Nakamura takes U.S. Crown!

Hikaru Nakamura came to St. Louis with a mission… qualify for the World Cup and to win his second U.S. Championship. In rousing fashion, Nakamura won his last game against the talented Josh Friedel to win the $40,000 prize and to solidify his status as one of world’s marquee players. Seeded second to Gata Kamsky, Nakamura played some very interesting games but was particularly careful about Friedel with whom he has had some problems with in the past. This game would turn out to be anti-climatic as he would win in a mere 22 moves.

In the press conference, Hikaru praised the venue and the conditions stating that it was the best U.S. Championship he has ever played in. He mentioned the cleansiness of the restrooms which got a laugh from the audience… something chess players can appreciate in tournaments. He also mentioned the importance of winning this year’s event given that many of the top players were competing. He praised mentioned that he had a few invitations in Europe and while he plays roughly 8-10 times a year, that he would continue to reside in the U.S.

Nakamura is only 21 years old, but perhaps has several more victories in his career. When asked how many he would shoot for he stated, “Maybe five. If Gata and Alex stop playing we’ll see how many more.” Certainly there may be another Bobby Fischer record waiting to be broken. Nakamura is just the person to do it. Congratulations!

Photo by Daaim Shabazz.

Games of Hikaru Nakamura

Video by Macauley Peterson (ICC/Chess.FM)


  1. The great thing about the last game is that he wanted to PUNISH Friedel. He owned him with the Fried Liver attacked. The game will go down in history.

  2. Chatted with Hikaru Nakamura in the wee hours this morning on Facebook. He liked the picture above. We chatted about a variety of topics including one of his passions, hockey. He gave me some interesting insight on the use of seconds. The chess world must know that he is now using a second. However, we both were surprised to see Gabriel Sargissian at the tournament. Apparently he was seconding Varuzhan Akobian and of course, both of them are very close. Hikaru said that a second should never be stronger than the player. That is an interesting thought.

    I brought up the issue of Veselin Topalov seconding Ruslan Ponomariov in 2001, but he pointed out that they were about equal at the time. I had never thought of this before, but I guess a stronger second can make the player less likely to challenge the analysis and hinder his ability to think for himself. However, Akobian and Sargissian’s friendship probably have some intangible benefit. Armenians are a very close unit and have proved that “chemistry” is very important in team events.

    Akobian still did well, but had a couple of disastrous games against Gata Kamsky and Nakamura (both in the French). I’m thinking he’ll play in Chicago. Hopefully he’ll bring Sargissian along to play.

  3. Well ok, congrats to Naka ,however from an Ultramodern point of view the Black Men(Steinitz started this stuff) historically have been given hysterically inferior openings ,hence the dubious rook maneouvers and the subsequent loss of the game so its clear we will be winning many of their top events,i believe Black players would have won many of theit top events in the past if it were not for the restrictive ideas exspoused by nimzovich and the boys combined with the fear of “being black” , i just heard an interview by Naka talking this nonsense about not being white! haha funny stuff! Peace.

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