7/7 before the game. Nakamura only needed 18 moves to end that race after Sarana blundered.

As close as the tournament had been, just two rounds later, Nakamura locked up an outright win with a round to spare after defeating GM Maxim Matlakov. Nakamura took a dead-looking position for much of the game (despite the computer seeing a missed chance for Matlakov on move 21) into a winner with a series of precise moves on turns 45-47.

In the way of Nakamura's perfection was a former world champion, GM Vladimir Kramnik. Kramnik gave Nakamura all he could handle, and when his flag fell on move 54, his position was only slightly worse.

Matlakov recovered from his 10th-round loss to the buzzsaw Nakamura to defeat GM Shant Sargsyan in a 119-move marathon, thus returning to finish in second place.

For your viewing pleasure, here are all 11 of Nakamura's games from the tournament. In addition to Sarana, Matlakov, and Kramnik, he beat names like GMs Gata Kamsky, Jeffery Xiong, Raunak Sadhwani, and Jan-Krzysztof Duda.

Every Nakamura Game | Late Titled Tuesday August 22

August 22 Titled Tuesday | Late | Final Standings (Top 20)

Number Rk Fed Title Username Name Rating Score Tiebreak 1
1 1 GM @Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 3254 11 77.5
2 20 GM @BillieKimbah Maxim Matlakov 3033 9 78
3 8 GM @mishanick Aleksei Sarana 3090 9 71.5
4 22 GM @jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 3028 9 70.5
5 5 GM @GMWSO Wesley So 3103 9 70.5
6 16 GM @Njal28 Aram Hakobyan 3006 9 66.5
7 7 GM @Polish_fighter3000 Jan-Krzysztof Duda 3099 9 64.5
8 21 GM @FairChess_on_YouTube Dmitry Andreikin 3001 8.5 69.5
9 39 GM @VladimirKramnik Vladimir Kramnik 2958 8.5 69
10 27 GM @dropstoneDP David Paravyan 2976 8.5 68.5
11 50 GM @Cayse Martyn Kravtsiv 2908 8.5 68
12 3 GM @nihalsarin Nihal Sarin 3145 8.5 67.5
13 17 GM @RaunakSadhwani2005 Raunak Sadhwani 3036 8.5 66
14 2 GM @DanielNaroditsky Daniel Naroditsky 3158 8 71
15 51 GM @Elsa167 Leon Livaic 2901 8 67.5
16 29 GM @K_A_S_T_O_R Rodrigo Vasquez 2970 8 67.5
17 37 GM @Sebastian Leinier Dominguez Perez 2923 8 66.5
18 36 GM @Sargsyan_Shant Shant Sargsyan 2934 8 65.5
19 74 IM @carlesdc96 Carles Diaz Camallonga 2818 8 64.5
20 9 GM @BogdanDeac Bogdan Daniel Deac 3027 8 63
21 61 GM @Byniolus Zbigniew Pakleza 2878 8 62
22 133 WGM @jinbojinbo Jiner Zhu 2691 8 61

(Full final standings here.)

Naturally, Nakamura won the $1,000 first-place prize. Matlakov claimed the $750 for second place. Sarana earned $350 in third, Xiong $200 in fourth, and GM Wesley So $100 in fifth. WGM Zhu Jiner won the $100 women's prize, scoring 8/11 to finish in 22nd place. 

Early Tournament

Nakamura's perfection late didn't mean he wasn't in the thick of things earlier. He finished in third place in what turned out to be a tune-up for later. Nihal and GM Andrey Esipenko took the top two spots without needing tiebreakers.

Nihal went undefeated, making draws in rounds five and 11 but winning every other game. Both he and Esipenko had 7.5 points after eight rounds, but Nihal took care of business, and he did it with the French Defense after Esipenko appeared to simply blunder a fork.

Freshly in the standalone lead, Nihal was rewarded with another game as Black, and this one against Nakamura. The result was stunning: a 23-move win for Nihal, pushing him to 9.5/10. The computer gave Black a slight advantage out of the opening and then, after the innocent-looking 19.Nd3, an opportunity—one that Nihal seized. Nakamura soon resigned but would then go on to win all of his last 12 Titled Tuesday games on the day.

Nihal made his second draw in the final round, which could have allowed GM Arjun Erigaisi to catch up. Instead, Esipenko took out Arjun and, in the process, reached 9.5/11 for second place.

August 22 Titled Tuesday | Early | Final Standings (Top 20)

Number Rk Fed Title Username Name Rating Score Tiebreak 1
1 4 GM @nihalsarin Nihal Sarin 3145 10 79.5
2 29 GM @Andreikka Andrey Esipenko 2990 9.5 74
3 1 GM @Hikaru Hikaru Nakamura 3254 9 76.5
4 7 GM @GHANDEEVAM2003 Arjun Erigaisi 3074 9 74
5 13 GM @Msb2 Matthias Bluebaum 3014 9 73.5
6 10 GM @Duhless Daniil Dubov 3023 9 71
7 47 GM @VerdeNotte Gawain Jones 2900 9 68.5
8 9 GM @mishanick Aleksei Sarana 3090 9 67.5
9 38 GM @Fandorine Maksim Chigaev 2949 9 66.5
10 41 GM @vladislavkovalev Vladislav Kovalev 2945 9 62.5
11 33 GM @Anton_Demchenko Anton Demchenko 2955 8.5 75.5
12 23 GM @dropstoneDP David Paravyan 2976 8.5 73.5
13 35 GM @Zhigalko_Sergei Sergei Zhigalko 2955 8.5 66.5
14 59 IM @Murad_Ibrahimli Murad İbrahimli 2891 8.5 62.5
15 61 GM @Cayse Martyn Kravtsiv 2908 8.5 62.5
16 16 GM @FairChess_on_YouTube Dmitry Andreikin 3001 8 74.5
17 19 GM @jefferyx Jeffery Xiong 3028 8 74
18 5 GM @GMWSO Wesley So 3103 8 72.5
19 37 GM @ViIIagra Cristobal Henriquez 2921 8 72.5
20 21 GM @rasmussvane Rasmus Svane 2983 8 72.5
82 205 WCM @Speshka Anna Shukhman 2579 7 54.5

(Full final standings here.)

Nihal won $1,000 for his efforts, while Esipenko earned $750. Nakamura won $350, which ended up giving him $1,350 on the day once the late tournament finished. Arjun won $200 in fourth place, GM Matthias Bluebaum $100 in fifth, and another $100 went to WCM Anna Shukhman, the highest-scoring woman.

Titled Tuesday

Chess.com hosts Titled Tuesday every week. It is a series of tournaments for titled players, made up of two 11-round Swiss events every Tuesday. The first begins at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time/17:00 Central European/20:30 Indian Standard Time; the second at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time/23:00 Central European/2:30 Indian Standard Time (next day).

NathanielGreen
Nathaniel Green

Nathaniel Green is a staff writer for Chess.com who writes articles, player biographies, Titled Tuesday reports, video scripts, and more. He has been playing chess for about 30 years and resides near Washington, DC, USA.

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