The Hikaru Nakamura Blog

Musings by Hikaru Nakamura on life, chess, and travel. Don't forget to subscribe to receive timely updates.

French League Part I

March 26, 2008 • General

Hello everyone, I have been rather swamped with work (when I am not playing 1-min games on ICC) so I won’t be posting any of my games just yet. However, I played rather mediocre chess in the French League on the whole. In the first game I drew Etienne Bacrot with white. The 2nd game I swindled Vladimir Baklan with black in an Alekhine and drew. And in the 3rd game I beat French GM Andrei Sokolov with white. At some point tomorrow I will probably post a game or two from the event with annotations. Au Revior, et au bientot!


March 21, 2008 • General

I have now been in Nice, France for the past two days. Oddly enough, this happens to be the first trip abroad that I have made alone which makes for an interesting and new experience. Originally, I thought I would be staying in Monaco and would have gone and gambled away my life’s savings at the Grand Casino in Monte Carlo; however, as it turned out I ended up in Nice instead. The area itself is quite pleasant with a nice ocean breeze and plenty of scenery. Yesterday, I actually ended up walking over to the playing site for the Melody Amber tournament and spoke briefly with some of the players and journalists. Nothing really shocking happened, although it appeared that the game Karjakin-Van Wely was more or less losing from the start according to Topalov and Leko.

Today, I decided to relax and went out and took a few pictures. Other than that, I didn’t really do much besides preparing for my game against Bacrot tomorrow. In a few hours I will catch a train to Marseille and will attempt to blog from there. I do not know the official website right off, but I will post it as soon as I know for sure.

Au Revoir,


Something amusing

March 17, 2008 • General

So, nothing much to really report on since my last post. I have pretty much been going about life as usual studying chess and playing transwarp in preparation for France. Yesterday, I actually noticed a rather amusing drawing of myself on a website.

©2008 *Czharina

I must say that I do rather like this drawing although the hair white piece of hair makes me look rather old! Nevertheless, it is still a nice drawing and for anyone who is interested just finger czharina on ICC to find out more information.

That is all for right now, but I will probably write another blog before I leave for France on Wednesday evening. Ciao.


March 11, 2008 • General

This past Sunday on March 9, 2008, I attended a commemoration event for what would have been Bobby Fischer’s 65th birthday. The event took place at the Marshall Chess Club from 1 PM till about 5 PM. Much of the first several hours was spent with famous talk show host Dick Cavett recollecting his memories about Fischer as well as some very good footage from the three different times during which Fischer appeared on the show. While watching these clips, I couldn’t help but notice how normal Fischer seemed during these interviews during 1972-73. However, I also found it very striking that Fischer did not seem to have any other hobbies which he had interest in. If there is one thing I’ve noticed about chess players nowadays as compared to then is that most have other interests besides chess, I suspect this is why there haven’t been any top grandmasters who have gone rather insane in the past 10 years. Other notable people who spoke about Fischer were FM Asa Hoffman, Dr. Frank Brady, and Shernaz Kennedy. All of them spoke of Fischer and his days from a teenager till he became world champion in 1972 and about what a different era it was. Although I have a lot of motivation, if there is one thing I really want to succeed at, its to become world champion before the likes of the old generation (Bisguier,Byrne,Hoffman,Lombardy) are gone.

I’m sure many of you are wondering if I would just spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon at the Marshall Chess Club simply to listen to people speaking about Fischer. After the many speeches and recollections, I actually played a short 2 game blitz game match against GM Leonid Yudasin at Fischer Random Chess. One of the things that I really like to pride myself on is being respectable at anything I attempt to do such as playing all forms of poker, (Hold Em,Omaha,Stud,etc) sadly though I do not seem to be as good at Fischer Random as I am at normal slow chess. However, the only other time I played Fischer Random, I did beat Susan Polgar 2-0 and won the Fischer Random Blitz Tournament at the Millenium Chess Festival, Virginia Beach 2005. In the first game, I managed to get myself down about 2 minutes surprisingly quickly and then overlooked a silly tactic, thus losing. In the 2nd game, I was able to obtain a small edge out of the opening and proceeded to win relatively easily and we split the match. After this match GM Yudasin gave a memorable lecture on the “game of the century” Byrne-Fischer from 1956.

After this commemoration ended, I walked up to Union Square and was planning to catch a 4,5,6 to Grand Central but ended up in the park playing a game of chess instead. Normally, this story wouldn’t be noteworthy as whenever I attempt to go to Washington Square Park, I am recognized instantly. So, as I sat down to play a game the guy asked “You aren’t some master, are you?” To this question I politely responded that I wasn’t. I made the game semi-interesting and barely beat him with only 10 seconds on my clock, he asked what my rating was. I said, “I’m 1950!” He got rather pissed off by this and said I’m 1700, no way I’m paying up! I decided to not turn the issue into a huge deal, but I found it highly amusing that when I came up with a mediocre rating, it wasn’t low enough to hustle! Apparently I haven’t perfected the art of hustling yet, but I will keep trying.

Yesterday, I pretty much avoided chess other than taking my daily beating from Transwarp. However, I did spend a lot of time with my brother who is home for Spring Break before he returns and graduates from UPenn and starts working for JP Morgan Chase. Recently, I have come to appreciate family a lot more and this is why I will not be participating in the 2008 US Chess Championship. The tournament conflicts with my brother’s graduation and I have decided it is more important. This is pretty much all that is happening right now, although I am studying some chess and attempting to learn some French since I am traveling to France in two weeks to play in the French League for the team Antibes.

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.