The Hikaru Nakamura Blog

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

Chicago Open 2008

May 29, 2008 • General

Hello! As I have been very busy this past week, I have not had a chance to blog. Since I am now comfortably situated in Evry, France I will attempt to update everyone assuming my wee-fee connection remains strong. This past week I played the Chicago Open which was held in Wheeling, Illinois. Overall the tournament was a success from a financial standpoint, however I was not at all pleased with my play. At the beginning of the tournament I started off by playing two very shaky games against Matthew Parry and Josh Friedel. Although I was able to outplay Parry from an unclear middlegame, I was not able to against Friedel and lost. After this, I continued playing terribly and was very lucky as I swindled Floran Felecan from a drawn position to win. After this I started playing slightly better and beat GMs Hernandez and Kolev before taking a draw in the last round against GM Tigrano. As some people are no doubt wondering why I took a draw, I will attempt to explain. Surprisingly, in the Chicago Open I had several games which went over 5 hours (unusual for me) and this started taking its toll on me by the final day. Another very big factor was that I managed to repair the early damage of the loss to Friedel, and lost only 1 fide point. All in all, a respectable result so I am not that worried by it. Till next time au revoir.


May 17, 2008 • General

Hello everyone! It has been far too long since I last blogged so now seems to be an apt time for one. Recently, I have been enjoying life in Vancouver as I mentioned before with very little to no chess. Although for those who are interested, I did indeed do a simul in Richmond, BC scoring 35 wins and 2 draws against a field of 37 players. For further information and pictures go to the site

Onto the US Championship, it seems that many people have been asking me why I am not playing in it. Although there are a plethora of reasons, as I blogged several months ago this weekend marks the end of my brothers college career as he will be graduating from UPenn – Wharton School of Business. Throughout my life, chess has been the driving force and having missed both my brothers middle school and high school graduation due to tournaments, this is the final opportunity to spend time with him before he also moves off in his own direction with life. I wish you all the best in your future endeavors and may you always be blessed with good fortune.

As far as the US Championship itself goes in terms of the competition, I am amazingly stunned at how incredibly bad the level of play has been. With the exception of some stellar play from Onischuk, none of the players have really impressed me. Shabalov continues his usual shaky form of making ridiculous blunders early in swiss events, however, I do not think he will be able to come back and win this particular event. The other player who seems to be playing atrocious chess is Gulko who is blundering left and right like there is no tomorrow. My prediction is that Onischuk will win this event unless Shulman plays exceptionally well. There are still many rounds to go and anything can happen though.

As I mentioned before, I have not played a tournament game in 1 1/2 months, but I will be returning to the board very shortly for the Chicago Open which starts on May 23rd. Recently, I have started returning to studying and playing ICC. For anyone who is interested, whenever my ICC rating starts getting above 3500 consistently it means I am getting ready for tournament play. After this, I will be playing the French League Part III in beautiful Paris, followed by the National Open in Las Vegas. I have actually won my last six tournaments in the state of Nevada, and I hope to continue this trend in June. Following this slew of tournaments, I will not be playing again until the World Open in early July. As of this point in time I do not have any tournaments planned after the World Open until October. Hopefully I get an invite to Biel, but I am not holding my breath.

Life in general has been extremely good for me lately as I have been doing well in Vancouver, Canada. Many people have recently started asking me whether I plan to defect to Canada; at this point I still remain a player for the US. However, this may change at some point unless there is a sudden change in the US chess scene. That is all for now, however if there are any New Yorkers reading this blog, please note that if you wish to see me, I will probably be out in Washington Square Park hustling next Thursday.

Hikaru Nakamura

Fresh Air and The Life!

May 03, 2008 • General

Where to begin…? As many people seem to know, I am currently attempting to reside in lovely British Columbia (as the license plates state for those who are Canadian) and what a wonderful world it is. This past week I actually decided to check out the great site! As per request from Jesse and our lovely host Yvonne, I am deciding to blog on this great topic. One of the great things about being out here in British Columbia is the extremely eclectic and cosmopolitan mix of both people and restaurants. It seems as though on any given street a person can find a great mix of an Iraqi restaurant,Mongolian or Italian restaurant.

All this aside, tonight I ate at this great restaurant The Afghan Horsemen ( with a great group of people. Surprisingly, despite having traveled to many, many countries across various continents; before tonight, I had yet to ever eat Afghan food. What can I say though, it was excellent cuisine. Later on as the group was getting ready to leave we were treated to some fun Afghan belly dancing (1 or 2 incriminating pictures to follow later) which was also top quality. After this, I went and saw some unbelievably great improvisation at the New Revue Stage down on Granville Island.

That is all for now, but I will definitely put up a picture or two for those who want to see some. In other news, I will be giving a simul next Friday to benefit British Columbia juniors out in Richmond, BC, Canada. If there are any Canadians who read this blog, just give me a shout out! Till next time, take care and enjoy life.