Hikaru chats with The Chess Drum

Photo by Daaim Shabazz/The Chess Drum

Hikaru Nakamura had just finished playing a tough game with Evgeny Najer in the 7th round of the World Open. After winning the game on move 55, the 21-year old knew that the fate would lie in the hands of players who he had battled earlier. Nakamura had to take two 1/2-point byes for the last two rounds in order to fly to Spain for the San Sebastian tournament beginning with the opening ceremonies on Monday. The Drum’s Daaim Shabazz requested an interview and he obliged.

Nakamura has recently become America’s top-rated player and won the U.S. National Championship back in May. However, he would have to wait to hear that Viktor Michalevski lost his last two games and Najer would win his last two to pull into joint 1st with Nakamura. Since Nakamura was not present to play the blitz tiebreak, Najer was declared the overall winner.

Nevertheless, Nakamura in good spirits and shared a bit of his tournament fortune with The Chess Drum audience. In this interview, he speaks on his tournament performance, his schedule and future aspirations. Interesting.

Check it out here!

GM Hikaru Nakamura with The Chess Drum's Daaim Shabazz.

GM Hikaru Nakamura with The Chess Drum’s Daaim Shabazz


  1. Good luck Nakamura. I am glad he is playing in Corus A so he can shut up alot of the haters. Seems like the brother is very supportive of the Chess Drum

  2. Yep… he’s very supportive. He wears the t-shirt too! 🙂 Well in short… he’s good for chess. There was a lot of talk at the World Open about supporting his quest for World Championship.

  3. Since Naka defeated Najer heads-up, would have been nice for them to declare him victor in “tie-breaks”. But understand situ since he decided to leave for San Sebastian. A pity.

  4. Where is the Nakamura interview? There is no link to the interview.
    Was it removed?
    It says — “Check it out here!”
    but there is no hyperlink.

  5. It seems Hikaru is in Spain trying to prove American chess is truly inferior to the European “school” 😉

    He just beat Paco Vallejo, moving to 3.5/4 :-D. Hope he can keep it up!

  6. People always give Nakamura credit for his opening play (he is daring yada yada) but no one ever talks about this guys almost flawless endgame technique. It’s good to see him back in form.

  7. Nakamura won! Congrats to him! It came down to a two game blitz tie break which of course, Nakablanca always does will in blitz

  8. Here are videos of the blitz tiebreakers. This first game is a brutal beatdown.

    (1) Nakamura,Hi (2710) – Ponomariov,R (2727) [B81]
    City of Culture GM Playoff Donostia ESP (1), 16.07.2009

    1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 e6 6.g4 h6 7.Bg2 Nc6 8.h3 a6 9.Be3 Ne5 10.Qe2 g5 11.f4 gxf4 12.Bxf4 Nfd7 13.0-0-0 b5 14.Qf2 Bb7 15.Kb1 Qb6 16.Rhf1 Be7 17.Be3 Qc7 18.Nf3 Rh7 19.Bd4 b4 20.Na4 Nc4 21.Nd2 Rc8 22.Nxc4 Qxc4 23.b3 Qb5 24.Nb2 Ne5 25.Bxe5 dxe5 26.Nc4 Rxc4 27.bxc4 Qxc4 28.Qb6 Qc6 29.Qa5 f6 30.h4 Rg7 31.Bf3 Rg8 32.g5 hxg5 33.Qxe5 [33.Bh5+ Kf8 34.Qxe5 ] 33…Kf7 [33…fxe5 34.Bh5+ Rg6 35.Bxg6# ; 33…Rh8 ] 34.Qg3 g4 35.Bxg4 Qc5 36.Bxe6+ [36.Bxe6+ Kxe6 37.Qxg8+ Ke5 38.Rf5+ Kxe4 39.Qg4+ Ke3 40.Rd3# ] 1-0 (See game)

    (2) Ponomariov,R (2727) – Nakamura,Hi (2710) [B81]
    City of Culture GM Playoff Donostia ESP (1), 16.07.2009

    1.d4 d5 2.c4 c6 3.Nf3 Nf6 4.Nc3 dxc4 5.a4 Bf5 6.e3 e6 7.Bxc4 Nbd7 8.0-0 Bb4 9.Qe2 Bg6 10.e4 0-0 11.Bd3 Bh5 12.Bf4 c5 13.e5 Bxc3 14.bxc3 Nd5 15.Bd2 cxd4 16.cxd4 Nb8 17.h3 Nc6 18.g4 Bg6 19.Bb5 Rc8 20.Rfc1 Nde7 21.Kg2 Nxd4 22.Nxd4 Qxd4 23.Qe3 Qxe3 24.Bxe3 a6 25.Bf1 Bc2 26.Kg3 Nd5 27.Bd2 Rc7 28.a5 Rd8 29.Ra2 Rdc8 30.Rb2 h6 31.f4 Nc3 32.Kh2 Ne4 33.Be3 Ba4 34.Rxc7 Rxc7 35.Bg2 Rc2 36.Rxb7 Re2 37.Bb6 Bc6 38.Rc7 Bd5 39.Kg1 Re1+ 40.Kh2 Re2 41.Rc8+ Kh7 42.Rc1 Nd2 43.Rg1 Nf3+ 44.Kg3 Nxg1 0-1 (See game)

  9. Wins the US Championship; wins the World Open; Wins San Sebastian (Ahead of former World Champions – 3 of ’em!), so, it’s finally beginning to look like an American player has got to be reckoned with on the world chess stage! Bravo, Nakamura; NakaBlanca; NakaMorphy!

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