IN the past several years, American grandmaster Gata Kamsky has acquired the nickname of “The Comeback Kid” – and he’s more than living up to his nickname at the FIDE Thessaloniki Grand Prix in Greece, with a third straight win giving him the sole lead and a dramatic return to the Top 10 in the world rankings.
In round eight, Kamsky – who took an eight-year time-out in 1996 – demolished the US No 1, Hikaru Nakamura to storm into the lead going into the final rounds.
The turning point came early with 12 b4!, with any capture of the pawn leading to instant carnage.
It was one-way traffic thereafter, as Kamsky easily converted his big material advantage. Nakamura’s tweet after the game summing it all up: “When you start missing 1-2 move combinations in every game, it is time to take a long break from chess.”
Kamsky, who last month won his fourth US Championship title, is rapidly surging up the world rankings, and is now No 10 on the unofficial live ratings, just a few Elo points behind a plummeting Nakamura – and he could well overtake his rival, to once again reclaim the US No 1 spot.
Standings: 1. Kamsky, 6/8; 2-3. Caruana, Dominguez, 5.5; 4. Grischuk, 4.5; 5-6. Ponomariov, Kasimdzhanov, 4; 7-10. Bacrot, Topalov, Morozevich, Svidler, 3.5; 11. Nakamura, 3; 12. Ivanchuk, 1.5.
G Kamsky - H Nakamura
Thessaloniki Grand Prix, (8)
1 e4 e6 2 d4 d5 3 Nd2 Be7 4 c3 c5 5 e5 Nc6 6 Bd3 cxd4 7 cxd4 Nh6 8 Ndf3 f6 9 Bxh6 gxh6 10 Ne2 Qb6 11 0–0 Bd7 12 b4 a6 13 Qd2 fxe5 14 dxe5 Qxb4 15 Qxh6 Qa3 16 Bg6+ Kd8 17 Bf7 Rf8 18 Bxe6 Rxf3 19 gxf3 Qxf3 20 Ng3 Nxe5 21 Rae1 Qf6 22 Qxf6 Bxf6 23 Bxd5 Bb5 24 Rd1 Kc7 25 Rc1+ Kb6 26 Rfd1 Nc6 27 Be4 h6 28 Rd7 Rb8 29 Rb1 Ka5 30 Kg2 Bh8 31 Rh7 Nb4 32 a3 Na2 33 Rxb7 Rxb7 34 Bxb7 Ka4 35 Ne4 Kxa3 36 Nc5 Nc3 37 Rb3+ Ka2 38 Bxa6 Bc6+ 39 Kg1 Bd5 40 Rb4 Ka3 41 Rh4 and White soon won.