Well, the Tata Steel results came in a week ago, and I was hit-and-miss with my predictions. I had Anand winning the A group, but his non-winning streak in regular tournament play continues for at least a few months more. Instead, he finished half a point behind the winner, Hikaru Nakamura.
This must be Hikaru’s biggest win to date, and it takes him up to about 2775 FIDE. He was briefly #7 on the live list, until Chucky’s amazing 9/10 in Gibraltar vaulted him slightly ahead in the rankings.
One potentially interesting development was that within hours of Hikaru’s win, Kasparov was on the record at a NY Times blog with this comment:
“Fischer never won a tournament ahead of the world champion. He was second in Santa Monica. Of course there were far fewer such events back then, and Fischer had several great tournament results like Stockholm 62, but it’s interesting. Reuben Fine only equaled Keres on points at AVRO in 38. Then you have Marshall at Cambridge Springs in 1904 ahead of Lasker, though Tarrasch wasn’t there. So unless you include Capablanca as an American player, I think you can go back to Pillsbury at Hastings 1895 for an American tournament victory on par with Nakamura’s!”
Kasparov has some strange ideas about history (he supports the New Chronology theory, for example), but maybe his chess history is a little better. In any case, the seemingly prepared response and effusiveness, coupled with a vague comment Nakamura made a couple months ago about a big change to his team, got me thinking. Putting two and two together, maybe Kasparov is now part of Team Hikaru?
For what it’s worth, I was slightly better in groups B and C. McShane (on tiebreaks) and Vocaturo took first in their respective groups, although the tie I predicted between Bluvshtein and Vocaturo didn’t materialize.
On the home front, I was invited to the 2011 Saint Louis Invitational, a 10-player round-robin where the top two finishers would qualify for the US Championship (it starts in less than a month). The field has been mostly finalized (it looks to have an average FIDE rating of 2510-2520), and the possibility of qualifying for the Championship is a nice incentive.
I was lucky enough to get a wildcard entry to the Championship last year (and didn’t exactly do that well), so it was nice of them to invite me to the qualifier this time around. Unfortunately, though, with work and some other trips planned later in the year, I wouldn’t actually be able to play in the Championship if I did qualify. I will play again at some point, though.