The defending United States Champion has been the longtime U.S. No. 1 Grandmaster and the leading hopeful to become America’s first World Champion since Bobby Fischer. The chance for that world title creeps ever closer this year, Nakamura will play in his first Candidates’ Tournament this March in Moscow.
A child prodigy in every sense of the word, Nakamura made a fast impact on U.S. chess by knocking down nearly every age record on his way to the top. He was at one time the youngest American master in history (10 years, 79 days), the youngest American international master (13 years, 2 months) and eventually the youngest American Grandmaster (15 years, 79 days). This broke Fischer’s record by three months.
Nakamura has collected numerous titles and championships since the age of 13, when he first arrived onto the national scene by becoming the 2001 U.S. Junior Champion. He quickly confirmed his place as one of chess’ great elites, shocking the world with a sweet sixteen appearance in the 2004 FIDE World Cup. Nakamura has had another excellent year in 2015, capturing his fourth U.S. Championship and winning the top prize at the 2015 Millionaire Chess Open in Las Vegas, Nevada.
His accomplishments do not end there. Among them, he was awarded the prestigious Samford Chess Fellowship. His honors include becoming the 2007 National Open champion and three time winner of the North American Open. He was an individual bronze medalist in the 2006 and 2008 World Olympiad, as well as the gold medalist on the first board of the 2010 World Team Championship, where the United States placed second.
Ever since FIDE began publishing Blitz ratings, Nakamura has graced the top of the list, demonstrating his skill and speed. Nakamura won bronze at the FIDE World Blitz Championship in June 2014, and he currently sits second on FIDE’s Blitz rating.