Marshall Invitational, Fame, Tennis, Basketball

June 23, 2009 • General

Hello once again to everyone out there. As a courtesy to one of my fellow friends, I have decided to blog about the comical events of another crazy summer day in New York. Early this afternoon, I chose to go into the city as several friends who were playing in the Marshall Invitational were interested in some singles/doubles. I must admit that anytime I go to the Marshall these days, it feels like I am in a foreign country. I guess this is what happens you show up at your old stomping ground years later. Shortly after this, a few of us went out for lunch and ate some burgers, while a certain unnamed player decided to show a great game from the morning round of the Marshall Invitational (Diagram below).

IM Esserman-Sorkin, Marshall Invitational (7) 22.6.2009

During our analysis with unnamed player we discussed how during the game there was a repitition involving Qd2, Nc6 Qh6 Nb4. Here though, the unnamed player explained that he had analyzed with Rybka and concluded that the fantastic Rc3! is winning. During our analysis this wins by force as Black loses to Nxd5 Nf5!! gxf5 Rg3 Bg6 exf5. Another possible line is Rc3 e6 Rg3 after which White has unstoppable threats. Unfortunately, this mysterious player did not see this tactic, but I still find the tactic quite instructive. After some fun analyzing this and a few other games from this tournament, the four of us headed off to play tennis. As we headed further up the Upper West Side, an older couple stopped nearby and said “Wait, is that Hikaru Nakamura?” Somehow this caught me by surprise and I ran into none other than ChessFM journalist Macauley Peterson’s parents. This was certainly a welcome surprise, and it is always nice to see that in certain circles and areas of America, chess is prominent.

After we reached the Central Park Tennis Courts, it turned out there were no available courts. After dawdling around and considering some options for about a half hour, two older gentleman who had been playing for three hours, started talking about chess within our earshot. Shortly thereafter, they started playing a game. We expected the players to be somewhat weak, but the opening started with 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 exd4 4.Nxd4! This was definitely a surprise considering the level of chess any serious player is used to seeing outside of actual tournaments. Although Black went on the err with 4…c5 ?! (Top choice according to Rybka!) it was clear the players weren’t too bad. Nevertheless, they had already played tennis, so we were unable to hustle them for a tennis court which sucked considerably.

Since our plan to play tennis was an epic fail (There’s my pretender 2000’s lingo) we decided to go and play basketball. A specific unnamed person was challenged to a game of one-on-one by a little 6th grader who wasn’t even 5 feet, while the anonymous basketball player stands over 6 feet tall. This turned into a funny game involving about 10 missed shots from the paint and then some putbacks. We then decided to play some three-on-three involving first to eleven. After my team confidently won the first game, we changed the teams around. This game was very close and involved quite a bit of trash talking involving the unnamed person. After the opposing team took a 10-9 lead, I drained a three pointer to supposedly win the game 11-10. However, Mr. X then said it should be first to win by two points! This led to the game ending up tied at 12-12 before I hit another game winning three pointer. One might ask what this has to do with anything. Originally, I had no intentions of blogging about today, however, Mr. X said “I know you are going to blog about this later,” so I felt compelled to write up the events of today just for Mr. X.

As a general sidenote, involving chess, I would like to congratulate IM Lev Milman who made his first (I think) GM norm today in the New York International with a very nice victory over GM Leonid Yudasin. Lev was always very talented when he was younger, and although he put aside his chess ambitions in favour of college and a more traditional lifestyle, it is great to see that he is still capable of playing great chess at times. Congrats, Lev, you deserve it! As for the other player who was in the running for a norm, IM, Sam Shankland of California, he got completely destroyed by GM Giorgi Kacheishvili and missed a norm. This really did not surprise me as I do not feel he is of GM strength yet. It is now going on 3 AM, so I will try to get some sleep or else it’s going to be time for endless double shots at Starbucks tomorrow morning.


  1. FirebrandX

    Hey Hikaru, congrats on hitting 3500 on playchess. Not even engines get that high a rating there!

  2. claims that Milman earned his last GM norm.

  3. ModernElite

    Fun blog post. I really like your real life blog with personal chess and other stories. Much better than some chess blogs that are basically news sites.

  4. hope you post again soon Hikaru. realy like your blogs.

  5. hey hikaru u r one of my favorite players. i three questions if you have time from your busy schedule to answer them. in your opinion what would be the best way to improve your chess at a aggressive rate?? and how do you prepare for a upcoming tournament? how many hours of chess do you usually play?

  6. hikaru you are one of my best chess players and i hope to learn from your blog and your games also i want you to get the first place in the world open good luck!

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