For the second straight week, there was only one first-place finisher in the week’s two Titled Tuesday events. And for the fourth time out of five total, it was GM Hikaru Nakamura who accomplished the feat. Nakamura didn’t even need tiebreak scoring this time, winning both events outright.
The 2023 Pro Chess League also began on February 14, but Nakamura’s Knights do not play until February 16.
Nakamura’s run in the early tournament field of 538 began with a perfect 8/8, allowing him to draw two of his last three games and still win easily. Like GM Wesley So last week, Nakamura led by a full point entering the final round and clinched with a draw.
The perfect start included wins over 11th-place FM Ivan Yeletsky in round five, GM Benjamin Bok in round seven (below), and 15th-place GM Shamsiddin Vokhidov in round eight.
Nakamura’s last win, effectively securing the tournament, came against second-place finisher GM Aleksandar Indjic.
Indjic achieved second place out of an seven-way tie on nine points.
February 14 Titled Tuesday | Early | Final Standings (Top 20)
|10||6||GM||@wonderfultime||Tuan Minh Le||3056||8.5|
|14||48||GM||@jcibarra||José Carlos Ibarra Jerez||2867||8.5|
|17||22||GM||@joppie2||Jorden van Foreest||2949||8|
|74||258||WCM||@hongnhung1234||Nhung Hong Nguyen||2514||7|
(Full final standings here.)
Nakamura won $1,000 with Indjic winning $750. GM Samvel Ter-Sahakyan won $350 for finishing in third place, GM Vahap Sanal $200 for fourth, and GM Pranav V $100 for fifth. The $100 women’s prize went to WCM Nhung Hong Nguyen, who scored 7/11.
In a rarity, 9.5 points was enough to win the event outright. This time, Nakamura took a loss in just his second game (against FM Nate Solon), but recovered to score 8.5 points in the final nine rounds.
After 10 rounds, there was a three-way tie for first place between Nakamura, GM Matthias Bluebaum, and GM Oleksandr Bortnyk. Bluebaum was felled by GM Dmitry Andreikin, who made third place with the win while leaving the door open to the winner of Nakamura-Bortnyk to claim sole first place.
Nakamura and Bortnyk played a quite unusual opening that ultimately resulted in a locked-up position, but it was Nakamura who found the inroads and won in 44 moves with 47 seconds still left on his clock.
As the Valentine’s Day candy now gives way to Easter candy on the supermarket shelves, Nakamura is giving way to nobody.
February 14 Titled Tuesday | Late | Final Standings (Top 20)
|5||11||GM||@BogdanDeac||Bogdan Daniel Deac||3040||9|
|13||26||GM||@Genghis_K||Federico Perez Ponsa||2928||8|
|17||18||GM||@ChristopherYoo||Christopher Woojin Yoo||2934||8|
(Full final standings here.)
Nakamura added $1,000 to his prizes for a total of $2,000. GM Aram Hakobyan finished in second place to earn $750. Andreikin claimed $350 in third, GM Aleksandr Lenderman $200 in fourth, and GM Bogdan Daniel Deac $100 in fifth. IM Nurgyul Salimova once again won the women’s prize for $100, scoring 7/11.
Titled Tuesday is a tournament hosted by Chess.com for titled players every Tuesday, consisting of two 11-round Swiss tournaments each week at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/17:00 Central European and 2:00 p.m. Pacific Time/23:00 Central European.