Advent calendar: December 9

by André Schulz
12/9/2016 – From December 1 to December 24 we invite our readers every day to open a door in our advent calendar. Click and enjoy a little chess treat. Advent calendar, door 9.

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Happy Birthday, Hikaru Nakamura!

Today Hikaru Nakamura celebrates his 29th birthday. He was born on December 9, in Osaka, Japan, his father is Japanese, his mother American. When Hikaru Nakamura was two years old the family moved to the U.S.. At the age of seven he learned to play chess. His stepfather Sunil Weeramantry, a Fide-Master and well-known chess trainer, instructed him.

Sunil Weeramantry (Photo: André Schulz)

At the age of eight Hikaru Nakamura played his first tournament - the beginning of a meteoric rise that evoked memories of Bobby Fischer. When Nakamura was 15 he became the youngest Grandmaster the U.S. had ever had at that time and broke Fischer's record from 1958. In 2004 Nakamura for the first time became U.S. National Champion and in the same year he also played for the first time in the U.S. Olympic team. Since then he has achieved a lot of notable successes and recently he won gold with the U.S. team at the Chess Olympiad 2016 in Baku.

In January 2011 Nakamura was among the top ten in the world and established himself as one of the absolute best players of the world. In October 2015 he had a rating of 2816 and was number two in the world - behind Magnus Carlsen. In his youth Nakamura played a lot of internet chess and he is arguably one of the best - if not the best - bullet players of the world. He also is Chess960 World Champion.

Nakamura is tactically extremely strong and understands complications very quickly. And if the King's Indian did not already exist, it had to be invented for Nakamura.

At the 2009 NH tournament in Amsterdam five young players measured their skills against five established masters. Nakamura was not in particularly good form in that tournament and won only one game - but this game really was something:

Hikaru Nakamura 2009 in Amsterdam (Photo: Calle Erlandsson)

Alexander Beliavsky 2009 in Amsterdam (Photo: Calle Erlandsson)



The NH tournament was played in the Hotel Krasnopolsky (Photo: Jeroen van den Belt)

André Schulz started working for ChessBase in 1991 and is an editor of ChessBase News.


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