Christopher Hikaru Nakamura was born December 9, 1987 in Hirakata in Osaka, Japan, and is the younger brother of Asuka Nakamura. When he was two years old he and his family moved to the United States. He started playing chess when he was four, coached by his stepfather, Sunil Weeramantry. He was the youngest player in US history to defeat an International Master (Jay R Bonin) in a USCF-rated game (10 years, 0 months), to become a National Master (USCF) (10 years 79 days), to defeat a Grandmaster (Arthur Bisguier) in a USCF-rated game (10 years, 117 days), and to become an IM (13 years 2 months), although most of these records have subsequently been surpassed. In 2003 he became the USA's youngest-ever grandmaster (15 years 2 months and 19 days), a record later broken by Fabiano Caruana and Ray Robson.
In 2001 he won the World U14 championship and in 2004, seeded number 87 and aged 16, Nakamura reached the final 16 in the FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004), defeating 46th seed Sergey Volkov, 19th seeded Alexey Aleksandrov, and 51st seed Alexander Lastin in the preliminary rounds before bowing out to number 3 seed and finalist Michael Adams in the round of 16. He also won the U.S. Championship in 2004 http://graeme.50webs.com/chesschamp..., making him the youngest player to achieve that honor since Robert James Fischer. In 2005, he won the 7th Foxwoods Open (2005). In 2007, he won the National Open (2007) in Las Vegas and the Casino de Barcelona (2007). In 2008 he managed to win the Gibraltar (2008) Masters Open with 8.0/10 after beating Bu Xiangzhi in the play-off. In 2009, Nakamura won the US Championship (2009); tied for first with Evgeny Najer at the World Open (2009) after taking two last-day byes, each worth half a point; and won the Donostia Chess Festival (2009) in tiebreak over Ruslan Ponomariov. In 2010, he came =4th at Corus (2010), and was equal top scorer in the victorious Rising Stars team in the Rising Stars vs Experience (2010) tournament. His legendary prowess at blitz chess enabled him to defeat Rising Stars team mate Anish Giri for the right to play at Amber 2011. He scored 5/9 (+1 -0 =8) at the Tal Memorial (2010), placing =4th-6th, and finished the year with =4th place in the London Chess Classic (2010) and ten points (+2 -1 =4), counting 3 points for each win.
Nakamura began 2011 by taking clear first place at the A-Group of the prestigious category 20 Tata Steel (2011) (formerly Corus) with a 9/13 score (+6 -1 =6) and a 2880 performance rating, ahead of a powerful field including the world's top four players: World Champion Viswanathan Anand, Magnus Carlsen, Levon Aronian and former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik. In June 2011, Nakamura scored 4.5/10 (+1 -2 =7) coming =3rd in the Bazna King's Tournament (2011), in July he scored 4.5/10 at Dortmund (2011), in August he came =1st in the 2011 US Open Championship with 7.5/9 and in October he came =3rd in the 4th Bilbao Masters (2011) with 5/10. The following month, he suffered a lapse in form at the category 22 Tal Memorial (2011), scoring 3/9 and coming last but recovered in time to finish 2011 with second place behind Kramnik at the category 20 London Chess Classic (2011), scoring +4 -1 =3 (TPR of 2887). He started 2012 by coming =2nd (4th on count back) at the Reggio Emilia (2011), half a point behind Anish Giri, and then came =5th at Tata Steel (2012), scoring 7.5/13 (+3 -1 =9; TPR 2808). He followed up in April 2012 with 1st at the 6th Annual Grand Pacific Open held in British Columbia and in May 2012 by winning the US Championship (2012) outright with 8.5/11 (TPR 2831), a full point ahead of the winner of the 2010 and 2011 events, Gata Kamsky. He competed in the Tal Memorial (2012) held in June, scoring 4/9. In July/August 2012, Nakamura placed a solid =3rd at the Biel Chess Festival (2012), but then placed last at the FIDE Grand Prix London (2012) with 4/11 putting a crimp on his 2014 World Championship campaign and underperformed at the 28th European Club Cup (2012), although in October 2012, he recovered to some extent by winning the 4 player double round robin 16th Unive Tournament (2012) (crown group) with 4.5/6 (+3 -0 =3). Nakamura finished 2012 with a strong 3rd placement in the London Chess Classic (2012) behind Carlsen and Kramnik, adding enough rating points to restore him to the top 10.
2013 started with a modest 7/13 result for outright 6th at the Tata Steel (2013) event. In the wake of his poor Grand Prix result in London, Nakamura bounced back to take outright second in the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013) putting him back into contention for the top 2 in the 2013-14 Grand Prix series and qualification for the 2014 Candidates. He then followed up in May 2013 with equal 2nd at the Norway Chess Tournament (2013) with 5.5/9, half a point behind Sergey Karjakin and 3rd on tiebreak behind Magnus Carlsen; he also placed =2nd with 6/9 at the preliminary Norway Chess Tournament (Blitz) (2013) held to determine the draw for the main tournament, and earned the right to play with the White pieces in 5 games out of 9. A relatively poor showing at the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013) with 5/11 earned him 60 GP points, however, he remains in contention for the top 2. (1)
Nakamura has represented the U.S. in the Olympiads of 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012, helping his country to the bronze medal in 2006 and 2008. He scored 6/10 during the Chess Olympiad (2010) on top board for the USA and a performance rating of 2741 and 6/9 (TPR 2794) in the Chess Olympiad (2012), coming in fourth on top board. His overall score in Olympiads is 25.5 points accumulated in 40 games played.
Nakamura is one of the world's best rapid and blitz players, and the world's best bullet (one-minute) player. He regularly plays on the internet, usually at the ICC where he is the highest rated player (userid <Smallville>), and at Playchess, where he is known as <Star Wars>. He has set many rating records under different categories. In 2008, he challenged and broke blitz king Alexander Grischuk ’s record at ICC of 3737, reaching 3750. Grischuk subsequently challenged Nakamura to a 20 game 3 minutes blitz match, which Nakamura took out convincingly by 14.5-5.5.* He also won the first ICC Open in 2011 ahead of over 2000 other contestants.**
In 2007, he won the annual Corsica Masters (2007), defeating Rustam Kasimdzhanov in the final. One of the most convincing demonstrations of Nakamura’s ability as a rapid player was when he won the Cap d'Agde (2008), defeating Bu Xiangzhi, Anatoly Karpov and Vassily Ivanchuk in the playoff matches to take first prize in a field that included Magnus Carlsen. Nakamura also defeated Carlsen to take out the BNbank Blitz (2009). He was runner-up to Ivanchuk at the Cap d'Agde (2010) in the playoff.
He authored the book Bullet Chess: One Minute to Mate. He is the younger brother of Asuka Nakamura.
In December 2004, Nakamura played a best of six game match against 14 year old prodigy GM Sergey Karjakin in the "Duelo de los Jovenes Prodigios" (Duel of the Wonder Boys) in Cuernavaca, Estado de Morelos, Mexico, winning 4.5-1.5 (+4 -1 =1). In May 2011 at the St Louis chess club, he won the Nakamura-Ponomariov Match (2011) by 3.5-2.5 (+2 =3 -1).
In August 2009, Nakamura defeated Levon Aronian in Mainz, Germany to become the 960 World Champion and remains unchallenged as such into July 2012.
Ratings and rankings
As of 1 June 2013, Nakamura's rating was:
<Classical> 2784, maintaining his position as the top ranking player in the Americas; he is also the number 5 player in the world;
<Rapid> 2795 (world #4); and
<Blitz> 2844 (world #4).
Sources and references
(1) Wikipedia article: FIDE Grand Prix 2012%E2%80%932013; Live rating list: http://www.2700chess.com/; Nakamura's blog: http://www.hikarunakamura.com/naka/...; * http://dod.ru/chess/game/Crest/Smal...; ** Further details are at this post: Hikaru Nakamura; Wikipedia article: Hikaru Nakamura