Reports | October 28, 2012 19:37

A video interview with Hikaru Nakamura

A video interview with Hikaru Nakamura

Here's our video interview with Hikaru Nakamura, conducted right after his victory at the Univé Chess Tournament in Hoogeveen, The Netherlands where he finished ahead of Sergey Tiviakov, Anish Giri and Hou Yifan. The American top grandmaster speaks about his strategy for his last round game, his overall performance in Hoogeveen, his previous events, his current approach to chess, the ICC and... the tie he wore on the last day. :-)

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.


killabeechess's picture

starting to like Nakamura

arkan's picture

Already liked him.. he's being ''dishonest'' though about ICC! he still has hours and hours of bulletsessions per day sometimes, an enjoyment to watch.

I bet in the months off he mentioned he will be online 24/7 as usual , can't wait

Anonymous's picture

Sorry to hurt Nakamura's fanboys but he isn't as good as Carlsen. Carlsen is rated 2847! Nakamura ia a 2750-ish player.

anon's picture

Sorry but Nakamura is not a Carlsen. Winning a tournament with 2600 players is a shame; Carlsen would never beat weaker players for rating points.

jsy's picture

Nakamura could only play against whom the organizers invited. Unfortunately, they couldn't bring back Kramnik and Polgar. In any case, you still have to beat the 2650ish player (it's not easy - don't believe me? - check out the hurting the 2650 Giri and McShane inflicted on Magnus - not too long ago)

noyb's picture

What an inane comment. Carlsen can't help but beat weaker players for rating points, EVERYONE is rated lower. You obviously type before you think...

Nigel P's picture

I believe you may have missed a joke...

Thomas's picture

One could argue that Carlsen winning Biel last year, and not even winning this year was also beating weaker players for rating points (both times he actually invited himself). I wouldn't call it a shame that a top player accepts to face weaker opposition and participates in an event where he is clear favorite - I just mean to imply that anon is talking nonsense [and I am certainly neither a Carlsen nor a Nakamura fanboy!].

Another story is whether Nakamura's win in Hoogeveen means that he has regained his form - he might have beaten such players also in London despite his supposedly terrible form - actually he did beat Giri.
Hypothetically (well not quite) would anyone praise Nakamura for winning an event where the other players are below 2500? In a way, that's what he did at the European Club Cup after his first-round loss against Andreikin - but +4=2 against Karttunen, Popilski, Leer-Salvesen, Moen, Williams and Raznikov actually cost him a few rating points ... .

Mike Magnan's picture

\\\\\\well, the kid seems to have shaken off his bad form. Good for him. I hope he can keep it up. That last game was a fine piece of work.

anon's picture

Bad form?! What a silly excuse! Carlsen has bad forms too but still win 2730-ish tournaments; and you don't see Carlsen picking up ratings points by beating 2600 rated players for his "bad form."

anon's picture

Nakamura is a joke. So he loses rating points from the Big Boys and then goes on to play 2600 tournaments to pick up the lost points!

Anonymous's picture

Nakamura is not a joke. You are.

boardgame's picture

Stop whining. Naka for president! ;)

Septimus's picture

What is wrong with beating up weak players. Weak players should be beaten to within an inch of their life, buried in the sand and beaten again with a wet noodle.

Anand should stop hiding his preparation and give it a try.

anon's picture

Carlsen will dethrone Anand soon.

RealityCheck's picture

@anon Don't count your chickens before they hatch.

jambow's picture

Nakamura played nice chess especially the last game.

As far as Nakamura being 2750ish and Carlsen being a 2847 well if you are mathimatically impaired that might make sense you can compare peak to peak ratings of 2785 vs 2847 which is vary fair, or probably their maintained average elo of approx 2770 vs 2830 is even more representative of reallity without doing the actual math. So yes a real 60 elo exists between them but Carlsen is the best player in the world today and being on average about 6th or 7th in the world is rather exceptional imho.

Then again I don't take the comments too seriously as they appear to be nonsensical simply to draw a response and so they have. For example Nakamura is at least willing to play players better than he is while Carlsen only gains elo from weaker players. Oh well its the internet after all its not like you have to take an iq test to participate, just internet access and a computer.

nakashima's picture

strange choice of tie for a Japanese

Anonymous's picture

Yes he was born in Hirakata, Osaka to a Japanese father and an American mother but he went to the United States at only 2 years old. I wonder if he has toured much in Japan and how popular he is there. Is he more popular in Japan than shogi stars?

blueofnoon's picture

I am from Japan, and as far as I know Nakamura is not known beyond chess community in Japan, and chess community here is very small as Shogi and Go are much more popular.

That being said, most of chess fans here follow Nakamura's games keenly, because we believe he is one of the most interesting contemporary chess players style-wise, and he has played several tournaments in Japan.

We hope this tournament is his first step of recovery from his recent bad form.

kamalakanta's picture

Is he fluent in Japanese?

blueofnoon's picture

No. In that respect Anish Giri is more "Japanese", as he spent full 2 years in Japan as a schoolboy and he is OK with daily conversation in Japanese.

MagnusFan's picture

Thanks for sharing!

Can you give us a few words about chess i Japan?
What do yourself find in international chess which you don't already get in Shogi or Go?
Has Habu been a part of your community, or is he just too big a star? His 2400-rating is impressive anyway.

Fascinating that Japan and China are extremely strong chess-nations, but in the "wrong" forms of chess. I would have loved a match between Habu and Magnus on "common ground"!

Daaim Shabazz's picture

Habu has played in a couple of World Opens. I actually interviewed him. Very nice fellow!

welwitchia's picture

Its will take Carlsen years before he can dethrone Anand. There is just a big gap in overall chess understanding. Anand is a walking chess encyclopedia

redivivo's picture

"There is just a big gap in overall chess understanding"

If Gelfand and Topalov came an inch from beating Anand I doubt that the gap is all that huge between Anand and Carlsen (at least if we are talking about to Anand's advantage).

Anonymous's picture

His lack of chess understanding can be nullified by greater practical skills and things like a better memory or greater endurance. Carlsen f.i. had some lucky escapes and wins against Kramnik in 5th hour of play and coincidentally he has a relatively bad score against young players. I'm sure he could tire Anand into submission, especially since Anand has adopted a draw mode.

redivivo's picture

I don't think Carlsen's lack of chess understanding is as big as is often proclaimed on these pages, or that it's more a question of endurance or tiring opponents into submission in his case. To me the "lucky escapes" usually have more to do with Carlsen's openings being far worse than that of some other top players, and it's not that these opponents tire later as much as actual chess understanding coming into play more than it does in the opening.

Anonymous's picture

Incredible. This interview is enough reason for the Carlsen brigade to start talking about him and the problems of Anand. What a bunch of losers when they can't stand another player being in the spotlight.

boardgame's picture

Why always this discussion of who is better? Just look at the rating list. Despite its flaws, that is how we chess players compare each other and what we agree to by playing under FIDE rules. I like Naka, he is a fighter as Carlsen is too. The humbleness displayed in the video suits Naka well. He seems to grow up. We'll see after his next big win, though ;) He'll be back in the top 10 for sure. Keep going Naka!

nero's picture

Carthago should be destroyed

Anonymous's picture

Nice interview...thanks Peter.

Anonymous's picture

"...originally I thought I would be playing who..."

What does he mean by that?!! He should at least have enough respect for his opponents to remember their name! Besides his grammar isn't even right. Correct would be; "...originally I thought I would be playing (who was that?)..." Just because Japan and China have their 'differences' as he put it doesn't mean that he can't show proper respect to his colleagues. You would think that a player at his level who could remember so many variations could remember the name of his opponent instead of saying "who". Disgraceful!

Samsom's picture

Except when someone's name just sounded like 'who'...

Zacalov Ramsay's picture

He is saying "Hou" (as in "Hou Yifan") in an American accent. It is rather obvious. Your stupidity and unjustified hate for Nakamura is incredibly sad.

Anonymous's picture

It was just a bad joke son. Hou's on first?

uschess's picture

i think naka is actually very respectful of hou and i have heard her name pronounced "who" by others, although i wont trust either way til i hear her pronounce it herself. anyway he paid her the highest of compliments when he admitted to being worse and missing her tactical shot in their second game, and seemed gracious in their post-mortem staying a good while to talk over the game with her.

Macauley's picture

You can hear Hou pronounce her own name in episode 17 of The FEB:

jambow's picture

"strange choice of tie for a Japanese"

Sure but not bad at all for an American ;o]

Latest articles