Americans in Saint Petersburg: Nakamura Tied for 2nd, Tang Climbs

Andrew Tang vs. Magnus Carlsen, Photo Lennart Ootes

The 2018 King Salman FIDE World Rapid Blitz Championship in St. Petersburg, Russia (Dec 26-28) started out in dramatic fashion as World Champion Magnus Carlsen lost his first two games. Despite this disastrous opening, Magnus almost won the event with 10.5/15, with a draw against our own Hikaru Nakamura in the final round. The World Champion and the Grand Chess Tour Champion found themselves just outside victory, as Magnus’s World Championship training camp, Grandmaster Daniil Dubov of Russia to capture the rapid crown with 11/15.

Magnus’s own comeback trail to contention began with a victory over Andrew Tang, an American bullet legend who goes by PenguinGM1 on twitch and twitter. Tang put up a valiant effort, but fell to the king.

Despite this loss, Tang dazzled in the event, defeating many strong Grandmasters in ultra-complicated games. Tang has a much lower rapid rating than he should and gained well over one hundred rating points at the event.

The event’s most memorable moment was an incredible victory by Dmitry Andreikin, who found a stunning combination against Peter Svidler. Here’s the video replay, where the eight-time Russian champion and beloved commentator showed his passion for the game in marveling instead of bemoaning his own fate, after the final touch of …Rg6!

The discussion of this gem continued to dominate Chess twitter, with the victim himself chiming in.

Both Gata Kamsky and Hikaru Nakamura were in the mix throughout, with Gata finishing on 9.5/15 and Nakamura tying for 2nd-5th with 10.5/15. Find full American results here. 

Among the contenders waving the American flag is Timur Gareyev, who showed up in his trademark checkerboard suit, which he also wore for his chess-diving cover shoot.

Meanwhile the 2018 Grand Chess Tour champion surged on day three.

GM Hikaru Nakamura at the World Rapid Championship in Saint Petersburg, Photo Lennart Ootes

He also won vs. Yangyi Yu of China in the penultimate round, giving him a chance for gold.

Nakamura faced World Champion Magnus Carlsen in the final round, but a draw ended his chances for the crown as Dubov finished a half a point ahead of a formidable quartet on 10.5/15.

Reigning Women’s World Champion Ju Wenjun of China captured the Rapid Women’s World Championship with a convincing 10/12 and will hunt for the triple crown as the Blitz World Championships begin tomorrow.

Follow games, photos and find full information on the official website, and use the hashtag #WRBC2018 to join the conversation on twitter.


  1. Nakumara/ world Grand Prix champion /defeated Caruana and Aronian in finals before this $1,150,000 guaranteed 5 day long rapid /blitz series…NAKAMURA NOW RATED WORLD NUMBER #2 URS PRO COMBINED RATING RANKING…205 PLAYERS IN THIS FIRST RAPID EVENT. Jude Acers/ New Orleans

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