Nakamura in Cap D’Agde Finals!

GM Hikaru Nakamura at Cap D'Agde 2008.

One of the strongest rapid events is coming to a close today in France and 20-year old Hikaru Nakamura will face Vassily Ivanchuk in the finals. This will be Nakamura’s biggest test of his career after having beat former World Champion Anatoly Karpov in the semi-final match.

For the last several years Nakamura has come into his own and has exceeded expectations of fans and pundits who felt he may be stagnating. He has since broken the coveted 2700 barrier and his performance ans the Cap D’Agde should be an indication that he has corrected some of his weaknesses in his play. His path to the finals has been impressive…

lost to GM Teimour Radjabov (2751)
beat IM Sébastien Feller (2526)
drew GM Magnus Carlsen (2786)
beat GM Humpy Koneru (2618)
beat WGM Hou Yifan (2578)
beat IM Almira Skripchenko (2455)
beat GM Anatoly Karpov (2651)
beat GM Maxime Vachier Lagrave (2716)

Several of Nakamura’s matchup are of note. His first round match with Radjabov and 3rd round match with Carlsen may be the beginning of many contested battles as the three vie for future championships. He also got a chance to play up-and-coming French star Vachier-Lagrave and China’s sensation Hou Yifan. It is without question that Nakamura has squashed all doubts about his intentions to be a contender in the upper echelon of chess.

Update: Nakamura beat Ivanchuk in the final!

Live Games:
Results: tp://

Official Site:

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  1. Photo by

    Hikaru Nakamura in the final against Vassily Ivanchuk.
    Photo by

    In perhaps one of the biggest wins of his career, Nakamura beats Ivanchuk 1½ – ½! to win Cap D’Agde!

    Here are some of his comments from his blog,…

    Going into this match, I knew I would not be the favourite, so my goal was quite simply to play solid and get into the blitz tiebreaks. Although I knew I had chances at rapid, I figured that at blitz I would have very close to even chances. In the first game we played a fairly standard Open Ruy which I had all prepared up until Rc5. According to my analysis with Rybka Rc6 was slightly better. However, the game then simplified into an ending which was objectively equal. However, Ivanchuk who didn’t want to draw with white started pressing and got himself into some trouble. Fortunately, for his sake, he was able to find a solid outpost with the neat g3-Ng2-f4 manouver and draw. In the second game, I once again played in a very solid manner as my goal was to stick with the game plan. In the middlegame he inexplicably started going wrong when he chose Bc5 over the simple Bxg2 Kxg2 Qxd4 Bxd4 Rfc8 after which it should be a standard draw. Slowly but surely I think proceeded to outplay him with the good knight against bad bishop.

    Ivanchuk,V (2786) – Nakamura,H (2704) [C81]
    Trophee CCAS FRA Finale Cap Agde FRA (14.1), 01.11.2008

    1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Bb5 a6 4.Ba4 Nf6 5.0-0 Nxe4 6.d4 b5 7.Bb3 d5 8.dxe5 Be6 9.Qe2 Be7 10.Rd1 0-0 11.c4 bxc4 12.Bxc4 Bc5 13.Be3 Bxe3 14.Qxe3 Qb8 15.Bb3 Na5 16.Nbd2 Nxd2 17.Rxd2 Nxb3 18.axb3 Rc8 19.Rc1 Qb4 20.Rc5 Rab8 21.Rd3 Rb5 22.Rc6 Rb6 23.Rxb6 Qxb6 24.Qxb6 cxb6 25.Rc3 Rxc3 26.bxc3 a5 27.Nd4 Bd7 28.Kf1 Kf8 29.f4 Ke7 30.f5 h5 31.Ke2 f6 32.e6 Be8 33.h3 h4 34.Ke3 g6 35.Nf3 gxf5 36.Nxh4 Kxe6 37.g3 Bh5 38.Ng2 Bd1 39.Nf4+ Kd6 40.b4 a4 41.Kd2 a3 42.Kc1 Bb3 ½-½

    Nakamura,H (2704) – Ivanchuk,V (2786) [E15]
    Trophee CCAS FRA Finale Cap Agde FRA (14.2), 01.11.2008

    1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.Nf3 b6 4.g3 Ba6 5.Qc2 Bb4+ 6.Bd2 Be7 7.Bg2 0-0 8.0-0 c6 9.Bf4 d5 10.Nbd2 Nbd7 11.Rfc1 c5 12.Qa4 Bb7 13.Ne5 cxd4 14.cxd5 Nxe5 15.Bxe5 Bxd5 16.Qxd4 Bc5 17.Bxf6 Bxd4 18.Bxd8 Rfxd8 19.Bxd5 Rxd5 20.Rc2 Rad8 21.Rac1 h6 22.Nf3 Bf6 23.e4 R5d7 24.b3 g5 25.h3 Kg7 26.Kf1 Bd4 27.b4 Bf6 28.Ke2 h5 29.g4 hxg4 30.hxg4 Be7 31.a3 a5 32.bxa5 bxa5 33.a4 Bd6 34.Rd1 Be7 35.Rxd7 Rxd7 36.Ne5 Rd4 37.Rc4 Rxc4 38.Nxc4 Bb4 39.Ne5 Bc3 40.Nc6 f5 41.Kd3 Be1 42.f3 Kf6 43.Kc4 fxe4 44.fxe4 Bd2 45.e5+ Kf7 46.Kc5 Ke8 47.Kd6 Kf7 48.Nd8+ Ke8 49.Nxe6 Bb4+ 50.Kd5 Bd2 51.Ke4 Ke7 1-0

    For a full account, check his blog below:

    Hikaru’s Blog:

    Games: (pgn file at top)

  2. I never thought Naka could upstage Ivanchuk,what a great surprise ,can we get d games here pliz ,the main website is a hussle.

  3. Actually, I love Nakamura’s aggressive style! I remember years ago when I 1st saw him (I think it was at a World Open?), a top US GM, play the early 2. Qh5 after a normal e4e5 opening and win! I was excited about this sort of play, because it help me to understand that being super booked up in the most popular openings isn’t that important: Razor sharp and accurate play is more important! I had the thought after seeing Nakamura’s performance against the world’s top class GMs, that I’d rather see him being supported to go after the World Championship instead of Kamski?! However, I must admit… Anand is super strong in fast chess, and in every other aspect of the game, so what a royal battle that would be so time down the road! 😀

  4. I knew Naka wouldn’t outplay Chucky completely and I understand when Naka mentions Chucky sidestepped d draw at some point .Its hard to see who can really outplay Ivanchuk in Chess ,he knows everything .

  5. Here is the video of the closing ceremonies and prize-giving. There are some nice shots of games in progress and the presentation of the check. Hikaru looks sharp in his suit and is certainly a professional. He looks nearly as good as when he wears The Chess Drum t-shirt. 🙂

    Video by

  6. Phenomenal result – apparently Nakamura’s only loss in the whole tournament was to Radjabov in his first game.

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