America has in the past enjoyed the presence of great chess players. Two native born players were in a class by themselves. They were Paul Morphy of New Orleans (1837-84), probably the greatest player of his time but denied the right to a match with the unofficial world champion, Howard Staunton. Of course, Bobby Fischer (1943-2008) was also the greatest player of his time and earned the world championship title after a long period of public agony over his participation. Wilhelm Steinitz (1836-1900), born in Austria, became world champion while residing in the US. He later became a US citizen.
At present, America has a claim to three great grandmasters. They are Hikaru Nakamura, born in Japan but moved to the US at the age of 2; Fabiano Caruana, born in Miami, who has dual Italian and American citizenship; and Gata Kamsky, who moved to the US from Russia at 15. None of them, however, will be in the Candidates’ tournament in March to choose the challenger to world champion Viswanathan Anand of India.