The Hikaru Nakamura Blog

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

Biel Observations, Mainz, Montreal, French League

July 27, 2008 • General

Hello again everyone! For the first time in several months, I have actually been following some chess tournaments over the past week and a half, so I will start with my observations on Biel. Obviously Carlsen is the big favourite due to his recent results as well as the opposition of the field. Overall his play has been ok, although not quite what I would expect from someone who is supposed to be number 2 going on number 1 in the world as he got lucky to beat Pelletier and ridiculously lucky against Bacrot in a close to losing position. Carlsen aside, Alekseev seems to be playing solidly as does Dominguez as they are cruising along to see who finishes 2nd. And then there are the other 3. Onischuk seems to be playing reasonably well although losing R+N vs R to Dominguez is disappointing to say the least. Bacrot is having another up and down tournament as he started off horrifically but has bounced back with two straight wins. Pelletier on the other hand is just having a terrible tournament. Yannick is a nice guy, so it is quite unfortunate to see him struggling so mightily in this tournament, but hopefully he can recover before the end. Carlsen will almost certainly win this tournament, barring a massive collapse, so the real question is who will finish 2nd.

Shortly, I will be leaving for Mainz to play in the rapid event as well as the Fischer Random rapid event too. Due to my long break from chess, (7 weeks) and the time I have spent in Vancouver recently, I will not go in with any expectations. My goal is very simply to try and play the best that I can and if it is meant to be, so be it. If not, then I will move on. Although the rapid portion is the most important, it will definitely be interesting to play Fischer Random. The only other time I have played Fischer Random over the board was at a blitz tournament which I won in Virginia back in 2003 during the Millenium Chess Festival (beating Polgar 2-0). As far as the Fischer Random goes, I don’t mind the game, however of all the variants of chess which I have come across thus far, I find Seirawan Chess to be the most novel as well as interesting. I do not know yet if ICC will have any live coverage of the games, but either way I will try to play exciting chess as usual.

In my last blog posting, someone left a comment pointing out that I had not listed the field for the round robin tournament which I will be playing in Montreal from August 24-September 2. The reason I did not list the players is because not all of the spots have been confirmed yet. However, for Steve, I will list the players that I know are playing. Shulman, Nataf, Maze, Bluvshtein, Charbonneau, Kovalyov, Roussel, Zugic, myself and one other player. Although the tournament this year is not as strong as in years past, the organizers have said that this is just a transitional year and it will return to the super strong tournament next year. Once again, I will simply try to play well and beat all these Canadians who are living on the wrong coast of the country! 😛 I think the average of the tournament will be somewhere around 2550 if I decide to crunch the numbers. My general attitude these days is simply to just enioy life and if improving at chess goes along with it, so be it.

I will also announce here my plans to play in the French League in 2009 with the French Club Evry. Although I had a great opportunity to play for the first time in a foreign league with the club Antibes, the conditions as well as the possibility of winning has been greatly improved for this upcoming year. However, I would like to thank the club for everything they did for me last year and I wish them nothing but the best of luck in the future. The team Evry came very close this last year and has a very strong team with the number 1 French player Vachier-Lagrave, (Bacrot may retake this spot soon if he regains form) as well as another rising French junior Sebastian Feller. Other notables are Yusupov, Chucelov, Chabanon,Hauchard as well as others. The event promises to be fun, and it will certainly be a blast. I will post the dates under the ‘Events’ tab at the top with the links.

I have not been doing anything special these past few days despite returning to my old stomping grounds in White Plains, New York, USA. Although the weather here is ok, it is quite a bit hotter and also much more humid than it was in Vancouver, so I cannot say that I am necessarily enjoying the weather. Hopefully Germany will offer better weather, but I have not seen whether the temperatures are in the 20’s or 30’s, (CELSIUS) so I will just go and hope to see sunny skies, hot frauleins and play good chess. What more can one ask for in life? Till next time, keep it real and enjoy the summer!

British Columbia, Upcoming Events

July 19, 2008 • General

Hello again everyone! Sorry for not posting anything for such a long period of time, but I have been very busy with life. As of right now, I have not played any chess tournaments since the wretched National Open. Having said that, I cannot complain with my current 2697 rating and number 31. My next tournaments as planned right now will be in Mainz, (Rapid+Fischer Random) Japan, and a reasonably strong round robin tournament in Montreal. Hopefully I can continue to play well and improve my world ranking (crossing fingers). I would also like to give a shout out to a friend of mine, Ylon Schwartz, who has reached the final table of the World Series of Poker in November. Good luck, and may the Schwartz be with you! Till next time, over and out!