How Hikaru Lost the World’s Strongest Chess Tournament

Historically, Hikaru Nakamura has been a great and recognized Chess player. He has won many games and has lost few. He always fights for a win, and as you may know and gather by now, he is my favorite chess player!

Being a four-time United States Chess Champion made him one of the favorites to win the Norway Chess Tournament 2017.

In the first round that took place on 6th June, Hikaru showed perfect technique and managed to defeat Anish Giri. After the first round, Hikaru was the sole lead. The second round that took place on 7th June illustrated that even the world’s best players make mistakes. During the second round, Aronian tried his best to break through Hakaru’s defense without success. They eventually reached an endgame where both of them had two rooks and a knight each. Finally, the players reached a dead draw position and withdrew the game.

In the third round, Hikaru chose a rarely seen variation while Carsen went for a calm approach. The game ended after 40 moves with a threefold repetition.

The fourth round suggested that Hikaru must have had a good day off. This is because he chose Nd5 followed by an expansion on the queenside while Vachier Lagrave chose a kingside attack. Hikaru had everything in control, and he finally won the game.

Round 5 was indeed an interesting battle for Nakamura against Kramnik. They exchanged queens, and resulting positions seemed pretty equal. On the 20th move, the players repeated the position twice, and Kramnik managed to get a pawn up, but that was not enough for a win. After the 5th round, Hikaru was still leading with 3.5 points while Kramnik and Aronian were half a point behind.

In the sixth round, Hikaru tried all he can against a resilient Karjakin who defended perfectly. After 54 moves, the players withdrew the game.

In the seventh round, the game started with a quick a4 position. Anand got a spacious advantage in the centre but later went for complications with 20 e6. The players agreed to withdraw after 46 moves.

In the eighth round, Nakamura had a great edge since his pieces were better placed, but Wesley So found a great way to exchange the pieces. The game finally ended after 35 moves.

In the ninth round, Hikaru spent most of his time in the opening while Caruana seemed very comfortable with the position. Later on, Hikaru had to give the knight back, and Caruana took solid advantage being a pawn up. Hikaru finally resigned on move 59. Taking the tournament away from him and leaving him with nothing and Levon Aronian as the winner (upsetting Magnus Carlsen who was deemed hot favourite to retain the title).

While I am sad he did not manage to win this awesome tournament, the strongest this year, he had a great performance, and I enjoyed writing over every step and misstep he took. In other chess news, I’ve been doing my repetitions on Chessable and playing some games on Lichess.org, but not much else. I missed the Grand Chess Tour Paris but will try and catch the Leuven one. Until next time 🙂

So I was wrong.. Hikaru didn’t win the Chess Grand Prix in Moscow :(

Recently I wrote about why I thought Hikaru was going to come away with a victory in Moscow… but it turns out I was wrong.. 😦 Ding Liren won and Hikaru wasn’t far behind but he didn’t win. Ah, maybe next time!!!

I follow a few games on chess24 and really enjoyed it; better luck next time, awesome chess tournament!

Why Hikaru Nakamura will win 2017 FIDE Grand Prix (12th-21st May Moscow, Russia)

Lately I’ve been distracted from studying this free book by John Bartholomew on the 1.d4 opening by the FIDE Grand Prix, after all, one of my favorite players is taking part so I am trying to watch most games. Hikaru!!!

Hikaru Nakamura is an American chess grandmaster who has been ranked among the top two players worldwide by FIDE, and happens to be one of my favorite players. He was born on 9th December 1987 in Hirakata, Japan. When he was two years old, he moved with his mother and his brother to the United States where he began playing chess at the age of 7.

In January 2011, Hikaru won the prestigious Tata Steel Invitational in Netherlands. From the date he earned his grandmaster title, he has been a regular participant in many chess tournaments around the world. He has posted victories against Grandmaster Vladimir Kramnik of Russia and grandmaster Viswanathan Anand of India.

In short, Hikaru is well known as the best blitz player as well as the best at bullet chess. He is simply awesome. In 2009, he defeated Magnus Carlsen in a four game match during the finals of BNBank Blitz challenge which took place in Oslo.

He is a four time United States champion having won the title in 2005, 2009, 2012 and 2015.

The fact that he is rated number one in the United States and number two worldwide gives him high probability of winning 2017 FIDE Grand Prix.

For now though, Hou Yifan a female player from China leads after winning the first round of the FIDE Grand Prix by defeating Ian Nepomniachtchi with the black pieces. The following are standings after round one. Come on Hikaru, you can do it! 🙂

Name

FED

Ratings

Points

1. Hou Yifan CHN 2652 1,0
2. Vachier-Lagrave Maxime FRA 2795 0,5
 3. Nakamura Hikaru USA 2786 0,5
 4. Giri Anish NED 2785 0,5
 5. Ding Liren CHN 2773 0,5
 6. Mamedyarov Shakhriyar AZE 2772 0,5
 7. Svidler Peter RUS 2755 0,5
 8. Grischuk Alexander RUS 2750 0,5
 9. Harikrishna P. IND 2750 0,5
 10. Adams Michael ENG 2747 0,5
 11. Inarkiev Ernesto RUS 2727 0,5
 12. Gelfand Boris ISR 2724 0,5
 13. Radjabov Teimour AZE 2710 0,5
 14. Vallejo Pons Francisco ESP 2710 0,5
 15. Tomashevsky Evgeny RUS 2696 0,5
 16. Salem A.R. Saleh UAE 2633 0,5
 17. Hammer Jon Ludvig NOR 2621 0,5
18 Nepomniachtchi Ian RUS 2751 0,0

300 points in a year? I can hardly get 10. How to improve at chess?

Recently I got notified about a new blogpost on my feed, “How to improve at chess” where a player gained 300 points in a year. Pretty impressive, this motivated me to do some more research and offer a write up on my own plan and take on how to improve at chess.

Chess is like mathematics. There are no shortcuts! Every chess player is looking for a secret recipe to help get good at chess. Well, the following activities have been recommended by great coaches and trainers as the most effective methods and should make up the core to improve your game.

SOLVE TACTICS DAILY
One major step you can take to improve your game is to solve tactics on a daily basis. Never spend the whole training session working on tactics. Instead, spending 20 minutes daily is totally sufficient.

Analyze all your losses
Of course, it’s painful to look at your losses, but we learn best from our mistakes. Analyzing your lost games will help you understand what really went wrong and this will help you avoid similar failures in future games.

Study grandmaster games
Analyzing strong players’ games will help you discover many valuable ideas. Put yourself in the players’ shoes and identify all possible threats. Finally, come up with a plan and compare your findings and analysis with what actually happened in the game.

Get a mentor
A chess mentor is a person you can tell about your difficulties, failures, successes and what works and what doesn’t. Your chess mentor doesn’t have to be a master or a grandmaster but should be more successful than you.

Play competitive chess
Practice makes perfect! To perform at your best, face to face competition is a must. Never assume that playing online is enough. This is because the skills you can gain from over the board games cannot be compared to playing online.

Stay Positive
Don’t get frustrated by your failures. Instead, treat your failures as part of the training. It’s better to lose games now rather than losing an important game later.

Will dedicate myself, feeling motivated 🙂