Chess prodigy and Twitch streamer, Hikaru Nakamura maintains a strong presence in the competitive world as he qualifies for the 2022 Candidates Tournament.
Chess prodigy and Twitch streamer, Hikaru Nakamura just qualified for the Candidates Tournament and an opportunity to challenge the current chess world champion.
The 34-year-old went through an intense run in the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix amongst world-renowned grandmasters like Wesley So, Levon Aronian, and Anish Giri. While he is an active Twitch streamer on the side, he still maintains a strong presence in the competitive world. On the final day of the Grand Prix, he managed to score a slot in the coveted Candidates Tournament.
Twitch streamer, Hikaru Nakamura qualifies for the Candidates Tournament
Hikaru Nakamura has been the face of Chess in the world of livestreaming, as he actively engages with fans through his Twitch channel, GMHikaru, which has 1.4 million followers. Prior to becoming a popular streamer, he wasn’t a nobody. Nakamura was the youngest American to earn the title grandmaster (GM) in 2003, at the age of 15. In October 2015, he reached his peak FIDE rating with 2816, placing him 2nd in the world.
He started streaming on Twitch in 2018 and rapidly built a large community. He even started a Chess wave that got masses of Twitch obsessed over the classic game. One of the ways he boosted Chess on the platform was through collaborations with top streamers from other titles.
Now a huge streamer under TSM, Nakamura managed to walk the 2022 Grand Prix, a tournament that determines 2 participants for the Candidates Tournament. Despite an underwhelming start in the tournament, Nakamura came back stronger and secured the qualification.
Alongside himself, Richard Rapport also finished in the Top 2 of the Grand Prix and will be attending the Candidates Tournament. Both of them will compete against 6 other qualified chess masters and have a chance to challenge Magnus Carlsen, the reigning world champion.
“It’s something,” Hikaru Nakamura reacts to qualifying for the Candidates Tournament
Scoring a slot in the Candidates Tournament is no small matter, but Nakamura reacted temperately to the achievement. While his reaction might sound bland or cocky, he clarified that he was simply being real.
“It’s something,” Nakamura said after qualifying for the Candidates Tournament. “I know for some players it might feel off-putting, especially Chess players but like I’m not over the moon. It’s just another tournament I qualified for. That’s really how I feel. I don’t really feel the need to try to pretend.”
The Candidates Tournament begins in 3 months
In the Candidates Tournament, 8 of the world’s best Chess players will compete head-to-head. The champion of this tournament will be able to challenge the current world champion, Magnus Carlsen.
These Candidates were determined from many other tournaments:
- Ian Nepomniachtchi – 2021 FIDE World Championship runner-up
- Teimour Radjabov – invited by FIDE. (qualified for the previous edition of the event and refused to participate due to COVID-19)
- Jan-Krzysztof Duda – won the 2021 FIDE World Cup
- Alireza Firouzja – won the 2021 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss
- Fabiano Caruana – placed runner-up in the 2021 FIDE Chess.com Grand Swiss
- Hikaru Nakamura – top two in the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix
- Richard Rapport – top two in the 2022 FIDE Grand Prix
Note that Russian Grandmaster, Sergey Karjakin was supposed to compete in the Candidates Tournament. However, he was disqualified and banned for six months after declaring his support for Russia. His appeal is currently pending and whether he will be able to play or not is still unknown. The final candidate will be determined by May 1, 2022. The Candidates Tournament will begin on 16 June to 7 July in Madrid, Spain.