The Hikaru Nakamura Blog

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


October 15, 2008 • General

Greetings from Seattle! Tonight I will be playing in the US Chess League for the last time during the regular season. So far it has been a great run and I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Since I have not commented on last week, I will make some brief comments. Unlike last year when I lost to Bhat, (largely because I wasn’t paying attention) this year was simply that I made a very stupid blunder in a much better position. However, despite my misfortune, our board 3 Readey also missed plenty of wins in his game so it wasn’t solely my fault. Another note which I’d like to comment on is that I recently noticed GM Wolff annotated the game Esserman-Lian and said the Smith-Morra is a bad opening. I do not believe someone like Wolff who has been retired from chess for so many years and would rather make money at a hedge fund than play chess has any right to comment on the current state of chess theory. I would also straight up say that in a 10 game match in the Smith-Morra, Wolff would lose to Esserman if he played black.

In other news, I will be doing a simul out at the Brooklyn Chess&Games Shop at 192 Flatbush Avenue this upcoming Sunday. For more information, you can call (718) 398-3727. This will be my last public appearance before I return to the board and look to start playing well again after taking a break. My last few tournaments have not been particularly memorable but I was bound to slow down after winning virtually everything I played in from last September-May. So I simply view it as a stabilizing period. Hopefully I can play well, but that is all for right now. Until next time, all the best to everyone and may the markets finally stabilize.

Thoughts From Vancouver

October 03, 2008 • General

Hello again. Sorry if I have not been blogging much lately, but between the US Chess League and some rather unfortunate computer issues I have been quite busy. I will start off with the US Chess League. So far, so good as I am now 3/3 having beaten GMs Benjamin, Mitkov and Fedorowicz. Although I was not particularly crazy about the first 2 wins against Benjamin and Mitkov, my performance was good enough. However against GM Fedorowicz I played a double edged variation of the Kan and got a reasonable position out of the opening. In the middlegame, I think he missed some chances when he decided to play 24.Bxh7 instead of the sharp 24.Nd4 which would have led to a complicated tactical melee. In the ensuing endgame, Fed just got a bad position and lost without putting up much of a fight. Fortunately, Andy May won a very nice game on board 4 while Vancouverite Marcel Milat had a miracle save on board 3 which was enough for us to win the match. As of right now, pretty much everyone (Greg,Arun,etc) seems to have absolutely no respect for the Seattle team, so I think that if we win this week they’ll finally stop being so biased for a change. As it stands right now, the Sluggers are currently tied for 2nd in the west (3rd on tiebreaks) so anything can happen especially as we play San Francisco this upcoming week. Only time will tell.

Outside of the league I have headed into the cave and have started preparing for my upcoming events in France,Austria and Dresden. Many people are undoubtedly wondering if I have quit ICC for good. The answer to that question is no; however, I have made a decision to not play blitz there anymore. Occasionally I will play on playchess, but for the most part my days of online chess are done. Over the years they have brought many great ups and downs, but there comes a point at which it ceases to serve a purpose and improve your all around game. At some point I will probably be seen on ICC again but just not playing.

On another note, I hope everyone enjoyed my responses to the questions for the interview. Although it did not go as smoothly as planned (can someone let me know how to record a skype call?) I will continue this trend of answering questions as each month passes along. That is all for now as I am off to go get my usual mocha from Starbucks to wake myself up here in Lotusland. Until next time, all the best!