The Hikaru Nakamura Blog

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


September 14, 2008 • General

Hello, this will be a rather brief blog as I am about to head off to Balcarra National Park in a short while. I now have the list of questions from all the members, and I would like to thank them. All of the questions look interesting, so I hope that after the interview everyone will be pleased with the answers.


US Chess League Match 3

September 11, 2008 • General

Greetings to everyone from sunny Vancouver! Last night I played my first game for the Seattle Sluggers in the US Chess League. When I played last year for the New York Knights, I must admit that it did not go particularly well as I started out with a loss against GM-elect Vinay Bhat. After that traumatic loss in my first round, I never really was able to get on track as I only won 1 game against IM Eli Vovsha and drew the rest. One of the major issues which I found at the time was that playing on a computer made it much more difficult to focus and I tended to treat the games less seriously. Therefore, I made a conscious decision to not play solely on the computer this year. Fortunately, Seattle has DGT boards which allow players to make moves on a normal board while being relayed to ICC.

In the first game of the season for me, I was paired against GM Joel Benjamin with White. I started off with 1.g3 and we reached a relatively standard position after about 7 moves. The game then took a rather unusual turn of events with queens coming off the board on move 12. After this, the game was fairly balanced, however, I especially disliked Benjamin’s moves 15…exf4 (I would have preferred 15…g6 and then 16…Nb6 17.b4 after which I think I have a nice advantage. Better would have been 16..g6. For further analysis on the game, look forward to my analysis in Northwest Chess. After reaching this position, Benjamin proceeded to fall apart and lost. So we were up 1-0 in the match, only to realize to my horror that IM Tangborn was in a dogfight against GM Gulko while our board 4 Josh Sinanan was completely lost against FM Lian. As it would turn out Sinanan got a very lucky draw while FM Readey also drew in a slightly better position against GM Molner. So it all came down to the board 2 game between GM Gulko and IM Tangborn. Unfortunately as time pressure loomed, Tangborn slowly got squeezed and lost. Nevertheless after some rather stupid predictions by Sharma and Adamson, we cannot be too upset with a draw in the match. Hopefully, we can improve from here and start winning matches! Go Sluggers!


Montreal Recap

September 05, 2008 • General

Hello again! Once again, I find myself apologizing for not keeping up with the blog during the tournament, but I was quite busy. The last time I blogged was after I drew against GM Charbonneau in round 4 of the tournament. At that point I was doing quite well, tied for the lead with GMs Charbonneau and Shulman. Unfortunately, in round 5 I proceeded to play very badly. Against IM Zugic, I played quite a bit too aggressively instead of being content with a draw. Somewhere around here, I realized that I was off form. Unfortunately, the rest day did little good for me as I proceeded to play a highly dubious Rauzer setup against GM Nataf and was close to losing if not lost in the final position. After this, I played against GM Mark Bluvshtein whom I have known since we played way back in the World Youths in 2001. The game was quite balanced, although I obtained a small initiative out of the opening. This eventually led to an endgame where I was a pawn up, but due both to feeling slightly sick (more on that later) as well as being tired, I was unable to convert. All in all, this game was when I realized that it just was not going to be my tournament. In the 8th round I was black against GM Kovalyov who clearly seemed very unprepared for my Dutch. After the first 10 moves and a fairly standard position, Kovalyov proceeded to fall apart incredibly quickly and overlooked my nice tactical shot 25…Nf2! After this the rest was fairly simplistic and I won with relative ease. Unfortunately, by the time round 9 rolled around I was feeling extremely sick and barely managed to salvage a draw against GM Maze. All in all, the tournament was not my best, but I cannot complain considering how much worse things could have ended. I probably lost 5-6 points, so I will be 2698 or the next list I think.

In other news, I will be playing in Gjovik, Norway at the beginning of the new year in a 4 player rapid tournament with Carlsen,Svidler and Agdestein. For right now though, I am going to rest up and try to get over the cold I picked up in Montreal and gear up for the fall/winter season of 2008/09 when I will be very busy with many different tournaments. For more info on upcoming events, just check out the events section on the webpage. Shortly, I will also be doing my monthly interview starting off with the first one in September.

Until next time!