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Nakamura's 2.Qh5

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It's already taken over the below thread, so I'm taking it as a topic suggestion. US champion Hikaru Nakamura played 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 against Krishnan Sasikiran in the Sigeman tournament today and lost in 87 moves. It was a critical game in standings. Nakamura was alone in second behind Timman, a place now occupied by Sasikiran while Nakamura is equal 3-4 with Hansen.

It won't surprise to learn that 2.Qh5 has never occurred in serious GM play. The Megabase turns up one game by Westernin from 1973, who was an IM then. Anyway, that's the only serious Master game I can find. Other than that you have the predictable U12 and open events.

It has caused some shock and horror among fans, but after a half-dozen moves the position was nothing special and White was doing fine. Later, Nakamura spurned exchanges and ended up in a worse position and a lost endgame. But don't blame the opening! Full game in PGN below.

Update: Toward the end of the nearly 200 comments, many from the originators of Qh5 in American Master chess, Hikaru Nakamura himself explains his rationale.

[Event "13th Sigeman & Co"]
[Site "Copenhagen/Malmoe DEN"]
[Date "2005.04.22"]
[Round "7"]
[White "Nakamura, H."]
[Black "Sasikiran, K."]
[Result "0-1"]
[ECO "C20"]
[WhiteElo "2657"]
[BlackElo "2642"]
[PlyCount "174"]
[EventDate "2005.04.15"]

1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 g6 4. Qf3 Nf6 (4... f5 $5 {Yermo}) 5. Ne2 Bg7 6.
Nbc3 d6 7. d3 Bg4 8. Qg3 Qd7 9. f3 Be6 10. Bg5 Nh5 11. Qh4 h6 12. Be3 Na5 13.
Bb3 Nxb3 14. axb3 a6 15. d4 Qe7 16. Qf2 exd4 17. Bxd4 Nf6 18. O-O-O O-O-O 19.
Nf4 Rhg8 20. Rhe1 Kb8 21. Kb1 g5 22. Nfe2 Rge8 23. g4 (23. e5 $5 dxe5 (23...
Nh5 $2 24. g4 dxe5 25. Ba7+ Ka8 26. Bc5 Qf6 27. Ne4) (23... Ng8 24. exd6 cxd6
25. Bxg7) 24. Ba7+ Ka8 25. Bc5 Rd6 26. Bxd6 cxd6 {
Black has full compensation for the exchange.}) 23... Qf8 24. Ng3 Nd7 25. Be3
Qh8 26. Nge2 Be5 27. h4 Qg7 28. Rh1 Nf6 29. Bd4 Nd7 30. Qe3 Qf6 31. hxg5 hxg5
32. Bxe5 Qxe5 33. Rh5 Rg8 34. Nd5 Rde8 35. Qc1 Qg7 36. Ne3 Nf6 37. Rh2 Rh8 38.
Rg2 Nd7 39. Nd4 Rh3 40. c4 Qf6 41. Rf2 Reh8 42. b4 Qe5 43. c5 dxc5 44. bxc5
Nxc5 45. Qc3 f6 46. Rc2 Na4 47. Qb4 Bd7 48. Nb3 Rh1 49. Rxh1 Rxh1+ 50. Ka2 Nb6
51. Qf8+ Qe8 52. Qxe8+ Bxe8 53. Nc5 Nd7 54. Nxd7+ Bxd7 55. Kb3 Re1 56. Rc3 Be6+
57. Kc2 Re2+ 58. Kc1 a5 59. Nc2 Rf2 60. Nd4 Bd7 61. Rc5 b6 62. Rd5 Kc8 63. e5
fxe5 64. Rxe5 c5 65. Nb3 Rf1+ 66. Kd2 a4 67. Nxc5 bxc5 68. Rxc5+ Kb7 69. Rxg5
Rxf3 70. Rd5 Be6 71. Rd3 Rf1 72. Rg3 Rf2+ 73. Kc3 Kb6 74. Kb4 Rf4+ 75. Ka3 Kb5
76. Re3 Bd5 77. Rd3 Bc4 78. Re3 Rd4 79. g5 Rd1 80. b3 axb3 81. Re8 Ra1+ 82. Kb2
Ra2+ 83. Kc3 Rc2+ 84. Kd4 b2 85. Rb8+ Ka4 86. g6 Bb5 87. g7 b1=Q 0-1


I was also thinking there was compensation when the ICC crowd called out "blunder" as he didn't play 23.e5. However, after 25..Rd6 he doesn't have to capture straight away so maybe it's still annoying. How about a natural move like 23.Ng3 or something first.

Like 26.Ng3 I mean.

It's an attempt to provoke and maybe insult. If my memory serves me Kasparov played an eary Nh3 (or possibly Nf3-h4) in a game against Karpov in the mid-ninties (Linares?). Karpov lost. I saw the game annotated in Chess Life a few years ago.

Nakamura displayed questionable understanding of chess nuances in this game. He violated the rule 'Don't bring out your Queen early in the game' on move 2, but tenaciously stuck to the principle of not exchanging pieces - reminds me of my son when he was receiving Chess training for a few weeks from Noureddine Ziane!

Like Kramnik's comments about his loss against Karpov in 1994, Hikaru is probably wondering at point in the game he started losing (how about on move 2?). I also don't understand why he continued to play on in a clearly lost position, especially after 79. ..Rd1, it was curtains for him.

He is young enough to afford risky play, but at 2650+ level, rating points are hard to come by. Just ask the guy who beat him today!

Bill C I think it was in Las Palmas 1996.

On White's 25th move, Nakamura should taken the initiative by exchanging off a pair of black bishops with the following variation 25.Bxg7 Qxg7 26.Nf5! Bxf5 27.exf5 Re5 28.Rxe5 Nxe5. In this postion, white will have a slight advantage owning to a larger space advantage on the kingside, however black is not too bad due to its centralized Knight, thus chances would be about equal and most likely it would be a draw a few moves afterwards.

Due to Nakamura's refusal to exchange off his dark-square bishop for that of his adversary by the move 25.Be3?, Sasikiran played the strong positional move 25...Qh8! to increase black's presence down the 1-a1-h8 diagonal and a few moves later on 33 was able to get a powerful central position for his queen on e5. However white's not too bad and could have doubled his rooks on move 37 with Rdh1, however Nakamura gave up that golden opportunity and instead made another anti-positional move Rg2, yielding the h file eventually the black rooks and White also wasted his time pushing the b and c pawns and sacrificing his c pawn for no dynamic or positional compensation.

Nakamura ultimately lost due to his flawed plan and a serious loss of a vital c pawn as well as important tempi which he could have snatched on move 25. Sasikiran played accurately in the endgame by refusing to snatch White's g pawn on move 78 since 78...Rxg4? 79.Re5+ Kc6 80.Kxa4 would lead to a draw and that's Nakamura's last trick. Sasikiran very shrewdly played the winning 78...Rd4! and won in convincing manner 9 moves later. Overall, Sasikiran played in the good positional manner. Nakamura lost simply due to his impatience in the middlegame (the opening was rather flawless) and rushed his plan.

Dear saguni, you're right in saying that Nakamura violated opening principles. Anyway, if anyone cares to ask, 2.Qh5 is called the "Patzer's Opening" by the classical masters a century ago. Nakamura displayed a persistent dislike to exchange pieces in the game against Sasikiran, that reminds me of what Mikhail Tal used to say about Viktor Korchnoi that Korchnoi had "an organic dislike to part with material" and that Korchnoi's habit made him suffer a considerable no. of losses at Tal's hands.

This opening has been played for years by an obscure master in Indiana (USA) by the name of Bernard Parham. He plays 2.Qh5 (and 2...Qh4)against almost any move and has developed an interesting system called "The Matrix System" which is based on geometric chess patterns.

I interviewed him a couple of years ago after being intrigued with his "invention" many years ago. He has some very interesting ideas and I asked him some tough questions about his system. He has been playing this exclusively since the 1960s. Of course, he is no Nakamura, but he's been able to get some interesting wins. I was sitting next to him during one of his slashing victories. Here's the interview.



It's probably lots of fun tossing out imaginary facts but did you know that fact checking can also be fun? Why don't you wander over to Chessbase, look up the Korchnoi-Tal games, and report back to us on what you find.

Correction to first post: The move Rdh1 should come on White's 38th move and not the 37. A good continuation would have been 38.Rdh1 Rxh2 39.Rxh2 d5! 40.Nf5 Bxf5 41. exf5 b6 42. Ng3 c6 43. Nh5 Nxh5 44.Rxh5 f6 45.f4 gxf4 46.Qxf4+ Kb7 47. Qh2! (47...Qxg4 Rh7+ followed by Qc7 would mate black) Re1+! 48.Ka2 Re7. Although White's on the attack, Black's defence is solid and most likely a draw would result with extremely careful play from both sides. White must watch out for the phalanx of black pawns on the queenside which could be turned into a threat on his king's position if he does not defend well. Meanwhile, White's connected pawns on f5 and g4 on the kingside plus his heavy pieces would give black problems to worry about. Thus, although the position may look simple, it contains a lot of dynamic potential. Test it out guys, I'm sure some of you would love it!


It is well-known that Tal used to lose consistently to Korchnoi. I'm not sure what you are trying to say. In fact, ChessBase just ran an interview about Korchnoi a week ago. You must've missed this one.

greg koster--

Let me warn you that what I said is 100% true and contains no falsehood whatsoever. Korchnoi may not have lost fewer games to Tal than Tal lost against him but in the book "The Magic of Mikhail Tal" published by Everyman CHESS, in game no.26, Tal crushed Korchnoi in 24 moves in the Montpellier Candiadates in 1985 in a Sicilian. In his own annotation, Tal mentioned that it was Korchnoi's reluctance to exchange off pieces to a simplified position that led to his defeat. Moreover, that's not the only case whereby Korchnoi lost in such a manner.

In 1986, one year after the candidates, Korchnoi lost with White against an lesser master named Greenfeld in Biel in only 22 moves. I am a great fan of Tal and memorize a lot of his quotes by heart as well as what other players said about him.

From what Korchnoi said about Tal, "Tal's uncompromising style of play delights chess enthusiasts, and they are won over by his desire and ability to take risks and even bluff his way through. At the same time, Tal's skill in building up his game is inadequate and is often based on routine assessments and routine methods. I consider the genuine masters of attack to be Alekhine, Keres and Spassky." I got a feeling that the two aren't very good friends and thus that led to what Tal said about Korchnoi's play since Korchnoi didn't praise Tal for his ingenuity like what the other Soviet players had done, including Botvinnik who said "I couldn't make myself dislike him."

I'm here to offer my opinions on Nakamura's game and not to start a debate on who's the better player, Tal or Korchnoi. If you want the games between the 2, go and look it up yourself and don't ask me to do so 'cause I just to do some proper chess analysis for friends out there and I'm not your slave or anything. I'm not wrong in saying what I said and I've got nothing to prove! :@ If you want me to say who's the better player, I would not hesistate for even one second and say that It's got to be Tal because he became the World Champion for once and he was even able to beat Kasparov in a rapid game by(see My Great Predecessors Vol. 2 last page on the chapter on Tal) an unsound knight sacrifice towards the end of his life when his body could not possibly undergo the strain of competitive chess. Tal is probably the only Soviet master Fischer adore and respect and he wasn't like Korchnoi who defected to the West and betrayed his country, colleagues and friends in the former USSR.

Dear Daaim Shabazz,

Thanks for doing that bit for me, I really appreciated it. I know that Korchnoi beat Tal more than Tal beat him. But most of that occurred in the early years when Tal was young. When I mentioned Korchnoi endured a "considerable no. of losses at Tal's hands", it definitely did not mean that Korchnoi lost a lot of games to Tal. What I really meant by using the word 'considerable' was that the few games Tal won over Korchnoi in his later years were brilliant and instructive and were the result of some of Korchnoi's dogmatic approaches to chess marked off by his own positional and defensive style. I've got nothing against Korchnoi. He's a living chess legend and I'm sure everyone knows that. I respect him as a chess player but that does not mean I respect his political stance. [greg, pls don't yell at me for this one, it's just my opinion.;-) ]

P.S. Can we all just look at Nakamura's game and my analysis instead of carrying on this useless debate??


Okay...I'll look it up for you. Korchnoi's organic dislike of parting with material made him suffer a considerable number of losses to Tal (4). Korchnoi may have been consoled, however, by his even more considerable number of wins against Tal (12).

And if it's not too much trouble, you might want to look into the circumstances of Korchnoi's defection before you criticize him for it.


You're right. The Nakamura-Sasikiran game is more interesting althought I find the Korchnoi-Tal rivalry stunning... 12-4 is really an amazing score against Tal.

I believe the issue is that Hikaru failed to trade off pieces at crucial moments. However, going back to 2.Qh5, I'm not sure what makes this opening much less worse that the Center Counter, a fairly respectable defense.

Even the Center Game (1.e4 e5 2.d4 ed 3.Qxd4) has quite a bit of venom as do other lines where the Queen enters the fray early (4.Qxd4 against 2...d6 Sicilian). I believe we are often too caught up in age-old principles of chess without looking at the merits of hypermodern play. I was once told by a GM that following principles can often get in the way of finding the best moves. This GM also told me that GMs sometimes break rules so that his/her opponent cannot obey rules.

At one time... the fianchetto was considered silly because it yielded the center. We know better now because fianchetto systems are fierce fighting weapons (i.e., Benko, KID, Grunfeld, Modern Benoni). In addition, classical openings have been revived. The Petroff was revived and Kasparov crushed Anand with the Evans Gambit in 25 moves.

My point is not to compare the above systems with 2.Qh5. Certainly... 2.Qh5 is provocative, but I believe Hikaru proved that one can get a decent position. Hikaru has now immortalized this opening though it has been played exclusively by Bernard Parham, Sr. for four decades under his "Matrix System."

If I were a gambling man, I would bet that after Nakamura-Sasikiran, another Grandmaster will play it very soon in a tournament. I applaud Hikaru for his willingness to trot out new ideas at the highest level. Hikaru is a true revolutionary... all of whom have their detractors in history.


Most of Tal's losses to Korchnoi occurred when Tal was young?? Tal lost 3 games to Korchnoi before becoming world champion and 11 after.

There is an understanding in this blog that however much contributors differ in their opinions, they at least try to convey accurate information. I'm sure all would appreciate it if you would check to make sure that what you want to post is at least approximately true before you post it.

3 before, 9 after.

Dear greg koster and all friends,

Yes, you're right in saying that, but Tal was the youngest World Champion at that time in 1960, thus when I mentioned his losses against Korchnoi in his early years, I meant that's when Tal was still a young man (I regard a person as young when he's not more than 40 years of age) and not just starting out in his chess profession. Please take note of that. And when I mentioned Tal winning over Korchnoi in his later years, that did not necessarily mean the period after he became World Champion. That only refer to the times when Tal was more experienced, wiser or in a better shape of mind. I appreciate your facts, they're all correct but the words I mentioned should not be judged only on the surface and by their contextual meanings for I don't mince my words, I choose them with great scrutiny.

As for Korchnoi's reasons for defection, I understand them very well. (I've read his biography) I know perfectly well the troubles and psychologically torture that Korchnoi's been through. A lot of his family and friends died during the war years and it was with great difficulty and determination that Korchnoi became a first-class chess master. But if you think carefully and critically, what Korchnoi did out of the harsh circumstances was indeed an act of betrayal to the former USSR and nothing patriotic. Korchnoi was no traitor (in the political sense) of course but his defection certainly came as a surprise move to the many Soviet masters including Tal as well as friends and especially his family who really cared for him. However, if you look back the years of Korchnoi's life and from Korchnoi's own judgement, he did the right thing and although he was relegated in the former USSR, his family and himself finally managed to find solace and a sanctuary in Switzerland and that's a wonderful thing.

Korchnoi was and is still a great player but I still prefer Tal because amidst all the political injustices the Soviet Communists did to him, (from Mikhail Tal: Life and games) Tal remained a Soviet citizen and stuck to promoting national pride as well as chess in his native Latvia when he was in his senior years. Tal suffered both physcially (his health deteriorated as the years go by) and psychologically (ignored by the authorities from late 1968 to 1969 and disallowed to participate in the Soviet team) under the commnunist system but yet he tolerated all this. Please remember that Tal died in 1992 in his mid-50s (56, I think), quite a young age in today's standards. Tal was man who thought and talked about chess even on his deathbed. It's only fitting for us to remember and respect Tal's legacy as a tribute to the great things he had done for chess and his great determination to overcome persistent kidney problem since his early 20s and other health problems.

Anyway, greg, I need to thank you for pointing out the right facts. I guess I'm wrong in certain ways and I hope I've cleared all the misconceptions with this posting. I'm sure all friends here will appreciate it. :-)


P.S. I hope this very posting would finally put an end to the Korchnoi-Tal debate. They're both great players but I still stick to my view that I prefer Tal more.

The Tal-Kasparov game (mentioned by the Tal-kissing Korchnoi-bashing blowhard JZY) occurred in the 1992 Moscow Blitz tournament. It is said that Tal sneaked out of the hospital to compete in the event; in the event, Kasparov fought off a Tal attack and lost on time. Tal fell ill shortly afterward, returned to hospital and died a week later. Incidentally, Tal's only recorded win against Karpov was also under blitz time controls.

Not long after Tal's death, Genna Sosonko wrote a beautiful tribute to his longtime friend in New in Chess magazine. Has anyone read this? It was something else.

Greg is right, just check your facts before you backup your opinion with them.

The best way to end a debate is stop talking about it, so if that's what you really want, let's give it a rest.

Qh5 looks surprising. Openings nowadays should not be avoided unless there are clear and widely known flaws to them (unless of course someone finds a flaw in the flaw). Maybe his intention was to surprise his rival.

I think chess players, at this level, should stick with openings that can give them an advantage. You gotta recognize that after some moves, Nakamura was fine, not great, but fine.

I praise fighting chess above all, even if it at times costs some rating points. Or what, you want H to become a little greedy drawish youngster Leko, praising his precious rating points above all?

Dear Chess-loving friends,

On Mig's suggestion of winning the exchange with 23.e5 dxe5 24.Ba7+ Ka8 (24...Kc8 is what REBEL 10 suggests, maybe it's more active) 25.Bc5 Rd6 26. Bxd6 cxd6, I found a probable variation continuing with 27.Na4!? d5 28.Nb6+ Kb8 29.Qe3 Kc7 (forced, if 29...Qd6 30.Nc4) [with White's Knight on b6, 29. Qe3 is more powerful than 27.Qe3] and then 30.Ng3 (threatening a future jump to f5)30... d4 (the sharpest continuation, 30...Qf8 may be better) 31. Qxe5+ Kxb6 32.Nf5! (now White's 30th move is justified) 32...Qf8 33.Qxd4+ Kc7 34.Qe5+ Kb6 35.Nxg7 Qxg7 36. Rd6+ Ka7 37. Qd4+ Kb8 38.Rd8+ Rxd8 39.Qxd8+ Ka7 40.Rd1.

White is a pawn up despite having a rook against Black's bishop and knight, his major pieces are well coordinated for an assault against Black's king and Black must defend well, White threatens 41.Rd6, so Black should counter with the precise 40...Nh5 (quite hard for a human to find at the board) 41.Rd6 Qe5! 42.Qb6+ Kb8 43.g3 Nf6 44. Rd8+ Bc8 45.Qd6+ Qxd6 46.Rxd6 leaves White having to fight off Black's bishop and knight with a lone rook. Such an interesting endgame ought to be theoretically drawn since both sides don't possess too much structural weaknesses. But both sides must play with vigour and great accuracy. Nakamura's real chance for the initive came on the 25th move when he ought to have done 25.Bxg7, but he missed the positional idea behind the simple exchange and it was really quite hard for him afterwards, especially after the loss of the h file to the 2 black rooks.

Overall, I'm deeply amazed by Nakamura's great fighting spirit, he fights on and prevented the inevitable loss for as many moves as he could and I think we chess players should learn and respect his great determination. When you're losing, give your opponent hell and prolong the moves as many as possible, that's what I learnt from Nakamura. I think Nakamura has that extra gift which not many youngsters possess. Well done, young man. America's got hope!


Some have been discussing that 2. Qh5 was an insult to black. Why? Who cares? If it is such a bad move, it can only be an insult to the man who plays it. Hey, Tony Miles beat the world champion with 1...a6. Insult? Sure, whatever. Beating the world champion? Priceless.
By the way, if you search on ICC, you'll see that Nakamura has played 2. Qh5 in a handful of blitz games (who knows how many bullet games), including as recently as a couple of weeks ago. He played it against Kamsky (I recall that Kamsky won in 30-odd moves). He's also played 1. e4 e5 2. h4!? against Gata, so shall we get ready for that opening bomb as well? (Interpret bomb in whatever way you'd like.)

hmmm.. Nakamura is fun to watch, but so far he just seems like a pale imitation of Alexander "the Great" Morozevich.

This kid Nakamura is quite arrogant and obnoxious. A few weeks ago at the supernationals, he screamed and shouted at the organizer Diane Reese in front of about 100-150 people bringing her to tears. She was completely shaken up. She is a nice old lady and she doesn't deserve that from anyone.

While we all agree that the kid is talented, he needs to learn some manners. I can't imagine how he would behave when he starts to win more tournaments.


"A few weeks ago at the supernationals, he screamed and shouted at the organizer Diane Reese in front of about 100-150 people bringing her to tears."

Man, maybe he is the next Fischer.

Fervent Prayer #1-- That Dirk is wrong, and HN never screamed and shouted at Scholastic Chess' Diane Reese.

Fervent Prayer #2--If Dirk is right, that we'll be spared lengthy paragraphs about how HN's conduct was not excusable, but perhaps understandable because of bla bla bla. And HN will put an end to the matter by saying something like, "I acted like a total jerk. I apologized profusely to the lady. And I resolve to clean up my act."

Absolutely this is a pseudo opening. Playing against a positional player certainly fails. I dont understand his style. He is trying to play computer type moves. Maybe he should have tried King's Gambit. He is only trying to give show to disprove the age old traditions of Neo-Romantic school. They are the foundations of Chess. Humility is the mark of a great fighter. This game is a classic example of pride goes before fall. All of you talking about Miles playing a6 against Karpov is useless. How many times does his system worked against top Masters?

Dirk,reading your post makes me think that, Naka has to learn good manners. His parents must teach him the virtues of life.

Qh5 is not a terrible move per se but I am still upset being a Nakamura fan it seems like he played this game almost as a joke. Against an important rival it is impossible to treat the game like this. I thnik it is more symbolic of his viewpoint that in general chess is a game. That is fine but not for a world championship contender.

What World Championship ?, there isn't any, he has nothing to fight for :-(

Dirk, did Naka have a reason for shouting at this lady? What was his gripe?

I was as surprised as the next guy to see Nakamura's premature Queen sortie, I'm sure he essayed it in the hopes of throwing Sasikiran off his stride. Still, the move was in character; Nakamura seems fond of early queen moves as demonstrated by his fondness for the Centre Counter (Scandanavian defense). Tal was another player with a penchant shoving his queen into the fray early in the game with an eye to inducing complications. Nakamura's scrappy chess is a delight. Today he fought Timman down to bare kings – and notice he had to have the last move. He's a great entertainer. As for reports of obnoxious behaviour, let's not forget he's just entered the tortuous and tortured teen years.

One point is that his opening play generally speaking is so lousy anyway, it doesn't hurt him by playing something like this so that at least his opponent doesn't know what's going on either.

Hahahah. Right, the US champion and one of the top 50 players in the world has "lousy" opening play. And the renowned authority passing this judgement? Man, what a world.


You've been challenged! Your honor's at stake! In what games has HN's opening play been "lousy?"

No, because you can find games in which every player on earth has played the opening poorly. That's chess. I want to know why Nakamura's opening play is lousy, period, as stated. And "SO lousy," even. If it's SO clear it must be easy to explain to us simpletons.

Mig, you seriously don't know such statements are relative, as in "weak GM"? I didn't think it was controversial to point out how he rarely gets anything special out of the openings even against worse players, and that he often outplays them later on instead with his superior skills. Sigeman is significative. It almost always varies from "bad" to "ok". It is obviously an area he needs to work on a lot when he enters 2700+ competition, deny it or not.

When asked about Nakamura in San Diego, Ibragimov said he's "very well prepared, especially for someone so young."

Even before 2.Qh5 his repertoire is known to be eclectic and experimental, which seems natural at this age. But I agree he seems more interested in just getting to an interesting middlegame.

One of the things that made Leko seem 60 years old when he was a teen was his predilection for deep main lines. Radjabov had his love affair with the King's Indian.

If bad opening moves are insulting... to all my future opponents: keep the insults coming!

PS: if it's not bad and perfectly playable, wtf is everybody whining about, get a life.

I've been away for a while, and didn't know about 2.Qh5. Amazing! Someone said he wasn't a betting man, but if he were he would bet that another GM would play 2.Qh5 before long. I am a betting man, so if you change your mind please get in touch. It won't happen.

2.Qh5 is played by many computers on ICC, and they often win. Hikaru is a known computer chess addict. Has no-one mentioned this coincidence?

I see that the Tal / Korchnoi rivalry crept into the thread. Someone said that Tal's large minus score should be discounted because he was young when many of the games were played. But he had already been World Champion at the time, hadn't he? Yes, but he was still young. What!?

I'm a huge Tal fan, but let's retain a minimal level of common sense.

Nick... that was I who made that statement. I'm not a betting man, but who would have thought 2.Qh5 would have been played at all in a GM tournament? You would've lost that bet and it will be played again at GM level.

Nick... if you don't believe it will be played SOON, will you bet that it will NEVER be played again at GM level?? You forget the "bandwagon effect." Someone will play it.

People who continue saying that Hikaru's opening was bad are missing that his 2.Qh5 opening did not lose the game, nor did it cause him to get a bad position. He got a very playable position and a chance to wrest the initiative. No one on this board has articulated why 2.Qh5 is bad. Please don't tell me, "Well you're not supposed to bring the queen out early in the opening." There is a difference between Hikaru doing it and a 1500 ELO player doing it. Someone show me why 2.Qh5 is bad and also tell me why 1.e4 d5!? 2.exd5 Qd5 (2...Nf6) 3.Nc3 Qa5 is not also considered bad.

The problem is we condemn it because we don't know any analysis. We only know that it is played a beginner's level, but I would imagine that people are analyzing it now! I'll tell you... after seeing Alexander Shabalov smash strong players with the Center Game (1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4), he made a believer of me. Certainly, I know 2.Qh5 is more provocative, but these moves should not be relegated as "bad" merely because we are reminiscing on our childhood chess memories.

Dear friends,

2.Qh5 really is not such a bad move even though it violates genearal chess principle of not bringing your queen too early into play as it'll become a target for your opponent's minor pieces. Yet however in such a case, although White wasted a tempo by having to retreat his queen to f3 (a powerful square for the queen on the queen-side), Black also has to waste a tempo on his own part in making the move g6. The black bishop's fianchettoing takes some time (5.Bg7 is logical but that may not be strictly necessary) and White don't have any structural weaknesses and can make use of the lost tempi in the early moves to develop its pieces.



P.S. I wonder if anyone of you out there had read
my analysis. If so, please tell me about
it if you found it helpful.

Errata: Queen to f3 on the KINGSIDE, not
queenside. (silly error)

Of course I won't bet that it will NEVER be played again. How would I ever collect?


That's the point. You won't be able to collect because it will be played again... and soon. Maybe we'll see it in the Open section of the HB Global tourney Nick.

An interesting story was that I played white against Bernard Parham (the 2.Qh5 advocate) and the game went something like 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 Nc6 3.Bc4 Bc5 4.Qg4 g6 (4.Kf8!?) 5.Qf3. A strong player walked by the game, looked at me and smirked. I looked at him as if to say, "What?"

After Parham won the tense game, he told me that what I played was part of his "Matrix System" which prides itself on geometric paths to find the quickest checkmate. As you can see, my game was out of a main line in the Vienna Game which I had studied extensively. I had a friend who once played Ove Kroll and fell into 1.Nc3 d5 2.e3 e5 3.Qh5!?

Again... I believe we may sometimes be prejudiced by principles learned as beginners. While I believe 2.Qh5 is quite crude, folks like IM Michael Basman, GM Duncan Suttles and GM Pavel Blatny win quite a number of games by breaking every principle in chess books. That is what will save chess from being "played out" as Bobby Fischer has stated.


In order to understand some of his decisions, it is important to understand Hikaru's approach. Hikaru wants to fight. He wants you to throw punches so that he can throw harder ones. If you fight because you feel insulted, then so be it. If you fight because you feel that he is obnoxious, then so be it. He wants you to fight him, good fight or bad fight. More often than not, he will win.

I hear mention of what Hikaru has to do to make it to the 2700+ class and stay there, and I know for a fact that he has considered such things. We once had a discussion during which he said that his primary work is on openings, because, he asserted, 2700+ players rarely get into trouble from the opening, while he still does. He has so many engagements now that studying openings, tedious work for any GM, is not as possible as it might otherwise be, and so he plays openings which simply do the job of getting him to a playable middlegame. As was previously mentioned, other players take this approach, such as Pavel Blatny, who has sat in my living room and introduced some bizarre yet imaginative continuations from what I myself considered to be bogus openings.

Finally, as a friend of Hikaru's, I feel it is essential to say that he is actually a pretty cool guy, and that I am not convinced that his reputation is entirely warranted. Of course, I have been privy to incidents over the years which he is not proud of, but I was also in Nashville for the SuperNationals, and Hikaru was nothing but friendly when I introduced him to my students and one of their parents. He even agreed to sign three boards for students of mine and refused when I said I would compensate him for his helpfulness. He is a young man finding his way in this crazy American society, determining what he wants to do with his future, what role chess will play, and how he wants to make his mark on the world. Sometimes, he will do great things; other times, he will do terrible things. If you are his supporter, then support him through thick and thin. If not, then leave him the hell alone -- no one needs fair-weather friends. Just try to remember that he is very much aware of how much he can gain and lose in this arena, and that it is a hell of a lot more than most of us are risking.



I'm with Hikaru as a fan for the long haul; no matter what gossip I read, what openings he experiments with or what he does with his life away from the board. His chess is extremely entertaining...whether it be classic time control or ICC blitz. I admire Pavel Blatny too for that matter...he's a great under appreciated genius. Where can I order Naka or Blatny T-shirts???? Shall I make my own?

Apparently, Short was talking on Playchess something about a discussion with Kramnik about 2.Qh5 and that the latter had been preparing it for the 24-game blitz match against Kasparov in 1998 although didn't use it.

Is this true or just the Englishman's weird sense of humour again?

Hotep Maliq...

Always a gentleman and a scholar. Good to have your input!

No one has given Hikaru's side of the story of the Nashville incident, but that has nothing to do with him playing 2.Qh5. However, it is certain that he will continue to make a few mistakes as a high profile player at age 17 because everyone will be watching everything he does.

Let's just say that his choice of opening may have also been an excellent psychological tactic. How many of us believe that Sasikiran looked at 2.Qh5 in preparation for Nakamura? If I had to interview Sasikiran, I'd ask him, "Tell me exactly what went through your mind after Nakamura played 2.Qh5 and hit the clock?"

I remember a famous player saying practically any opening is playable. I don't necessarily agree with his notion, but if any of us on this board played 20 games as black against Fritz and set the training mode to 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5, we would be hard-pressed to refute such an opening.

When strong master Boris Men (as Black) faced 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5, Bernard Parham said that Men didn't appear surprised. Men almost lost that game (which was drawn)! Top GMs usually don't try to refute bizarre ideas over the board... they just play normal chess and let their understanding reveal the weakness.

For the sake of chess development, let's hope there are more creative ideas brought in top-level play. We could be missing something.

Is Hikaru a tennis fan?
Didn't Boris Becker play 2. Qh5 against
Kasparov in a rapid game on CNN a few years back?
Black won that one too, so 2, Qh5 *must* be bad? ;-)

Correction... the aforementioned Parham-Men was even wilder than I thought. It went...

1.e4 d5!? 2.e5 c5 3.Qh5


For a successful method of helping a young person with a behavior problem, see the following report about Bjorn Borg from the Chandigarh Times, 5/4/01:

Borg said when he was a junior player he used to behave very badly on the court. Borg, who is known for keeping a cool head even when things were not going his way, said "I would swear at my opponents, cheat and break racquets when I was a junior."

"All that stopped when at Stockholm club, where I played near my house, officials complained to parents and suspended me for six months. Without tennis I was very very sad and I was more disappointed with my behaviour. So when I returned to playing I never opened my mouth after that incident," he said.

Hikaru Nakamura just defeated Palo in 33 moves with black playing another obscure line (1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 Nc6 3. Nf3 e6 4. Bf4 d6). After 33...Qb6! Palo resigned in lieu of the cute 34...Rxg3+! Notice 34.Rxc6 doesn't stop it. Must be tough for Palo to miss making his GM title on this game.

Tremendous thread! It's nice that people are discussing chess for a change, rather than politics!

Has anyone mentioned that Bronstein, in his book on Open Games, suggested 2. Qh5 as an interesting, playable move.

It's refreshing to see a not so familiar played among the elite. As I looked on two weeks ago at the scholastic nationals (Nashville), I was surprised at the lack of standard openings. Perhaps it's time for the orangatang (1. b4) to make a stand? ;)



Actually, the Orangutan has made appearances in big scholastic tournaments, courtesy of students of IM Yury Lapshun, who beat WIM Anna Hahn with it in the recent US Championship. He played the bizarre Blatny-ism, 1. b4 2. Bb2 3. Qc1?!?! and won a complex position later on.



"I hear mention of what Hikaru has to do to make it to the 2700+ class and stay there, and I know for a fact that he has considered such things. We once had a discussion during which he said that his primary work is on openings, because, he asserted, 2700+ players rarely get into trouble from the opening, while he still does. He has so many engagements now that studying openings, tedious work for any GM, is not as possible as it might otherwise be"

I'm glad he's aware of the importance of this phase, because coming up with opening innovations is really the main job of a Chess Professional. And Kasparov apparently always had lots of time to devote to analysis, despite his many engagements. Nakamura is very strong, but he won't join the elite unless he dedicates the long hours at the board (and Fritz) to find new ideas.

"When strong master Boris Men (as Black) faced 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5, Bernard Parham said that Men didn't appear surprised. Men almost lost that game (which was drawn)! Top GMs usually don't try to refute bizarre ideas over the board... they just play normal chess and let their understanding reveal the weakness."

Sorry to post twice in a row, but I just saw this post. When I first started playing chess (I was like 1500), I played at a tournament in North Carolina and played Bernard Parham. I had played one of his students in the first round, and the guy had played an early Qh4 with the black pieces (I can't remember the exact line). I beat the hell out of him. But then I actually had to play Parham the next round as black and the first moves were just this - 1. e4 c5 2. Qh5, and he ended up beating me after a long struggle, where he sac'ed an exchange when I was building up an initiative (I wish I could find the game). I remember thinking that there must be a direct refutation, but then just settling down, and being real alert to danger. I think Sasikiran handled 'the shock' well - he didn't try anything crazy, just made solid moves and equalized easily.

Another interesting story and a game to follow...

Erik Karklins (father of FM Andrew Karklins) once played Bernard Parham and produced what is probably one of the most clear examples of how "Matrix Chess" (of which 2.Qh5 is a integral part) can produce games with wild geometric patterns. The funny thing is Karklins was playing white!!

The game went 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 Nd4 4. Nxd4 exd4 5. Qh5. Parham was caught off guard by his own brand of play and got a horrible position. He would've had to resign had Karklins played 25.Bd6+!


Nothing to do directly with the move Qh5. But the discussion about this move being an insult reminded me of an article from Tim Krabbe, where he discuss the opening 1.e4, e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.Nc3 Nf6 4.Nxe5, and asks if an opening can be "inpolite".

The article is available in the link http://www.xs4all.nl/~timkr/tour/breeze.htm

I was in the crowd in 2000 at the US Junior Open/U.S. Junior Closed in Baltimore when NM Enrique Rios representing the U.S. Junior Open crushed IM Eugene Perelshtyn representing the U.S. Junior Closed in an exhibition match in front of about 200+ people. Needless to say, when Rios started as white with 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 there were many laughs in the audience and quite a smile on Perelshtyn's face, however that smile quickly turned to shock after 2..Nc6 3. Bc4 g6 4. Qf3 Nf6 5. Ne2 0-0 6. d3 Na5 7. Bg5 Nxc4 8. Nd5! and Rios won quite easily. I'll try to see if I can get the complete gamescore from Rios. Rios played it regularly in serious tournament competition, even defeating a ~2350 Sonny Kamberi in 40/2 SD/1, before I put an end to the opening with the brilliant. 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 g6 4. Qf3 f5!!

Actually 2...Nf6 3 Qxe5 ( Qe2 transposes to Adams-Radjabov Tripoli 2004) Be7 seems like decent comp.

Dear Andrew,

I would really appreciate if you're able to get the complete game score from Rios. As for the line you showed, there's a stark error on Black's fifth move. (Black cannot castle with its bishop still on f8, probably the move Bg7 or Be7 is missed.) Regarding your refutation of 2.Qh5 with 4.f5 instead of the positional move Nf6 which Fritz and most humans would suggest, I understand that after 5.exf5 Nd4 6.Qe4 gxf5 7. Qxe5+ Qe7 8.Qxe7+ Nxe7 9.Bb3, Black gets a developmental advantage over White at the cost of a pawn. However the problem with Black is that he can never castle on the kingside, and if later on he castles on the queen side, he must be wary of a queen-side assault. If he chooses to keep his king in the centre, it would definitely be risky. Furthermore, even though White is a pawn down and a few tempi lost, he would not lose simply due his better pawn structure and lack of serious opposition in easy development. Black's lone h and f pawn would saddle him with difficulties in the long run. Of course Black can use the semi-open g-file for its rook but White can parry that threat quite easily. Thus, I am sorry to say that 4.f5 ought not be rendered double exclamation marks (it's not a combinative move that crushes White) but instead a !? or a critical ?!. Sorry, man, 4.f5 is a great idea but it may just at best draw against a cautious opponent. If you don't believe me, I can play one e-mail chess-game against you. (just e-mail your moves to me in your message) I am a 19 year-old candidate master of 2200+ rating. :-)



HHmmm...a coincidence in this thread. Oddly enough, I had the pleasure of losing a "won" endgame against Enrique Rios in Dallas recently. He's damned clever and just the sort I wouldn't want to give a chance to play "2.Qh5". I was told he's a savvy internet gambler...I'm not surprised. It seems like the smart money is behind: 2.Qh5 at the NM level.

bill s, thanks for the info re the slanging. It does appear to put Naka in a bad light, but I'll reserve my judgement till I know what she did. I dont think just the fact that she's mature and he's young is enough to convict him. I was once in a work environment where I was relentlessly harassed by a Secretary much older than me. Fianlly I couldnt take it any longer, and shouted at her in a corridor. The problem there was with her not me. Yes young people should respect the elderly, but some sadly grow old without becoming wise, and just become progressively ruder.

JZY, you'll be surprised to know that Andrew Whatley is a very strong player with a slightly(much?!) bigger rating than yours. I think the post is very light hearted (put an end to what?) and was not meant to be excessively analyzed


So what if Andrew is strong, he's no Kasparov (sorry Andrew, no insults here.) I'm not a bad player myself. Tell me if Andrew is a GM and if he is in the top 10. If that's the case, I'll be MORE than willing to play against him since it'll be a great honor. I enjoy playing against strong players. Lastly, let me remind you that I'm not even a professional, I'm a strong amateur and I value my studies above everything. I play chess for recreation only.

I also want to say that it is tempting to blame Nakamura's defeat solely on Qh5 because he is our champ(for many of us anyway) but he had a very normal position around move 10. Sasikiran just outplayed him. Overall, I think Hikaru made a good showing(how did it affect his rating?)simply through his tenacity, but I honestly can't help but wonder, what would happen if he got some advantage with white and decent positions with black. Of course, playing mainlines alone doesn't acheive this. It requires alot of work and Hikaru used to play main lines like the Grunfeld without too much success(as compared to now). Does anyone get the sense that Hikaru may be like Moro, not studying chess anymore? Could this explain their penchant for strange openings, to avoid their opponents preparation? It seems like it has taken Moro fairly far, could it work well for Hikaru as well?

JZY I did not mean to imply he was Kasparov... I just wanted to point out that the didactic tone was perhaps not appropriate.

Sorry for the hat trick. JZY, if you want to discuss 4...f5!? seriously, from my best guess your analysis is not complete. For example 6...gxf5 does not appear to be in the spirit of the opening. Maybe Qf6,Qe7, or Bg7 with the idea of playing d5 are better trys just off the top of my head. Anyway, I'll agree that f5 may not be winning, but without a board at the office it seems pretty dangerous.

Indeed... Andrew Whatley is quite a strong player. I remember him Atlanta tournaments when he was a top junior and in particular a blitz game we played (Shabazz-Whatley) that went 1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5 3.Nc3 Qa5 4.b4!? We had to abort the game because of the next round. See... we're at the right blog! (smile)

Thanks for that story Andrew. Goodness... Perelshteyn must've gotten a shock after Nd5! I was sitting next to Bernard Parham at a Chicago Open tourney when he beat a Candidate Master with 1.e4 c6 2.Qh5!? The guy was so puzzled and look totally shellshocked after resigning.

I'm going to have to find this Enrico Rios guy and ask Bernard Parham if he knows his kindred chess cousin. I believe we'll 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 more often. Maybe Morozevich will play it!

This note contains instructions for you the reader.

So first, I'm not shy: Based on the anecdotes I've decided to put Nakamura in my EVIL category. Together with other EVIL people. Like Jar Jar, Antonin Scalia, and the 1985 LA Lakers.

Unfortunately 2.Qh5 also puts him in the COOL category. So Nakamura is EVIL COOL. Along with Miles Davis and Lance Armstrong.

Just to help you shake it out: The next time he gets out of hand at a tournament: If you're there to witness it I want you to GET IN HIS FACE. These are your instructions. Don't just stand by and watch. Don't put up with it.

You nailed it, Rob.

I nominate yours for "post of the week."

Hear hear for Fatland of the Flatlands. But one move played in one tournament doesn't yet qualify Nakamura for EC status, although he's picking up the trail for sure. Miles didn't really get EC until a few years into his career when he walked calmly into Charlie Parker's hotel room and choked him for an unpaid royalty.

Other EC's who come to mind here are Hunter S Thompson, Christopher Hitchens, Werner Herzog, Steve Carlton, Louis Ferdinand Celine, Stanley Kubrick, Thomas Pynchon and Prince.

Good advice, by the way. The chess world would be a better place today if more people had slapped Fischer's face in the 60's.

Rob Fatland...

There are better ways to handle that than to provoke an altercation... which is what is likely to happen. As I said on another topic, Hikaru needs coaching to help manage his public image. He'll have to realize, for better or for worse, everyone in the U.S. chess arena knows who he is and will watch his every move.

I don't know what happened, but it sounds like a dialogue ensued and the organizer made a comment showing her lack of knowledge in some chess matter or concern. It appears as if Hikaru got offended at her attempt and reacted. It would best if we got the full context of the situation and until then, we should let it alone.


... let's get back to Nakamura-Sasikiran and the move 2.Qh5. I remember seeing Parham slide his queen from h5 to h4 (after a ...Nf6 move) and realized how hard it was for black to attack the queen. However, it stood in a menacing location.

I also remember Zambian IM Amon Simutowe playing a queen manuever from a4 to h4. His white queen sat on h4 unassailed only to participate in a sacrificial kingside attack which ended with the black king being mated on the actual h4 or h5 square.

I believe there a lot to be learned from the concept of 2.Qh5. We often define this move from the beginner's attempt at a "Scholar's Mate," but there are deeper concepts involved. After I interviewed Bernard Parham, I learned a bit more about 2.Qh5 and realized that his "Matrix" ideas, while bizarre, were worthy of respect and consideration. Parham didn't invent 2.Qh5, but I would imagine he would benefit from and be able to add to our fruitful discussion.

I have been playing chess from last 20 years. I can say without any doubt, without organizers, there would not be any chess. Unfortunately lot of sponsors does not understand and get any value out of it unless it is like deepblue.

So insulting and shouting on an organizer at the age of 16 is total lack of respect for others. He did made comments like “I am the US champ and you do not know how to play chess”. I lost the respect for the guy and I do not think much of him. I done a little survey to check how many people know him in outside world. So, I asked a group of people including some journalists, who is US chess champion? Surprisingly none of them know him. I sure don’t think with this attitude this guy is going to make any thing. Sure few interesting games like Qh5.

It's puzzling that the victims of bad chessic behavior often seem to be women (HN v. the Scholastic Chess organizer), children (GK v. Radjubov; beauty prize) or both (GK v. Judit Polgar; touch move). Why don't these gentlemen ever flame out on people like Vitali Klitschko?


Again, I am not sure of the context of the incident in Nashville. I spent time with Hikaru while we were there, and I was unaware of this incident until it appeared on this post. Owing to the fact that I was everywhere in Nashville and knew a lot of people, I think I would have heard about it if it was really so big a deal. In short, it is overblown here, because it involves Hikaru.

Sometimes, people need to be told that they don't know what the hell they are doing. At the same tournament, I was literally ready to punch out a TD who moved my students from one section to another, then got arrogant about it when I told him that he was mistaken. The guy basically shoved his USCF tournament director badge in my face and told me that I always had the option of withdrawing my students from the tournament and using the weekend as a vacation. One might argue that it would be wrong to curse him out, and then I would say that I am nobody's doormat. Truly, people make decisions in the chess world everyday which have nothing to do with chess. They don't understand the significance of scheduling, etc. and would prefer to make a spectacle rather than to actually have players work under fair conditions. If this organizer acted, in any way, like the TD did toward me (and I have met some rude scholastic organizers in my years as a chess coach), then all of that "she's older" stuff is irrelevant. Maybe Hikaru was in the wrong, and maybe he was not. Again, let's get the facts first before making a judgement.




Hikaru's persona has nothing to do with people not knowing who the U.S. Champion is. He has been the champion all of about four months. You also have to realize that those persons probably didn't know who the last U.S. champ was, or the one before that, or the one before that. Does any U.S. chessplayer on this blog know who the 1996 U.S. Champion was without looking it up? Probably not. How about 2000? Maybe. By the way, how many people know who the World Chess Champion is?

Your sample group may have been able to name Bobby Fischer. I'm not sure what your sample proves, but I will say that if you prepare a well-constructed questionnaire, we may find out how U.S. Chess has failed to properly market chess (and the national champion) in the country. Hikaru's picture should at least be on the home page of the U.S.C.F. website (www.uschess.org). He's a phenomenon and opportunity has been lost.

If he continues with his pragmatic approach to chess, then people will find out about him soon enough. Especially if he continues to play bold moves. His 2.Qh5 experiment, for better or for worse, will provide him with more notoriety.


I talked about marketing in my last post. Do you know that if you Google "U.S. Chess Champion," the USCF site is not one of the top listings? I believe my site has the #1 listing on "US Chess Champion" without the quotes. With the quotes in the Google search, the top reference points to Larry Christiansen, the 2002 champion.

Also on the USCF site, it is difficult to find any reference to Hikaru Nakamura being the national champion. His profile on the site is out-of-date. Google "Hikaru Nakamura" and the U.S.C.F. site also has an abysmal ranking. There are many reasons why the general public does not know Hikaru Nakamura, but his behavioral tendancies is not the main one. In fact, using your rationale, it would have the opposite effect.

Hikaru cannot avoid being compared to Bobby Fischer, but I believe it is unfair to expect him to have the same popularity when he is relatively new to the world stage. It even took Fischer quite awhile to accomplish this.

Firstly, about the ...f5 line. It's not my invention, I found it in a book for absolute beginners by the Makarychev couple (in Russian only). For whose of you who don't know any chessplayers beyond the usual suspects soon to be seen in Argentina, Sergei is a GM who left practical chess in the 1980's, and Marina is a WIM. I'm sure they didn't take this whole line seriously (who could predict Nakamura's arrival), and just gave one sample line which goes ef5 Nd4 Qd5 Qe7 and Black soon wins.
Qe4 instead of Qd5 shouldn't make much difference, as the character of the game remains the same. Take my word for it, any 2200 player who attempts this kind of play against a GM will be crushed in 20 moves.
What would Hikaru do (next time use WWHD) if Sasi played 4...f5! My guess is something like 5.d3 Nf6 6.Ne2 Bc5 7.Nbc3 d6 with an ugly but playable game for White.
Secondly, the woman Hikaru alledgedly yelled at is Diane Riese. Last year she was contracted by the USCF to do telecommuting work in preparations for the US Championship. She was in San Diego when Hikaru won, and she was one of the people congratulating him at the closing ceremony, so I assume she knew who the US Champion was. Hikaru, on the other hand, likely didn't remember her, and apparently neither does Mig who keeps mysterious silence about the whole incident.
And thirdly, about the prestige of the title of US Chess Champion: it's not much laurels to rest on. Best if you win it and move on to the next event. When I won it (incidentally in 1996, and that was a Round-Robin, not some random Swiss), I spent my prize money before Chess Life could publish a tournament report.


You start every post with "peace" but you were "literally ready to punch out a TD"? And what do you imagine this lady did to justify getting verbally abused by a 16 year old kid? It would have to be pretty severe to make her age irrelevant.


I suppose the point was that, I had to look up your victory after I wrote that comment. The fact that the general public does not know that Hikaru is the U.S. Champion is not an indictment on him... which blogger "sam" was implying. The point is that USCF needs to do more marketing in this regard. Fortunately, an outside sponsor revamped the format which makes the competition more interesting, IMHO.

Many have the view that a Swiss is more of a crap shoot with a field of 64 players. I'll admit, it leads to a lot more unpredictable results (and upsets), but no one will deny Hikaru's accomplishment despite his off-the-board issues. His 2.Qh5 is a breath of fresh air in the maze of Merans, Sveshnikovs and Najdorfs which have been analyzed to mate. I would imagine that he won't make it part of his repertoire. (smile)


Jim, maybe you live in a world where being peaceful means that you never respond to being disrespected, but I don't. He gave me the arrogant response because he thought he was above reproach and that there was nothing I could do about it; he would not have acted this way otherwise. As I said, I am not a doormat for anybody. I am a nice guy, as my students and their parents can attest to, but I am not Ghandi.

On another note, I clearly said that we should get the details before deciding whether Hikaru was in the wrong or not. Thus, why ask me to "imagine" anything? I get the feeling that you are more hung up on the fact that a SEVENTEEN-year-old would actually tell off an adult than the matter of whether or not he was overreacting or justified in his actions. With regard to respect, age is, indeed, irrelevant. I am not at liberty to disrespect my students just because they are younger than I am, and I am not required to bow to somebody who is older than I am. Get rid of these outdated ideas and deal with the actual issue.




First of all, Yermo, I thank you for the great book "Road to Chess Improvement", which has done a lot for my own approach to the game as well as the approaches of students to whom I have loaned it. I apologize for mentioning this, but whenever I miss a win in an important game, I remember your game against Ehlvest where you could have trapped his queen in one move and instead went into a losing endgame to console myself. :-)

With regard to the US Championship, I do not really feel that the results, at the end, amount to random occurences. The cream rises to the top, however it gets there, and the best players are the ones fighting for it in the end. There is no question that the current US Champion is the best player we have, and Shabalov was the most dominant player on the tournament circuit during his reign, winning Chicago Open, US Open, tying in World Open, etc. It is not as though some Kasimdzhanov situation has overtaken US chess!

There is more to be said for this debate, and perhaps a different thread is needed to debate the prestige of the US Championship. I don't think that there can be any debate, however, about the fact that Hikaru is not like recent US Champions, in that he is generating a lot of attention on the international scene and has been mentioned as one who might one day challenge for the World Championship if he decides to dedicate himself to chess.



My silence isn't mysterious. I try, not always successfully, to refrain from commenting on thing about which I know nothing. I met Diane Reese (and Hikaru) in San Diego. They were both very pleasant. I wasn't at the supernationals and the first I heard of this incident was in this thread. Mystery solved. Not being a yeller myself I don't pretend to understand the motivations of those who find it necessary on occasion.

It sounds like Nakamura has a temper. I've seen Grandmasters display a wide range of human emotion, just like real people. (This, for the uninitiated, is sarcasm.) I don't have a terrible amount of interest in another demonstration of this fact. I also doubt the usefulness microanalyzing it from afar, but it does illustrate the interest Nakamura has generated.

Winning a swiss and winning a closed may or may not require different things (Yermo has certainly won his share of swisses), but you can't ask more of a player than winning the event at hand. Nakamura's opposition and performance rating in San Diego were certainly not inferior to those of the winners of the old closed events. Muhammad and Lackdawala aren't GMs, but I don't think anyone would consider them patsies, or weaker than the usual US junior champ invitees to the closed.

Perhaps Nakamura is savvy enough to have played Qh5 solely for the interest it would generate. If he plays a few more times he will likely have his name attached to it if it's not already. I have no doubt he'll comment on it in Black Belt in the coming weeks.


If you consider showing respect for older people to be outdated then we'll just have to agree to disagree on that.

There is nothing wrong with sticking up for yourself, but you can do that at a chess tournament without gearing up to punch someone out. You weren't on the "street" or in prison or some other such spot where people have to know you're ready to use your fists.

And Nakamura (16 or 17, who cares), if he had a case to make, could have stuck up for himself without reducing that poor woman to tears, barring unusual circumstances which I cannot imagine. Neither can you or you would have pointed them out. Maybe you can help "get the facts" for us, after all he is your friend.


Obviously, I did not punch the TD, or that would have been a bigger story than the Hikaru incident. I felt like punching him for his arrogance, and there is nothing wrong with feeling that way. I showed restraint, walked off to find a higher TD, and then the situation was resolved by a third party (incidentally, in favor of the decision I KNEW to be correct all along). It has nothing to do with street reputation or anything of the sort. Sometimes, you just feel like somebody needs to get his @$$ kicked, and anger is not an emotion to be ashamed of.

Regarding the Hikaru incident, there are likely other ways in which he could have handled the situation, but to pretend that emotion should play no role is to ignore what emotions are altogether. He did not reduce her to tears; if she was crying, then that is because she cannot handle it, but he did not "make" her cry. Nobody can make me cry by yelling at me, no matter how loud or vicious their words are. Some people cry watching the Lion King, while others don't wince while getting stitches. Thus, the fact that she cried does not make it any worse, even though it cannot help his case.

Regarding respect for elders, I already said that I have a responsibility to respect others regardless of age. You keep harping on the age difference, as though that is supposed to be important, but it is not. Your words sound more like "a young man should know his place" than an assessment of the incident itself. If she was yelling at him, would it be fine because she is older? If yes, then you are a hypocrite. If no, then you have proven that age is irrelevant. Thus, let the age thing rest and focus on one human being interacting with another.



This debate has turned into another area that is interesting... respect. One good thing about Hikaru is the fact that he will analyze and participate in discussions with much lesser players. This is more than some non-Master players who will pretend to be Kasparov after winning a game. They will analyze a game with their opponent and because they won, they'll claim to be right in every line (while dismissing your ideas).

How does this translate to this case? I don't believe unilateral respect is given defacto to the person who won the game, who has the higher rating, the oldest player, the Russian player, male player, or someone who has a Ph.D. There is often this impression given and I'm not impressed by any of this. I differ in some respects with Maliq in that when dealing with an older person in civilian life, my posture changes... especially toward an elder relative.

However, if someone offends me, then my honor and dignity are worth defending regardless of those factors. How we handle it is another matter. Do we handle it diplomatically or "get in his face" and ask him to step outside? We simply do not know all the details to understand the extent of the conflict. Perhaps Hikaru's dignity and honor were threatened in front of the crowd.

What is your dignity worth? Some people go to war and risk life and limb to defend it. Some of us may disagree with the way Hikaru responded, but as the national champion, he was defending the honor of his crown... which deserved the utmost respect in that particular venue. What did she say or do to precipitate such a response?

Let's get the straight facts first.


Well, having said that you don't know why you should have to imagine anything, you went right ahead and produced a scenario where the lady was yelling at him and he just responded in kind.


Instead of refuting arguments that no one would ever make - it's not ok for older people to abuse their juniors, I have to agree with you there - you might want to review the two posts in this thread in which two incidents are mentioned, do some additional fact gathering to satisfy your desire for a proper investigation, and then have a word with your friend about his appalling behaviour.

Daaim Shabazz:
I appreciate your comments. But you are looking only one side of the story, thereby your judgement is becoming a partial one in this case. One cannot defend the dignity and honor by humiliating a person that too an elderly woman infront of a large crowd. He could have defended his honor by peacefully explaining the situation. Look what has happened to his good image, what others are saying? Real honor is in humility. When people see that person, then they will honor him always not just a great Chess player but also as a great man. I do not know what that woman said to him, but whatever it is, one can politely respond. Because of his young age, the people should forgive him, because the kids do not know well to handle situations like this. But I will tell you that if any other Champ. who is an adult had behaved like this, people would not forgive or forget. I advise his parents to teach their son. Otherwise, if this kind of behaviour if he repeats, he will bring dishonor and ill image not only on himself but on the US Chess itself.

To those people who are mysteriously silent here and patiently waiting for the FACTS can never justify this behaviour from a honorable US Champ. Sorry.

As usual, debate that has long since ceased to receive any new information or original opinion has radicalized the debaters.

Anyway, I don't recall Ms. Reese being "elderly," not that it's particularly relevant. I just thought it lame to see this description being added to portray Nakamura's behavior as even more atrocious.

Having scanned the thread a bit, there is something odd about Kasparov attacking Radjabov, which didn't happen. His tantrum in Linares was both general and directed at several journalists, not Radjabov.

Ryan, it beats impatiently ranting without the facts. People aren't mysteriously silent when they don't want to follow others in making mountains out of molehills. What we know is that Nakamura was shouting at an event organizer. Emotional blather about it being a woman, or an elderly woman, or Mother Theresa, is pure spin. It wasn't a wrestling match; I rather doubt he physically intimidated her.

As described it was undoubtedly poor behavior. I don't see anyone saying it wasn't, or that it was justifiable to yell at someone in public. But making it out to mean a big character flaw or crimes against humanity, or asking the chess world to unanimously condemn it, is blowing it way out of proportion. I've seen plenty of players yell at organizers in public before. Yes, the US champion should try to hold himself to a higher standard, absolutely. But this must be somewhat mitigated by his age. Hate the sin, love the sinner. And try to change them with tough love, not going jihad as if he had beaten someone up.

I have not started this. I was only responding to Daaim Shabazz. Yes you are right, love is the way!

Besides being a big chess tallent, Nakamura, we would all agree, would do well to improve his table manners, along with his endgame skills. A great star or flameout? Time will tell. His apology sounded truly authentic.

Actually those unconventional moves such as 2. Qh5!? could represent a
step closer to the acceptance of Fischerandom chess (aka chess960)
in the mainstream chess practice, at the same time possibly replacing
conventional chess.

The point is they bring over disruption in the long-established _faith_ in
main playable lines such as 15-or-so-move long variations of Spanish,
Sicilians, etc.

Truth is however that these mainlines are not better than any other
unconventional lines in creating unbalanced positions with good play
for both sides, where computer (home) analysis can no longer be used.

Carrying this unbalance pursuit to an extreme it would mean that to achieve a
unbalanced position with live play no longer depends on following
any traditional recipe or disruptive 2nd-move unconventional openings:
in fact that sought unbalanced middle-game position could be just a shuffled
starting position as in Fischerrandom chess.

While the aesthetic distribution of the pieces on the back rows is not
the best, it is interesting to note that fischerrandom chess could be
the perfect revealing of ignorance/understanding of the so-called deepest
secrets of the game. Thousands of hours of computer analysis in middle-game
positions would mean nothing after 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 as well as in FRC --which
means software companies such as Chessbase should either adapt and
re-invent their bussiness or perish --Commercial
interests as ever would play an important role here.
2. Qh5 may well be a step closer to fully realize this.


I wonder if Hikaru can post a response. If not on the blog, at least conveying to you what happened. He may be traveling now, but hopefully we can find out something more. I could try to ask Sunil.

Hey Mig... on the Radjabov case... they may be referring to the interview Radjabov did where he stated that Kasparov was blocking his progress and influencing organizers not to invite him. I'm just guessing that is what they mean.

Ryan, Hikaru is not the first national champion in history to yell at an organizer. Let's be real. Have you ever gotten upset at somebody and snapped? Do we know how the exchange was initiated? Do we know that he didn't apologize later? We should reserve judgement until details are revealed.

I guess we have farmed out the 2.Qh5 issue. What an interesting discussion! I hope another GM plays 2.Qh5. Where are you Morozevich? Maybe Nigel Short could play it.

Sorry for my rapid post, but chessfanatic made a profound statement.

I have been playing Fischer Random and shufflechess a lot lately and it is amazing the patterns you can get. Fritz is very strong at organizing its pieces with these wierd moves. It is easy to get a busted position in less than 7-8 moves if you're not careful.

We are so used to set positions that we forget about chess and think robotically about the moves. Thus, we condemn 2.Qh5 because somebody said that moving your queen out early is automatically bad. This is why 2.Qh5 is so revolutionary. It should cause us to rethink our approach to chess.

Of course, Fischer Random makes opening theory irrelevant, but it requires certain middlegame understanding. It should be understood that there is still an opening in Fischer Random, but a very short one. I propose a 10-game exhibition match between Hikaru Nakamura and Robert James Fischer.


Your experience as U.S. Champion might be helpful to Nakamura. What wise investments did you make with your U.S. Championship winnings? (Having read the Harvard Business Review's article linking chess talent and business success I'm sure you picked out some good stocks, mutual funds, or bonds.)

Here is what Gelfans said about Nakamura:

"Nakamura is a player of a new generation. He does not hide, he shows off that he has not read a single book and does not know the endgame theory. Instead of studying the works of Tarrasch he prefers to be 24 hours on the ICC. However, he has convincing competitive results. This is a very interesting phenomenon.

Other young talents – Karjakin, Harikrishna, Volokitin – are playing normal classical chess. And the play of Nakamura is another dimension. I cannot judge his prospects. As I understand, at some point such a player stops progressing and it is already late to learn again. On the other hand, if one can bring to perfection the concrete play, “move by move”, maybe such an approach to chess turns out to be more effective?"

I believe, this game is a perfect example for Boris's statement. But who can answer the question he brought?

Fascinating quote, Vlad. Can you give me the source so I can use it elsewhere? Thanks.

I don't know Hikaru all that well but I have spent some hours here and there with him. Yes he does have some haughty points. He loves to talk about as Gelfand mentions that he never studies chess and knows nothing but is still US Champion, or his amazing memory etc., which always leaves the rest of us thinking... but on the other hand he has the right to be the way he is. He speaks to everyone he knows. He is always willing to discuss chess ideas. He is interested in things outside of chess. I am sure the incident is blown way out of proportion possibly even akin to the rumor on ICC that Morozevich is an arms dealer...i.e. completely made up. If it happens to be true, so what? You don't know the facts so don't make judgements. Don't behave as if have never screamed at a woman or that there is no provocation for doing so. Whatever the parents of the children were thinking when watching. F'em. Who cares? Most of those kids will drop out the moment they get out of high school, if not way before. This whole image thing is BS anyway. If a school kid wants to play with success, he will.

"Fascinating quote, Vlad. Can you give me the source so that I can quote it elsewhere? Thanks."

Mig: This was quoted by Boris Gelfand in the ACP interview.


It is well-known what happened in the Nakamura-Karjakin match, but Gelfand brings up an interesting point. Hikaru has made it known that he doesn't read many books. However, part of his learning methods entails playing tons of games by "trial and error." This leads to a science of learning called epistemology. What is the most effective way to learn and/or acquire knowledge?

Hikaru's method is an interactive approach which allows him to eliminate his defects quickly as opposed to referencing volumes of books and databases of past games. Of course, he can always refer to databases if he prefers, but the problem is that the database may no longer be up to date as he plays hundreds of interactive games with strong players. Interesting method.

Just as Kasparov has built that extensive database of openings, Hikaru has built an interactive database with each offhand game he plays. Thus, he may feel that reading books is not proactive, but reactive learning. It is an interesting method that works for him. This is not to say that he shouldn't know endgames because these principles change very little, but his learning method deserves attention.

Kasparov's database, while a valuable tool, may not allow a quick enough response... especially if someone plays an offhand opening that is not in the database or book. You can't always go back and look up the answers quick enough. I tell my students not to rely on their textbook all the time because (1) it may be out of date despite the copyright date (2) you have to be able to think on your own.

I'm no accomplished player, but I believe there is too much reliance on theoretical principles and not enough learning through interaction. Hikaru may have added to a new school of chess thought. The rapid accumulation of knowledge with interactive play is an interesting paradigm which may produce more moves like 2.Qh5.

Here is the URL
Don't tell Garry you read this site ;-)

I've been an ACP member since it started, and Garry knows it.

Regarding Qh5 and anti-book play, Kasparov talked about this trend in his retirement interviews. Many players are shying away from concrete lines where computer preparation can be decisive.


The following was forwarded on another forum:

I spoke to Diane today. Not all of the facts are accurate. She
requested people stop posting on this subject in open forums.

Enough said. Leave the kid alone.



war ....

What is it good for?

I've been looking at this whole 2. Qh5 thing, and just trying to break it down rationally:

(1) It sidesteps the Petroff, which European players like to play to draw with.
(2) For whatever good that does, if Black responds Nc6, then Bc4 forces g6 (or Qe7, blocking the Bf8).
(3) After the Queen withdrawal, the Qe2 and Bc4 aren't that badly placed - I often play the Worral attack against the Spanish, and my Queen ends up on that square anyway.
(4) It might turn out to produce some new, interesting middlegames.

Let it rip.

peace .... (just kidding)

NO Maliq, absolutely not: if that unsolicited post is to be believed, it has to do with Diane being left alone, not the petulant teen who popped a piston on her.

Hi. I am a player from Uruguay, and not certainly an opening theoritician , but against 2. Qh5?! I had read somewhere that black could simply play
3. Qe5+ Be7
followed by Nc6, castling and a quick d5 combined with Re8 and white may have some problems.
Any idea?


Let it rest. What are we gaining from talking about this off-topic matter? Nothing. Besides, Hikaru is not here to defend himself and Diane Reese is not her to explain what happened. Of course, the matter is deserves attention, but is this the proper venue? This thread is about 2.Qh5 and its impact, not Hikaru's behavior at a tournament.


Hikaru told me that he was hot under the collar, but actually never lost his temper. People are here talking about some exaggerated incident like they know what the hell they are speaking of. If the two parties involved do not make a big deal of it, then why should any of us? Have we no lives, so that we are overly concerned with this situation? As I said, I was in Nashville. If it was a big situation, I would not have first heard of it on this forum. Let it rest already. It wasn't even the point of this thread.




I am all for letting the matter rest but unfortunately you read a censored post. The blogmaster removed just enough to obfuscate its original intention and make it appear as if I wanted everyone to keep hammering away at Nakamura. Be assured this is not the case, but just a trademark piece of nastiness from Mig.

Hey Daaim,
Yes, I know Bernard Parham. The way I learned the Qh5 opening was through NM Jason Doss. I noticed him playing it in G/30 when I first moved to Dallas from San Antonio in 2000. So I asked him to teach me "the system"..which he did and Jason Doss also told me about Bernard Parham. So, I met Bernard at the 2000 or 2001 Chicago Open (can't remember which) and asked him if he had any ideas what I should do against the novelty (or so I thought) that Whatley unleashed on me with 4..f5. We didn't really come up with anything conclusive.
I don't really have any old gamescores that I can find off hand, however JZY, Bg7 Nbc3 are the omitted moves from my game vs Perelshtyn. I stopped playing the opening after I couldn't find a satisfactory continuation after 4..f5, but I won a boatload of games and rating points thanks to this opening.

Clubfoot, the part of the post I deleted was an extra paragraph attacking Maliq that had nothing to do with this case or your first paragraph and everything to do with your being a jerk. If that was your idea of ending the matter you are more deluded I thought. That you would then use my removing such garbage as a way to attack me and act the martyr is pathetic. Waahh, Mig is so nasty. He must have an agenda to keep me down. I'm so important.

"It is well-known what happened in the Nakamura-Karjakin match, but Gelfand brings up an interesting point. Hikaru has made it known that he doesn't read many books. However, part of his learning methods entails playing tons of games by "trial and error." This leads to a science of learning called epistemology. What is the most effective way to learn and/or acquire knowledge?"


I thought epistemology was the study of the nature, origin and scope of knowledge.

Anyway thanks for you and others for bringing this to the thread which has somewhat morphed into one of those bashing fest again.


Yes... that's the definition, but I suppose I was just trying to say it was a science which deals with how knowledge is acquired. I wasn't trying to be too technical on that one, but you're right... I should been more precise.


Pleased to have your insight. Yermo added some analysis to the 4...f5 line. You may have seen it. It would be interesting to be some of your wins against the stronger players. Incidentally, my attempts to contact Bernard Parham have failed. His son, also a 2.Qh5 player, hasn't responded yet either. I knew Jason Doss played it when I talked to Parham.

I was looking at that 2...Nf6 line and it's interesting. Black can really get good play after 3.Qxe5+ Be7 followed by 4...Nc6. Anybody find anything?

Incidentally, I played a game (as white) against Guillermo Ruiz, a crafty Peruvian master which was similar to the line that Yermo suggested...

1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 f5 5.d3 Nf6 6.Ne2 Bc5 7.Nbc3 d6.

My game with Ruiz came from the Vienna Game went

1. e4 e5 2. Nc3 Bc5 3. Bc4 Nc6 4. Qg4 g6 5. Qf3 Nf6 6. Nge2 Na5 7. d3!?

I beat Ruiz in a positional style, but of course the move ...f5 makes quite a difference! As Yermo stated in his ...f5 line, White has a playable position nevertheless. It's not that easy for Black to get the king out of the center without playing a move like ...f4 because Bg5! is lurking.

Mig is mistaken. He's never been that bright, but he is less intelligent than I thought if he truly believes he did not emasculate my post. Not surprising, but here his childishness is astounding:

"Waahh, Mig is so nasty. He must have an agenda to keep me down."

Wrong again, kid. I pointed out that you chopped up my post -- true -- and that you then put it out so its meaning was unclear -- also true. True and deliberate.

Mig so delights in playing the bully that one wonders how his tune would change if he had to face his targets. He's a ninja master at acting the tough guy behind a computer screen. Who's pathetic now?

"I thought epistemology was the study of the nature, origin and scope of knowledge."

Perhaps Mr. Shabazz meant 'empiricism'.

On this thing about TD's, it seems like some people who have posted here have a really unrealistic viewpoint of these people's motivations and the pressures they have to deal with. It's not like millions of excess dollars are being pumped into the U.S. chess scene (have you followed the saga of the USCF balance sheets the last few years?), and greedy TD's are grabbing it. There's probably just enough left over (if any) to keep a club or a newsletter going, to keep their thing together in their community for this game we all love. Furthermore, in their conduct of tournaments, you're talking about people who have to suddenly supervise 50 or 100 people and a whole range of conflicts, like disputes over pairings, E players who didn't know the 'en passant' rule, or (I saw this in the South Carolina State Championship), the players are blitzing out moves in a time scramble, one knocks his King over, puts it on the wrong square, and they make three moves before they notice the difference. TD's may have a couple of assistants working for them, but facts are that problems are going to arise, and they have to be resolved quickly and decisively (we don't have all weekend!). We've all played blitz chess, and we know that mistakes can occur under these circumstances.

So if, in theory, someone screamed at a TD in the middle of a tournament until she cried, or if one had the urge to punch another one for his 'arrogance', it's hard for me to believe that they understand the full context of their actions or desires.

piece .... (mine)

Read the current Dutch Treat column and Chesscafe.com and it appears to be true that Kramnik did in fact prepare 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 for blitz games against Kasparov. Vlady passed on a bit of his analysis to Nigel Short. Very interesting!

Hmmmm... the term empiricism (learning by experience/experimentation) could be used, but what I was interested in was the way Hikaru was creating his knowledge and the quality of it.

"Epistemology is the branch of philosophy that studies knowledge. It attempts to answer the basic question: what distinguishes true (adequate) knowledge from false (inadequate) knowledge?"

I believe it's worthy to point out the idea that Hikaru is able to absorb a mass amount of data quickly and correct his errors in "real time." This is opposed to relying on "inadequate" databases that may not include the 50 games he's played on the ICC a few hours ago.

Think of this...

If someone read this thread, it is possible they may understand 2.Qh5 a bit better. If they had not read this thread and played 50 blitz games with and against 2.Qh5, could we say they may learn quite a bit more through empiricism? It would be interesting to find out how Kramnik prepared 2.Qh5.

I wonder how Gelfand (who lauds Karjakin) would explain the Nakamura-Karjakin result? As an interviewer, I would have raised that question. However, he ends his interview by entertaining a very interesting debate.

Sorry for the length.


Anonymous coward, I am a scholastic chess coach (at least until the end of this school year), and I have directed scholastic tournaments in the past in which, as Jenn Shahade once said, relatively strong players were sitting a knight's move away from other players who, literally, were not sure how the knight moves. It is not because I do not understand the rigors of being a tournament director that I felt like punching this guy. One of my closest friends in the chess world is Assistant Manager at the Marshall Chess Club, and we talk all the time about the differences between directing adult tournaments and scholastic tournaments. Do not put "arrogance" in quotation marks. It is not disputable that this guy displayed great arrogance in shoving his USCF badge forward, using his index finger to attempt to draw my attention to the words "tournament director", and telling me that I could always withdraw the kids and stay for vacation. Such action is clearly indicative of arrogance, so I thank you not to demean my classification of this. I am very aware of the context of my actions and desires, and I am also aware of the context of those of the TD.



Let's chill.

We're missing out on a good discussion.

Hans Ree's article is very interesting. I believe one thing we have missed is the psychological impact of 2.Qh5. Remember... I saw a guy shellshocked after losing to 2.Qh5. Enrique Rios showed us how psychology can work in his quick win against Perelshteyn.

Kasparov would have in a fit of rage had Kramnik played 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5. However, Sasikiran's temperament is much milder than Kasparov's which is probably why he survived. Now people will be prepared against this killer move.

Dennis Monokroussos analyses Nakamura-Sasikiran and gives some 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nf6!? analysis.

Go down toward the lower third of the page at


"I wonder how Gelfand (who lauds Karjakin) would explain the Nakamura-Karjakin result? As an interviewer, I would have raised that question. However, he ends his interview by entertaining a very interesting debate."

I think it's a very good interview (w/ Gelfand), which brings attention to the subtle difference between the theoretical innovator and practical player at the highest level. But you're right - he does seem to be 'faintly damning with praise' Nakamura for being a pragamtist, which does amount to criticizing someone for playing well, which is strange. I personally would like to have at my disposal the ability to pimp-slap 2500 players by just 'playing out of book'. But alas, such are not the powers of a patzer. And you're right, I think Karjakin found out up close the powers of practical play.

But Gelfand's comments might be overly reductionist, too. In round 7 of Sigeman, Nakamura played the most 'book' of all the openings, Gelfand's (and my) beloved Najdorf, and dismantled Sune Berg Hansen with it. I think this game will be a note in an opening book real soon.


I don't understand this talk of Hikaru playing out of "book" all the time. He plays known openings, only with wrinkles, and the only question is whether the openings are common or not. 2. Qh5 is not an unknown opening, just uncommon to GM play, and for this it is derided. The opening is not losing for white; it is dynamically equal. As such, there is still a lot of play left in the position. When I trained with Yudasin, I was very intrigued by the fact that he played anti-Sicilian lines with white and often came out of "book" in favor of his own pet lines, aiming not for advantage but rather for imbalance. As he said to me at the time, "I come to fight. Good fight, bad fight, it doesn't matter if you don't know how to fight like me." This changed my entire approach to the game and took me from 1900 to 2100 very quickly. It seems that if a two-time World Championship Candidate and former top 10 in the world could think of chess in such a way, then it is curious that Hikaru's similar approach is derided. Incidentally, note how people derided Tal for just such breaking of principles, even as he crushed GMs routinely. If I can crush Smirin in 22 moves by playing uncommon lines without using time on my clock and smash a 2600 GM by a score of +3 in a short match, then I favor this approach, as well!




In today's age, opening theory changes so fast and games are available almost instantaneously. It's too much data! So maybe it is wise for Hikaru to keep an element of surprise up his sleeve. If people know he's capable of playing moves like 2.Qh5, then it gives him a psychological advantage.

I remember years ago as a junior, I spent hours devouring opening books and was very much "booked up." However, I decided that it was impossible to keep up with the latest lines given my university studies. So I took up a lot of obscure openings and started studying the endgame more.

I played 1.e4 e5 2.Nc3 for many years and added 1.e4 e5 2.d4 exd4 3.Qxd4 when Shabalov crushed a few strong players with it. Sometimes I'll throw 1.e4 e6 2.Nf3!? on the board.

The element of surprise with obscurce lines can be very effective. Fortunately, for Sasikiran, he had the right temperament to face 2.Qh5 or he would've become a footnote in many opening books.

I am not so clear that 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nf6 3.Qxe5+ Be7 is a slightly worse position then in the line in the Scotch 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Nc6 3.d4 exd4 4. Nxd4 Qh4 5.Nf3?! Qxe4+ 6.Be2 this line is slightly dubious. I have played it in blitz and since there are better lines for white I don't really think it is too great for serious games. 4...f5 seems like the right answer if this becomes a trendy move.

It was interesting to see the comments spew out on ICC when Nakamura played 2 Qh5. It is objectively not a bad move as evidenced by the position he obtained and subsequent analysis perviously posted. Chess, for all it's transformations with computers, databases,tablebases,deeper opening analysis and theory of knowledge, still seems to reside with the player who can see further into the position over the board. The question will be for Nakamura's future if he can discipline himself for theoretical study necessary to offset the 2700's (ie Leko,
Kramnik)observable edge in that area for I already believe he has approached their natural calculative abilities.

Hikaru has constantly amazed me with his theoretical preparation and natural talent for finding new ideas in openings (with regards to king hunts and initiatives)..I find it refreshing he was willing to try something so outlandish (but not bad!) against a top player such as sasikiran. I have goated him into playing Qh5 on dozens of occasions and seen him smash TOP PLAYERS in blitz games...I somehow doubt we're suddenly going to see him give up on the Queens Gambit or Ruy Lopez (he plays everything!!), and take up Qh5 as his main weapon :). As often written about, GM's spend months preparing and analyzing to find a single innovation for an important game in order to get SOME edge, (whether psychological or practical), Hikaru did this and it paid off! He got an edge! I personally would find it humorous if his future opponents must now prepare for Qh5 :) Perhaps an NIC yearbook article will be written? Starring the games of Nakamura, Parham, Doss, and Rios :)
At the very worst, at least love the hours of interesting and fun debate it has stirred in our chess lives.


I'd like to see that yearbook! (smile)

I mentioned early that what Hikaru has done is revolutionary. He has reinvigorated the debate that Bernard Parham pioneered. Sometimes your ideas don't have to be "correct" and you don't always have to have all the answers. Theories created centuries ago sometimes enter the mainstream only because of the work of some young scientist.

This is the 134th post on this topic and I would say that we all may have learned from it. It took a high profile player like Hikaru to play 2.Qh5! and get some attention. Kramnik is probably regretting that he didn't play it against Kasparov as he had planned to do.

I must say Parham deserves some credit for bringing this debate to the table. Of course, GMs are the only ones who get credit for chess ideas, but of course this is wrong. However, I believe Nakamura-Sasikiran gives some legitimacy to Parham's ideas and hopefully people will see chess differently.

You could also add a few games by John Rouleau.

With regards to Parham....This did indeed bring some of his lines to the table, but I do not think his ideas or principles are whats being discussed. I have a soft spot in my heart for Parham, as he was my coach and mentor as a kid, but most of the 'matrix' ideals are a gimmick and not advisable (especially with regards to the black pieces!). His methodology is good for kids to get them off the ground quickly(with exception to the point value system and dumb notation), but it promotes laziness to the hilt (most never once read a chess book, and are encouraged not too under Parham)...Most of the students quit or stop getting better because by the time they realize they need to enrich their chess knowledge with classics, they've already grown too rigid and lazy to start incorporating real chess fundamentals. The only exceptions to this rule are Jim H. Dean and I (but most coaches can rarely say they had 2 of their kids go on to become masters I think). I guess in a way the 'matrix' system is a McDonalds designed type system.
I think Parham should get the proper credit, as his lines went from himself to me (As a kid, rated almost as high as Bernard, I developed half of his lines alongside with him until I changed to a more traditional coach when I was around 1900 rated), and then from me to Hikaru. Hikaru is a breathe of fresh air when it comes to such ideas...he didn't immediately shovel off to the side, instead he looked for ideas and practical chances. This built-in trait to 'create' are one of his best aspects I think (and Sunil did one hell of a job promoting this!).


I suppose what I'm getting at is not his system per se, but the fact that he has played the system in competitive play for years. Again... you don't have to have all the answers to be a pioneer. A stronger player can improve on your ideas and make them better, but who else in the universe was defying theory by playing 2.Qh5 exclusively?

Parham has explained to me his methods and also his son, Bernard II, claims to have never read a book. However, earlier we were discussing how Hikaru methods did not entail reading a horde of classic books and he's pushing 2700. In the other thread, Gelfand is wondering whether this method is more effective then the classic approach... hence the other debate.

While I believe Parham was onto something in his Matrix system, I'm more interested in his motivation for creating such a system and not whether his Matrix ideas are "correct." The 2.Qh5/Matrix debate will evolve naturally and can be proven right or wrong... wrong or right.

The ideas on this thread are not so much about the merits or demerits of 2.Qh5 as it is about breaking the rules of established principles. Notice there are few lines given in these 137 posts. The real issue is the defiance of accepted principles and Hikaru has reinvigorated the debate in fine style... DESPITE his loss!

Yes Hikaru did get a playable game as white against a strong player. But so what? We could well play 1.a3!? and do the same. White can well afford one small error and still remain okay. Let's face it, 2.Qh5 is not a great move under chess considerations. It is not about revolutionary principles and the normal principles still hold for the the most part. Psychology is a different question and there I agree that Hikaru is a great practical player. As are Bernard Parham, John Rouleau, Enrique Rios and I surmise Jason Doss as well. Maybe it would have been better sprung on someone else though.To me it seems like the best reply to the non standard queen sally is the equally paradoxical move 4..f5. What I think is missing from this discussion is more consideration to the move 4...f5! which would have been the real challenge to white's "error." Is white still equal or has black taken the iniative? Should we be labelling Qh5 with a "?!" Did Sasikiran even consider this move? I am sure he thought for a while after Qh5. In any case, as Jason Doss seems to think the associated chess ideas are slightly dubious so to call it a revolution of principles is a bit too much. A ploy gone awry seems more accurate.

Dear chess-loving friends,

Hmmm, it seems that 4...f5!? seems to be the best fighting answer to 2.Qh5, perhaps Kramnik knows about this line in his analysis. I think we should focus on how White should counter after the fearless 5.exf5 Nd4! 6.Qe4 d6! (6...d5, 6...Qe7 6...Qf6 are sharper tries and each deserves some analysis) (NOT 7.fxg6?? Bf5! and White loses material) Black will win back the f5 pawn with either Nxf5 or Bxf5 or gxf5 with his next move. I suggest 7.Na3 to protect c2 as probably the best move and black would probably make the move 7...gxf5 with a strong pawn structure. White's pawn structure is not that bad since it's untempered. Perhaps the calm 5.d3! is the best way to equalise. What do the rest of you think? ;)




Your comments are understood and is the common view.

Of course 2.Qh5 is revolutionary. Had it been played at that level before? Had there ever been such a discussion on a "non-serious" move like 2.Qh5? It seems break cardinal opening rules in a way that the non-commital 1.a3 does not.

Revolutionary does not mean 2.Qh5 is great or that people will start playing it, it merely means that obscure ideas can spur widespread debate and cause a huge reaction... which it did. That what revolutions do. Now... the more direct questions will come later... "Did Nakamura or Sasikiran consider 4...f5!?" "Is it playable after 2...Nf6?" However, the analysis after 2.Qh5 is not really why we've posted 140 messages.

I'm surprised you continue to call 2.Qh5 an error when Hikaru (2657 ELO) deliberately played it knowing full well the move's reputation and his opponent's strength. In fact, he may have played precisely for that reason! Do we believe that Hikaru doesn't know the 4...f5!? line. I'll bet he was prepared for that, but that's not the issue here.

The question is... what is "normal" in chess? You're saying that 2.Qh5 is not "normal." Is the Center Counter (1.e4 d5 2.exd5 Qxd5) normal? Is the Sveshnikov normal? I believe the debate that has been spurred is that normality in chess is being questioned.

Had Hikaru sprung this on some lesser player in a weekend tournament, it would not have yielded the same worldwide reaction. That is why this instance is indeed revolutionary. There is no other sequence of moves that is more commonly associated with a beginner than 2.Qh5 and a strong GM played it! However, the lines after 2.Qh5 are not really what has spurred this debate.

White can play anything and still be no worse, is that too hard for you to understand?
When White stops trying for an advantage in the opening it means the end of chess - or at least the end of human interest in chess. Call in revolution if you will.
2.Qh5 is CRAP - end of discussion.

Great! Now all the kids will soon follow and play 2. Qh5! Let's see how many more years will this set US Chess back? Next US World Champion = 3,025


If 2.Qh5 is dubious as an opening... so be it. This is NOT what the revolution is about. To me, this debate is less about the merits of 2.Qh5 as a move than whether "standard" or "normal" chess principles can be questioned... and to what extent. It just so happens that 2.Qh5 was the move that raised this question.

Seeing that such moves are possible at GM-level may encourage chess players to develop new ideas or revisit old, rejected ideas as opposed to sticking to "normal" or "standard" principles... chess has much more potential than that.

Mr. Shabazz, as I said earlier of course this move is possible on the GM level as almost any move is possible with white so early in the game. But is it not really good as it does not yield any hope for the advantage. But you yourself seem to acknowledge that. So lets talk about principles which seems to be your main idea. That this move defies principles by bringing the queen out early. You offer the Scandinavian as another example of an opening or more specifically so that it can be attacked early. The Qd5 can be attacked by a Nc3. Nakamura plays it anway. Well there are certain trumps to the line but I think that a well prepared opponent gets more advantage here then in normal openings. I studied the line thinking about playing for black, but I not only felt uncomfortable in some of the main lines, but also in the lines where white delays Nc3(!?) to hit the queen with c4. Anyway back to Qh5. The Qh5 can be attacked by g6 (or maybe Nf6 if black holds mate by Qe7?!) but is g6 a slight weakening and certainly not as strong a tempo as Nc3. white retreats with the slightly awkward move Qf3 that is the net exchange.So in this sense it is not really a defiance of principle. To me even this seems to be a bit too much. Although I can't construct a reasonable move order it is almost if black and white switched colours, Black played Gleck's opening and white played some strange defense. But nevertheless,Hikaru must have weighed this up and said okay with the psychological factor added in this is a fine position to play. The move 4...f5! takes advantage of blacks trumps---the free move g6 and the awkward position of the white queen. Did Hikaru know about this move? It is not clear, but probably.As Yermo says, it is from a book by a very famous theoretician only available in Russian. I doubt 4...f5 is in the databases(too lazy to check). Nevertheless it is possible he encountered it in a blitz game. Nevertheless, the probablity that Sasikiran would know about this move is even less. But back to principles. The Sveshnikov is a perfect example it reflects a shift from static to dynamic features. Tarrash would no doubt have claimed black was dead, but if he took white, I doubt he would last too many moves. In any case, rules are meant to be broken and strong players know just when to break the rules. When Yermolinsky says a move is CRAP, he is probably right. I doubt Hikaru thinks anything different in the purely chess sense. If you want to talk principles, I'd say the main shift is the highlighting of factors outside of the 64 squares when fighting a battle. Psychology. Even though Hikaru got out psyched by Sasikiran, in general, he is a master of psychology. His play often lacks harmony, but he seems to make his opponents make more blunders then anyone else(Ildar in the US Championship). But is this really something new? To me it seems that he is a direct copy of Dr. Lasker. We'll see if this is enough to become a champion in the 21st century, but it was effective as hell in the 20th.

Sorry for the typos. The sentence about the Scandinavian is all messed up because part of it was supposed to go into the last sentence. Sorry for the bad punctuation as well.

Interesting response DP.

In short, I don't believe we've seen the last of these types of chess moves. However, my view is that 2.Qh5 will spur more "abnormal" moves at the top level... more than usual. In fact, I believe it was Mig quoted a GM who said that the trend is moving toward obscurce lines because of the proliferation of databases.

It is interesting to examine situations where established or "normal" principles can be violated (for a particular dynamism), and to what extent. The Sveshnikov (as we've indicated) is a prime example. I would be interested in knowing what the reaction and assessment was when that opening FIRST appeared at the top level.

Yermo may believe 2.Qh5 is crap that is fine. Analysis is forthcoming and I would imagine that there will be differing views. If we only give high regard to "accepted" principles, then human interest in chess will be lost much sooner than if someone decided to disobey them.

The two famous games I can think of off hand where the Sveshnikov as it is now called appeared were Mc and the first game I know where black got doubled f pawns was Tarrash-Janowski where white proclaimed black to be hopelessly lost although he may well have been worse for most of the game although he nevertheless won. Such is the consequence of a prominent player annotating by result and it wasn't until Sveshnikov started playing black as a junior in the 60's and 70's that it became more prominent. I remmember a quote from Polugaevsky in the Sicilian Labyrinth books(highly reccomended) to the effect of "all of his older teammates looked at Sveshnikov in horror, but Sveshnikov stuck to his principles and continued to play his defense." As you can see, and I guess this is your point, it was treated quite skeptically even by experienced GM's from the 60's.

Interesting piece of history. I used to play the Sveshnikov when it was called the "Lasker-Pelikan" and swore by it. It was fun to play, but it became too difficult to keep up with the latest trends. I left off when 11.Bxb5 was thought to be a refutation of the Sveshnikov. Today 13.Bxb5 is considered dubious.

Of course, the 2.Qh5 cannot be compared with the rigorously-tested Sveshnikov. The point is (as you've pointed out in the Sveshnikov allegory) that chess principles can be violated and may cause others to ridicule deviation from "normal" play.

According to Polugaevsky's quote, esteemed Grandmasters did not understand Sveshnikov's ideas perhaps because they deviated from accepted chess theory and principles (at that time). However, that very occurence MAY have caused other players to look for more deviations... not fewer.

Because of Sveshnikov's revolutionary opening in the 60s, chess players gained a new understanding of piece dynamism. It is ironic that one of its chief advocates has also prepared analysis in 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5... Vladimir Kramnik.

Dear chess-loving friends DP and Daaim Shabazz,

You guys mentioned the Sveshnikov and DP talked about "The Sicilian Labyrinth", a twin book collection written by Lev Polugaevsky. (A MUST for all Sicilian lovers!) I too have Polugaevsky's work and it reminded me of the debatable and thought-provoking Polugaevsky variation in the Sicilian which also tended to violate general chess principles by carrying a series of 4 queen sorties in the early stages of the opening. (rather similar to 2.Qh5, whereby later on White has to move his queen away, don't you think?) I not sure whether you guys know, but is the Polugaevsky variation still being played out by professionals or has it been relegated? I remembered that Polugaevsky won one of his last great games with it using his beloved variation in the late 1980s.




DP, about the Tarrasch-Janowski game, who won? Your sentence was not entirely clear. Was it Janowski? Can you give me the date and the tournament so that I can look it up in my database? Thanks!


It's funny you mentioned the Polugaevsky variation because in my last post I made reference to it, but erased it. I used to spend hours studying Najdorf books. I remember a popular book on the Polugaevsky by Jimmy Adams. It was all the rave back in the 80s. I won an important game against the defense many years ago.

1.e4 c5 2.Nf3 d6 3.d4 cxd4 4.Nxd4 Nf6 5.Nc3 a6 6.Bg5 e6 7.f4 b5 8.e5 dxe5 9.fxe5 Qc7 10.Qe2 Nfd7 11.0-0-0 Bb7 (both 11...Qxe5 and 11...Nxe5 lose quickly) 12.Qg4 Qxe5 13.Bxb5!? axb5 14.Ncxb5 h5? 15.Nc7+! Qxc7 16.Nxe6! Bd6 (16...Qe5 17.Nc7+!) 17.Nxc7+ and I won in a few more moves using about 10 minutes of time.

Of course, this was unoriginal and there are better lines to play for black, but is shows the dangerous of playing these obscure lines without proper preparation. I saw a game recently, but it took the 10.exf6 Qe5+ route. I remember when the Polugaevsky became popular, nobody believed it could be played.

The notion was... white would just sacrifice pieces on b5 and e6 and black would get mated. Alas... life is not so simple when facing obscure ideas that have been prepared well. One player that gave opponents fits with the Polugaevsky was FM Larry Chachere (USA). He piled up points because people would overextend and it was soon 0-1 on the chart.

I just checked www.chesslab.com and several prominent players have played it... Ivanchuk (Ukraine), Van Wely (Netherlands), Ghaem-Maghami (Iran) and Vera (Cuba). IM Justin Sarkar beat Alex Stripunsky with it last year, so I guess it is still popping up. However, Leko punished both Ivanchuk and Ghaem-Maghami (sacking his queen).

I don't look at any of these lines today because I've been playing 4.Qxd4!? for many years against 2...d6. It is surprising the look I get from my opponents when I take with the queen because it is not "normal." (smile)

Dear Daaim Shabazz,

It's very maganimous of you to share your game with me. Thanks, friend! You crushed your opponent due to Black's erroneous move 14...h5?? (loses for Black no matter what), when the move 14...f5! MUST be played to block White's knight sacrifice on e6, such a move is quite common in the Polugaevsky variation and is mostly done when the Black queen is in the centre or Black wants to parry against an attack on his King's position in the centre. (However, Black is saddled with a backward e pawn which will give him problems later on.)

After 14...f5, White continues his attack with 15.Qh4 and Black shifts his king to f7 to escape the fork on c7. After that White would naturally continue with 16.Rhe1 Be4 (forced)17.Nc3 Bb4 18.Bf4 Qf6 19.Bg5 when Black can repeat the position with a draw by 19...Qe5 or for a fighting game after 19...Qg6 20.Nxe4! (NOT 20...Bxe1? 21.Nd6+ Kg8 22.Rxe1 with a devastating attack).

Overall, I don't think you can refute the Polugaevsky variation if the Black player is tenacious and plays accurately throughout in the spirit of the variation, which I regard as a stubborn defence. However, White has a lot of tricks up his sleeve and Black must be on his vanguard or risk getting crushed just like your game above. I seriously regard the Polugaevsky variation as the sharpest and the most daring of all Sicilian lines. The play tend to be imbalanced from the start and Black must struggle to equalize logically and seek for a counter-defence or counter-offence once White is caught napping.

To all friends out there, the Polugaevsky variation is not a defence for weak nerves. You must really have a nerve of steel plus supreme composure to weather out the opening attacks. Nevertheless, it would definitely be a good idea to play the variation in Correspondence games or email chess whereby players have loads of time to think and the margin of error is greatly minimized. Blitzing playing the Polugaevsky variation as Black will probably be SUICIDE. (I tried doing so once on Chessbase server in 5 min time-contol, and the games turned out very badly for me :-...)



JZY and all,

Another famous line (instead of 14.Ncxb5) was 14.Rhe1 h5! 15.Qh4 Qc5 16.Qg3! This was seen in Stean-Ungureanu, 1976.

On the 14.Ncxb5 black can play 14...Na6!? but in the analysis I did years ago, white gets too many attacking chances with the black king in the center and potential piece sacrifices on e6 and f5. So 14...f5! has to be played.

I guess this shows that if we play innovative lines over the board, we'd better be ready for the consequences. Apparently, Sveshnikov and Polugaevsky were ready, ignored critics and perservered. It remains to be seen whether Hikaru will continue to play provocative chess and be successful. I believe he can and that remains as a strength of his.

Let's remember, it's one thing for a line to be refuted, but quite another thing to prove it under tournament conditions! That was the nature of Sveshnikov's Sicilian in the 60s, Polugaevsky's Sicilian in the 80s and Hikaru's recent 2.Qh5.


Yermo, I respectfully disagree with your assessment not of the move, but of the purpose of the opening. A player need not try to establish clear superiority in order for the game to be both accurate and entertaining. There are many situations in which neither side tries for much out of the opening and yet still has designs on winning. I quoted earlier on the perspective given to me by Yudasin, which was that he plays to imbalance the position in the opening, not necessarily for some clear advantage. He wants something for which he can fight, and he taught me pretty well the art of handing the position back to one's opponent and letting him or her contemplate what the minor chances in the position mean. Call this approach crap if you want, but he was one of the top 10 players in the world and a two-time Candidate, so there is apparently some merit to this. Also, for all of the criticism of Hikaru's style, he is clearly the best player in the US right now, and if he is winning with Center Counter and such things, then his performance also serves to illustrate the point that chess does not become less interesting because a player is not trying to crush out of the opening. I challenge anybody to say that Hikaru does not produce some of the most interesting games, regardless of whether he chooses to play 1. c4, 1. d4, or some sideline in 1. e4. There is a traditionally accepted way of approaching chess in order to play for wins, and what players like Hikaru and Morozevich do is dare people to stand by these age-old approaches even as they are marking up full points against the advocates.



Cool Yermo yes you were once rated(or maybe still rated) above 2600 but that doesnt mean you are some kind of a chess god.White doesnt have to play for an advantage.In fact to concede the equality as white at move 2 in an unfamiliar position is better than to do so at move 15 in a familiar position ur opponent has analyzed.Of course this applies only if you are really confident that you are better than ur opponent."QH5 is crap" Whatever Yermo, but Naka got an advantage with against a player much better than you are.And I have read your book an opinions on this subject and I know very well you would destroy me or anyone else below 2400 who played this but you would end up floundering against a real top class player-with moves like Qh5 chess strength matters more than the objective "advanatgae"

First of all I am trying to be rude but Prabhat your last comment was totally ignorant. First of all yes both players in the game may be stronger then Yermo. But does that mean that every idea they have is good and that Yermo, a GM can't criticize their moves. I am sure that Yermo is aware of the practical value of such move having more practical experience then every other poster here(as well as Nakamura and Sasikiran). Nevertheless the chess value is ?! And note the really strong guys would never play such moves in serious tournament play. Also Hikaru did not have any advantage in the game. He could have won the exchange(you think Hikaru did not see( and reject) e5?) but black gets enough play. Also as Yermo(!!) said 4...f5! would give black more comfortable play. I am sure poor Hikaru would struggle against Yermo after this move. In general, categorically insulting GMs is a bad idea when you are a total patzer who knows nothing about chess. You remind me of those random 1800s that poke their nose in when I am analyzing and have the bravado to move the pieces as if they know everything about chess that there is to know.

Also, I also want to note that the search for an edge with white is something many GMs spend their lives on. These are not Hikaru's priorities and I respect that. He wants to fight and some other GM's believe that too. Nevertheless we can easily ask what if he did play for an edge and not just a fight? Would he be stronger than he is now?


Granted your arguments are well-taken. I don't know how strong Prabhat Mukherjea is; however, I believe that Yermo's CRAP comment was out of place and not in the spirit of this discussion. He had already admitted that one could get a playable position and only offered one line from a book that was (incidentally) only printed in Russian. Are we saying that 4...f5 refutes 2.Qh5? Even that line is not very convincing, but that's not the point here.

Certainly, in hindsight we can go and analyze 2.Qh5, but as I said, saying a move is CRAP is one thing, but actually proving it under playing conditions is another matter. The point is... to what extent chess rules can be broken given the circumstances? If Hikaru (or Kramnik) played Yermo today and chose 2.Qh5 (assuming Yermo would play 1...e5), who would you bet on if you had to choose one player (in the 4...f5! line)? If you don't say Yermo, then his CRAP theory is refuted.

Again... it has nothing to do with whether 2.Qh5 is good, it has to do with who can find the most resources given all the chess factors (i.e., time, emotion, strength, preparation). As we know, and I believe you may agree, that mastering one of these during the game is not enough. Kasparov's 25-move win over Anand in the Evans Gambit is proof. In following Hikaru, he appears to master more of the above factors than other players which is why he can play such provocative chess.


As I clarified to a friend of mine, it is not that players like Hikaru and Yudasin are not searching for an edge. They just have a different way of going about it. Recognized is the fact that black can equalize against any opening with proper play. Also recognized is the idea that people spend most of their study time looking at things they see most often. Thus, playing for an edge against the known lines leads to equality more often than not against good GMs. What the two players mentioned seem to do is play for dynamic equality rather than equality with little to play for. They can even take a slightly worse position and win from it, because their fighting spirit and creativity in such positions often has trumped their opponent's prowess in these regards. Chess, ultimately, is a game decided on more subjective reading of a position than objective reading of a position. Players sometimes sacrifice a pawn to gain activity because they do not like their position, for instance, even though they may be able to hold the materially-balanced but more restricted position. Lenny and Hikaru seem to thrive on putting psychological pressure on the opponent and forcing him to defend his ideas. Because of this, they win games which, objectively, they did not have to end up winning, and they do so because chess is not computer vs. computer when two people are at the board. There are ways to establish superiority in a game which have nothing to do with outposted knights or outside passed pawns, and it is here that Hikaru and Lenny have succeeded so often. They ask a question to the opponent with their moves: if the question is answered correctly, the opponent can win or draw; if not, the opponent loses. Their track records indicate that, more often than not, people are unable to answer the questions correctly nor comfortably.



2.Qh5 is revolutionary? Nakamura has tried it once and it didn't work. And if the comments from Yermo, the only one of us qualified to provide analysis, are anything to go by he probably won't try it again for awhile. It was possibly worth a try to surprise his opponent and it certainly got him some attention but it isn't likely to change the game.

Mr Shabazz, the that line is not convincing comment does not convince. If Yermo played Hikaru after 4...f5!, I am not sure who to take. Hikaru may well be playing significantly stronger than Yermo now because one is relatively inactive whereas the other is on a rampage. I doubt Kramnik would play 2.Qh5 but if he did against Yermo I'll have to take Kramnik just because he is a class or two above(Sorry Yermo). But of course, you know this is not the point is it? Kramnik and probably Hikaru as well could play me with 1...f6?! and still have decent chances but does that mean that 1...f6 is not dubious ? Of course you see the fallacy of your argument. The move Qh5 or f6 in our case is not such a significant error that it effects the expected outcome of the game in any serious way. But, Sasikiran is about as strong as Hikaru and well, what really matters is who would I bet on after 4...f5!(Sasikiran). Although, one could well ask whether even this matters at all. It matters on your perspective--- from my perspective a move like Qh5 should be judged based upon perfect play(I know all of you don't agree) and I think many GM's annotate in this way and most try to play the move they think is objectively the best.

Jim Foster,

Please go above and check the proper context of what "revolutionary" means. It has nothing to do with 2.Qh5 being a great or new move. We've already discussed what the context of that word means in this forum. Yermo made the same error and now we've been reduced to debating lines which I will do later in this post.

I'm not understanding how you're saying Yermo is the only one qualified to give analysis (which was not his to begin with). That simply is not true... title or no title. He offered one line from a Russian chess book and the analysis stopped at move #7 after which he said white had a "playable" game.


The reason I mentioned Kramnik is because he PREPARED 2.Qh5 for a match against Kasparov (fact). I'm sure Kramnik was familiar with the same book Yermo read (in Russian), but if Yermo states the line is CRAP, he should win regardless of who is playing 2.Qh5, yes?

You mentioned that we go by perfect play. What is perfect play DP? Can you tell us what that is? Does it exist between two humans? I don't believe so. Chess is not a solvable mathematical equation which is why you can break the rules... it is dynamic. This is the revolutionary part. Maliq also made this point in eloquent fashion.

I also made the previous comment (and you would agree) that chess involves other non-chess factors which affect one's play. It is these factors which make breaking the rules so interesting. Again... it's not about the analysis of the move; it's about the conditions under which the move it played.

If analysis is what you want... Yermo gave:

1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3. Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 f5!? 5.d3 Nf6 6.Ne2 Bc5 7.Nbc3 d6, but 8.exf5! already causes black difficulties due to the threat of 9.Bg5! is unsettling. The move 8...e4!? may be a try, but black also gets into trouble. I'll stop here.

I am aware about Kramnik but he it was for a blitz match and he never went through with it. About CRAP well I think 1...f6 is CRAP and there are a at least a (few) hundred players in the world who could nevertheless defeat me with it some large percentage of the time. However, your analysis of the line is good---in the position Yermo gave, black is completely busted. Black must improve earlier like maybe 7...f4 which somehow seems logical and illogical at the same time.I guess I was attracted by the idea that I never really analyzed the position but not being able to castle is annoying so maybe you are right that f5 is too much. One amusing line is 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 g6 4.Qf3 f5 5.d3 Nd4 6.Qd1 fe4(b5 Bg8+-) 7.de4 Qh4!? Nc3 Bb4 but this is probably asking a bit too much of the position as well. It is interesting to analyze a sharp position on move 4. Perhaps Sasikiran played correctly after all. And, still, my comment about black playing white in Gleck's opening and white playing something awkward seems logical.

DP since you talk abt random 1800s I suppose you are at least a USCF master otherwise you are too arrogant for words.I am not too bad a player myself since you claimed I am a total patzer-which I am not.I know enough of the game to understand that when a 2600 GM gives a 7 move analysis from a 40 yr old book and then dismiises an equal line with the eval "CRAP" it is not his chess skill but his arrogance speaking.As such Yermos eval is nonsensical unless he could beat everybody who played that move against him.Yermo then went on to claim(on behalf of humanity)that chess loses its interest when white does for an advantage.Yermo is entitled to his opinions but he cant "end a discussion" and he doesnt deserve extra latitude simply because he is a GM unless he acts like one and backs up what he says. Jim Foster makes the comment Naka tried it once and it didnt work.The move gave him a slight advantage as well as one hr extra on the clock-quite a lot at that level.That he lost later is neither here nor there.


An idea can be "obscure", "spur widespread debate and cause a huge reaction" and yet not be revolutionary. Revolutions, by definition, cause significant change, like the Communist revolution, the industrial revolution and so on.

If Nakamura's 2.Qh5 does wind up sparking a new school of thought in opening theory, or otherwise has some significant influence on the game, then maybe you can call it revolutionary. But at the moment it is merely newsworthy (in the chess world at least).

And has 2. Qh5 really caused "widespread debate"? We are going on about it on this message board, but I haven't seen it discussed all that much anywhere else.


I'm only a B player at best, so I won't try to argue about whether or not Nakamura got an advantage out of the opening. But how did you determine this? And the hour he gained on the clock only proves that his opponent was unprepared, which only justifies playing 2.Qh5 for its surprise value. What counts is what happens the next few times Nakamura plays 2.Qh5 against strong opposition, if he plays it again.

Everyone already knows that you can play objectively dubious moves and get away with it. Psychological reasons, surprise value, whatever. Not only in the opening for that matter. 2.Qh5 adds nothing new at all that I can see. Morozevich plays eccentric openings all the time and that doesn't generate mile-long debates on blogs.


Isn't this "mile-long" debate fascinating though? I believe a lot of ground has been covered here and we have a wide variety of views. We haven't done much analysis which means that ideas are being brought forth.

You are correct... Morozevich plays eccentric opening, but to my knowledge hasn't played 2.Qh5... big difference. This move is scorned as a common approach used by beginners... which is causing people to rethink their position.

Jim Foster,

Revolutions do not necessarily have to cause "significant" change. I've read countless histories of revolutions because my Ph.D. area is International Affairs. In a sense, "change" is relative. What does significant change mean? If you want to argue about the Russian Revolution of 1917 and Communist Party, that's one thing, but we are still learning from the impact of Hikaru's approach to chess. His bold approach is more important than the fact that he played 2.Qh5. We keep missing this point.

Sometimes revolutions do not realize their impact until 100 (or 1000) years after they were initiated. The move 2.Qh5 is revolutionary, not because it is a powerful move, but as a concept of breaking rules of standard and "normal" play. Hikaru is known for breaking rules which (in the days of databases) is a revolutionary concept that more players are bound to adopt.

The new school of thought will not be about 2.Qh5, but it may result in a situation where accepted principles are questioned. This happened when people didn't think you could give up the center with 1.d4 Nf6!? 2.c4 g6!? or play the Sveshnikov. Maybe we'll see another evolution of opening which feature very obscure ideas.

Yes... his move has been discussed on many websites, discussion board and blogs. Analysis has been done on the game. Perhaps that is how Prabhat came to this conclusion. In my eyes Nakamura-Sasikiran has spurred widespread debate.

"breaking rules of standard play" "accepted principles are questioned" and comparing it with the Sveshnikov and the hypermodern revolution? That is nonsense in my humble opinion; chesswise, 2.Qh5 IS crap, and if you ask Nakamura he knows that perfectly well. The only reason to play it is psychological or if you know that your openings suck anyway so that you can't expect an advantage through standard play either.


Hikaru's openings suck? I won't dignify the comment of someone (an amateur no less) criticizing a 2657-rated GM's opening play.

As I said in an earlier post, "Of course, 2.Qh5 cannot be compared with the rigorously-tested Sveshnikov..." However, the comparision with the Sveshnikov is relevant. We NOW see the Sveshnikov as a legitimate defense because of its dynamism despite breaking principles of sound opening play. Now people can jump on the bandwagon because it has been tested. When Sveshnikov was playing it, his contemporaries considered it CRAP. When classical players saw 1.d4 Nf6!? 2.c4 g6, they considered it CRAP. However, they were also mistaken because they were prejudiced by their previous understanding of what normal play was.

Apparently, many of you are not seeing the subtle point being made here and continue to focus on whether 2.Qh5 is strong or not. The funny thing is none of you are offering any analysis. However, we can analyze and discover this right or wrong, but the truth remains... 2.Qh5 raises questions about what is standard and to what extent we can question current principles the way Steinitz and Sveshnikov did in their day.

And how have you( a 2000 rated player)have reached the conclusion that it is CRAP.It seems to me that your opinions are merely the repitition of some other opinions you have heard.Lets look at it objectively does 2 Qh5 a)drop material?b) Lead to an inferior position?No in fact the refutation which Yermo gave from a 40 yr old book was a 7 move line which as somebody here analyzed leaves black busted.c)Concede the advantage-Yes it does but I think its better to concede the advantage at move 2 in a position you have analysed and the opponent has not,rather than at move 22 when it is time for most 2700 players to start shaking hands because the position is equal familiar and already analysed.d)It surprises the opponent and gives you a clock and psychological plus e)It leads an unexplored position where an opponent cannot make use only of his memory.I think thats a lot of practical advantages in return for a minute theoretical advantage squandered.
But and this is the caveat it only works if you are better than your opponent in the first place otherwise you are indeed just risking a loss and squandering at least the opportunity to make a draw with the white pieces.
As for Acirce,s comment/aspersion abt Nakamuras openings it doesnt deserve much you dont get to 2657 if your opening just suck.By "suck" I am sure what Acirce means are that they are not popular mainlines and I doubt he will concede there is any difference between the two.

On a side note,to point out the advantages of the "interesting position approach" as contrasted to the "advantage out of the opening approach".At linares Leko had 12 out of 12 draws meaning his black repertoire was pretty much impregnable(actually he was busted against Topalov butleave that aside for the moment).Given that he was capable of 6 draws with black which is what many players aim for as black,he needed to win with white.Now nobody I have heard claims that Lekos opening sucks but in 6 games as white he got 0 convertible advantages.Since he is a world championship contender presumable he could allow himself to unbalance the position with some eccentric opening which reached an equal position-it couldnt have hurt him because he wasnt getting advantages anyway.
The problem is playing in this manner just doesnt occur to the majority of chess players,inspired possibly by the fear of losing as white of maybe plain peer pressure like Naka and Moro probably experience.

Daaim, maybe Nakamura's openings "suck", that is a matter of definition. What I said here was that *if* your openings do "suck" you may as well play something like 2.Qh5 and you won't end up any worse than usual anyway. As for Naka's openings I don't see the need of being so defensive all the time. They work for him at his current level because he is such a brilliant player that he can outplay most of his opponents anyway. Will it work on 2700+ level - probably not.

Prabhat/RisingChamp, you're welcome to suggest a different description than "crap" for a move that concedes White's opening advantage in move 2. Maybe "bad" or "significantly worse than 2.Nf3" if "crap" sounds too harsh. I don't want to argue about words. As for the point about potential practical advantages in playing inferior moves, yes, I am fully aware of that being a practical player myself. You're arguing with nobody.

"By "suck" I am sure what Acirce means are that they are not popular mainlines and I doubt he will concede there is any difference between the two." - Don't be ridiculous. Popularity is partly about trends. A currently impopular line may be just as good as a popular one. That is irrelevant if you for example keep getting nothing out of the opening and struggle with either colour. I think it's reasonable to say that then your openings "suck" even if you outplay your opponents later on. Once again feel free to suggest a more respectful word.

Well paradoxical as it may seem then it is possible I think to attribute some of Nakamuras middlegame strength to the fact that his openings "suck"-the non standard positions allow him to outplay opponents in a manner which wouldnt be so easy to do in a position which is familiar and exhaustively analyzed.By the way it occured to me that is it always so easy to ascertain whether you "got something out of the opening" after all in many cases opening lines are taken up or discarded not becasuse the positions are different but because the evaluation changes 180 degrees.
All the same the game does flow out of the opening and it seems strange that a person middlegames might be better BECAUSE his openings suck.

I still don't really see the advantage in giving black the white pieces in a respectable opening setup. This kind of play actually leads to boring draws. Yes, Morozevich has already been playing crazy stuff to outplay his opps for years and to have another player follow his example is interesting and noteworthy. Prabhat ,yes, I am only a mere master and no I did not mean to degrade your playing skill with respect to my own, but rather with respect to Yermo's. By the 1800 player example I meant that the player is mediocre and yet feels he can teach everything. I feel this debate has lost value and so agree to respectfully disagree about both the merit and importance of the move. I close by saying, why not fight for the advantage? You point to Leko and I point to Anand and Kasparov. But Hikaru is not even on that level yet. Guys on his level still play for and get the iniative as white all the time. As a final note, I have said or implied many times during the post at the highest level they are playing only with the best move. It is not enough to get into some random position and outplay them. Look at Morozevich. Maybe Hikaru can try to make it work. But I think that Hikaru has barely faced anyone his own rating and if he tries to play just for complications as white, he might not do as well as many of you think, even on the 2600-2699 range.

Even though I never wanted to necessarily debate analysis here, I'm still surprised that no one offered convincing analysis on 2.Qh5. In fact the only GM posting here offered a busted line for black and other lines seem either unclear (7...f4) or point to a slight white advantage.

Is it because deep down inside, we are analyzing it as a future weapon? Don't be ashamed... Grandmasters are analyzing that game and perhaps Kramnik has withheld his analysis on 2.Qh5 for a reason. Nevertheless, we'll see (in coming weeks) if players are more emboldened to play obscure opening... including 2.Qh5.


DP, you are still getting it mixed up. Hikaru, Yudasin, and Morozevich are fearsome attackers, clear evidence that they definitely know how to seize an initiative and run with it. Initiative can be seized in technically even positions, and it often is. If you feel that you are playing Hikaru's game, then he has the initiative, and if you are uncomfortable, then he has done his job. A friend of mine once said of a game with Kasparov "No matter how hard I thought, I felt like he was moving MY pieces." That is quite a testimony to the power of psychology in chess, and to discount it in favor of the generic argument about "advantage" is flawed thinking in some regard.



Well I understand that at some point they seize the initiative because they win the game without simple blunders. But there is a difference between Hikaru and Motylev who is constantly seeking out improvements and getting the iniative from early on in the game. Sutovsky is playing crazy and seemingly unclear positions. Hikaru for the most part is not doing this as much as you guys seem to imply. The position reached after Qh5 was not imbalanced. It was fairly boring and equal. Hikaru is just playing chess and keeping the tension high. Just continue playing chess. Kasparov has noted that this attitude lead many of Fischer's opponents to blunder even in simple endgames. Hikaru has a similar attitude and it works well. But to say that the way he played this opening is a reflection of revolution or good practical play is stretching it. Note Fischer also had the best prep in his time. Hope this clears up some of the confusion you have.

You all keep misusing the word "revolution." I first used the word revolution on this thread to indicate that Hikaru may spur others to play provocatively... not to necessarily play 2.Qh5. It's an attitudinal revolution more than an opening revolution.

Nevertheless, here is yet another 2.Qh5 story from another website.

* * *

The story goes that in the sixties Euwe played on first board for the club named after him, Max Euwe. On second board Van Eybergen would play with satanic relish 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5 and Euwe would watch it with the same repugnance that Mother, earlier in this article, had shown when talking about the heathens. Thus it has been told to me, but if it is true I do not know.

But who was right, Euwe or Van Eybergen? Here is a game that sheds a different light on this question than the games between Jake and Joe did.

White: Woody Harrelson Black: Garry Kasparov, Prague 1999 White is a famous actor, known among other things as the good and innocent assistant-barman in the TV series Cheers. Black needs no introduction.

1. e2-e4 e7-e5 2. Qd1-h5 Nb8-c6 3. Bf1-c4 Qd8-e7 4. Ng1-f3 Ng8-f6 5. Qh5-h4 d7-d6 6. d2-d3 h7-h6 7. h2-h3 Bc8-e6 8.Nb1-c3 Be6xc4 9. d3xc4 Nc6-d4 10. Nf3xd4 e5xd4 11. Nc3-e2 c7-c5 12. f2-f3 d6-d5 13. c4xd5 Nf6xd5 14. Qh4xe7+ Nd5xe7 15.Bc1-d2 0-0-0 16. 0-0-0 g7-g6 17. Ne2-f4 Bf8-g7 18. c2-c4 d4xc319. Bd2xc3 Bg7xc3 20. b2xc3 b7-b6 21. c3-c4 Ne7-c6 22. Kc1-b2 Rh8-e8 23. Rd1xd8+ Re8xd8 24. Nf4-d5 h6-h5 25. a2-a4 Kc8-d7 26. Kb2-c3 Kd7-e6 27. f3-f4 Nc6-d4 28. Rh1-d1 Nd4-e2+ 29. Kc3-c2 Ne2-d4+ 30. Kc2-c3 Nd4-e2+ Draw agreed.

It has to be admitted that Harrison was helped by the grandmasters who were in Prague at the occasion of the match between Shirov and Judit Polgar, but that does not alter the fact that the so-called beginner's move 2. Qh5 makes quite a decent impression here. Not so in the next game."

I have always understood your use of revolutionary. My reply would be that people have been playing provocatively for years early g4 moves are more and more common. The ultimate test is still whether it unbalances the position and leads to interesting play hopefully with some initiative for white as in the original g4 in the Semi-Slav which is as dangerous as hell for white. Yermo's initial reaction to 2.Qh5 is particularly apt. Something like big deal Qh5. too bad black didn't make it interesting with 4...f5. After ten moves they reached a perfectly boring position. The move Qh5 doesn't necessarily lead to unbalanced play at least unless black tries f5.

To add a visual approach to the discussion - here is the revolutionary moment caught on film: http://www.ksu.dk/log/sig05billede18.jpg

Thanks acirce!

I had only seen a picture of Sasikiran pondering 2.Qh5. This picture gives much more information because of the demo board and Hikaru looking away (and apparently about to leave the table).

I was just speaking to another player from Barbados and he mentioned that a strong English player told him about the power of 1.e4 e5 2.Bc4 Bc5 3.Qh5! I haven't look at it yet, but I believe we'll see a rash of old openings (and lines) resurrected.

I posted this elsewhere, but you might enjoy it too :

BabsonTask: While we're on the subject of 2.Qh5...

Naka (Smallville) had a little accident in a blitz game on ICC the other day. It's only a blitz game, still...

[Event "ICC 3 0"]
[Site "Internet Chess Club"]
[Date "2005.04.28"]
[White "Smallville"]
[Black "nulletokkpokk"]
[WhiteElo "3194"]
[BlackElo "3183"]
[Opening "KP: Patzer opening"]
[ECO "C20"]
[NIC "KP.10"]

1. e4 e5
2. Qh5 Nf6
3. Qxe5+ Be7
4. Be2 Nc6
5. Qf4 d5
6. e5 Ne4
7. Nf3 g5
8. Qe3 g4
9. Nd4 Nxd4
10. Qxd4 Bc5
11. Qa4+ Bd7
12. Qb3 Qh4
13. Qxd5 Qxf2+

14.Kd1 Qxg2 White resigns 0-1

A 14 move squash against a GM - not too shoddy. Immediately after this game "Smallville, whom you were following, has disconnected". Can't say I blame him.

Hikaru is definitely experimenting. 4.Be2 is definitely not the best move.

It appears that Hikaru and Alejandro Ramirez played a set of ICC blitz and Ramirez played 2.Qh5 and lost quickly to Hikaru's 4...f5!? However, the Costa Rican GM didn't seem familiar with the analysis and lost in 12 moves. I'm sure Hikaru knew the 4...f5 analysis before playing Sasikiran and had something in store for it.

Hikaru also played 1.e4 e5 2.Nf3 Qf6!? with black against Ramirez and mated him viciously. The revolution has definitely started and players are searching for unconventional ideas. Hikaru also faced 1.e4 e5 2.Qh5 Nc6 3.Bc4 Qf6!?

Interesting that nobody seems to be particularly interested in the fact that 2. ... Nf6 was suggested by Heine. It is certainly the move I would play. (Oh dear, does that make it bad again?)

2...Nf6 is certainly an enterprising way but I myself doubt that Heine himself would commit himself to being a pawn down on move 2. It is a risky way to play for sure but nevertheless blacks lead in development is quite convincing two pieces out and 1 more tempo on the way and so white needs about 3 safe moves before he can castle

Hi Charles...

2...Nf6!? was suggested on about post #50 by Heine! I've seen some analysis done on it and as DP is saying, the compensation for pawn deficit is not clear.

In one line I saw, black was down two pawns and this master gave 2...Nf6!? 3.Qxe5+ Be7 4.Nc3 Nc6 5.Qf4 Nb4 6.Kd1 d5 7.a3 d4 8.axb4 dxc3 9.bxc3 0-0 with "good compensation" the player claims.

Frankly, I don't see the compensation. It seems to me that white can consolidate pretty easily.

Hikaru stated,

"SURPRISE! I actually wanted to avoid Krishnan's theory in both the Ruy and Scotch, as I felt he was very booked up. I also noticed that Kramnik had prepared this opening for some rapid games against Kasparov if Kasparov decided to play 1...e5. As the saying goes... "If any World Champion studies it then it has to be good!"

So there you have it... the famous reference to Kramnik's 2.Qh5. So maybe it was Kramnik who started this mode of thinking. I wonder if Kramnik had seen some Parham games. Why hasn't Kramnik released his analysis if he feels it is no good?

Hello everyone! After so many random comments I feel like explaining why I played 2.Qh5 and what inspired it. So here it goes...

The night before I was to play GM Sasikiran in round 7, I decided to connect to the wireless internet from my room in Denmark. As such, I couldn't avoid logging on ICC and chatting with friends. After talking randomly with some people Jason Doss a.k.a. Jdoss on ICC suggested that I play 2.Qh5! Although I think Jason was only half-serious at the time I thought it was a practical opening choice and more importantly a surprise. I have analyzed this line thoroughly, and will probably play 2.Qh5 in the future...maybe in Minnesota, who knows? I think that in order for chess to be interesting in the future people need to come up with new ideas and avoid all the computer-prepared variations, which makes chess dull and unexciting as players do not have to exhibit real skill.

Anyways in response to what some other Grandmasters have said; I do not believe that 2.Qh5 is a playable move, in fact I had a very good position in the game, and was close to winning if I had in fact played 23.e5. Alas, due to my style I went for all or broke and lost the game. I truly believe that one only has one life to live, therefore one must enjoy this world. What does one loss mean in the scheme of life?

Hikaru, it's very nice to hear from you. Even though you lost the game, you displayed remarkable fighting spirit and that makes you an exceptional player. :)

[I assume from the context that there was a typo in Hikaru's post and "unplayable" was meant instead of "playable" regarding 2.Qh5. Or the "not" is extra.]


I think you have exhibited exemplary behavior by responding in lieu of 190+ posts. It answers a ton of questions.

You imply that this loss is unimportant in the scheme of things, but I'll tell you... this may one of the most important losses you'll ever have! (smile) You've generated a healthy debate and thus, have done a tremendous service to chess due to your courage.

All the best!

"... performed an exemplary act..." is more of what I meant.

"I truly believe that one only has one life to live, therefore one must enjoy this world. What does one loss mean in the scheme of life?"

Very well put, young man. I might add to that "nothing ventured, nothing gained." Chess needs some new ideas, and that entails a little risk. Glad to see you're up to the challenge.

Hey everybody, chess is to enjoy. Nakamura is right. If you can't enjoy your chosen profession, especially at the ripe old age of 16, you're in the wrong line of work.

How many times have we read comments by various "mature" players that said, essentially, that they used to play for all-out attacks and, while they recognize that that style is not necessarily the best in all situations, it was a lot of fun? They seem to get all misty-eyed and wistful when speaking of their early years. Let's give Hikaru the right to have his fun while he can. He's obviously learning plenty from his experiences and enjoying the process immensely. And that, in the final analysis, is what it's all about.

Play on, Hikaru!

By the way, Hikaru Nakamura played 2.Qh5 against Mitov at the HB Global Chess Challenge. The game ended in a draw after Nakamura developed a slight advantage. He also played (as Black) 1.e4 d6 2.d4 f5!? against Perelshyteyn and won.

How was that that said it wouldn't be played against. Hikaru also told me in an interview that a couple of Grandmasters had been analyzing 2.Qh5. Nick Faulks... are you still a betting man?

Perhaps Hikaru's enthusiasm for this particular novelty has now been dented by the result of the outing he gave it in the final of the Lausanne Young Masters against Volokitin.

1. e4 c5 2. Qh5 Nf6 3. Qh4 Nc6 4. Be2 e5 5. d3 Be7 6. Qg3 d5 7. Nd2 O-O 8. c3 b5 9. Nh3 d4 10. c4 Ne8 11. cxb5 Bh4 12. Qf3 Nb4 13. Bd1 f5 14. a3 Nd6 15. axb4 fxe4 16. Qh5 Bxh3 17. g3 Qf6 18. Bb3+ Kh8 19. f3 exf3 20. Kf2 Bg5 21. Nxf3 g6 22. Bxg5 Qf5 23. Qxh3 Qxf3+ 0-1

Hikaru was in a must win situation which perhaps explains the temptation to try to provoke a red blooded scrap. But Volokitin's response verges on the dismissive.

e4 c5 is not the same as e4 e5. In this case Nf6 did not gambit a pawn and is therefore just a very strong developing move.

Reminds me of the late great GM Tony Miles who played 1.a3 against Karpov and won! Hehe.

Please check with your webmaster. Yeah I do not know why but for some reason this website is taking a long time in loading. I'm sure there are a lot of people having a hard time looking through your website.

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    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on April 22, 2005 9:16 PM.

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