Greengard's ChessNinja.com

Stop, Look, Listen: Nakamura at Corus 2010

| Permalink | 117 comments

From the man with the best hair in chess journalism, Macauley "Anchorman" Peterson at the ICC Chess.FM blog, the real scoop on Hikaru Nakamura's invite to Corus A 2010. Go there now for all the linkies to work.

American champion Hikaru Nakamura has been invited to the prestigious Corus A tournament in Wijk aan Zee (January 15-31, 2010).

Nakamura (ICC: Smallville) broke the news first in an interview for Chess Talk with John Watson, which will be released for on-demand playback next Tuesday, June 29th on Chess.FM (for ICC members only).

The past six weeks have been tremendous for Nakamura, whose U.S. Championship win in Saint Louis got him back over 2700 FIDE. In fact, with Gata Kamsky struggling in Bazna, Romania, Nakamura looks poised to surpass him as the top rated American in the world.

Macauley phoned Hikaru for a quick chat on Monday night to confirm the news.

For US fans this adds some drama to all the remaining Corus A invite announcements. Will the American champ face the usual rogue's gallery of top-tenners? Will Anand, Topalov, and Kramnik be back this year? Nakamura's inclusion in this traditional event will also test my theory that having someone with his large American online fan base will have a significant impact on coverage traffic. Like any star doing his thing, Nakamura also has his share of vocal detractors. But they'll be watching eagerly, too. And on the internet nobody knows (or cares) whether the unique visitors are there to cheer or jeer. It's about putting butts in the seats, as the saying goes, or in this case, eyeballs on the screen. And I have no doubt that in that category Nakamura plays at the 2800 level.

I hope the USCF site gets out ahead of their champion's second-half star turn with some serious promotion and coverage. This is their chance to run with something big instead of running it over. Contests, fantasy chess, win a trip to Corus to carry Hikaru's luggage, whatever. I'm sure the savvier ICC folks will get into this sort of thing as well. Smallville is as close to a home-grown star as the ICC could have.


congratulations for Hikaru Nakamua, I've been long waited to see Nakamura playing more in europe. if I am not wrong Fabiano Caruana also promoted to division A by winning the B this year ??

and carlsen vs nakamura will be internet harvesting time.

Translating Corus tournament director Jeroen van den Berg at the Dutch Chess Federation's website:

"Besides other top players we would like to get one, but preferably two players of the trio Anand, Topalov and Kramnik to Wijk aan Zee. Their financial demands are significantly higher than the rest of the field, this is a known fact. In that respect it wasn't too bad for us that the three of them couldn't come this year, because also in 2009 we had to slow down a bit. But OK, they are the absolute top and I would really like to see them in Wijk aan Zee again." (http://www.schaakbond.nl/laatste-nieuws/nieuwsberichten/jeroen-van-den-berg)

"Like any star doing his thing, Nakamura also has his share of vocal detractors. But they'll be watching eagerly, too. And on the internet nobody knows (or cares) whether the unique visitors are there to cheer or jeer."

Personally, I am supremely bored by this Nakamura hype. I neither cheer nor jeer!

IMO Nakamura will be only a tourist on Corus A while Caruana will be playing many times there.

I agree with D_Tal. Mig's blog has an understandable
leaning towards US events and players but in world terms I think US championship is no big deal. I've no special interest in Nakamura. If it greatly increases interest in Chess then great.

Harvesting time? Right, Nakamura will harvest the crop he deserves after years of smarty remarks that his online opponents didn't appreciate. We'll see.

Naka is one of the few chessplayers I dislike, for the accusations he made on that online ICC blitz tournament. But that will not increase my interest of Corus in any way: Corus is and always has been the best tournament of the year for me. In fact, I hope what Manu said comes true.
JINX thread gogo.

I have had the pleasure of enjoying several conversastions with Hikaru on a variety of topic including chess, hockey, extreme sports, martial arts, travel and have had the chance to speak a little French with him. I think if people lightened up a little and stop holding onto grudges, they'd find that while he has some strong views, there is more to him that the occassional barb he throws out every now and then. He told me of his invitation to Corus A a few nights ago on Facebook and I was thrilled. He has the competitive grit and determination that chess needs more of these days.

Well.. In the end Nakamura will have a chance to stand his ground in a Top event ( which the US Championships is not , to be honest. ).

Guess he will not play his 2. Qh5 against any of the partecipants.. ;-)

Good show by Nakamura, hopefully he will continue his opening experiments in Corus, imagine trotting out 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5 against Anand!

To assess the chances of Nakamura vs. Caruana, maybe it helps to have a look at their recent performances against (sub-)top players. My "database" stems from the FIDE rating site and includes everything after January 2008 (hence starting with the April 2008 list and including what's already rated for the upcoming July 2009 list). Here we go:

- against 2650-2700 3/5 (+1 =4)
- against >2700 2/7 (=4 -3)

- against 2650-2700 7/15 (+3 =8 -4)
- against >2700 3/7 (+3 -4, no draws!)
Caruana won his last five games against such opposition (Sasikiran, Short, Rublevsky, Tiviakov, Ni Hua), showing that he is rapidly progressing and considerably improving what had been a fairly poor statistic before ... .

For what it's worth ... in both cases, a lot will depend on how they deal with the pressure in their first super-events (where everyone may want to beat them).

I remember seeing an interview with Nakamura (on chessvibes) after he won US championship , he seemed like a world champion there .
And then you see Chucky or Topa or Grishuk winning a category 19 tournament and talking like it was nothing at all.
I can understand why people want him crushed like a bug.

And what about his remarks , somebody commented here that Nakamura said that Topa should go back to cheating or something like that ,
did he said something else about other players?

Its funny cause quite the opposite will be true.
Caruana didn't even earn his spot he got a lucky last round self struction from a Nigel Short.

One would hope Nigel Short is invited anyways as he had earned his spot (and he's more interesting than Adams anyhow).

One can be almost assured of a return by Smeets and Van Wely.


anyways didn't nakamura one year turn down an invite to corus B demanding corus A and they turned around and said never cause he was so rude?

"I remember seeing an interview with Nakamura (on chessvibes) after he won US championship , he seemed like a world champion there .
And then you see Chucky or Topa or Grishuk winning a category 19 tournament and talking like it was nothing at all."
Heaven forbid that a young man should be proud of himself when he becomes champion of his country. Cos these shy, retiring champs are the ones that bring chess all that publicity, right?

Maybe we have different opinion about what earning means , Favio won Corus B and not just because Short blundered.

chesshire cat:
You know what i meant , i just said that it is easy to understand why some people may not like him.

Perhaps you need to watch the video interview to understand what Manu meant. It difficult to describe Nakamura's attitude, you have to watch the video to see his body language and tone while responding to the questions by Jennifer Shahade and another interviewer. This is nothing to take away from his fantastic achievements in the recent few weeks. I have nothing but admiration about his chess results.

In fact lets make this interesting , I say Caruana (italian champ) will crush Nakamura (USA champ).
Wanna bet?

Absolutely , me too .

Nakamura is an exciting and uncompromising chess player who happens not to be the meekest and most diplomatic personality. So what? You can't have it both ways.

Yes you can : Shirov , Topalov , Chucky (in no particular order).

Manu: "IMO Nakamura will be only a tourist on Corus A while Caruana will be playing many times there."

I hate to say it, Manu, but you are probably right. Nakamura strikes me as tremendously talented but distinctly unserious. With his potential, it is shameful that he is not a semi-permanent fixture in the top 10 or top 5.

Its like the arrogance of Fischer without the talent

Lol , good one.
In the meantime im preparing my trip to Antartida in case he wins the event .

I'm glad (for one) that Star Wars is playing in Corus A next year. I'd also like to see Nigel Short there. We certainly wouldn't lack for interesting quotes! Also nice would be Aronian, Anand, Topalov, Kramnik. I'd like to see Shirov and/or Ivanchuk too, or maybe Morozevich. Add a little spice and see what happens, you never know...

So far the discussion confirms Mig's point that Nakamura polarizes ... . Manu found a new favorite enemy, and even d_tal (who earlier claimed to be indifferent, "neither cheer nor jeer") just came up with a derogative statement. My four cents:

1) Uff Da may have a point, but Nakamura is only 21 years old ... and may still grow up - his upcoming challenges could speed up the process.

2) Not everyone may like Nakamura's humour/trash talk, but (as far as I remember the quote Manu referred to @2:24PM) he was joking and did not really accuse Topalov of cheating.
I had mentioned this before, but it was the same 'style' as Cheparinov's remarks after losing against Topalov in MTel 2008 (source: NewInChess 4/2008): "We ... have checked the game with the computer. After the opening all your moves are the first choice of the computer. How could you do this to me? I thought you were my friend!"

3) On the other hand, Topalov is of course the most modest person around in the chess world - he would NEVER talk badly about other players, nor would he accuse them of cheating. Obviously this includes correcting his manager whenever he does anything related.

4) Maybe the main reason why Manu doesn't like the interview with Nakamura is the title given by Chessvibes: "Nakamura: 'I just lost the fear of losing' " - this quote is 'borrowed from Topalov', how come anyone else can have the same attitude??

[Disclaimer: My point 3) is ironic]

Thomas pls don´t flatter your self , 4 cents is a rip-off.


With all due respect, you are letting your own bias cloud your reasoning here. You say after he won the U.S. Championship, he "seemed" like world champion. That was your own perception and you were looking for it.

In terms of Caruana and Nakamura, well... we'll see. Remember what people said in the Karjakin-Nakamura matchup? Remember also that people on this blog swore Nakamura would NEVER make 2700. Ratings aside, I personally believe Nakamura is stronger than Caruana. However, that doesn't always translate into a win over a particular player.

I remember both players when they were both pre-teens and it was obvious that their personalities had developed early. Both are talented players and I'm glad I was able to see them both develop into fine players and accomplished young men. I like them both and look forward to seeing them upset some of the more established players.

I might be wrong , but there is no bias against Nakamura from my part .
Like other poster pointed his attitude gave that kind of impression , and there is nothing wrong with that anyway , people are different.
Nakamura is stronger than Favio and has a lot more experience , but i´ll stick to my bet .
Go Caruana , go.

quite amuzing reading here. i can understand the perception on the level of us chess. but gata kamsky once beated shirov and matching topalov (and failed), then he also failed to top us champ and let it become hikamura's. meaning something?

btw, after reading all of this chess fans "trash-talk" somehow hikamura's appearances on corus become more interesting for me.

He's #26 (2709.7) in the live ratings so I don't expect him to play above or below his rating, but it will be fun see another American besides Kamsky, who dropped out of the top 31 live ratings and is not above 2700 live.

Gata Kamsky did beat Shirov and played Topalov in the semis for the WC, but Kamsky doesn't grab the attention that Nakamura does because: i. his chess is a product of the Russian machine (coming to US only after winning the USSR junior championship a couple of times), and ii. his play is not as riveting as Nakamura's. If Nakamura matures and lives up to his potential (top 5), it would represent a huge success for American chess in a way that Kamsky's rise does not. Ditto for Caruana (even though he is apparently ashamed to call himself an American--after being born and raised and learning to play scary good chess in USA--and lives in eastern Europe now and says he's Italian).

anyways didn't nakamura one year turn down an invite to corus B demanding corus A and they turned around and said never cause he was so rude?

Nakamura turned down Corus B because the money was an insult. Instead he went on to win Gibraltar.

Since he has gotten the invitation I suspect they never said never.

Do you know the numbers? , because if not it is very difficult to understand why it was an insult.
Maybe it was less than what he expected , but why would they want to agraviate him?
And how much would be an insult?
A 3 dollar bill with the portrait of Bush?

Yes, ok, you CAN. It's just that I don't REQUIRE it. Do you? If only all the talented people were lovely people. Oh, the only problem would be that all the stupid people would have to be thoroughly unpleasant, poor things.

Nakamura will undoubtedly attract attention, whether he wins or loses. Good for chess, whether you want to make him godfather to your children or not.

I am not sure if Nakamura really called or considered the proposed Corus (B) appearance fee "an insult", but there are at least two other reasons to prefer Gibraltar over Corus B:
1) The weather tends to be nicer in January (that's what Nakamura actually told Macauley Peterson over the phone, see Chess FM blog)
2) In Gibraltar, he can be in the spotlight fighting for tournament victory, whereas Corus B will always be in the shadow of Corus A. The former is more satisfying to his ego - yes, he has one ... .
BTW, I guess appearance fees are always kept secret, so there is no way to answer Manu's question. And, as Nigel Short was also mentioned: he may actually decline a Corus A invitation, but gladly accept to play Corus B - and to provide interesting quotes ... on his reasons and other things in chess and life.

Ask your non-chess playing friends (if you don't have any you need to re-examine your life)to name a chessplayer! If they manage at all it will be Fischer and/or Kasparov. The strongest of all time? Arguably. Do your friends know that? Doubtful. But those two are certainly the loudest and most abrasive, the most self-publicizing. Bring on the rudeness, loudness, boastfulness, brash self confidence, and if any top player can manage a scandal or two, so much the better! That's the media reality.

Yep , but (like d.tal said) those guys were absolutely top of the top which doesnt seem to be the case here.
Don´t forget that the ¨media reality¨ is based on results too , Chucky would be only a very peculiar player if not for his outstanding chess and results.

I don´t think Nakamura can refuse a doping test without consequences , like Chucky did.

"Ask your non-chess playing friends (if you don't have any you need to re-examine your life)to name a chessplayer! If they manage at all it will be Fischer and/or Kasparov. The strongest of all time? Arguably. Do your friends know that?"

hah... Fischer got publicity because of his results. Winning the US championship as a 14 year old kid. 11/11 in the (I think 1963/64) US championship and he was portrayed on the cover of Life magazine I believe. The stunning margins, the 6-0 shutouts, these are what made him famous. The baseball analogy used for the 6-0 matches was pitching a series of no-hitters I believe. The brashness, good looks etc accompanied the obviously exceptional genius and was part of the package, not the whole package. Likewise for Kasparov. If rudeness and abrasiveness are enough, clubfoot would be the most famous of all time!

Well if strength and results are the sole criteria, why has nobody heard of Kramnik or Anand??

They're not good enough, not in the sense that Fischer and Kasparov were. Anand may yet get there perhaps.

Without reading the entire thread, the disrespect for Nakamura's ability and the stature of the US Championships are both ridiculous. You certainly don't have to like him, but his achievements demand recognition.

He's crossed 2700 without having the benefit of playing almost exclusively against other players with similarly high ratings; I'm not sure if people realize what an accomplishment this is.

As for the US Championship "not being an event" (??) in world chess, as one poster smugly asserted, this is absurd. The biggest hope for US chess since Fischer, a World Championship Semifinalist, and the rest of the Olympiad bronze-medal winning side were all present.

PS, the guy who said that Mig's blog has a bias towards US Chess is nuts; au contraire, he seems to consider major US Swisses (even as they regularly draw 2600+ FIDE players) beneath him.

I presume that chesshire cat was writing from an American perspective, and argue that his statement is not necessarily true for other countries. In India, many people will know Anand - wasn't he even sportsman of the year ahead of some cricket players? Based on the welcome they had after winning the Olympiad(s), almost every Armenian and his brother seems to know their national chess team. Same for Topalov in Bulgaria!?

Concerning both Fischer and Kasparov, one also shouldn't neglect that the peaks of their careers occurred during the cold war (Fischer representing the entire western world against Soviet dominance, Kasparov being a rebel from inside the Soviet system) - which resulted in extra media attention beyond the weekly newspaper chess column.

Finally, who is the most widely known female chess player? For non-chess playing people, it might well be Arianne Caoili .... or at least she would be a close runner-up behind the Polgar sisters.

My uncle's name is NOT Sam, Thomas.

"From the man with the best hair in chess journalism..."
Mig, you are far too modest!

Sorry, just assumed you are a native speaker, and at an earlier occasion you had stated that you are not British (either) ... . But my 'cold war argument' still holds, and here Fischer, Kasparov, (plus Karpov and Korchnoi) are/were the only ones benefitting [or suffering?] from related extra media attention.

"He's crossed 2700 without having the benefit of playing almost exclusively against other players with similarly high ratings; I'm not sure if people realize what an accomplishment this is."

Here I disagree - it is an accomplishment, that's for sure, but not anything exceptional or unique. I would say it is rather normal procedure: first you have to cross 2700, then (only then) you get supertournament invitations. The only exceptions are local hero wildcards.

It rains a lot here, and we were once British; that give you a clue :)? I think the Topalov toilet incident (if anyone restarts a debate on who was to blame, I have a loaded pistol here trained on the screen) is a good example of how bad publicity is good publicity. Fair points about the Cold War, maybe we should start another one and get the players the publicity they deserve.

I still hesitate between three islands - one west of Britain, two (far) southeast ... .

Rather than start a cold war I would prefer to see somebody who was head and shoulders above his peers, who would disdainfully reject draws in any but the most sterile positions because of his belief in his own ability and fighting spirit, whose achievements would beggar belief and appear almost mystical, whose knowledge in the opening was encyclopaedic, whose play in the middlegame was magical, and whose endgame was machine-like in its precision. There were really only two players in the modern era who fulfill all (Fischer) or almost all (Kasparov) of those criteria. That is fundamentally why they were famous, not because they behaved like spoilt brats or came up in interesting circumstances.

Ask your Fischer-savvy non-chess playing friends what they think of Fischer's endgame technique, playing on in sterile positions etc. If they know what you're talking about I'll chew up this expensive hat I have on today.
I think your view is being blocked by that giant pedestal. Kasparov, for example, is not remembered by the general public for his great play- he's the guy that lost to the computer!!

If the retiring demeanor of the true elite after their successes may not bring wonderful publicity to chess, Nakamura's supreme snottiness is hardly the solution. They all need to go to charm school.

Fischer's public prominence is utterly unrelated to the issue -- when have large historical forces ever before been compressed into a chess match as it was in '72? To suggest that Fischer proves that being a social misfit is a formula for chess related public popularity is absurd. Fischer's notoriety was achieved despite, rather than because, of the fact that he was a social misfit. Plainly his boost to chess would have been far more significant and lasting if he was capable of being an appealing public ambassador for the game after his over-the-board successes.

Kasparov is sui generis for other reasons and he frankly was never as insufferable as Nakamura.

I'm happy if Nakamura makes the most of this and other invitations to the elite stage. Making the most of these opportunities, however, simply does require that he spend as much time at charm school as he does on opening preparation. That's the way the world works.

Case in point: I was amused by Nakamura's excuses on his blog as to why an TV interview with a NY network affiliate got spiked. He seems not to accept the distict possibility that the segment was viewed as unappealing by the station. Was it unappealing because it dealt with chess? Obviously not, as they set up the interview in the first place.

You dont get it. They know about Fischer's phenomenal results. These results were achieved because of his chess ability; i.e. Fischer was famous because he won. A lot. Spectacularly. No pedestal except that of results. As in victories over opponents. In tournaments and matches. Without that, snotty (or snooty) behaviour wont redeem you.

Here's a suggestion: as far back as you all can personally remember, say the last 20 years or so, what were the circumstances of chess making into mainstream media coverage? That would be an interesting list, and might throw some clarity on the issue. I mean Europe and the USA, no bigotry intended.

Karpov was phenomenal too, who knows his name?? You can't argue that only two players in chess history were strong enough to be remembered by the public. Their results were outstanding, sure. But many others were hugely gifted- where is the cut-off point?

Fischer and Kasparov. Because they were exceptional.

Fischer's results were phenomenal 1970-72, Kasparov's were phenomenal for more than 20 years, there's just no comparison between the two.

"He's crossed 2700 without having the benefit of playing almost exclusively against other players with similarly high ratings; I'm not sure if people realize what an accomplishment this is."

I'm not sure if people realize that 98% of players crossing 2700 do that WITHOUT "the benefit of playing almost exclusively against other players with similarly high ratings".


2700-players are 2700-players due to beating lower-rated players, not by drawing or beating 2700s. 2700s REMAIN 2700-players as much by beating lower-rated players as by drawing fellow 2700s.

ALL 2700-players (as a group, on average) play sub-2700s in MORE than 50% of their games.

If you think otherwise, you believe in a MYTH.


It would be interesting to learn how many of the 30 other players rated 2700+ in the live ratings Matan thinks got to 2700 by playing "almost exclusively against other players with similarly high ratings".

Let's start with some of the younger players:

Wang Yue

Matan, how many of these players went from 2600 to 2700 (2695, 2700, 2705, there's no difference) by playing a majority of their games against 2700s? Or even 15-20 games against 2700s?

Most players need 100+ games to go from being 2600 to 2700 - so how many games do "almost exclusively" mean in this context? Or which percentage of their games?

"I'm not sure if people realize what an accomplishment this is."

With the sole exception of Radjabov (who started playing top events with a rather low rating), none of the above players reached 2700 in a notably different way than Nakamura. But several of them did it at a notably younger age.

Hence, regarding the big majority of players born in the 80s and later that have reached 2700, Naka's accomplishment is nothing special - it's quite comparable. Since he took so many years to go from being 2600 to 2700, he got fewer 2nd layer invitations than some of the faster improvers - plus of course - Nakamura has by his own choice stayed away from the strongest European opens (Aeroflot, Moscow) and even declined Corus B once.

Again, I'm very curious to learn which of the above players reached 2700 by playing mostly strong players - I hope Matan will give it a shot...

"I would prefer to see somebody who was head and shoulders above his peers, who would disdainfully reject draws in any but the most sterile positions because of his belief in his own ability and fighting spirit, whose achievements would beggar belief and appear almost mystical, whose knowledge in the opening was encyclopaedic, whose play in the middlegame was magical, and whose endgame was machine-like in its precision."

I need a hero
I’m holding out for a hero ‘til the end of the night
He’s gotta be strong
And he’s gotta be fast
And he’s gotta be fresh from the fight

Nakamura declined Corus B invites several times, as he reports in the recent interview.

Well, that _strengthens_ rather than weakens my argument that Nakamura hasn't done too much himself to maximize his chances for good, useful learning opportunities. And stronger opposition, of course.

Some great points, and some great lines I'm going to steal (thanks chessire cat) but I can't believe all this talk about Fischer's fame and nobody has mentioned the phrase "cold war". How quickly we forget. Fischer hated the Russians, though he liked Spassky personally.

A Times reporter surveyed 21 bars one night during the match. Three had the tv on the Mets game; 18 had Fischer-Spassky. Now, in how many of those 18 bars do you think people were sussing out endgame technique?

Calvin - very well said. A silver lining is that Nakamura is still very young, and has time to mature. I daresay several us of were comparably snotty back in our high school chess days. Without the attitude, Nakamura may be a more dynamic ambassador for chess than some of the other less outspoken grandmasters.

What bothers me about Nakamura is his self-conscious slacker attitude, e.g. turning down strong chess and good exposure to top events (Corus B) in favor of nice weather and better chances of winning, avoiding strong events (e.g., Aeroflot) in favor of better chances at winning in backwaters of Montreal or Japan, and getting defensively prickly when asked about his preparation for the US championship where his attitude seemed to be "Prepare? Who me? Nah, I just take it easy and enjoy myself. Aren't I great? I can play good chess with no effort."

There is no virtue in natural-born talent, but squandering a natural gift through laziness is a shameful. I don't believe Hikaru is truly lazy, but it is bizarre that he cultivates a slacker image. I'd love to see him live up to his potential, but it won't happen unless he matures quite a bit in the next few years. Playing in London and Corus A gives him a great opportunity to grow up, but he needs to shake that attitude that hard work is uncool. If he can muster the courage to jump into the fire of hard work (rather than the cool fun of places like Vancouver) and taking on the toughest opponents he can find (rather than the toughest that he's confident he can beat), he'll have a real chance to move into the elite class with Carlsen, Topalov, Anand, Aronian, Radjabov, and Kramnik rather than remain a tourist that may or may not make an appearance in the top 10 or 20.

the thing is I think Hikaru will grow up because even 2 years ago he was 10,000 times less mature. Give him time, he is still young.

Re: Mig's comment that he hopes the USCF web site is out in front of the curve on the Corus invite/coverage...

Why should the USCF site expend that type of coverage?

Will it add a nickel to the USCF treasury?

Will it help them raise funds to fulfill their mission of promoting chess -- primarily amateur chess -- in the USA?

Will it sell memberships? Encourage more folks to play rated games?

I think the answer is a guarded "NO"...and that is the usual answer for any of these "high-level" promotions that are excellent things to spend money on if you already have a thriving revenue stream...

...but are decidedly a poor investment if you do not have one.

That is not anti-chess or anti-pro chess...that is reality. To fund pro chess (or to publicize it), the other business operations have to be thriving. Pro chess is a subsidized activity.

Unfortunately, I really don't think folks care about who gets what invite -- to the point of spending money on it.

I mean, can we sell "Nakamura in Corus A 2010" t-shirts? I don't think so.

I have no doubt that all the top-level stories and blog reports are interesting reading (I read them)...but I don't think they encourage anyone to SPEND MORE on chess activities.

That's the core problem. And if the coverage ain't generating revenue streams, then it is not helping.

I'd buy a t-shirt.

I think that Corus "A," "B," and "C" are phenomally poor branding (name) choices by the tournament organizers. Why take what would be a strong GM tournament almost anywhere else in the world, and give it an explicitly "inferior" name?

As an analogy, the service at the back of a United Airlines jet may be poor, but even they know better than to brand it "cheap and nasty class."

Shabbaz you forget the difference in age between Caruana ( 16 ) and Nakamura ( 21 ) , which is important , since at 16 Caruana is almost at Nakamura's (21 ) elo level , having won some important Tournamnet like Corus B last year. Caruana has still a lot of potential , we will see if he'll be able to develop it...

"There is no virtue in natural-born talent, but squandering a natural gift through laziness is a shameful."
What if you are natural-born lazy?

Actually revise my earlier opinion and the level of comment stirred up by Nakamura's participation suprises me but it's great ......

Squandering talent? Last time I looked he had a huge rating and was US champ, not hustling guys in the park for a few dollars. He's gotta be doing something right. I'm amazed at all the great advice people have for super GMs on how to maximise their talents, I wonder what all these people do with their own talent in their own lives?

Hey Nakamura is playing in the London tournament with Carlsen and Kramnik among others , he will have great chances this year.

I think you ignore that Nakamura actually IS special, unique, No. 1 worldwide in chess, does something that no other top GM could or would match. He is Star Wars and Smallville, the One who dominates online chess and dares to do so under his own name.

Why would you consider this a squandering of his talent? He currently applies his chess talent most effectively in a place other than the rarified 2750+ air, but all the same he gives enormous and unique chess excitement, fun, inspiration, and also education to a great number of fans watching him. Why would chess talent be exclusively equated to Linares talent? Why should our own chess enjoyment, gratification, appreciation be exclusively limited to Linares games?

I very much appreciate Star Wars (even though others might also hate the style of his Star Wars persona). If Fisher's exploits were the last that were watched in bars -- Star Wars's exploits are now nightly watched and create a cult in crowded online bars. Cult that was seen for Fisher, Kasparov and maybe Anand in India. His current chess niche is unique and significant in the world of chess; and fully blooming, rather than squandering, a unique chess talent.

And he plays 1.... b6 against e4 and somehow manages to win!!

But seriously, don't you think Uff Da has _any_ good points in his observations?

Nobody says Nakamura hasn't achieved anything - obviously he's achieved a lot, by any standard. Most chessplayers can't get anywhere near his achievements, no matter how much work they put into it.

On the other hand, I'm convinced Nakamura could've been an established top player already (cause he is NOT there yet), probably a couple of years ago, if he'd made the choices to support such a development. He could've chosen to seek the strongest possible opponents, not to gain rating points, but to become a better chess player.

And it is quite telling that we repeatedly hear US chess fans make statements as if Nakamura's achievements are something special compared to those of other players ranked between say 15 and 40 in the world at the moment. (The reality here is that Nakamura has little to show for himself compared to the big majority of these players - how many US chess fans know that Motylev is a former Russian champion do you think?)

I've also heard people go on and on about 4-5 "consecutive tournament victories" - ignoring both the level of the event (opponents of Naka equal to cat 10 to 14-15) and multiply shared 1st places. And then there used to be Naka's own complaints about not being invited to top events, seemingly thinking he'd delivered the goods (already) to having earned such an invitation.

Now Nakamura has shown that he can keep a 2700-ish rating for some time, and combined with a very fine showing in the French League and another US championship (although not comparable to a Russian championship of course) it makes sense to give him an invitation. He sparks some interest (in my case, probably just as much due to the great belief US fans and he himself seem to have in him, as due to his results so far) and is still a relatively young player. That we also observed the typical "ketchup effect" is only a bonus for Naka, of course - all of San Sebastian, London and Corus A are events clearly stronger than anything he's played before.

The question is - why does Nakamura insist on that "slacker attitude", as Uff Da put it? Observing his opening play in the last year, it's obvious that he's been working quite a lot on opening theory recently - for instance the gambit in the rapid game Nakamura-Carlsen (which the latter eventually won) was seemingly a line Nakamura KNEW better than Carlsen; i.e. Naka was more booked up on theory. (I have that impression confirmed from Nakamura himself.)

Hence, he isn't so "lazy" as he might want us to believe - so why that image? One possible theory is that it's some kind of "self disabling" - he tries to give himself a superficial "handicap" so as to have an excuse if he "fails". Obviously, "fails" here only means "does not reach the high goals he might secretly have for himself". But he also provides his fans with the eternally returning "he could have, he would have, if he simply ..." (qoute) "explanation" (unquote) - or dumb excuse, if you like.

If such a hypothesis would hold some truth, what would that indirectly imply about Nakamura's own self confidence and belief in his talent and abilities? And is it an offensive or a defensive attitude?

I have my opinion about it, it doesn't need to be correct. I do however wish Nakamura luck in his 3 big tests ahead of him. I still might think that he isn't quite ready (in the maturity department) to experience a big success at this level, so for his own personal development as well as for his development as a chess player, he MIGHT possibly be better served by a "decent" rather than an "excellent" result at this point.

Again, I might be wrong. And obviously, I don't know Nakamura anywhere close to well enough to claim this is more than mere speculations based on superficial observations. Still, I'd be surprised if chesshire cat and others aren't able to even get the drift of what Uff Da and myself are saying.

I m glad to agree with your comment this time.
And i´d like to use the ocasion to suggest you something:
What if you create a paralel site to the live rating but with rapid chess?
I think it would be of great interest of fans and chess players , it would be nice to know the who is who in rapid .

I don't think you can apply one formula to all players. There are too many variables; maybe if he had sought out games against the top players earlier, he would have been crushed and suffered a severe psychological blow. Maybe the way he does things is the only one that works for him. Maybe he doesn't feel the urge to become no. 1 in as short a time as possible? Maybe our expectations are too high these days cos of the frequency of prodigies..
he's a young guy, he's doing very well, and he's doing it his way (maybe he's got regrets, but probably too few to mention), I just don't think the criticism of "he should have been more disciplined years ago, sought out tougher games etc" is viable. He wants to play and enjoy himself too? Who are we to argue with that? If he WAS a top 5 player now, is that necessarily such a good thing?

Sure people have different approaches. The way Carlsen and Karjakin have approached chess from their early years are worlds apart, for instance. And I agree it's no point in looking back.

However, at some point becoming and staying a leading elite chess player starts to imply a great amount of work - for anyone. Also for Nakamura. Going around, seemingly pretending that isn't the case (for him), will only look stupid. He can't fool his fellow super-gms, he hopefully can't fool himself (as he knows what he does and what he doesn't), so he shouldn't try to fool US chess fans either - in particular not young, developing US chess players.

If that's what he's up to, of course. And for him, I'd wish his attitude was less defensive. Cause that's what I consider it to be.

@ra: internet blitz is well and fine, but it's not a "serious" competition: There is little or no money, little prestige, cheating is almost impossible to guard against, and for the majority of the classical elite it's mostly entertainment - like a computer game. Nothing wrong about computer games of course - I've been a fan for 25+ years - and it can be great entertainment.

But make no mistake about it: Nakamura _wants_ to be (really) successful at the real deal, where the real prestige is, and where the best players pocket big bucks, from $200-300,000 a year and upwards. If you think Naka says to himself "hey, I'm just as happy, playing bullet throughout the night, for the pleasure of John Doe in NYC and Wang Who in China", then I think you're wrong.

Of course, with the right mindset one _could_ be happy doing that, and there's absolutely nothing wrong in it; I certainly don't think happiness is a matter of money, fame and prestige. But I think Naka's real ambition and desire is somewhere else. So why not be offensive about it?

Probably I should add that by being offensive and positive about one's ambitions, I don't mean saying "I'm sure I'll become number one - I'm poised to rule the world."

More like the honest, but ambitious: "My goal is to become a top 5 player, and to be able to fight for the World Championship title. I hope I can make a living as an elite chess player, playing in the top events all over the world. I know this requires a lot of work and some luck, but this is my goal and I will give it my best."

This is what _I_ would consider an offensive and positive attitude. Maybe it's not very "cool", but it would be admirable. Possibly even honest.

How impressive that is depends on your level of opposition doesnt it? Fischer used to give pawn and move to Addison at 5 minute Chess, play blindfold, and still get an even score.

Really! I thought Addison was a strong IM.

My opinions on
1) Nakamura's choice of events: Maybe until recently, he did not really believe himself that he can make the next step into the absolute world top. Then, it makes sense to concentrate on tournaments where he has a decent chance to win money.
Now he crossed 2700 and gets his supertournament invitations, it's not too late (maybe still a bit early). A few years ago, quite plausibly it would have been too early - after several poor performances, one may never again get the chance to correct such an impression.
2) Nakamura's opening preparation: Actually I think he was joking/fooling around when he said that he didn't prepare for the US championship. If I am wrong, if he really has such an attitude ("I am a genius, I don't need to work seriously on openings [and other aspects of my chess]") - he will be seriously butchered at his upcoming strong events. And, in hindsight, Manu (early in the current thread) will be proven right - Naka playing top events will be a passing, ephemeral thing ("tourist participation").

To put the US Championship in context: Nakamura played against opponents with an average rating of 2587.
The rating average of Corus B 2009 was 2641. This year the B tournament was exceptionally strong, 2008 had an average of 2618, 2007 an average of 2600.
Conclusion: Winning the US Ch is, at most, comparable to winning Corus B.

"internet blitz is not a serious competition": as far as chess is a sport, "serious" is what grabs the fans imagination, what is viewed and discussed and raises passions, what's state of the art and the world's best of its kind (preferably in a measurable way). Internet chess is all that.

"There is little or no money"? I'm not so sure. Chessbase makes $$$ from people whose one key motivation to subscribe is to be able to see the best online gladiators, and I would not be surprised if they paid Nigel Short and Nakamura just to regularly play there. "Little prestige"? come on, have you ever followed the comments when the best are playing? Of course, cheating is quite possible but not too practical at 3+0 or shorter, and at the "prestigious" level you would be reported soon anyway.

"For the majority of the classical elite it's mostly entertainment" -- yes, but somehow they would still shy away from disclosing their identity, which indicates that prestige works here as well. Yes, this is top entertainment, and therefore serious business, and also good serious chess with some special characteristics.

And although Internet blitz does not help to gain classical success (well, some GMs might do some opening experiments or improve their feel in certain setups), I don't think it hurts either (other than the time invested, which is not too much even for Naka). So it's quite alright for Naka to try hard for success at the "real deal" while at the same time further nourishing the unique fame and well-appreciated sporting success he had achieved online. And actually yes, I do hope that Naka says to himself "hey, let's kick some butt online, regain No 1, [make some cash] and also give some pleasure to John Doe and Wang Who". That should be the sporting attitude of a champion. And of course, I also wish him to reach classical world fame as well.

Yep. when he faced addison in tournament game in the US championship for example, he was so confident he played an awful variation of the Ruy as black, the Taimanov with a6, b5 and Na5, got a pretty poor position out of the opening, and proceeded to destroy addison in the next 10 or so moves

this is incredibly misleading as corus is round robin while the us championship was swiss. Since Nakamura never played any of the weak players that were in the 2200-2300 range bringing the rating average down... the actual average of his opponents was: 2649 remember his lowest rated opponent was Michael Brooks (2419) an IM who used to have a rating over 2600 himself. After that Nakamura didn't even play a person rated below 2591 (Friedel)

"Hence, he isn't so "lazy" as he might want us to believe - so why that image? One possible theory is that it's some kind of "self disabling" - he tries to give himself a superficial "handicap" so as to have an excuse if he "fails"."

Referred to as "limpmanship" by Stephen Potter in "The Theory and Practice of Gamesmanship".

"he keeps saying he's lazy. I don't trust guys that say they're lazy" - Fischer on Spassky, 1972.

You are wrong - the average I quoted stems from the FIDE calculations for the upcoming July list and includes only those opponents which Nakamura actually played:

Your higher average probably occurs because you use USCF rather than FIDE ratings - for whichever reason, the former seem to be almost systemically ~50 points higher.
And your closing statement is a bit bizarre: he played Brooks (2463 FIDE, exception to the overall pattern) in round 8, followed by Friedel (2516 FIDE) in the 9th and final round ... .

Like Thomas pointed out, comparing USCF ratings and FIDE ratings is like adding apples and ... tractors.

And USCF ratings aren't ~50 points higher than FIDE ratings - they seem to be 50-150 points higher, depending on your level and your mix of USCF and FIDE events. At the moment, Kamsky's USCF rating is nearly 100 points higher than his (unofficial) FIDE rating.

In summary: Thomas was quite right that all the 3 latest Corus B events have been as strong or stronger than "Nakamura's US championship" - only the players he actually faced are counted and relevant.

Corus B 2009 was clearly stronger and a much tougher event than it would've been to face Nakamura's US Championship opponents. The podium players of Aeroflot Open A also usually end up having played a higher or an equally high average as Naka faced when winning the US championship this year - and that even if Naka faced almost all the top players in a relatively tough US championship. It still was a great performance by Nakamura, in every way, but players rated 2670-2700 do similar things several times every year, without ending up in a top category tournament.

Btw, I saw that the London organizers preferred giving all their top 4 players a spot in the event, instead of making sure it becomes a category 19 event (as previously announced). It will still be good training for Nakamura, prior to being "fed to the wolves" in Corus A. And I doubt Nakamura will go win-less through Corus A, like Carlsen did in his Corus A debut in 2007 (the latter happened more despite his play than because of his play and chances there - he fumbled clear wins in at least 2 games).

@ra: Your definition of "serious competition" is probably viable in some context, but it's clearly different from mine. And if Playchess and ICC would offer a few "online stars" some money for playing on their site, it would still have to be change compared to the money elite players pick up for playing OTB blitz events - not to mention OTB classical events. At any rate, I think you understand my points, and I acknowledge yours.

You didnt answer my suggestion about keeping a paralell rapid rating for the +2700 guys .
I hope that you or some other person do that.

I might add one more comment to the idea that Nakamura would've crossed 2700 if he had had the "benefit" of playing more strong players:

Yes, he might have done that, but mostly because it would've forced (and helped) him to improve as a chess player - not because it's in general an easier way of gaining rating points.

A small analysis of the latest rating period can illustrate that: He has quite many rated games - 35 in total - and he ended up gaining 8,7 points (which will be rounded to 9) after a bumpy ride: two bad and two very good events.

But where did he gain rating points? That is, against what kind of opposition?
Some fast math shows that he faced 2600+ opposition in 12 of 35 games.

23 games sub-2600 players: + 13,1 points
12 games 2600+ players: - 4,4 points
35 games, total gain: = 8,7 points

His rating performance against 2600+ players:

Score: 6,5/12 (expected 6,94)
Average: 2645
TPR: 2674

+1 and a TPR of 2674 against an average of 2645 is good and decent, but again nothing that promises an earth quake in London, against a field with average rating 2692, slightly below his own rating. Nakamura has the potential to surprise us positively, but from the number point of things the advice seems to be to keep expectations at a sensible level.

NB - Note that some of the worse results rated now, stem from late 2008 and early 2009 (the Austrian League), and accordingly his latest form is somewhat better than the overall outcome of this rating period indicates.

San Sebastian will be exciting:

Sergei Movsesian 2747 SVK
Peter Svidler 2726 RUS
Rustam Ponomariov 2726 UKR
Hikaru Nakamura 2701 USA
Rustam Kasimzhanov 2695 UZB
Francisco Vallejo 2688 SPA
Maxime Vachier-Lagraeve 2684 FRA
Anatoly Karpov 2644 RUS
Julio Granda 2610 PER
Pablo San Segundo 2560 SPA

This is another tough cat. 18 event, and the sequence is perfect for Nakamura: First a strong cat. 18 without any of the extreme elite present, then another cat. 18 with former World Champion Kramnik and world no. 3 Carlsen, before everything is taken one more step up in Corus A, probably category 19 (avg. around 2720 I guess) and several top 10 players participating. I wish him good luck and all the best. :o)

You should learn to put your resentment aside ,frogbert.

Naka is a butthole.

Who is responsible for bringing people like Huice into the world?
Can't blame the sunshine or moonlight.
I blame it on the boogie.

Well, it was short and concise, and with the minor correction of substituting "i" with "ha" in his text (s/i/ha/ for nerds), it would also become arguably true, while still somewhat vulgar. Other than that, it's the kind of post that I wouldn't mind if Mig simply deleted - but in the name of free speech i guess "opinions" also in the form of naked insults are given (too much) protection here.

Btw, this is comment number 100 in this thread - I probably should've written something about "luft balloons" in my previous comment...


Reread your comments about why Carlsen went winless in Corus A his first time. See the problem?

I'm not sure what exactly you're thinking of, but I'm not one of those who will conclude about Naka's future in elite events depending on his result in his first cat. 19 event (Corus A).

If we can agree that neither of

1) a "failure"
2) a big "success"
3) a decent, "expected" result

says anything definitive about his future and potential, then we're fine. I expect hardcore fans to gloat and become ugly if 2) happens, I expect the "detractors" to do the same in case of 1), and both "extreme camps" will interprete 3) as supporting their view. :o) At any rate, I'll disagree with both extreme viewpoints.

However, Nakamura in reality has got 3 chances now to show something: two strong cat. 18 events and one estimated cat. 19 event. If he on average can keep his own in those 3 events, I think he's made a statement. That is, if he roughly breaks even in the rating gain/loss department in those 3 events seen together, then he's defended his current rating against players on average rated the same as he is. That would be good.

Nakamura's problem compared to Carlsen, is that he's less outstanding and less unique (from several perspectives). After all Carlsen made his cat. 19 debut rated 2698 before his 16th birthday (Nakamura will be 22 - 6 years older). There are many more players that can be considered equivalent to Nakamura, so it's less obvious that Naka should and will get many chances to prove himself. It's a tough world. (It should be mentioned that Carlsen overall held his own in his first 3 top events, played within an even shorter time frame than Naka's 3 upcoming events. After two luke-warm results, the 16-year old school boy came 2nd in Linares, in an awesome field.)

Is this difference fair? I think so, more or less. There are limited spots in these events, and your opportunities are typically a reflection of what you have promised - through results and otherwise. The exception might be local invites (Naidtisch, Vallejo, Van Wely, Smeets, etc.) But that's an all different ballgame.

I hope this answers your question, which was rather vague. :o)

I'm reminded of the following:

"A pollster explains that those who like Stern tend to listen to the show for one and a half hours, those who dislike him listen for two and a half hours, and both cite a desire 'to see what he is going to say next.'"

Love him or hate him (there seems to be little in between), Nakamura makes for really interesting chess. About the one thing we can say is that the detractors have been repeatedly re-trenching in their insults of Hikaru. Whether it is not winning a round robin event, winning an event with super-GM competition, doing well in team play, or reaching the 2700 level, he has done all of them. I remember people bashing him about how he'd never play in the super tournaments, now they're talking about how he's going to not do well in the super tournaments.

So now the argument is what - he's not in the World's Top 10? He's not a "True 2700"? Is Eljanov, Motylev, Vachier-Lagrave?

As much as I like Fabiano, there's a pretty big difference between being #25 or so at 2710 and #78 at 2650.

"Love him or hate him (there seems to be little in between)"

I'm a long way from both loving and hating Nakamura. I find it interesting following his progress and I'll watch San Sebastian and the other events closely. As for his personality, he gave a much better (more sympathetic) impression when I met him in person, compared to the kind of impression people (at least some) seem to get from the "internet version" of Naka.

"he has done all of them"

I think you need to consider the _timing_ of the criticism compared to Naka's actual results and the hype of the fans. Both Nakamura AND his fans have often seemed to think Naka has been entitled to much more exposure, credit and invitations than he's actually experienced. People with (I dare to say) better overview over all European players with equivalent (or better) achievements compared to Naka have typically reacted accordingly.

"So now the argument is what"

The argument used to be that we haven't seen him do well against strong (as in 2700+) players yet, or in high-category events. Now Nakamura gets 3 chances to do well in that kind of setting. After those events, our accumulated knowledge will be greater.

"he's not in the World's Top 10? He's not a "True 2700"? Is Eljanov, Motylev, Vachier-Lagrave?"

And what kind of invitations have these players received, that Nakamura didn't? Unlike Nakamura, both Eljanov and Motylev have WON Corus B to qualify for Corus A. What kind of invitations has Vachier-Lagrave received?

The young french-man is 2-3 years younger than Nakamura and is at roughly the same level. Only now is he starting to get some interesting invitations - he's going to play Biel in July. Nakamura already played Biel several years ago, although this year's edition of Biel is very strong - cat. 19 in fact.

"As much as I like Fabiano, there's a pretty big difference between being #25 or so at 2710 and #78 at 2650. "

And that's a pretty misleading comparison, too. Caruana is 4-5 years younger for one. Even more important - 2710 is Naka's July rating, 2649 is Caruana's April rating. For July, he gains 21 points and ends up at 2670. Nakamura first reached 2670 in January 2008, at 20, while Caruana turns 17 this year. Unless Caruana makes no rating progress for 2,5 years - like Nakamura who didn't go anywhere between April 2005 and October 2007 - Caruana so far looks more promising than Nakamura - going by the numbers, which was what you referred to above.

Finally, I find the recurring use of the term "detractor" about (seemingly) anyone who tries to maintain a balanced view on Nakamura's accomplishments a bit annoying. Let's discuss the facts - those that are available. And agree that people might interprete things differently without being ridden by "hate" or other negative feelings. Ok? :o)

"Lov him or hate him (there seems to be little in between ..."
Along with frogbert, I would say there is a lot in between, unless everyone who does not love or adore him, everyone who is just a bit skeptical, everyone saying that he still has things to prove, must hate Nakamura ... .
"Nakamura makes for really interesting chess."
Agreed upon, but part of what makes his chess interesting may not be suitable at the very highest level. I am rather skeptical about 1.e4 c5 2.Qh5 - unless all opening books have to be rewritten. To be fair, he used it as a one-time surprise weapon at sub-top level .... .

I checked on Vachier-Lagrave. After crossing 2600, the highest category event he's been invited to, was cat. 15, in July 2008 - his opponents had an average of 2614 while he himself was rated 2681 - being toprated in the event.

Biel 2009 is his first time with some big fish.


Motylev has _qualified_ to the Russian Superfinal more than once, and he _qualified_ to Corus A by winning Corus B in 2006 (shared with Carlsen, ahead on tie-breaks). Motylev was Russian Champion in 2001, in a big swiss - he played roughly the same average as Nakamura did when he won the US Championship this year.

Turning 30 this year, his Poikovsky win is probably his best result ever, and ratings in the 2640 - 2680 area for a long period has naturally not earned him many top invitations - the cat. 18 event Poikovsky, in his home country Russia, is the strongest event he's ever been invited to. There he delivered a 2900+ performance.

Other than that, he's mostly fed on strong opens (in Russia), team events and individual championships (European, Russian). In Corus A in 2007 he was winless, but he only lost 3 games, pocketing draws against among others Topalov, Aronian, Karjakin, Carlsen, Shirov, Kramnik and Ponomariov. In short, he held his own.

I clearly consider Nakamura to be more talented and promising than Motylev, but the latter is still a very strong and very solid product of the Russian chess school.


Eljanov has a similar profile to Motylev, except being from Ukraine and not Russia. Having achieved a high rating at the right point in time, he was "substituted" into the Grand Prix when top players like Carlsen and Adams withdrew, and others (like Navara) were kicked out due to their organizers failing to stage their GP event.

Due to being part of the very strong Ukrainian national team, he's got a lot of experience from the Olympiad, and he's also played a lot of team chess (Bundesliga, Russian club cup, European Club Cup etc.).

Prior to winning Corus B in 2007, he was hardly on many people's radar. He followed up with good results in low-profile events and soon raised his rating to 2700. Naturally he was invited to Aerosvit (cat. 18) in his homeland Ukraine, and he played the cat. 16 Montreal International also in 2007.

Corus A 2008 was naturally a bumpy affaire, as the event was record strong at cat. 21 and an average of 2746 for his opponents. Still he almost held his own (scored 5/13, expected 5,5/13), including wins against Topalov and Polgar and draws against Anand and Aronian.

He played Aerosvit again in 2008 (in Ukraine) and was invited to Bosna Sarajevo 2009 (cat. 18), which he won convincingly with a 2839 performance. In short, if we disregard invitiationals on home turf (Aerosvit), we're left with Corus B 2007 (cat. 15), Montreal 2007 (cat. 16) and Bosna 2009 (cat. 18).

Eljanov has been rated on average 2700+ (between 2687 and 2720) since he first broke 2700 in July 2007. That has earned him 1-2 foreign invitations.

I consider Nakamura a bigger talent than Eljanov, but at the time of this writing, Eljanov has shown clearly more against strong players (like in Bosna 2009) than what we've seen yet from Naka. Due to the amount of team events he's played, his international experience is also clearly bigger than that of Nakamura.


But now it's Nakamura's turn!

I can't see that Naka has been unfairly treated by the chess world, compared to the three players discussed above. Like Nakamura, Vachier-Lagrave faces his first big test in Biel, but unlike Nakamura, the young french man has only one chance (that I'm aware of) for now.

Motylev and Eljanov have both made one decent and one excellent result in two chances. How should a fair chess world treat those accomplishments? Imagine Nakamura with a decent result in Corus A, and a 2840 (Eljanov Bosna) or a 2900 (Motylev Poikovsky) result in one of the other two events. What then?

That's Eljanov and Motylev as of 2009 for you - should we treat Naka better or worse, and why? Note that I didn't pick these 3 players - John Fernandez did. :o)

Thanks, frogbert. Just wanted to point out some "average" 2700 players, and show that Nakamura isn't really playing different events or differently than they are.

Also, "something left to prove" can be said about anyone.

This is the great thing about the rating system. He keeps playing well (or better), his rating can only improve. He starts playing worse, he'll slip back.

There was definitely a very strong feeling that Nakamura wasn't getting a lot of invites when compared to a Kamsky or Onischuk, but I've felt Nakamura's participation in European events (especially team events) have helped stop that.

Now, he's just your average 2710 guy. :)

"I've felt Nakamura's participation in European events (especially team events) have helped stop that. "

I think that was a very wise move from Nakamura - and something I have kept suggesting over at chessgames.com for several years already, at least since 2006-2007 - and I'm not surprised that his increased willingness to play European events (participating in the French and Austrian league, for instance) have helped him on several levels.

I wish him the best of luck, and I hope that US fans will acknowledge the presence and strength of partly "unknown" (but strong!) players like Motylev and Eljanov. As long as patriotism doesn't get the better of people, it's only good that people are dedicated fans of their idols. :o)

"Now, he's just your average 2710 guy. :)"

Well, I'd say less experience, fewer results in top events, more talent, more potential. However, I think invitations should be based mostly on accomplishments, with some weight put on talent/potential too (age is a factor in the latter, of course).

I think Nakamura deserves his current invitations, but I hope that people would keep in mind how good results by players like Motylev and Eljanov haven't automatically parachuted them into _more_ top events. And at the moment Nakamura has received more "good invitations" than the younger and comparably strong Vachier-Lagrave.

Bottom line, despite the increase in top tournaments of later years, there has been an even bigger increase (IMHO) in strong players, capable of battling it out with the best. Hence, there's a shortage of spots and lots of talent to fight for them. And the established elite gets to pick first - anything else would be rather strange, I think.

One of the best I have read from this writer. A great read.

Hell Yeah, Naka going to Corus. One wish, NO losses. Go Naka!

I think when it comes to Naka it has always been more about hype than substance. It has not always been his fault, sometimes its more of a product of the sensationalist and slutty pop culture cultivated here in U.S. It's not like he hasnt achieved something or hasnt produced strong results. The real reason he has many so called detractors is because his arrogant rhetoric hasnt yet matched his achievments. If he can have strong results in the aforementioned tournaments(which I think is possible) he will certainly shut up many of these detractors. I know I will follow his progress with interest and I wish him the best.

Once again it looks like Mig was right: chess strength is not the only key to popularity.
Somehow I doubt that an entry about, for example, Vugar Gashimov (similar age and rating to Nakamura) playing in his first Corus A would lead to over 100 comments on this or any other English-speaking blog.

Last practice for Kamsky and Caruana, they seem off to a good start http://reports.chessdom.com/news-2009/reggio-emilia-chess-r1

The H-Bomb was a HUGE DUD in England or does no-one remember that? He will be another huge DUD in Corus and he should not even be there, in 2-3 years Naka will no longer be mentioned except by nerds who have nothing better to do then watch blitz on the internet. Get lives people, especially the nut who wants blitz ratings calculated..lmao

Funny how some threads (this one and the Aronian interview) suddenly come alive again. By now prugno's comment - the last one before almost six months of silence - turns out to be quite prophetic.
We now know how Nakamura's and Gashimov's ratings have further evolved. Gashimov _finally_ got ONE supertournament invitation to Linares, and even this one was (sort of) questioned by some people on this blog - including Mig. Paraphrasing his words as I don't feel like looking up the original comment: "certainly many people would prefer Kramnik over Gashimov in Linares".

Nakamura +4-2=7
Caruana +1-3=9

Will this silence the Naka Naysayers? I doubt it.

Nay, nay, NAY

Twitter Updates

    Follow me on Twitter



    About this Entry

    This page contains a single entry by Mig published on June 23, 2009 1:40 AM.

    Kamsky Down, Ivanchuk (and Nakamura) Up was the previous entry in this blog.

    Ivanchuk Takes Bazna is the next entry in this blog.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.