The Hikaru Nakamura Blog

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

Go Sluggers Go!

September 09, 2009 • General

Good evening to everyone who is on the east coast! Fortunately for me, I am out here on the west coast where it is nothing but sunny skies and lovely girls all around. Before I get into the whole match last night, I would also like to clarify one thing for those who are not aware. Last night, I know there was chatter about where I am currently living. Right now, I am living in Seattle, Washington and NOT Vancouver,BC.Without further ado, onto the chess which is what most people are more interested in.

Nakamura-Kacheishvili, US Chess League, 9.8.09

1.b3! A rather suspicious opening move. Last year I employed 1.g3, but I felt that this year I should try something completely different. 1…d5 A very sound and practical move. 2.Bb2 c5 3.e3 Nf6 4.Nf3 g6!? (Diagram 1)

In this position, I considered several moves. Having played this opening quite a few times on ICC, I was just debating whether to take on f6 or play something a little bit more standard like c4 or d4. In the end, I decided that avoiding anything resembling chess would be preferable. Therefore, I went…5.Bxf6!? exf6 6.c3 Bd6! This is much better than the conventional 6…Bg7 after which I close the diagonal with 7.d4 and have a small advantage. 7.d4 0-0 8.Nbd2 Be6 9.a3 f5 (Diagram 2)

10.c4??? I give this move three question marks because I refused to use my brain at this point in the game. At this point, my mind was already thinking about the impending food which I had ordered at the start of the game. Unfortunately, because I am so incredibly stupid when I am on my own, I forgot to eat any food before the game. Therefore, our acting team manager, Josh had one of our local poker buddies go off and grab me a cheeseburger and fries from Kidd Valley which is a true Seattle experience. Back to the game, 10.b4 or 10.g3 were still roughly equal although Black certainly has no problems here. 10…Nc6 11.dxc5 (11.cxd5 Bxd5 12.Bc4 was equal.) Bxc5 12.b4 Be7 13.c5 Bf6 14.Rc1? 14…d4? (14…f4! 15.exf4 Bf5! with the idea of Re8 and Bb2 is simply winning on the spot.)

15.Bc4 dxe3 16.fxe3 Re8! 17.0-0 Ne5! (Diagram 3)

This last move was played while I was away from the board. Unfortunately, Giorgi played this move at the most inopportune time for me as I was off eating my delicious dinner in the other room. In this position, I am already a tad worse, but I went badly astray as I was feeling happy and content. I immediately played….

18.Nxe5 Bxe5 19.Bxe6 Rxe6 (18…fxe6 gives White the advantage after 19.Nc4 Bc7 20.Qf3.) 20.Qc2?? Another very stupid move which can only be explained by my lack of chess ability which is quite bad. 20…Qc7! A very strong move which I had overlooked. At this point, I am now on the ropes for the rest of the game. 21.Nf3 Bg7 22.Rfe1 Rae8 23.Qa4 Qe7! (Diagram 4) 

Another very strong move which I completely overlooked. For some reason I did not realize that Qxa7 was never a threat because of Ra6. At this point, I realized that I was going to need some help here, so I just decided to try and pose as many problems as possible.

24.Kh1 Rxe3 25.h3 (Diagram 5)

Surprisingly, Rybka just says Black wins after f4! However, I think we had both overloooked 26.Qxa7 Rxe1 27.Rxe1 Qxe1 28.Nxe1 Rxe1 29.Kh2 Be5! After which I cannot stop involving f3-f2 without giving up lots of material. Nevertheless, I got a nice little gift with 25…Bc3? 26.Rxe3 Qxe3 27.Rxc3 (Diagram 6)

Oopsies! A slight oversight on the part of my opponent, but one that I will gladly take. 1-0

Board 2: Charbonneau-Serper

On board two, mon bon ami Canadien Pascal was taking on Greg Serper. The opening looked like a normal Kan until Greg went for a dubious plan involving b6 and Re8. Pascal quickly got a winning position although he missed several wins along the way before showing some superlative technique in an endgame. The result was never really in doubt here and with this win the match was evened out at 1-1.

Board 3: Lee-Bonin

On board 3 talented junior, Michael Lee was taking on Jay Bonin. Having played Bonin at least a half dozen times over the years, he is not an easy customer and is capable of beating anyone on a good day. After a rather bizarre Botvinnik English, they reached a complicated middlegame and agreed to a draw. I was really unsure about who was better, but in terms of the match situation is was fine for both players. Even after three boards

Board 4: Sturt-Chen

On board four, two relatively unknowns in Raven Sturt and Howard Chen faced off. I really do not have a whole lot to say about this game other than that Sturt should be trying to enjoy chess. Playing an opening in which queens come off right out of the opening at the age of 15 is simply ridiculous. I can only hope that he will learn in the future and play more active chess. A dull draw with nothing much to say. 2-2


In summary, the match seemed to be headed New York’s way overall and they were a bit unlucky to not win the match. If Giorgi draws against me, they win the match for sure. Overall it is a solid draw and keeps us on track to make the playoffs. Despite being early on in the season, I have a good feeling about the Sluggers this year and look forward to next week when we play the Arizona Scorpions. Once again, GO SLUGGERS, GO!

On a complete sidenote, I would also like to see my beloved Titans win tomorrow. Sadly, I will be unable to root them on as I will be off at Endfest 18 enjoying music from bands such as Blink182, Weezer, etc. Ah the good life in Seattle!

Greetings From Seattle!

September 07, 2009 • General

This is going to be another short blog as I arrived in Seattle yesterday. Having gotten my apartment in order with the exception of internet, I am enjoying myself thus far. Overall, I have mostly recovered although I still have some slight throat problems even now. Tomorrow, I will be making my debut in the US Chess League, so I will definitely attempt to blog after the game/match. GO SLUGGERS!


September 02, 2009 • General

Once again, this blog will be extremely short. I would just like to let everyone know, I will be headed to the doctor today to try and figure out what in the world has struck me since I have been sick for close to two whole weeks now. When I am settled in Seattle early next week, I’ll let everyone know about my general thoughts regarding the NH disaster and everything else.

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