Nakamura 2009 U.S. Chess Champion!
By Jennifer Shahade   
May 17, 2009
A beaming Hikaru Nakamura shortly after his Championship win. Photo Betsy Dynako
GM Hikaru Nakamura won clear first and $40,000 in the 2009 U.S. Chess Championship with a final round miniature smash over GM Josh Friedel. Nakamura chose a line he'd never played before in a serious chess game 1.e5 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5, a popular variation at the scholastic level. Nakamura chose this opening because he wanted to play for a win, avoiding any possible playoff for first place.

It couldn't have turned out more perfectly for Hikaru. Josh tried to mix things up, and Hikaru won in short order, finishing off with the pretty bishop retreat, 22.Bc1, trapping the queen.


Tied for second place are GM Alexander Onischuk and GM-elect Robert Hess. Hess got the edge today against GM Varuzhan Akobian, but couldn't squeeze out a win, "If it weren't for 42...b5!," he told CLO, "I may have had chances."


Onischuk played against his own student, 14-year-old IM Ray Robson. Onischuk managed to grind him down after 67 moves.


Look for a final video recap, photos from the closing ceremony and more on CLO and The video will include interviews with Nakamura and Hess. Check the standings here.