Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura endorses two players from simul, to sponsor and assist them in developing their chess

After Grandmaster Nakamura played the 101 games in his simultaneous chess exhibition at the South African Junior Chess Championships (SAJCC) and walked an incredible distance around 5 km there was still another huge surprise to come from the American grandmaster. It was such a big announcement that no one could expected. Absolutely no one could have saw it coming. What an incredible guy this grandmaster is.

During the simultaneous exhibition there were two players Grandmaster Nakamura felt were really talented and could do with further assistance to develop their chess.  Hikaru decided to endorse two players from the simul and to assist them in Tshwane Chess, to go and play in the circuit overseas, or play in training camps in Europe. Details around the exact nature of the sponsorship or assistance are still to be put out.

Just when you thought the story could not get any better after Nakamura’s visit to Joubert Park and the record breaking simultaneous exhibition then this. How about that ladies and gentlemen!

And now for those two lucky players

17-year-old Khanya Mazibuko from Tshwane and 14-year-old Keith Khumalo also from Tshwane are incredibly talented juniors who are the very lucky recipients of this wonderful act of generosity. Khanya earned his win through a very long  game, almost 6 hours long as he won the final game to finish the event. Congratulations Khanya and Keith. Well deserved guys!

A delighted Khanya Mazibuko gets ready to be congratulated by SAJCC Tournament Organiser Hendrik Du Toit (with hand outstretched) while Grandmaster Hikaru looks on. Keith Khumalo is right behind. CREDIT – Reint Dykema
The players have just walked on stage where they are congratulated by the man himself Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura CREDIT – Reint Dykema
From left, Khanya Mazibuko, Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura, Keith Khumalo an SAJCC Technical Director Hendrik Du Toit. Looking on is CHESS SA President Winston Dalpat CREDIT – Reint Dykema

The audience applauded this incredible gesture of generosity from the American Grandmaster. SAJCC Technical Director Hendrik Du Toit emphasised that there was no planning in this announcement from Nakamura. It was something done on the spur of the moment by the GM after the games. After he had played these two players, from among the 101 participants in the simul, he felt that they really need to go for it in their chess.

Many thanks to photographer Reint Dykema for his kind permission in allowing us to use these pics from the prize ceremony.

It was something spontaneous that Grandmaster Nakamura felt after the record-breaking and marathon simultaneous chess exhibition. The chess exhibition was the largest ever to be held in South Africa and one of the biggest to be held on the African continent.

We wish Khanya and Keith well in their chess and no doubt this endorsement and support from Grandmaster Nakamura will go a long way in boosting their chess career. What a way to start the year for these juniors. To not only play one of the best chess players in the world but also have him endorse them and assist them develop their chess career. We think Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura is now our favourite grandmaster by a long shot. Thank you for this Grandmaster Nakamura.

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