A new chess couple: Atousa Pourkashiyan and Hikaru Nakamura!

by André Schulz
7/27/2023 – There is a new celebrity chess couple: Atousa Pourkashiyan and Hikaru Nakamura announced their wedding and now join the list of prominent chess couples. Given their playing level, they are surely near the top of the unofficial couples’ rating list. | Photo: Atousa Pourkashiyan’s Instagram profile

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Chess connects people. A number of couples have already found each other through chess, and some of them are really strong players.

Now there is a new chess couple. Hikaru Nakamura and Atousa Pourkashiyan have announced their marriage. Insiders have known about the union for some time, since Atousa has been the companion of the US top player in a few tournaments, for example, in Stavanger.

Atousa Pourkashiyan was born in Tehran in 1988 and played chess since childhood. In 2000, she became the U12 girls’ world champion. Between 2005 and 2014 she won the Iranian Women’s Championship seven times. In 2009, she got the WGM title. In 2010, she won the Asian Championship. Between 2000 and 2016, she participated in all nine Women’s Chess Olympiads for Iran. She also represented Iran seven times in the Asian Women’s Team Championships between 2003 and 2016.

Between 2006 and 2017, she competed four times in the Women’s Knockout World Championships, but was eliminated in the first round on each occasion.

Atousa Pourkashiyan also played a few seasons in the Women’s Bundesliga for Hamburger SK, most recently in 2016/17.

Like so many other strong male and female chess players, Atousa Pourkashiyan left her native Iran and moved to the USA. In 2022, she officially transferred to the US federation.

Her husband, Hikaru Nakamura, is a year older and currently number two in the world rankings behind Magnus Carlsen. At 15, Hikaru Nakamura became the youngest-ever US Grandmaster, replacing Bobby Fischer as the previous record holder. Hikaru Nakamura won the US National Championship five times. He competed just as often for the USA in chess Olympiads, winning gold once and bronze twice with the team. Nakamura is the reigning Chess960 World Champion and has won the title once before.

Hikaru Nakamura is regarded as one of the strongest grandmasters in quick-paced time controls, included in online bullet. He was also competed in previous World Championship cycles, but failed to become a world title challenger twice in Candidates Tournaments.

Since the start of the pandemic, Nakamura increasingly shifted his activities to the internet and became one of the most successful chess streamers in the world. After a two-year break from tournaments, he made a successful comeback in 2022.

Hikaru Nakamura and Atousa Pourkashiyan have joined the list of prominent chess couples!

Famous chess couples

Not neccesarily a complete list

  • Hikaru Nakamura and Atousa Pourkashiyan
  • Dennis and Dinara Wagner
  • Sarah and Gabor Papp
  • Klaus Bischoff and Ingrid Lauterbach
  • Ulf Andersson and Gisela Fischdick
  • Melanie and Nikolas Lubbe
  • Daniel Fridman and Anna Zatonskih
  • Jan Gustafsson and Elisev Reppen
  • Alina and Erwin l'Ami
  • Anish Giri and Sopiko Guramishvili
  • Jan Werle and Josefine Paulet
  • Peter Heine Nielsen and Viktorija Cmilyte
  • Alexander Grischuk and Kateryna Lagno
  • Ivan Cheparinov and Antoaneta Stefanova
  • Radoslaw Wojtaszek and Alina Kashlinskaia
  • Richard Rapport and Jovana Vojinovic
  • Petra Papp and Sergey Grigoriants 
  • Pentala Harikrishna and Nadezda Stojanovic
  • Mohamad Al-Modiahki and Zhu Chen
  • Alexandra Kosteniuk and Pavel Tregubov
  • Monika and Bartosz Socko
  • Pia Cramling and Juan Bellon Lopez
  • Suat and Ekaterina Atalik
  • Olga Alexandrova and Miguel Illescas
  • Bu Xianghzi and Huang Qian 
  • Matthieu Cornette and Daimante Daulyte
  • Hichem and Adina-Maria Hamdouchi 
  • Robert Marcus and Ana Srebenic
  • John Nunn and Petra Fink-Nunn
  • Georgios Makropoulos and Marina Makropoulou
  • Yasser Seirawan and Yvette Nagel
  • Alexandr Fier and Nino Maisuradze

Know any other chess couple? Drop me a note to andreschulz@chessbase.com

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