It is a brand new year and what an amazing year in chess that it is already turning out to be! Much of the chess world continues to look back on the 2014 Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis and compare current tournaments to Fabiano Caruana’s incredibly 7-0 winning streak. Just a couple of weeks ago, World Champion Magnus Carlsen completed a 6-0 streak to win the 2015 TATA Steel Chess Tournament in Wijk aan Zee. As Magnus closed in on tying Fabiano’s winning streak, it became apparent from the media and on the face of the champion that the pressure was mounting. After drawing the 7th game, Magnus appeared somewhat relieved and expressed little interest in extending his winning streak in the tournament. A series of missteps by Anish Giri eventually handed Carlsen the win in Wijk aan Zee. Here are the games from Carlsen’s TATA Steel 6-0 streak.

As I write this, the Tradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival is well underway and American GM Hikaru Nakamura just matched Carlsen’s performance with a 6-0 opening and garnering 7.5 points to begin the tournament. However, Hikaru’s streak came to an unfortunate end when he drew the 7th round game against GM David Howell:

Nakamura last faced Howell in 2011 at the 3rd London Chess Classic where he played with the White pieces and won 1-0 in 38 moves. Nakamura and Howell also faced off in 2009 and 2010 in the London Classic, but both games were draws:

Nakamura’s greatest threat to US Chess domination.

With Caruana, Carlsen, and Nakamura all performing amazing feats of chess in recent months I think that 2015 is going to be one of the most exciting years for chess! The battle for #1 player in the United States continues with Nakamura de-throning GM Wesley So due to his earning a 2795 live rating in the Gibraltar Chess Festival. Nakamura currently holds a one point lead over Howell going into the 9th round. Nakamura will face GM Axel Bachmann of England tomorrow at 8:00 AM CST with live game coverage on and Chessbomb.