Worldwide Randomness

April 30, 2012 • Blog

Greetings to everyone from Arvier, Italy on this final day of April in 2012 …GULP. I have not blogged in a very long time, and my apologies for not keeping the fans updated, but I generally prefer tweeting (@GMHikaru) instead of writing long posts about my many other interests (non-chess) on this blog.

Since the end of Wijk aan Zee on January 31st, I have more or less been in retirement or on a long vacation from chess depending on how one looks at it. As most people know, I have spent most of my free time since then in Vancouver, British Columbia during this long hiatus (big shout out to Canada!). However, chess fans need not fret, for I have also been studying chess with some of my friends and occasional seconds in preparation for the upcoming US Championship.

Originally during my break in British Columbia, I had no plans to play chess, but when I found out my good friends FM Jack Yoos and Jamin Gluckie were planning to play in the Grand Pacific Open in Victoria, I ended up getting roped in as the thought of combining chess and hanging out with friends on the island seemed like a good way to start my return and attempt to get sharp
while minimizing the risk. I won the tournament relatively easily winning all six of my games, but there were some close calls as I inevitably showed some rust and had a few problems namely against the BCCF (British Columbia Chess Federation) President, FM Roger Patterson who hung tough and only blundered near time control. Also deserving an honourable mention is WGM Nino Maisuradze who played extremely well and was probably holding equal until two imprecise moves in time pressure tilted the balance in my favour. Overall the tournament was very well run, and I can only express my gratitude and thanks to the the organizers and staff for the fabulous job. I look forward to returning to Victoria in July to give a simul and lecture during the Canadian Open.

I am also aware that certain people on other blogs felt the need to belittle me for playing a weekend tournament with masters and experts in an attempt at picking up rating points. While rating points do matter, this tournament was simply an opportunity for me to play chess, enjoy a weekend with friends and have the opportunity to give back to the British Columbia chess community. The countless kids and parents who wanted photographs or signatures is what ultimately matters most. Having the ability to make a difference in the lives of people and be an inspiration is what will comprise the lasting memories I have of chess long after I have quit.

About five or six months ago, a friend of mine who was living in Italy at the time mentioned the idea of playing in the Italian Team Championship, and put me in touch with a team. We quickly came to terms, and so I arrived here three days ago. Much to my surprise, I was quickly informed that I would be playing two games the following day starting at 8:45AM! Immediately, I knew this was going to spell trouble as I was slightly jetlagged! However, like any professional, I somehow found a way (Italian coffee, anyone?) to not be a total zombie walker for my first game against GM Alberto David from Luxembourg. Unfortunately for me, after playing a slightly unusual Dutch similar to a setup Magnus Carlsen has used on several occasions, I quickly got into trouble with several poor decisions during the middlegame. To his credit, Alberto kept up the pressure and eventually my position started to crumble completely and I was probably
losing. Nevertheless with both of us getting low on time, I was able to create complications and reach time control with pretty reasonable chances of drawing. Unlike the opening and middlegame, Alberto started going wrong and made two serious mistakes and this tipped the scales and I was able to collect the full point…phew. In my second round of the day against GM Emil Sutovsky, I had a dilemma as to whether I should attempt to use some of my preparation for the US Championship or just play something quiet. Perhaps drawing upon my inspiration from Vancouver, I decided to play 1.g3 in the style of Duncan Suttles. Eventually the game turned into a reverse Dutch, and around move 10, I simply felt like the position was completely equal and I did not want to risk anything. I offered a draw which Emil quickly accepted and I ran back to the hotel and face planted into the pillow for a few hours. Yesterday, I had black against GM Gawain Jones from England. Amazingly despite knowing Gawain for many years now, we still had only played once way, way, way, way back in the stone ages at the World Youth in Oropesa, Spain in 1998! Unfortunately for Gawain, he is having a bad tournament and had lost both of his two previous games from the day before. As such, Gawain took almost no risk and despite my creative play, he was able to simplify it into a pretty drawish middlegame. Seeing no real play, I decided to offer a draw which he duly accepted. While I would have liked to have had more opportunities to create play and calculate, it was not the worst result ever and I averted any major catastrophes.

In the meantime, I will continue preparing for the US Championship which begins in approximately a week.




  1. I watched your Italian games live from Wisconsin.

    A draw after ten moves is so uncool.

    Alas, good luck in St. Louis, was hoping for a Naka v Shanky final, but I don’t even think he’s in it.

  2. No matter how you justify it, you should have been ready to play. Taking draws, even in lifeless positions, after 10 and 17 moves, against much weaker opposition, shows a surprising disrespect to the organizers.

  3. chessdi

    Wishing the best of luck to you for the upcoming U.S. Championships, we can only hope that you return to making regular blog posts here! Although your “twitters” keep us up to date, we fans thirst for the heartfelt commentary and the passion you display, the memories you cherish and the adventures you experience, in a world of Black and White. May the best king be left standing at St. Louis.

  4. aerodarts

    quote from the author

    “We quickly came to terms, and so I arrived here three days ago. Much to my surprise, I was quickly informed that I would be playing two games the following day starting at 8:45AM! Immediately, I knew this was going to spell trouble as I was slightly jetlagged”!


    I am a fan and would like to thank you getting involved in the two tournaments you just wrote about.

    Also, I really like your way of being able to open up to the fans and write in an honest manner….That does leave the door open for those who want to find fault in your chess games we all have read and heard about.

    You made no excuses when you found yourself in the circumstances in Italy, No doubt the results were very good. I also like the respect shown to you by Emil by accepting a quick draw. He must of been aware of your physical state. I met him in st louis in 2009 at the championships. He had picked Kamsky to win , but as we all know, you won it! Also, thanks for taking the time to chat with me after your last game outside the club.

    May I suggest something… the terms you play under in the future, have enough time to adjust to jet lag!

    Good luck in St Louis…I am sure your fans will be pulling for you!

    john marceaux

  5. Paul Morphy

    Yo Hikaru! Awesome new site! Your events page is missing the World Rapid and Blitz Championships 2012 (June 24, 2012 – July 1, 2012). You’re going, right?

  6. Hello Paul. I could have sworn I visited your grave in New Orleans last year, but congratulations on rising from the dead and joining us amongst the living again! I have neither been invited, nor heard about the World Rapid and Blitz Championships, and I already have commitments elsewhere.

  7. Paul Morphy

    Haha. Well, Louis Paulsen finally moved. So, I figured I’d respawn to finish him off because I vowed never to lose to him again. Anyway, I’m really looking forward to seeing some exciting chess from you at the U.S. Open!

  8. Donald Maclean

    Big Fan here !!! You are one of my favorite players.If i could get the chance to meet you some day that would be amazing. I would like my daughter to meet you too .I do not have the funds to go to the states to watch you>im from Canada, But maybe someday i will get the chance to get a picture with you.. I would post it above my fireplace and tell all my friends .I wish you luck In your upcomming tournment.( not that you will need it lol )

  9. You were so magnanimous to the players in British Colombia and Italy.Very classy move. Look forward to watching your games from St. Louis. GL @Soulful1

  10. Good luck at the US Championship!

  11. I really like your website design and your style of playing chess.
    I wish you the best for the future. Maybe you move up the rankings and become a contender for the world chess championship one day.

    Good Luck!

  12. Jeremy

    Great to see a blog update, welcome back to chess!

  13. Paul Morphy's Bathtub

    GM Nakamura,

    Ignore the haters. But you already know that.

    Glad to see you doing so well in the US Championships so far.

    Keep making progress and bring the World Championship back to America!

    Paul…I’m lonely without you…

  14. I have to admit that your US Championship win was great. Entertaining chess, good public relations. Well done.

  15. Hi Hikaru, who is for you Raffael on “Playchess” and truly believes on icc B.Fischer juice? many thanks from argentine

  16. Excellent win over Bologan! Lots of commentators have praised Carlsen for his willingness to grind out an endgame with only the tiniest of advantages, but you showed every bit as much fighting spirit and technique today. Keep working hard and there’s a good chance the two of you will be playing for the world championship in 2015.

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