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    Life or something like it

    March 07, 2008 • General

    Hello everyone! So since I haven’t done a really detailed blog in sometime, I will write one now.

    First of all, I would like to address the specific issue of playing Transwarp(C) on ICC. Many people have now asked me why I play it and, more importantly, what purpose it serves. Of course attempting to lock up a position against a computer and then premove for 150 moves is rather pointless after awhile. Some have said that they thought I was doing it simply to gain rating points. However, they were wrong. The main purpose I find that playing transwarp or any computer on ICC for that matter provides a certain mental toughness. After all, playing against a computer and losing 10-15 in a row is much more painful than losing to any super GM 1 or 2 games. Therefore, I find that it is a very good way of becoming mentally stronger.

    Secondly, I cannot mention what a bad week it has been for me! So far two of my records have been broken…oh no! The first one I’d like to get to is my blitz record which was broken by Alexander Grischuk (Depressnyak) although I wish I could applaud him on this record, it seems rather unfair for players to make deals amongst themselves and toss games as is what happened yesterday. Sadly, this is not the first time Rauf Mamedov (MLRaka, Generalisimus, etc) has tossed games to Grischuk. Back in 2004, when Grischuk became the first person to break 3600, it was none other than Rauf who lost to him 5 games in a row! Although this record does not mean that much to me now since I am more serious about over the board chess, do not think I will not attempt to retake my title. The other record, which I lost this week was the record of youngest American Master. This record was broken by Nicolas Nip, a Chinese kid out in San Francisco. Generally, I do not mind positive reports about junior chess in America; however, I did notice that when looking up Nips tournaments, he gained a lot of points via matches. Whether this is legit or not does not really matter to me as holding a record for 10 year (half my life) is more than long enough. Nevertheless, I think the USCF should attempt to modify the rules so that matches such as the ones Nip are not an easy for people to just gain rating points and manipulate the system.

    As far as upcoming events, I will be playing a Fischer Random game this Sunday at the Marshall for the Fischer Memorial. The festivities start at 12:30 so if anyone reading this is in New York and wants to see me, this is a perfect opportunity. Lately, I’ve been playing a lot of ICC, but due to the fact that my hiatus is over, I am now starting to study chess rather hard again as well as the lovely language of French.

    I have not really made any remarks about Linares, so I will simply say that Anand is clearly so much better than everyone else when Kramnik is not in a tournament. Overall, the only two noteworthy performances I noticed were those of Anand and Carlsen, although unlike Corus where Carlsen played extremely well, I felt he got quite lucky in several games this tournament against Aronian,Topalov,Shirov. I find that watching some of these games is not very enjoyable as I wish I was there playing instead. Alas, as I have said many times before, I am just “going my own way.” (Fleetwood Mac) Currently my rating stands at 2686 which is rather disappointing as I thought it would be higher. However, I am still gaining points, so hopefully it will all work out.

    If anyone has any further queries just let me know.

    91 Comments

    1. Alex Whitehead

      Hikaru, any chance of USATE being rated in time for aprils list – it looks like you may gain 3 or 4 more pts there?

    2. Hikaru, man, I wish you all the best, but I’ve got to tell you … using your blog to complain about blitz ratings, and how some ten year old beat your record … just doesn’t make you look good. Very possibly you’re correct on the facts, but … while you may convince some chess ultra-geek, most people, definitely including tournament organizers and potential sponsors, will think “what an insecure jerk!” Check out the grace with which Carlsen handles life’s little disappointments, like losing a game to a 2000 player, or missing his chance to be youngest ever Norwegian champion.

      I hope you’ll accept this advice from someone a little older than you, who’s made his share of mistakes along the way.

    3. fischerreborn

      naka, thanks for the blog! i dont think people really understand what a good thing you are doing with this blog,dont worry about it keep it up. i understand that blitz is becoming more meaningless to you and i have to applaud you for the maturity it takes to feel that way, if people were as good as u in faster time controls they would never progress because by nature we often like to reside in our comfort zone, i see thats a place you wish to challenge!! more power to you!! i do have a question about what in chess are you studying these days and what do you think gatas chances are in his match vs topalov
      thxs for the blog and try to write more frequently, we love to hear from u man

    4. fischerreborn

      naka, thanks for the blog! i dont think people really understand what a good thing you are doing with this blog,dont worry about it keep it up. i understand that blitz is becoming more meaningless to you and i have to applaud you for the maturity it takes to feel that way, if people were as good as u in faster time controls they would never progress because by nature we often like to reside in our comfort zone, i see thats a place you wish to challenge!! more power to you!! i do have a question about what in chess are you studying these days and what do you think gatas chances are in his match vs topalov
      thxs for the blog and try to write more frequently, we love to hear from u man

    5. PaIngalls

      Thanks Hikaru for your personal insights. It helps us see your own struggles in trying to appropriately manage your super talent in a sport/art/game that poses many obstacles to the opportunities necessary for reaching ones potential. I still remember how you (in my pahtzer eyes) crushed Karjakin in a match. That was impressive. Kasparov was impressed if I recall.

      Personally, I believe opportunity is only second to talent when it comes to chess success. Carlsen’s elite tourney opportunities is an important part of what has led to his great success in these elite tourneys. We must do our part to make our opportunities and I hope your current plans will yeild you the opportunity you deserve.

      From a marketing standpoint–you are second to none. Invites should be coming.

      I wonder if there is a reluctance or lack of interest amongst Europeans to have an American. Kamsky of course has competed for a World title and is a well known name with his comeback and all.

      It is difficult to have records fall to others. That is true for any sportsman. I do not believe it takes anything away from you or all that you have accomplished. Did you observe Dan Marino while Manning and now Brett Favre were breaking all his records? Not easy for him.

      I also understand your stuggle in not following Linares. I am sure that you will get an invite one day. You are only 14 points from 2700–it will come and so will the invites. Do not give up.

    6. PaIngalls

      Thanks Hikaru for your personal insights. It helps us see your own struggles in trying to appropriately manage your super talent in a sport/art/game that poses many obstacles to the opportunities necessary for reaching ones potential. I still remember how you (in my pahtzer eyes) crushed Karjakin in a match. That was impressive. Kasparov was impressed if I recall.

      Personally, I believe opportunity is only second to talent when it comes to chess success. Carlsen’s elite tourney opportunities is an important part of what has led to his great success in these elite tourneys. We must do our part to make our opportunities and I hope your current plans will yeild you the opportunity you deserve.

      From a marketing standpoint–you are second to none. Invites should be coming.

      I wonder if there is a reluctance or lack of interest amongst Europeans to have an American. Kamsky of course has competed for a World title and is a well known name with his comeback and all.

      It is difficult to have records fall to others. That is true for any sportsman. I do not believe it takes anything away from you or all that you have accomplished. Did you observe Dan Marino while Manning and now Brett Favre were breaking all his records? Not easy for him.

      I also understand your stuggle in not following Linares. I am sure that you will get an invite one day. You are only 14 points from 2700–it will come and so will the invites. Do not give up.

    7. You can see Nips match games against Schiller on chessgames.com
      http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=112856

    8. Hikaru Nakamura

      Ashish, I will only say this once so please listen carefully. I do not have any problem with either record being broken and, quite frankly, I very strongly believe that records are meant to be broken. That being said, it has nothing to do whatsoever will jealously. I simply believe that when records are broken, there has to be integrity to them. In both of these cases there wasn’t.

    9. Look at the details in MSA

    10. Look at the details in MSA

    11. Look at Nips performance in tournaments and in the matches he played during the exact same period.
      One conclusion is that he is a heck of a match player (2500 performance)! LOL!
      When a person is at the floor they should have the floor lowered if they have a really bad performance in the match.

    12. Nip went 2137 to 2193 in two days thanks to a couple local matches, while losing points in each of the big tournaments he played around the same period. Hikaru’s observation seems valid to me.

    13. California Chess Man

      Nip’s matches were fixed. The opponents were paid $250-300 to lose. Poor kid… his crook coach arranged the matches since Nip had hit a wall and was losing rating points in tournaments.

    14. California Chess Man

      Oh another thing… the rating estimator gave him 2201 after the Perez “match” and they went to celebrate! However, USCF rates matches differently. And, Nip ended up 7 points short. No problem for coach Eric Hicks who dished out another few hundred bucks to get Nip over 2200 before the rating supplement.

      Sad Nip will be forever tainted just like his coach. 🙁

    15. FirebrandX

      The whole Nip scandel reminds me a lot of the NE Patriots. They forever have an asterisk next to their names over trying to cheat the system.

      I agree with Hikaru that there needs to be stronger regulations on how one obtains the master rank. Might as well make it a norm system where you have to play in a tournament with a certain performance rating for getting each norm.

    16. California Chess Man

      Nip scandal is much worse than NE Pats since it has entered his name in record books. If I was running USCF, I would impose exemplary punishment to stop the rot. Otherwise, 6 year old will be fixing matches and breaking Nip’s record. 🙁

    17. California Chess Man

      Oh another thing… the rating estimator gave him 2201 after the Perez “match” and they went to celebrate! However, USCF rates matches differently. And, Nip ended up 7 points short. No problem for coach Eric Hicks who dished out another few hundred bucks to get Nip over 2200 before the rating supplement.

      Sad Nip will be forever tainted just like his coach. 🙁

    18. PaIngalls

      Hey California Man. How do you know this? Were you there? I am curious.

      The MSA evidence sure would seem to support it. His match play performance is incredible. His other results are similar to his rating predictions–small losses, small gains. I hate to talk about such a young boy–but it seems manipulated. He is obviously a tremendous talent.

      I have followed several young talented players via MSA and have on at least one occasion observed obvious fixing. The youngster I followed gained over 250 rating points in one tourney against A players through masters in one tourney. He never had a tourney before or one since that has even come close to that amazing performance. This one tourney put him in the top few for his age in the country.

      The USCF should establish rules to prevent manipulation for records and titles such as this.

    19. NeztralObserver

      Nip scandal?? LOL. Hey of all games he played since he came over 2000 only 12% were match games (see one post on chessgames.com for detailed statistics). Sorry, Hikaru, you came too fast with your accusations:)

    20. NeutralObserver

      Here is that post quoted (from WillC21):
      “While my post about the dangers of match play still hold in theory, as people are pointing out now, it certainly doesn’t apply to Nip. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed that others verified Naka’s claims; so I looked at Nip’s events all the way back to when he was ~2000 USCF(early in 2007), and here’s some additional analysis per the 25 events covered during my date range(22 tournaments, 3 matches):
      Total games played over this time period: 145

      Match games %: 12%
      Non-Match games %: 88%

      Winning % in match games: 61%
      Winning % in non-match games: 57%

      Average opposition rating in non-match games: 1964
      Average opposition rating in match games: 2201*

      * Each match was against a DIFFERENT person, the total match games is very small(12%, see above), AND each match fell under USCF guidelines per ‘s post.

      Also, if anyone wants to repost my stats on Naka’s blog, then that’s fine. “

    21. FirebrandX

      NeutralObserver, the problem with using a “percentage stats” argument is it doesn’t hold water. If you look at the last couple of matches used in an attempt to boost Nip’s rating over 2200, you can see it looks highly suspicious. Its not like once he hit 2000 they had him play nothing but mtach games. That’s a silly notion. What is important is what they did once he got withing close range. That one match he had where the other 2100 didn’t win a single game in their entire match is a real alarm sounder in my opinion.

    22. Hello, Hikaru. I have to admire that a Gramdmaster of your caliber writes that he getting more serious about chess. It shows that a person can never really slow down, if they want to succeed at something. I’m not going to jump inot the blogs title. Rather, I am going to ask the advice of a future world champion.
      I am 43 and just started getting back into chess last year. I played in the 2007 World Open after doing well in a few U1600 tournies at the Marshall. I finished with 4 points I got hammered in the Contiental Open, but came back to finish 8th in the National Chess Congress. I just finished the Eastern Class Championships tied for 8th. Next, is Foxwoods. I’m leading up to the 2008 World Open. My win percentage is higher than my losing. I have an old Fritz 7 program that I use to analyze my games and try out new lines. I don’t jump around with many openings, I have a select few for Black and White that I use. My rating has been going up slowly, but steadily. I can play a strong game, but in the Eastern Class, I noticed a couple of games that I just wrapped up and handed to my opponents. I scored 3-2, but I was not satisfied with the score. I could have doen much better. Any advice for this class C player?

    23. Nip is clearly a talented chess player.

      The interesting thing that people are pointing out is the huge difference in performance between regular events and these “matches”. You need to look at performance rating not percentage stats.

      In the same time period in
      regular events he performs as expected. Wins some points losses some points close to break even for his level. Some good wins some bad losses (to a 1580 player, draws and losses to lower rated players).

      For the match play his performance rating is an astonishingly consistently high with 2300, 2400 and 2500 performance! He crushes Perez who hadn’t lost a USCF rated game in the last year.

      All these matches are played shortly before he is turning 10. He had plenty of chances in tournament play but he wasn’t having the performance needed to break the record.

      This is from the same group that kept promoting that Nip was the youngest expert ever (it was on calchess.org for a long time) even though the USCF pointed out that he was the 3rd youngest.

      So this is all about hype and marketing and these “matches” just fit into all this.

      Nip is clearly talented and whoever is managing his chess should be proud of him being the 3rd youngest expert and he would of course made master but maybe as the second youngest or the third youngest. Now the kid is controversal and that will stick with him forever.

    24. So how do these matches get arranged anyway? Do they each pay money the way they do in a regular tournament? Why do these people agree to play in a 1-1 match? In tennis tournaments sometimes top players are paid to show up (to attract a croud) and then more if they win. Is that how these matches work? Why would you keep playing after you lose 3 games in a row?

    25. All of those who are pointing out that Nip only played 12% of his games as match games after hitting 2000, how precisely is that relevant? By all indications of his non-match tourney play, Nip is a roughly ~2100 player and clearly all it would take would be a few match games (as that’s really what happened) to get his rating up to 2200. Even if those were a small % of his games, I don’t see how that makes it less suspicious.

      Also, the timing of the matches just seems a little too convenient doesn’t it? The matches were played at the very end of February when his age was “9 Years, 11 Months” as noted on the USCF site, likely played then so they would be in time to get rated before Nip turned 10 years old. I think it’s pretty clear someone involved wanted him to achieve the master’s rating at 9 years old to make his breaking of the record appear even more impressive.

      For those like Monkroussos saying “it’s not unusual for someone to play matches” or whatever, that might be true, but frankly I don’t buy it in this situation. For one, like I said above the timing is just too convenient; when was the last time a 9 year old played matches like that? Plus, given his performance in recent tourneys, to suddenly perform like 400 points higher than he has been in those two matches (once again given the timing), I think you’d have to be pretty naive to believe that’s all on the up and up.

      I don’t know if his opponents were paid off or not as I don’t have first hand knowledge of the situation, but based on all the evidence, I just don’t believe this record was “achieved with integrity” as Hikaru says. The simple fact is, Nip’s rating went up from 2137 to 2193 in two days. At that rating level, that’s a ridiculous amount of rating points to gain in two days no matter how you slice it.

      In any case, whatever people think about it in the end, Nip did get the record whether deserved or not, but I think his future performances, not this, will likely be the main thing he’ll be looked back upon in 20 years for. After all, his two predecessors, Bhat and Nakamura both moved on after breaking the record and did some other great things in chess, and time will tell if Nip can do the same (and those sorts of things like breaking the record for the IM or GM title or anything of that sort) will be much harder to obtain by underhanded means.

    26. Since December when he started playing matches 50% of his games were matches.
      Those matches were 95% of his rating gain.

    27. Since December when he started playing matches 50% of his games were matches.
      Those matches were 95% of his rating gain.

    28. Greg Shahade

      I am a big fan of Nicholas Nip, I got to see him first hand at the US Chess School training session in San Francisco. I think he’s a great kid, with a ton of talent and I don’t think that he would ever knowingly cheat. Despite that, I don’t believe such matches should be valid, if someone wanted to they are such an easy way to unfairly gain rating points, and kids have been doing it for a while to qualify for certain events like the World Youth and such.

      I just think it’s terrible that such matches are allowed, especially in regards to breaking records, and the USCF needs to do something about it, even retroactively in this case (especially as without matches Nip’s record may be almost unbeatable in the future). This is nothing against Nip, who is a great talented young player, but this practice of junior players being allowed to play matches of many games against a single player (who may be extremely overrated) to boost their ratings quickly and either qualify for events or break records needs to stop immediately.

    29. Actually in the matches he played since he started playing matches in December he gained 118% of the ratings points that he gained since December.

      I agree with Mr. Shahade. I am sure Nip is a great kid who just showed up to these games and played his best. But it isn’t appropriate to have him break a record based on these results.

      It would be different if his match play had a similar performance to his regular play. I would probably say to let it slide this time. But if they change the rules after this then Nips record will be unbeatable and that makes it even more unfair.

      Calchess website also kept saying he was the youngest expert and that isn’t true and wasn’t very fair to the ones who were! And now this. What is going on in California?

    30. THE BOSS

      Arnold obviously arranged these matches

    31. THE BOSS

      Arnold obviously arranged these matches

    32. California Chess Man

      The amount paid by Nip’s representative is know to be $250-300… I don’t know if this was per game or per match, but USCF needs to investigate that.

      Nip is almost 10. I presumed that he was innocent until I heard another kid the same age discussing the Nip scandal. If he know, I am sure Nip knew too. Still, I won’t blame it on the kid, I would blame it on the coaches and parents with a warped value system. 🙁

    33. Johnston

      Perhaps you should look at the games Depressnyak vs. MLRaka – none of them look like MLRaka was deliberatly losing. Is it so hard to believe that Girschuk could beat Rauf by a score of 6-2? Overall in the ICC database Grischuk is +14 =2 – 4 vs. MLRaka and +31 =7 -11 vs. Generalisimus. The 6-2 score the other day is hardly inconsistent. On your way to setting verious rating records, you played the same opponent many times (including Rauf in one form or another) and often beat them many games in a row… we all have seen you whitewash strong GMs on ICC … with the kibitzes of 20, 19, 18 … But if Grischuk beats Rauf 6-2, it must be cheating?? Lets face it, any new blitz records set on ICC must necessarily involve seeking out overrated opponents and beating them – this is how you set records and this is what Grischuk did the other day. Claiming that Rauf ‘tossed games’ and that they ‘made deals amongst themselves’ is simply sour grapes and totally without any evidence…

    34. I think it is especially cowardly to post unfounded allegations as an anonymous user. California Chess Man state your identity before slandering a 9 year old kid.

    35. I think it is especially cowardly to post unfounded allegations as an anonymous user. California Chess Man state your identity before slandering a 9 year old kid.

    36. I think it is especially cowardly to post unfounded allegations as an anonymous user. California Chess Man state your identity before slandering a 9 year old kid.

    37. I think it is especially cowardly to post unfounded allegations as an anonymous user. California Chess Man state your identity before slandering a 9 year old kid.

    38. >After all, playing against a computer and losing 10-15 in a row is much more painful than losing to any super GM 1 or 2 games.

      Are you comparing losing to a computer in online blitz to losing to a super GM in a FIDE rated game? If so, that’s just too silly, even for you.
      If not, who the hell cares about ‘mental toughness’ for online blitz?

    39. Hikaru Nakamura

      Karsk, what I mean is that no matter who you play whether its at blitz or slow chess, you always have some belief that you will win at some point. Against these computers it is essentially banging your head against a wall over and over so it becomes so much more frustrating than losing to someone like Aronian.

    40. Howard Goldowsky

      I think someone needs to sponsor a 50 game blitz match between Nakamura and Grischuk on ICC. That should settle the issue. Maybe we can all donate a few bucks to raise the cash?

    41. Joe Russell

      Whenever the bar is raised, people are quick to make slanderous remarks that reek of envy. In the years to come it remians to be seen if Nicholas will live up to his current achievements. I remember negative comments regarding FM Danya Naroditsky in the last few months. Danya’s continued accomplishments serve to silence his critics. Nicholas should be allowed the same courtesy. Both share several highly respected mentors at the Mechanics Institute.Time will tell…

    42. I am sure there is always envy when there are new kids on the block. But you are missing the point.
      Naroditsky never played in matches with huge ratings gains. He has had a great rise with consistently strong performances. If people criticize him there is no basis to do so. This kid is one to watch.

      Nip performed in his matches way beyond his tournament performance (and probably way beyond most of Naroditskys tournaments!!).

      No one is saying Nip won’t continue to well. He is obviously talented. But I don’t believe the ends justify the means when it comes to these matches to break ratings records.

      And someone pointed out that Calchess is promoting him as the youngest expert and that isn’t even true so with this incorrect hype and the matches Nips advisors are only giving more fuel to the critics.

    43. TransWarp

      I have to comment that I need to negate some very silly rumors I’ve seen on the net. 1.) TransWarp does NOT compensate GM Nakamura for his play! 2.) Does he do it for ratings points? NO. I can say this because he was putting up to 6-7pts per game when in the 3600’s WHILE trying to catch Depressnyak, obviously to play a computer that tries to negate his blockade in 3+0 games with unusual and dubious openings would NOT be the way to catch Grischuk, does Grischuk play TransWarp? NO, unless it was under one of the many anonymous accounts floating out there, as Nakamura pointing out, many Rauf’s.. GeneraLisimus, Franchesko, MLRAKA..etc. So Hikaru is making a valid point concering ICC records.. He is handicapping himself, Grischuk is not. I can only thank Hikaru for playing TransWarp…it’s all I have to offer, I hope he accepts it. As for the Nicholas Nip accusations, I do not know enough about the situation to comment much, except I believe that match play between lower rated players is quite dubious, it’s often used to sandbag as well as gain pts…nuff said. I hope this puts to rest rumors I’ve seen on the net…I have to say, when I saw the one that TransWarp was compensating Hikaru for his play….I got a pretty good laugh. I need them. That would mean I would have to be made of money to compensate GM Rustemov, GM Naiditsch..etc. I’m just glad they like to play..even with the crazy openings…Nakamura doesn’t like to lose, neither does TransWarp, so there IS a lot of Head Banging going on! Thanks GM Nakamura!

    44. Joe Russell

      I’m not missing the point. “inor” or whatever your anonymous name is, “But I don’t believe the ends justify the means when it comes to these matches to break ratings records.” Open your eyes… If the matchs were not legal why would IM John Donaldson/Mechanics Institute be apart of every one of them? How much was he paid? Also you not liking ” incorrect hype” is B.S. If you know who the youngest Expert is deep inside your heart then shut up and stop whining.

    45. Gliksman

      A lot of lies and misrepresentations are being told in this anonymous format.

      For example the Calchess site did a news story saying that Nicholas NIp is the youngest expert in the country and one of the youngest experts in history. This is completeley true. If Nicholas was not the youngest expert in the country (meaning two months ago when the story was published) than who was?

      Total BS being perpetuated here by anonymous users with pathetic attempts of hurting a 9yr old. The jealousy has gone too far.

      It is totally within the USCF rules to do matches…if someone wants to change the rule than change it..but dont blame someone for using the rules to his advantage.

    46. Dave Gessy

      Gliksmam.

      Nolan on the USCF forums wrote on October:

      “Nicholas was not the youngest expert, Brian Luo was. Caruna is #2 on the list, Nicholas is #3. “
      http://main.uschess.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=5204

      The Calchess story was that he is THE youngest. Not one of the youngest.
      http://calchess.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=98000

      So it is not BS.

      I think as people point out it is far less about Nips talents which are great and more about how he is being hyped which is not under his control.

      Secondly people are commenting more about the match performance compared to his regular performance especially right before his 10 birthday.

    47. That article writen in May on calchess.org refers to posts on the USCF forum in October so it was edited.

    48. I feel people who absolutely refuse to objectively look at the facts like Joe Russel and Gliksman are really far more of the problem than rational people realize. Often times when records such as this are broken (not chess records even, just any record) there is often tampering of some sort and when some raise legitimate concerns about whether it was done equitably, people like the two of them instantly start screaming “Ohh everyone is just jealous that’s why they’re saying those bad things”. I mean give me a break, with the exception of Hikaru himself, how does Nip breaking this record affect ANY of us now or will affect any of us 10 years from now? Do you think we’re so blinded with envy that Nip will hold this record (for the time being) instead of Hikaru that that’s driving us to raise very reasonable concerns about if this was record was broken fairly?

      Let’s reexamine some of the concerns:

      (1) These matches were all rated right at the end of February, RIGHT before Nip turned 10 years old. That strikes no one as suspicious though right?
      (2) Nip has had a roughly 2100 rating for a fairly long period of time, then within two days miraculously gains close to 60 points in two one-on-one matches while still performing at a 2100 level in nearly every other tournament rated at that time. When was the last time anyone at that level made such a gain in such a short period after being stagnant so long?
      (3) Once again, after performing at a 2100 level for a reasonably long period of time, he beats a 2100 player by a 5.5 – 0.5 score then a 2300 player by a 4-2 score in a span of two days. Yet that strikes no one as being statistically anomalous right?
      (4) While no one but a select few heavily involved could know if these people were paid $ to lose, whether that occurred or not still doesn’t put to rest the question of legitimacy. It’s not hard to guess why Nip was playing these matches, and I’m sure his opponents knew. If so and they are acquaintances of the family or something of that sort, I think it’s quite reasonable to question if those players really put their best effort forward given they had really nothing at stake.

      I could go on, but this has already been rehashed a few times, and I’m sure will be some more. If the two of you and people who think similarly want to reply and accuse me of being jealous also go right ahead if that’s your only argument, but I would strongly advise all who are blindly defending him to address some of the very legitimate concerns raised here and earlier rather than just screaming that anyone who brings one of them up is just jealous.

      I’ll reiterate that I don’t have any direct proof that this wasn’t done legitimately, I’m just an innocent bystander taking in all the facts. Probably some will just claim that everything I’ve written above is just an amazing coincidence and obviously I can’t stop anyone from thinking that, but being a rational person I choose to go with the most logical explanation.

    49. Gliksman

      It really seems to me that california chess man has resurfaces as 3 or 4 other made up users.

      The calchess story clearly says Nip is the youngest expert in the country (at the momnent) and one of the youngest experts in history.

      California chess man should quote the story to say how it reads differenlty..the story is right there…dont just lie about it.

      Anonymous posts should not be allowed.

    50. Gliksman

      It really seems to me that california chess man has resurfaces as 3 or 4 other made up users.

      The calchess story clearly says Nip is the youngest expert in the country (at the momnent) and one of the youngest experts in history.

      California chess man should quote the story to say how it reads differenlty..the story is right there…dont just lie about it.

      Anonymous posts should not be allowed.

    51. Joe Russell

      People like yourself “Jack”, and others anonymously spewing speculative libelous scenarios “without direct proof” are the only problem. A “rational person” doesn’t label themselves as “an innocent bystander” hiding behind a false name while continuing to churn out innuendos. I find nothing objective regarding your rant. It’s too bad that your comments resound of our Presidents use of repetitive “9/11” rhetoric, to convince us that his lies were true. “Jacks” diatribe reminds me of Chicken Littles alarm that “the sky is falling”… quite the opposite is true, a new star is rising.

    52. voice of reason

      i believe nicolas nips’s achieving the record as youngest master should stand…people who maligne the manner in which he achieve it and people who defend him all have their valid points…did they manipulate the system….maybe……but it seems like everything was within the uscf guidelines…maybe that is the one that needs to be improved…a 9 year old prodigy doesnt come around very often..if his accent was speeded up by playing matches and quads which is not illegal anyway then i will not blame him or his coaches and handlers for that…in my eyes he is legitimate…..

    53. voice of reason

      i understand all those matches were played under the watchful eyes of iM and mechanics institute director John Donaldson who’s reputation is unblemished…..untarnished..and sterling…if he risks his reputation by giving these matches..his seal of approval..then that’s plenty good enough for me…….

    54. chessgames

      While my post about the dangers of match play still hold in theory, as people are pointing out now, it certainly doesn’t apply to Nip. I guess I shouldn’t have assumed that others verified Naka’s claims; so I looked at Nip’s events all the way back to when he was ~2000 USCF(early in 2007), and here’s some additional analysis per the 25 events covered during my date range(22 tournaments, 3 matches):
      Total games played over this time period: 145

      Match games %: 12%
      Non-Match games %: 88%

      Winning % in match games: 61%
      Winning % in non-match games: 57%

      Average opposition rating in non-match games: 1964
      Average opposition rating in match games: 2201*

      * Each match was against a DIFFERENT person, the total match games is very small(12%, see above), AND each match fell under USCF guidelines per ‘s post.

      Also, if anyone wants to repost my stats on Naka’s blog, then that’s fine.

    55. firebrandx

      chessgames, if you actually READ the comments, you’ll see that silly argument was already addressed. Its at the point of spamming now.

    56. Basically the sort of reaction I expected from Joe Russell. Refuses to address any of my points, just continues with his non-nonsensical “You’re just jealous, stop libeling him” (yes pointing out all the FACTS and drawing an objective conclusion from them is really libeling). In any case, I and others have put out those facts for all else to see and people can draw their own conclusions from them. It’s too bad that people like himself are probably just blinded by adoration since they happen to be friends of Nip or his family that they refuse to address/consider people’s reasonable concerns about the situation just claiming “You don’t have any direct proof so shut up”. That of course is his right to think that, and I don’t really have any desire to change it, but as I said, the clear facts have been stated by me in this post, and objective thinkers can draw their own opinions about it.

      Despite my strong feeling that this record was not achieved in good faith, I’ll reiterate that I wish nothing but the best for Nip. I personally hope he can silence the critics he’s created from this dubious venture and go on to break some more records (legitimately though) and become a GM and even beyond. I really want nothing but the best for American chess in the long term, and there’s a good chance that Nip can be a part of that good future. Forgive me though, for you know wanting to be sure someone who broke an important record in US Chess History did so in legitimate fashion.

    57. Hikaru,

      I admire your honesty about who you are and what concerns you instead of keeping it all balled up inside. I’d be upset too, that ius if I had any records to begin with:-)
      Please remember what your finger notes say: Rule #1 Never give up! Now I want to see is Smallville Blitz 3800! Yes this is my attempt to get you to play more 3 0, so I can continue to find life watching you:-0

    58. Joe Russell

      Yes, I am familiar with Nicholas Nip and his family. You evidently are not “Jack”. His achievements have been within the rules, thus are legitimate. Still all sour grapes from you. Move on “Jack” in your quest for the holy chess world…

    59. firebrandx

      If you’re friends with Nip and his Family, you are certainly making yourself out to be an ass. You sit there and accuse him of sour grapes, when he’s displayed nothing of the sort. And lets all get one thing straight, if there hadn’t been any suspicious looking results with matches at the last possible moment and it had been just Nip getting to 2200 from various tournaments, you’d see NOBODY debating it. None of your supposed “sour grapes” directed at people merely voicing a concern. Everyone would be like “Oh cool, this kid will no doubt be top in the country some day soon. Congrats to him!”

      So really stop yourself and think about it. Personally I don’t care who holds the record so long as it was earned with integrity and not merely earned “in accordance with currently established rules”. People who defend someone with lawyer terms like that know deep down that it sounds weak and really skirts the issue people have about it. Again, take a moment to think about it. Like when you’re about to fall asleep at night or something.

    60. Joe Russell

      Different name, same guy, same B.S.. I’m an ass? “Lawyer terms”? Are you kidding? Go crawl back under your rock.

    61. JOHNPAULGEORGERINGO

      LOTS OF PEOPLE HAVE HAVE PASSIONATE REACTIONS….PROS AND CONS..TO WHETHER NICOLAS NIP DESERVES THE RECORD AS YOUNGEST MASTER EVER…..I NOTICE THE ONE PERSON WHO’S DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY ALL THESE BROUHAHA….MR. NAKAMURA HIMSELF…HIS REACTION SEEMS TO BE PRETTY MILD…JUST A TAD ANNOYED AND ALMOST NONCHALANT…I’M SURE IT’S BECAUSE OF THE TREMENDOUS SUCCESS HE IS ENJOYING NOW…SOONER OR LATER IT WAS GONNA FALL ANYWAY..SO WHETHER IT WAS DONE THE WAY IT WAS OR BY SOME OTHER METHOD IS NOT FOR ME TO JUDGE…VARIOUS AND VARIED OPINIONS…..THIS IS WHY THESE COUNTRY IS SO GREAT………………ALL THESE ALLEGATIONS.AND INNUENDOS AND CRITICISMS…THEY’RE ALL FINE…..BUT DON’T DIRECT THEM AT THE INNOCENT CHILD….COZ IT’LL SAY MORE ABOUT YOUR CHARACTER OR LACK THERE OFF….AND WHAT IS MY TAKE ON ALL THESE YOU ASK????….THE KID IS LEGIT…………………..

    62. common sense dude

      right off the bat…let me say i am not a friend of the nip family.don’t even know them…..i just happen to gravitate towards people who’s point of view tilts favorably with nicolas and and his family and supporters….the poor kid has been pounded mercilessly thru no fault of his own really…as a sports fan i support the underdogs….and it seems like in this forum..nicolas and his coaches and handlers are taking a lot of hits..dunno joe russel either…..but i admire his unflinching defense of the kid…….albeit..he admits he’s a firend of the family…………..hopefuly i don’t get bombarded myself with slings from people on the other side of the aisle………………..

    63. my2cents

      According to MSA, Nip gained his last 100 or so rating points in matches/quads to go over 2200 from December (or maybe even Nov 25.) He gained practically zero points from open tournaments. The quads appeared to be invitational/closed tournaments. In addition, all matches/quads used fast time control.

      That said, Nip is a great talent and was well on his way to become one of the youngest masters even without these matches. Unfortunately, his handlers completely missed the point.

    64. my2cents

      According to MSA, Nip gained his last 100 or so rating points in matches/quads to go over 2200 from December (or maybe even Nov 25.) He gained practically zero points from open tournaments. The quads appeared to be invitational/closed tournaments. In addition, all matches/quads used fast time control.

      That said, Nip is a great talent and was well on his way to become one of the youngest masters even without these matches. Unfortunately, his handlers completely missed the point.

    65. The thing I love about chess is the never ending DRAMA:-)

    66. I’ve really grown weary of making the same arguments over and over so hopefully I won’t have to post here again. I did hope Joe Russell might smarten up a bit and come up with another argument besides “You’re just jealous, it’s all sour grapes”, but I guess since he can’t justify any of the logical concerns mentioned here, he has to just keep harping on about that (I’m clearly just totally consumed with sour grapes that Nip will hold this record instead of Nakamura, yes that really makes a lot of sense).

      There are several ~8-9 year olds in this country who are 1900+ players, and if I wanted one of them to break this record, it would be very easy for me to do so. Simply recruit some retired 2400s to throw a large number of games to them in some individual matches for some $, and it would be quite simple to make such a kid 2200 in no time. Of course, I would never have to worry about people raising concerns about whether this kid earned his master’s rating fairly since I’d have smart people like Joe Russell who, when others questioned the validity of this, would instantly start screaming “You have no direct proof! Stop libeling him, you’re just jealous!” But maybe that wouldn’t happen would it? I guess it would have to though, since Joe couldn’t possibly question the legitimacy of those matches himself since he’d clearly just be demonstrating “sour grapes” if he did.

      All of you, who after looking at the evidence and are certain that everything was done legitimately, here’s a simple question: Where do you draw the line? If Nip played another match tomorrow with a Grandmaster and won 6-0 would you call that suspicious (though I put this question to all of you reading this, I’m sure if this actually happened Joe would just blast anyone who questioned it as being jealous and having sour grapes)? What if he scored like that against an International Master? Again where do you draw the line that it’s too suspicious to be legitimate? For me, someone who has constantly performed at about a 2100 level in every tournament he’s played for several months prior, then suddenly beats another 2100 player in an individual match by a score of 5.5 – 0.5 (a score lopsided enough that even a 2500 player wouldn’t be expected to score that high against a 2100 player) and also beats a 2300 player 4 – 2 (with both matches occurring right on the eve of Nip turning 10 years old), to me it’s easily crossed the line of being too suspicious to be legitimate.

      Of course, as Joe loves to reiterate, I don’t have any direct proof that there was any real tampering done so that’s merely my opinion of the situation: Just given all the circumstances, I just don’t buy that this could have all been on the up and up, there are simply too many unlikelihoods strung together along with the timing of when it happened. Again, that is just my opinion about it and of course everyone out there is entitled to their own. I’m sure some of you will say “Ohh he just made his big breakthrough recently”, “His opponents just happened to have bad a tournament”, or “It’s not suspicious enough to be considered not legitimate”. Once again, you are all certainly entitled to hold that opinion, mine just happens to differ and as such I will express my views to be so. If Joe’s only rebuttal to such an opinion, which might happen to disagree with his own, is to accuse me of “sour grapes” or to tell someone else who shares the same concern “to crawl under a rock” then that’s really too bad for him.

      Also, one last note to the people who’ve said “John Donaldson was the director for these matches so they have to be for real”. What exactly does that prove? I don’t know Donaldson, but assuming he’s completely honest like everyone is saying, I still don’t see how that proves anything. Is it your contention that “Since the tournament director is honest, clearly all the players in the tournament are also?” Somehow, I don’t think it is, given the thousands of examples that exist to the contrary. Him being the tournament director for these matches does not prove that his opponents didn’t have some kind of extra incentive to lose (either getting paid or doing it since they are friends of the family). I mean, there is basically proven cheating every year at the World Open. Since players do cheat there, does that mean the tournament directors of that tourney must be crooked also? If not, I don’t see how you make the reverse argument either.

    67. Joe Russell

      I respect you opinion “Jack”. I just don’t respect negative opinions posted anonymously. “Jack” you are a coward. Cowards live under rocks. Now you might understand my point. Statistics can be contrived to prove or disprove anything. “Jack” you are a very angry person. Take a chill pill and move out from under that rock you call home. Nakamura is my hero regardless if any of his records are broken, Salman errrr I mean “Jack”

    68. stop the anonymous posting

      Almost all of the harsh negativ nipism is coming from one man Salman Azhar..a bay area chess organizer with an axe to grind with every major chess person outside of him in the bay area. Also a parent of kids who were once competition for Nicholas but now have been completely blown away. The guy is a bonefied nut and he is posting everywhere this nonsense to try to make a scandal. And yes Jealousy is the right word. A ridiculous way to spend ones time if you ask me..trying to wreck the reputation of a 9yr old kid. Salman your fooling nobody…your name is mud.

    69. Joe’s posts are really getting more laughable by the minute. So now I’m a coward who lives under a rock that needs to take a chill pill and despite all of his very constructive insults, he somehow labels me as a “very angry person” lol. As for “statistics can be contrived to prove anything”, I expected that argument to be made, just I reiterate where do you draw the line? If it’s a one in a thousand shot, is it ok? Is one in a million ok? When someone who learned to play chess yesterday beats five grandmasters in a row, is that just a “statistical anomaly”? Again, where do you draw the line?

      In any case, I really don’t want to waste any more of my time replying to Joe’s silly insults and repeated nonsensical claims of sour grapes. If anyone out there who feels the points I have made or the conclusions I drew from them are wrong in some fashion, please feel free to reply constructively as to why you think so, and I’ll be happy to discus why I might happen to disagree with your assessment. As I said I would encourage you to try to do it in a constructive manner, Joe seems be under the mistaken view that presenting his opinion in a belittling, insulting tone will make people more likely to respect his views.

    70. Firebrandx

      Hey Joe, I’m in fact quite separate person from Jack and I don’t even know who he is. My name is Wolff Morrow and I do cover artwork for chess books. Yes, I still think you’re an ass, and if you want to come meet me over it, you’re more than welcome to come to Dallas and settle it in person.

    71. Johnnie-Cochran

      O.J is also innocent! If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!

      Joe is a pompous ass for the record, one nearing the likes of Bono himself.

    72. THE REAL JOHNNIE COCHRAN

      HEY….LEAVE ME OUT OF ALL THESE MADNESS…I AM BURIED AND 6 FEET UNDER…..AND OH YEA…OJ DID IT…

    73. Gregoro Zylniz

      IM Shahade respects Nip. But thinks that the USCF should do something about this – “even retroactively in this case”.

      Class B player Russell is a friend of the family. Thinks people are just jealous. Thinks statistics can be contrived to say anything (so performance ratings can be contrived?isn’t that what others are saying? LOL!). Calls people names, accuses people of stuff and for some reason rants about George Bush and 9/11 at one point.

      Firebrandx cares about integrity and is the type of person I would enjoy meeting.

      Nip is a talented kid.

      Ok, I got it.

    74. HEY JACK…U DON’T KNOW WHO JOHN DONALDSON IS..THEN GET OUT OF THIS FORUM..THIS IS FOR PEOPLE WHO ACTUALLY UNDERSTANDS CHESS…IT IS BETTER TO BE THOUGHT OF AS A FOOL THAN SPEAK AND LEAVE NO DOUBT..YOU’RE ARGUMENTS ARE MEDIOCRE…A LOT OF EMPTY RHETORIC BUT NO LOGIC……TOO ELEMENTARY TO DIGNIFY WITH RESPONSE….MY CONCLUSION IS SIMPLE..DIRECT..AND STONE COLD LOCK…U ARE A MENTAL MIDGET..ARGUMENT OVER…I REST MY CASE AND JUST WAITING FOR JUDGEMENT MONEY…….ALSO.I AM LIVING U AND NEVER COMING BACK….SIGNED…………………………………JILL

    75. I AGREE…….CALIFORNIA CHESS MAN..JACK….SALMAN AZNAR ARE ALL ONE AND THE SAME….YOU MAY USE DIFFERENT GUISES BUT YOUR STYLE OF RHETORIC IS YOUR DNA…….HATEFUL…VINDICTIVE..VENGEFUL…ENVIOUS…JEALOUSY……….SOMEHOW U ASSUME THAT ANGRY AND ELABORATE DIATRIBES WILL WIN U STYLE POINTS…,,SEE MY POINTS ARE SHORT. DIRECTS AND CONCISE..THAT’S WHY I AM YOUR MASTER…..

    76. Dennis Ortolan

      All comments were fine until it became immature on the part of Jack , Firebrand and other anonymous monikers. The personal “call out” shows the age of the delinquents involved. Joe Russell is entitled to his opinion regarding anonymous postings, and hits it right on the mark. If you stand behind what you said, you always sign your real name. I prefer to read the opinions of adults, not teen agers with control issues, or those adults that act out in such a way. I do believe that if Jack did not feel the need to get the last word, repeating his stale, jealous mantra over and over and over, his comments would have more merit. But he is driven on his agenda…with a psychotic energy that overshadows all that he says, over and over and over. Lets just call it “The Bobby Fischer Effect”…LOL Jack’s a loon, as was poor Bobby. It seems to me that Joe’s comments were constructive and positive as an alternative to the constant “chess envy” I find rampant in the world of youth chess. Some people like to keep the pot stirred though, and this will never change. Jack and those like you “get a life”.

    77. Dennis Ortolan

      Gregoro Zylniz??? It has to be a real name dude…LOL I understood what point Joe was making with his metaphorical references, such as Bush-9/11, and I agree with him accusing the previous poster “Jack” of using anonymous postings as a form of blog terrorism. It ended up with “Jack” inferring physical harm will come to him in Dallas. Now THAT takes me back to JFK and the sixties. Gregoro Zylniz???(Real name???), where does IM Shahade make a case for changes in this case? Dropping other peoples names is also WAAY out of line, unless accompanied by the reference to locate her published statement. Anonymous posters have NO credibility and are typically found to be hypocrites. I would NOT like to meet, nor be friends with “Firebrandx”, I prefer the company of those that stand up for their opinions by name.

    78. Ok this is my last post here, I’ve had it with this matter, and it’s been beaten to death. Everyone who’s claiming that me, firebrand, etc. are all the same person, you’re wrong, I know you won’t believe that since you’ve convinced yourselves that we’re all Azhar (or however it’s spelled, once again I’ve never heard of this person). Again I don’t really care if you don’t believe that, like most things you probably have just deluded yourselves into thinking it’s true so as to strengthen your own position in your mind.

      I just came to voice my opinion, and I feel I’ve done that. Everyone like Jill, Dennis Ortolan, Joe who keeps claiming that we are all the same person, it seems far more likely that all of you are actually the same person given the way each of you embarks on these personal attacks calling me and those who share my view cowards etc. and then your other monikers jump in to defend them (lol @ Dennis Ortolan claiming Joe’s comments were “constructive and positive”, seems pretty likely that they are one and the same person, I mean no one could really be so delusional to claim someone who calls people names like that and tries to compare this situation to 9/11 is being constructive right?). Labeling us as teenagers, well I suggest you all (or probably you are all the same person) look in the mirror first before you call someone else out for being something that you probably are yourself. Since no one else seems to believe this nonsense about us being jealous, it’s pretty clear these posters are probably all the same person.

      Again, I’m done with this post, the facts are all out there and given the discussion of this on Monokroussos’s (http://chessmind.powerblogs.com/commentary/) and Mark Ginsburg’s (http://nezhmet.wordpress.com/2008/03/10/the-fabulous-00s-something-to-nip-in-the-bud) blogs, I think it’s obvious that everyone (but they’re probably just jealous too right?) knows how shady this entire situation is. Sure, like many things it will probably just blow over since there is no concrete evidence, but those who took part in it will have their own consciouses to answer to. IM Ginsburg hits it right on the head in his reply on Monokroussos’s blog and his post (which I’ve linked to) in his own blog.

      As this is my last post, I want to end by reiterating that I personally hope Nip can prove the skeptics this incident has created wrong in moving on to great things in chess. Like I’ve said before, I want nothing but the best for American Chess, and he should definitely be a part of it. At the same time, part of the game growing in both recognition and popularity in this country is that things are done with integrity, and if people short cut the system for simple personal glory (or glory of their relative) as I feel has been done in this case, that clearly is not going to be something which will be good recognition for American Chess in the long term.

    79. Dennis Ortolan

      Many people in the NorCal chess arena know me. I am not posting under any other name. I know Joe well and understand his points. But, you need a sense of humor. I was starting to enjoy your reiteration…lol Anonymous to the end, you stood for something…I guess? As long as the Russians control the chess world, there will NEVER be any integrity in chess. There I said it! Now, Putin can send his “poison” squad to get me…LOL Thanks for ending the conversation, but thats being a little too hopefull isn’t it?

    80. good riddance jack………………….i take credit for for driving your ilk from this forum……………………..however there are at least 2 more of your persona left..are u listening california chess man salmar azhar or what ever the hell u spell your name…….

    81. IM Shahade posted earlier in this thread

    82. interested party

      As someone who really could care less about records. I do agree that the results of the last few matches are very skewed. I dont see how anyone could look at these results and really think something strange wasnt going on. 1 | NICHOLAS NIP R: 2167 ->2193 |4.0 |W 2|W 2|L 2|D 2|W 2|D 2|
      2 | EMMANUEL PEREZ R: 2288 ->2262 |2.0 |L 1|L 1|W 1|D 1|L 1|D 1|
      CA | 12536285 / | | | | | | | |

      NICHOLAS NIP |5.5 |W 2|W 2|W 2|W 2|D 2|W 2
      2 | ROMULO C FUENTES 2113 |0.5 |L 1|L 1|L 1|L 1|D 1|L 1|

      I find these match results…. strange to say the least.

    83. timhortons

      looks like those two broken records of yours was done through conspiracy, but conspiracy theory was used before by bobby when he play against the russian, now sort of conspiracy again here aight?

    84. before this blog posting I had no idea who nicholas nip was. the facts that he gained the record under such strange circumstances (9 year olds playing matches?), with such important timing (right before the record), and such conveniently successful results is suspicious. those of you who are outraged that anyone would be suspiciious given this set of circumstances are being much more unreasonable than people who are made suspicious by it.

      I don’t like the idea of someone articificially achieving records — they should come as the result of normal play — not because some promoter/coach/overzealous parent wants it for their child.

      I have no agendas here, and I’m not sure what difference putting my full name would make, but just looking at the facts makes me shake my head and wonder.

    85. We need Dave

      We need Dave to see about tracking IPs on people who post in the blog if possible. That way we can find out just who is posting on alt names. I’ve also had it with this nonsense and am done arguing with Nip’s syphocant(s).

      I will point out I have looked up Joe Russell and found he was even playing in the same tournaments as Nip, so it probably a sense of local pride as to why he seems blinded from reasonable logic. Anyone not associated with that area in California can look far more objectively at the facts and make their own conclusions. Just don’t make them public or you’ll encur the wrath of the syphocants!

    86. Firebrandx

      BTW that was me in the above post. Mistake in the name entry.

    87. I’ll take care of the posts. My wife just had a baby so I haven’t really been on the internet for a while, plus people who type in CAPS piss me off.

    88. Congratulations Dave!

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