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GM Hikaru Nakamura Print E-mail
Hikaru Nakamura, Photo Betsy Dynako 2009
Hikaru Nakamura is the strongest American chessplayer since Bobby Fischer, and represents the US in the strongest tournaments in the World. Once upon a time, Hikaru tagged along to tournaments with his father, the popular coach and NM Sunil Weeramantry and whiz kid older brother Asuka. Quickly, Hikaru rose to the top, over-shadowing his talented brother. He became the youngest master in American history at 10, and the youngest American GM at 15 (breaking Bobby Fischer’s record).

Follow Nakamura's ranking at 2700chess.com. After winning the 2012 US Chess Championship, Hikaru reached #5 in the World for the first time and has since broken into the top two.

Hikaru once said in an interview “there is no point of taking draws.” He plays for blood, and because of this, he’s a chess sponsor’s dream.

As a young prodigy, Hikaru favored aggressive openings like the Sicilian Najdorf, 1.e4 and the King’s Indian Defense (the same openings which Bobby Fischer was loyal to all his life). In the summer of 2002, Hikaru started to broaden his opening repretoire. He added 1.d4 and 1.c4 to his repretoire. In 2005 though, Hikaru went to a radical extreme. Several times, he tried the strange queen foray 1.e4 c5 2. Qh5?!-against strong GMs.

His first major international breakthrough was at the 2004 World Championship in Libya. Hikaru advanced through the brutal knockout tournament three rounds, into the sweet sixteen. This was further than anyone could have imagined. Despite his professional level, Hikaru has never had an official coach. Hikaru is a valuable team player though- he was a key part of the 2006 (Turin, Italy) and 2008(Dresden, Germany) bronze medal Olympic teams and the 2010 silver medal World Team Championship squad.

Soon after his amazing result in Libya, Hikaru became the 2005 U.S Champion. He was only sixteen years old at the time. Nakamura also won the 2009 Championship in Saint Louis, Missouri, taking home the largest prize check in the tournament's history for $40,000. He won in 2012 and again in 2015, in the first year that fellow top-ten player, Wesley So also participated.

The  stunning Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis made such an impression on Hikaru that he moved there in 2010, just before that year's US Championships. Now when Nakamura is not globe-trotting to elite international events, he can often be found at the CCSCSL. Hikaru also plays for the 2010 expansion US Chess League team, the Saint Louis Arch Bishops. 

Nakamura had the best result of his career so far at Tata Steel Chess in January 2011, coming out ahead of World Champion Vishy Anand, former World Champion Vladimir Kramnik and World #1 rated player Magnus Carlsen. GM Ian Rogers annotated some key moments in a CLO article on the event, including the following crushing win against the Grunfeld.


Hikaru is easily the best blitz player in America. Minutes after a winning the two week long 2005 U.S Chess Championship, he was playing blitz chess with a top U.S. rival, Gata Kamsky. In 2006, he was at it again with blitz legend Maxim Dlugy. Both times, Hikaru accumulated crowds who were as taken as a rapt audience at the climax of a James Bond movie.

Nakamura also defeated World #1 (as of January 2010), Magnus Carlsen in a November 2009 blitz battle. Hikaru is the highest rated player on the Internet Chess Club, with hundreds of other Grandmasters at his heels. He plays under the nickname, “Smallville”, his favorite T.V show.  


GM Hikaru Nakamura

Rating: 2881 USCF, 2799 FIDE (April, 2015)
MSA Link
Birthdate: 12-9-1987
Birthplace: Osaka, Japan
Residence: Saint Louis, Missouri
Websites: www.hikarunakamura.com

2011 Tata Steel Chess Champion
2015, 2012, 2009 and 2005 U.S Champion
2010 World Team gold medallist and 1st board for silver medal team
Member of 2006 (Turin, Italy) and 2008 (Dresden, Germany) Bronze Medal Olympic Teams.
NM at 10, breaking U.S. record
GM at 15, breaking U.S. record
2005 Foxwoods Open Champion
2005 Samford Scholarship winner
2001 U.S. Junior Champion