American GM Gata Kamsky came up just short of a remarkable double this week, blundering in a level position Monday against Italian GM Fabiano Caruana in the final round of the FIDE Grand Prix in Thessaloniki, Greece, to allow Cuban GM Lenier Dominguez Perez to pass him for the tournament title.
Fatigue may have played a role in Kamsky’s loss — just in the past two months he finished fifth at the FIDE Grand Prix event in Zug, Switzerland, (won by Bulgaria’s Veselin Topalov), won his fourth U.S. national crown in a playoff over Texas GM Alejandro Ramirez in St. Louis, and was undefeated and alone in first in Greece before his final-round disaster. That’s an exhausting stretch for any player, let alone for one who celebrated his 39th birthday over the weekend.
The Brooklyn grandmaster dominated the early round of the latest FIDE event, including a win in his individual game against Dominguez Perez and a satisfying triumph over fellow Yank GM Hikaru Nakamura.
Kamsky and Nakamura are clearly the class of American chess, the only two U.S. players rated above 2700, and the games between them in international events are always worth a look. In last year’s U.S. championship, Nakamura scored his first victory at classical time controls over his rival, but in Greece, it was Kamsky who claimed the honors, with a thorough demolition of Nakamura right out of the opening.