05 November 2023

Chess Rookie Card

We've seen sports cards several times in the series on Top eBay Chess Items by Price (March 2010), most recently in the post Cards for Chess Champions (June 2019). All of the auctions have been for very old cards like the 1888 Steinitz and Zukertort cards in that 'Chess Champions' series.

The item pictured below was titled 'Hikaru Nakamura #390 American Chess Equipment Ultimate Card Auto'. It sold for around $500, 'Best offer accepted'.

The description said,

2001 Hikaru Nakamura #329 GM USA American Chess Equipment Ultimate Chess Card Auto - NM - Rare. This is an extremely rare American Chess Equipment card. The card is hand-numbered and signed by Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura.'

I suppose that the difference between the numbers in the title (#390) and in the description (#329) is due to an earlier auction being copied. 'Auto' undoubtedly means 'Autographed' and 'NM' probably means 'Near Mint'. The back of the card says,

International Master born in Hirakata City, Japan, on December 9,1987. He moved to the US at the age of two and played his first tournament at the age of seven. Within three years, Hikaru achieved the title of National Master at the age of 10 years and 79 days, becoming the youngest American to do so and setting a record that still stands today. Hikaru earned the FIDE International Master title in February 2001. Among his many successes in 2001 are victories in the National High School Championship and the U.S. Junior Invitational Championship. Hikaru resides in White Plains, N.Y.

Following that info is a game score for:-

Stripunsky - Nakamura, Land of the Sky Open, Asheville NC, 1999.

That game is not among the ten games currently listed for Alexander Stripunsky vs. Hikaru Nakamura (chessgames.com; covering 1998 - 2012). The bottom of the card back says,

Photo by Paul Truong • 12/15/01
American Chess Equipment / Ultimate Chess Card

The web site is still active at American Chess Equipment (amchesseq.com; 'One-stop-shop for scholastic chess products'). That page informs,

SERVING THE CHESS COMMUNITY SINCE 1982 • American Chess Equipment (ACE) is excited to team up with the WE Games brand to bring you the best in chess. We are honored to be trusted by thousands of chess organizations across the US for over 30 years.

I found an archived page from 2002 American Chess Equipment : The Ultimate Chess Card (archive.org -> amchesseq.com), that listed four cards -- Seirawan, Denker, Krush, Nakamura -- and further informed,

This new product, The Ultimate Chess Card was created to allow you to collect and enjoy finding out about your favorite chess players. The series will soon contain all the stars of the chess world and many of the most famous games in chess history. Some of the cards will be Signature Limited Edition Collector Cards (Rookie cards) that have been personally signed by the chess star. These cards will increase in value over the years since there will only be 999 numbered cards produced. Other cards by the same chess star will contain facts and figures about the chess personality.

The four cards, plus a card for GM Susan Polgar, appear to have been sold until early 2005. As for the original price, another page informed,

To protect our wholesale customers, this price list is protected by a password system.

The price was certainly far less than the '$500 Best offer accepted' given for the auction. A web search on 'Ultimate Chess Card' leads nowhere.

1 comment:

chess said...

The Hikaru cost $8.00 at the time. https://web.archive.org/web/20051224130418/http://www.amchesseq.com/UltimateChessCards/8110nakamura.php