At the end of another thrilling day of chess, Hikaru Nakamura was crowned the champion of the 2021 Saint Louis Rapid and Blitz. The American speed demon demonstrated impressive form throughout the event and will take home $37,500.00 for his efforts. This marks Hikaru’s second victory at the Saint Rapid in Blitz since the tournament’s inception in 2017. His previous victory was in 2018. Fabiano Caruana narrowly edged out Richard Rapport to capture clear 2nd place and a nice paycheck of $25,000.00.
Coming into the final day of blitz chess, Hikaru Nakamura had three goals:
- Win the tournament
- Maintain his no-loss streak
- Maintain his #1 spot in the world blitz ratings.
Nakamura accomplished the first goal without a hitch. He clinched clear first place with 3 rounds to spare. Such a feat is incredibly impressive on its own, given the strength of the field. The second goal was a bit more challenging. Throughout the day, Hikaru found himself hanging on for dear life, especially in his games against Sam Shankland and Leinier Dominguez. However, Nakamura demonstrated amazing precision and resourcefulness to save difficult positions and stay undefeated. After 9 rapid games and 18 blitz games over the course of 5 days, Nakamura did not lose a single one. Unfortunately, the final goal of keeping the top blitz rating in the world was just out of reach. Given the large number of draws, Nakamura slipped just below Magnus Carlsen in the world blitz rankings. Magnus had this to say to Hikaru on Twitter: “Congrats to world #2 rated rapid and blitz player @GMHikaru for winning the #STLRapidBlitz with a dominating, unbeaten performance!”