Hikaru Nakamura: from Twitch superstar to 27 on-board rounds undefeated
The American GM and streamer (1.1mln subscribers on YouTube) Hikaru Nakamura, dominated at the Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz Tournament without losing a single game. The Twitch superstar managed to go through all 27 rounds against 2700+ rated players, setting a record for the tournament!
With three rounds to spare, Nakamura won the event leaving Fabiano Caruana and Richard Rapport at the second and third place respectively.
The 5-time US champion was heavily judged the past years for making streaming his main career, despite the fact that he could still fight in the World Championship cycle and other elite events at the professional level. Nakamura explained in his recent interview that when he didn’t qualify for the Candidates in 2019, he decided to become a streamer instead.
Notwithstanding the early disapproval of the chess fans, streaming seemed to have helped Nakamura perfect his skills in fast chess, as he consistently exhibited error-free play, unlike the tournament’s favorites Caruana and Rapport who blundered throughout the weekend.
So how did this happen? How did Nakamura, who effectively retired from professional chess, become so good? Probably, he played a lot of fast chess while streaming — even more than when he was a professional chess player, and he simply streamed himself into becoming one of the strongest players in the world.