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Hikaru Nakamura
Number of games in database: 1,165
Years covered: 1995 to 2014
Last FIDE rating: 2772
Highest rating achieved in database: 2789
Overall record: +394 -167 =333 (62.7%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      271 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 Sicilian (93) 
    B90 B42 B30 B23 B33
 Queen's Pawn Game (42) 
    A45 D00 E00 A50 D05
 French Defense (34) 
    C02 C11 C10 C16 C18
 Queen's Gambit Declined (32) 
    D31 D37 D38 D30 D35
 Nimzo Indian (29) 
    E21 E44 E46 E32 E47
 Grunfeld (28) 
    D85 D91 D70 D86 D97
With the Black pieces:
 Sicilian (134) 
    B90 B92 B30 B42 B23
 King's Indian (60) 
    E97 E63 E94 E92 E99
 Sicilian Najdorf (46) 
    B90 B92 B99 B94 B96
 French Defense (37) 
    C11 C03 C12 C10 C04
 Ruy Lopez (33) 
    C67 C78 C80 C65 C60
 Dutch Defense (28) 
    A88 A81 A85 A89 A87
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   Krasenkow vs Nakamura, 2007 0-1
   Gelfand vs Nakamura, 2010 0-1
   Rybka vs Nakamura, 2008 0-1
   Crafty vs Nakamura, 2007 0-1
   Nakamura vs Kramnik, 2012 1-0
   G Sagalchik vs Nakamura, 2003 0-1
   Nakamura vs Robson, 2012 1-0
   Beliavsky vs Nakamura, 2009 0-1
   Anand vs Nakamura, 2011 0-1
   Nakamura vs T Hillarp Persson, 2005 1-0

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: [what is this?]
   FIDE World Championship Knockout Tournament (2004)

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Torneo Continental Americano (2003)
   34th World Open (2006)
   5th Gibraltar Chess Festival (2007)
   Corsica Masters (2007)
   Casino de Barcelona (2007)
   Gibraltar (2008)
   Cap d'Agde (2008)
   Ordix Open (2008)
   Ordix Open (2009)
   Gibtelecom (2009)
   Cap d'Agde (2010)
   Geneva Chess Masters (2013)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   Fighting Chess with Hikaru Nakamura by kenilworthian
   Notable Nakamura Games by iron maiden
   Hikaru! by larrewl
   Match Nakamura! by amadeus
   Art of War's favorite games 7 by Art of War
   Selected Tournaments and Favorite Games (2011) a by partien
   Nakamura's Noteables voted by members 1/26/08+ by ffpainz
   Interesting Opening Lines by EruditeEgress
   NAKAMURA'S BEST GAMES by notyetagm
   2013/2014 Tournaments by wanabe2000

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Hikaru Nakamura
Search Google for Hikaru Nakamura
FIDE player card for Hikaru Nakamura

(born Dec-09-1987) Japan (citizen of United States of America)

[what is this?]
IM (2001); GM (2003); 3-time US Champion (2004, 2009 and 2012); world #1 blitz and bullet player, world #7 player (of the standard time game - March 2014).


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.


<Youth> In 2001 he won the World U14 championship.

<National> When he won the Chessmaster US Championships 2005 (2004) (on tiebreak from Alexander Stripunsky), he was the youngest player to win the US championship since Robert James Fischer. He also won the US Championship (2009) outright by half a point ahead of the joint runners-up Robert Lee Hess and Alexander Onischuk, and the US Championship (2012) outright by a full point ahead of the winner of the 2010 and 2011 events, Gata Kamsky.

<World championship cycle> 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 qualified to play in the World Cup (2013) through his rating, and defeated Peruvian WGM Deysi Estela Cori Tello in the first round, Azeri GM Eltaj Safarli in the second round and Indian GM Baskaran Adhiban in the third round, but was eliminated in the Round of 16 (fourth round) by Ukrainian GM Anton Korobov.

<Grand Prix Series 2012-2013> He started the Grand Prix series with last at the FIDE Grand Prix London (2012). After bouncing back into contention with outright second in the FIDE Grand Prix Zug (2013), a poor showing at the FIDE Grand Prix Thessaloniki (2013) eliminated him from contention for the top 2 spots that will qualify for the 2014 Candidates Tournament. (1) He did however place 3rd behind Fabiano Caruana and Boris Gelfand in the FIDE Grand Prix Paris (2013) to accumulate 300 GP points and place 6th in the 2012-13 Grand Prix series. Subsequently, his only chance to play in the 2014 Candidates Tournament was to be nominated as the Organizer's wild card once the venue was settled, however this did not eventuate.

Standard tournaments

In 2005, he won the 7th Foxwoods Open (2005).

In 2007, he won both the National Open (2007) that was held in Las Vegas and the Casino de Barcelona (2007).

The following year, he beat Bu Xiangzhi in the play-off to win the Gibraltar (2008) Masters Open with 8.0/10.

Nakamura 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. He scored 5/9 (+1 -0 =8) at the Tal Memorial (2010), placing =4th, and finished the year with =4th place in the London Chess Classic (2010).

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 placed =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 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). He followed up in April 2012 with 1st at the 6th Annual Grand Pacific Open held in British Columbia. 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 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. 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 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. In June 2013, he contested the category 22 Tal Memorial (2013), and was outright leader after 6 rounds. However, he lost the last 3 game to place 6th with 4.5/9, winning more games (4) and losing more games (4) than any other player in the tournament. Soon after, he came =3rd in the Houston Open in July 2013. In September he played in the quadrangular double round robin category 22 Sinquefield Cup (2013), and was in contention for first place until the last round, when he drew against Gata Kamsky finishing second with 3.5/6 (+2 -1 =3; TPR 2863) behind Magnus Carlsen.

Nakamura first event in 2014 was the category 20 Tata Steel (2014) where he scored 5/11 (+2 -3 =6) to shed a few rating points for FIDE's February rating list. He next competed in the category 23 Zurich Chess Challenge (2014) in which he placed 4th with 2/5 after coming agonisingly close to defeating World Champion Magnus Carlsen. He came 2nd with 3.5/5 in the Zurich Chess Challenge (Rapid) (2014) which followed the standard time event, to remain in 4th in the overall event with the results of the standard and rapid events combined.

Team Events

<Olympiads> 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 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.

<World Team Championship> Nakamura played board 1 for the USA at the FIDE World Team Championship (2013), winning individual silver and helping his team to 4th place in the event.

<European Club Cup> In October 2013, he played top board for the Italian team O.R. Padova in the European Club Cup (2013), and won individual bronze, his team placing 10th.


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. (2) He also won the first ICC Open in 2011 ahead of over 2000 other contestants. (3)

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 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 also defeated Rising Stars team mate Anish Giri for the right to play at Amber 2011.

In 2012, Nakamura won the trifecta of silver medals at the SportAccord World Mind Games (Men's Rapid) (2012), the World Mind Games (Men's Blitz) and the World Mind Games (Men's Blindfold) events. He closed out 2013 by winning the London Chess Classic (Knockout) (2013), defeating Gelfand in the final by 1.5-0.5, after qualifying for the final by winning the preliminary London Chess Classic (Group C) (2013).

He authored the book Bullet Chess: One Minute to Mate.


In December 2004, Nakamura played the best-of-six game Karjakin-Nakamura Match (2004) 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).

960 Chess

In August 2009, Nakamura defeated Aronian in Mainz, Germany to become the 960 World Champion and remains unchallenged as such.

Ratings and rankings

As of 1 March 2014, Nakamura's rating was:

<Standard> 2772, maintaining his position as the top ranking player in the Americas. He is the #7 player in the world;

<Rapid> 2841; and

<Blitz> 2879.

Sources and references

(1) Wikipedia article: FIDE Grand Prix 2012–2013 (2); (3) Further details are at this post: Hikaru Nakamura; Live rating list:; Wikipedia article: Hikaru Nakamura

 page 1 of 47; games 1-25 of 1,166  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. S Predescu vs Nakamura 1-064 1995 U.S. National Scholastic Grade 2 ChampionshipB08 Pirc, Classical
2. L Au vs Nakamura 1-043 1997 Hawaii opB83 Sicilian
3. Nakamura vs J Bonin  1-036 1997 Marshall Chess ClubC02 French, Advance
4. Nakamura vs B Karen 0-152 1997 Nassau FuturityB06 Robatsch
5. P MacIntyre vs Nakamura  1-054 1998 US Amateur Team EastA07 King's Indian Attack
6. Stripunsky vs Nakamura 0-143 1998 Marshall Chess ClubB40 Sicilian
7. B Karen vs Nakamura  0-126 1998 Nassau g/30B23 Sicilian, Closed
8. Nakamura vs I Krush 1-062 1998 Cardoza US opB67 Sicilian, Richter-Rauzer Attack, 7...a6 Defense, 8...Bd7
9. Bisguier vs Nakamura 0-121 1998 Somerset ACN Action SwissE70 King's Indian
10. D Schneider vs Nakamura 0-153 1999 Manhattan CC-chB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
11. D Moody vs Nakamura 0-120 1999 U.S. OpenB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
12. Wojtkiewicz vs Nakamura 1-042 1999 U.S. OpenE62 King's Indian, Fianchetto
13. Nakamura vs O Adu  1-037 1999 Washington Eastern opB54 Sicilian
14. S Kriventsov vs Nakamura  1-024 1999 Rated TournamentB90 Sicilian, Najdorf
15. A David vs Nakamura  1-025 1999 World opB92 Sicilian, Najdorf, Opocensky Variation
16. Nakamura vs A Aleksandrov  ½-½60 1999 U.S. OpenC47 Four Knights
17. S Kriventsov vs Nakamura  1-095 1999 Eastern OpenA49 King's Indian, Fianchetto without c4
18. A Hoffman vs Nakamura 0-135 1999 U.S. Open 99E61 King's Indian
19. Wang Yue vs Nakamura 1-0112 1999 Wch U12A04 Reti Opening
20. Nakamura vs J Fang 0-121 1999 Eastern Class- chB06 Robatsch
21. Nakamura vs G Gaiffe 1-054 1999 U.S. Open (5)B23 Sicilian, Closed
22. V Gaprindashvili vs Nakamura 1-051 2000 World OpenA04 Reti Opening
23. Nakamura vs A De Palma 1-030 2000 World Open Friday Action OpenC45 Scotch Game
24. Nakamura vs Stellwagen 1-042 2000 Wch U14C11 French
25. Nakamura vs Mulyar 1-056 2000 World OpenA45 Queen's Pawn Game
 page 1 of 47; games 1-25 of 1,166  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Nakamura wins | Nakamura loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 803 OF 803 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Apr-23-14  SugarDom: Right. Bruce Lee said you should adapt to your opponent's style by not having a style of your own.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jambow: I'm not sure if the way of no way is what Nakamura needs <sugardom>. His last near victory was built up incrementally as in Carlsen himself. Promising no doubt but ghosts still haunt him. He has to shake them off to succeed.
Apr-23-14  SugarDom: Right. That brings us back to Bruce Lee's first advice.
Apr-23-14  SugarDom: Bruce Lee said when you're relax, your muscles generate more energy. Maybe that includes brain muscles.
Apr-23-14  SugarDom: Naka should adapt Bruce Lee's hairstyle more closely and the cat meows when fighting MC.

Instead of wearing those silly sunglasses. Don't you think?

Apr-23-14  SirRuthless: He had some nice results with those ray-bans on. I think Nakamura should forget carlsen and just try to play good moves and stick to systems that he can succeed in. No point in playing slow positional chess when it is not in your nature. Fab is going to be champion in 2016 anyhow so might as well forget "sauron" and focus on dominating the future champ harry potter and producing enough wins to get in that chair when the time comes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KKDEREK: I agree with that besides he should have won their last game before when Naka had white, was crushing actually..So he 'can' beat of course Carlsen, actually any top 10 can..Beat him in a match is another different matter..
Apr-23-14  SugarDom: What made you say that Fan would be champ in 2016?
Premium Chessgames Member
  KKDEREK: <SugarDom: What made you say that Fan would be champ in 2016?>

Nothing..just wishful thinking..

Apr-24-14  Everyone: Yes, <Everyone> behaves badly - given the chance.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Jambow: I'm not counting out Nakamura just yet, but I think Nakamura needs to understand Carlsen like Carlsen understands Nakamura. Caruana is our best example and he seems to be the only player deliberately working at solving Carlsen as comments from his coach reveals. Now consider the results of that approach.

Does Nakamura have to relax and play good chess sure he does, but it is easier to relax when you understand your opponent better. Nakamura did display that at Zurich, when he simply out played Magnus. If Caruana's coach was available it would probably work wonders for Nakamura.

I guess I feel like Kramnik solved Kasparov and became the world champion against an almost equally insurmountable adversary.

Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: Radjabov, who has a dreadful record vs carlsen, appears to be having his way with the Norwegian as we speak. Nakamura just needs to make good moves consistently. No short cuts. No bail outs, no partial calculations and lazy sloppy playing. Good opening middlegame and endgame play with work against anyone. He must really be enjoying watching the god of chess get spit-roasted in these last 2 or 3 rounds.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: <Jambow> who is Nakamura's coach currently?
Apr-24-14  JustAFish: <john barleycorn> Nakamura, as far as I've heard, doesn't really have a coach. He works with a computer database expert named Kris Littlejohn who helps him prepare openings. However, but for a brief stint with Kasparov, and presumed guidance in his early years from his stepfather Sunil Weeramantry, from the interviews I've read I believe he's been largely a lone wolf.
Apr-24-14  bobthebob: <sirruthless>

I think what Naka is enjoying is seeing that Carlsen can be beat and it didn't take some Tal-like odd sacrifice or positioning or a Kaparovian-brilliance.

Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: His coach last time I heard was Arthur Kogan but he said he had several coaches for different parts of his game. His relationship with Kris has been reduced in capacity AFAIK.
Premium Chessgames Member
  john barleycorn: Nakamura is sitting in his room and trying to solve the paradox: "How come that I'm the only real threat to Carlsen and the others are winning the games against him?"
Apr-24-14  JustAFish: I'll defer to <sirRutheless> on the question of Naka's coaches. It seems his info is more complete than mine.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KKDEREK: Poor Caruana..The 2016 Champion looses again..So Carlsen 'superior' does suffer a big inconsistency ( as we know already)and that's why he almost never qualifies for the Candidates.. Even less win it... I'll go fishing and be back..
Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: Magnus lost again too...What is your point? You should already know personal scores mean nothing in general about a player's strength. Just because Caruana is suited to face magnus does not mean that he doesn't have his own tormentors.
Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: And by the way Caruana is 21(?) How many cycles do you think he has had a chance to qualify for? Not everyone has been getting elite invites since they left the womb like your Norwegian chess god...
Premium Chessgames Member
  KKDEREK: Caruana didn't' even qualified for last Candidates.. When he was at least close to be the contender? Never...I like him, but he's very inconsistent, check his past tourney results..

You guys got all aroused just because he have a 'good' (even!) record against Carlsen and suddenly he will become the champ.. Hilarious.

My point is, I'm mocking you. Just have some fun , sport! Don't be so serious..

Premium Chessgames Member
  KKDEREK: < How many cycles do you think he has had a chance to qualify for>?

Dont know..Cross your fingers, the newer generation in coming..

Apr-24-14  SirRuthless: <KKDEREK> Your grasp of the English language is about as strong as Carlsen's handshake was after he lost today.
Premium Chessgames Member
  KKDEREK: Keep your fingers crossed <sr>, while I'll go fishing, my little troll..


Remember, we are just having fun, sport!

2016 champ..hahaha

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