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Hikaru Nakamura: Flawless Victory of Double Standards

User Rating: / 53
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012
Article Index
Hikaru Nakamura: Flawless Victory of Double Standards
Page 2


Photo: has surprised me a little: Hikaru Nakamura won an open tournament, and I have completely overlooked his event! The #1 US chess player scored a flawless 6/6 in the Canadian Grand Pacific Open. Time for congratulations?

A look at the final table informed me that the #6 chess grandmaster in the world has dispatched amateurs rated in the 1900+-2300+ range on his way to the top. Moreover, not a single player rated  2400 or above took part in the tournament. It is somewhat strange that the pros decided not to compete against Naka for some reason. Anyway, whatever. Maybe the noble top GM just wanted to arrange an exclusive holiday for amateurs?

As a result of his impressive performance, Nakamura gained a few rating points. Those are as precious as gold at the top level. So what? Yes, there is an exploit in the rating system - the 400 points rule.  It allows people to beat significantly lower-rated players and earn rating points as if they were rated just 400 points lower. In other words, a win against 1900 is worth the same for Nakamura as a win against a 2350, although the former is much easier to achieve. Nonetheless, such victories often prove to be Pyrrhic: by facing amateurs a top GM loses concentration and then squanders away the freshly gained points playing against his colleagues at super tournaments.

The reason why I have written this post is different. When the #1 junior chess player in the world Fabiano Caruana overtook Hikaru Nakamura on the live-rating list, Hikaru instantly made a bitter remark about his performance in Reyjkavik Open:


A quick reminder: the line-up of that tournament included such world-class players as Navara, Cheparinov, Krivoruchko, Sokolov, Hou Yifan, Gawain Jones, Hess and many other strong GMs. During the event Fabiono was challenged by five 2600+ players and scored 2 wins, 3 draws agains them. To give you a chance to compare his result with Nakamura's performance, I will provide a link. Feel the difference.

Right after his tweet Hikaru was asked by Natalia Pogonina to clarify his opinion:


Obviously, Nakamura replied with his actions instead of words by crushing not just "weaker players", but relatively defenceless amateurs. Maybe he thinks that's the right approach to supporting the image of one of the world's top grandmasters.

.S. Mission accomplished: as of today Hikaru Nakamura has regained the #6 spot in the live-ratings and is clearly enjoying himself.

 Screenshot from

About the author

Peter Zhdanov is an IT project manager, debate expert and author of two books on parliamentary debate, BSc in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science and final year PhD student in Sociology.

In chess Peter is a Russian candidate master, author, husband and manager of grandmaster Natalia Pogonina.



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Comments (11)
1. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 14:33 11 2012 .
Clueless and hilarious
If you are such an avid follower of GM Nakamura twitter, maybe you know that he is spending some time in the best city in the world: Vancouver. The fact that he played in this tournament is about giving back to the local (chess) community. Accepting to play in this tournament raise the publicity of a chess tournament in a country where hockey the main sport, where the organizing committee is made out of 100% people with regular jobs not chess professionals as in other countries. Do I need to mention that he will also make an appearance in July at the Canadian Youth Chess Championships in Vancouver? In a country when GM titles are in single digits, what GM Nakamura did was an act of grace and you article is just a comedy act.
2. Written by Peter on 15:04 11 2012 .
Face the facts!
Andrei, if he wanted to show his gratitude, he could as well have given a simul or found a different way of expressing his love for Vancouver. Instead, he first dissed his colleagues for beating "weak" players and then went on to confirm his position by using a well-known exploit in the FIDE rules and taking advantage of amateurs. I would also like to note that your comment is worse than a "comedy act"; it is groundless and senseless.
3. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 15:12 11 2012 .
Face the facts!
I hope that more GMs follow Hikaru's example and play in local tournaments to support local chess. As far as I know, when Hikaru played in such events in the past, he asked the organizers to not FIDE rate them, but I suppose that this time around it would be too late to ask for that as he decided to attend almost in the last minute.  
While simuls are a great way of promoting chess, you really can't compare that to the actual participation in the tournament.
4. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 15:52 11 2012 .
thanks for the conversation gl hf
What hikaru clearly is doing by playing these amateurs is balancing the ranking...those amateurs will have their ranks droppped with reason and hikaru will balance the game ratings by regaining points that he cleary deserves by using the "glitch" or as you would say in League of Legends, "Fide patch 2.012". 
Which is just a natural way to regulate the "kingdom" of that level of chess. 1900=2300 players.  
Hikaru, Pogonina and other serious chess players out therem the ones that appear on videos with ratings under 2300 that are trapped in the ELO hell, citing League of Legends again, is to go down the ratings, and start getting consistent wins to get higher ratings almost for free. The famous Chinese Grindcore Gold Farming. Killing Minions non stop to get better weapons and get hit on top level tournaments by pick point. And getting a well paid retreat and helping chesspopularity all over the place.  
"Its like Southpark here: Watch This Episode 
South Park: Smug Alert 
Original Air Date: 03.29.2006  
Make Love, Not Warcraft."  
Kyle and his family are moving to San Francisco. The only way Stan can get his best friend back is to convince everyone to start driving hybrid cars. Just as everyone starts to feel really good about what they're doing for the environment, scientists discover a stormy, dark mass accumulating over the town.  
All of you guys need to raise your rating by playing people like kingcrusher and william and those yugitube stars. They never win something big and they have all your all your points. They are fair players.  
Why dont give that a chance? you already play against the world and other fun activities. You may find surprises or regain those precious 100 points a day, just like a FM 2300 I saw in beating a FM 2100 in 1 minute chess. he reach FM 2400 in half and hour.  
U guys are in 2400 you should be already 2700, will you tell me William cant beat a 2700? or that pogonina or yu fei or carlsesen why dont you play more...guys i mean seriosuly....look at bronstein , you can read his book and learn how to play chess, jajaja. thats what nakamura is doin. hes targetting them.  
u play only against online! For FIDE points 
Ja, that Southpark chapter...poor kids playing against hikaru.  
That picture looks like a yugioh convention...but the dragon divisition for 12 year olds. 
so yeah videogame ratings, alex is talking about it already:  
Wonder what #videogames #chess champions love? Check this out @Kotaku @VideoGameNews 
and yeah Reykjavik Open 2012 of course feel stronger , u can go for more points? or actually well in world of warcraft it is recommended since years agothat in order to level up its "faster"done by killing four lower level monsters than one 3,2 level monsters.  
And in League of Legends you kill minions to grind gold.  
You guys use the 200 glith, or fide patch you have now.  
About Reykjavik Open 2012  
Game round 1: 
Steinthorsson Felix 1298 0 - 1  
Ingvason Johann 2132 
Reykjavik Open 2012  
Only: 93 points. 
U can say the 1200 had a chance, I know. Thats why he earns so small amounts of points. 93. Thats the ladder value of the player.  
I want to see that game. Not really. 
thanks for the post.
5. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 22:44 12 2012 .
thanks for the conversation gl hf
naka destroys defenseless "amateurs" - those that are approximately the same strength as mrs. pogonina - the author of this article should not be insulting mrs. pogonina.
6. Written by Peter on 06:04 13 2012 .
thanks for the conversation gl hf
Fred, I don't think you can compare people rated 1900-2300 with Natalia in terms of skill. Therefore, you are either hypocritically writing this to insult her, or haven't got the slightest notion about chess. 
Natalia is a FIDE top player & grandmaster. The guys Naka played against aren't recognized as pro players by the Association of Chess Professionals - need to be IM or stronger to qualify.
7. Written by me on 09:05 13 2012 .
simply funny
Such events do not merit discussion. Nakamura helped to promote chess. This is positive. One should not try to blame him or to warn that \"by facing amateurs a top GM loses concentration and then squanders away the freshly gained points playing against his colleagues at super tournaments\". Frankly speaking, such blames or warning are simply funny.
8. Written by on 09:58 16 2012 .
! ϸ, , ? ""?? , . , ? 6 , , , ? ? , ?
9. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 10:25 27 2012 .
I just noticed this odd article and discussion. Nakamura loves Vancouver and has spent several weeks every year recently in Vancouver - in effect his second home. He has promoted chess in Vancouver in the past with simuls and is positively active in the local chess community. To suggest his motivation for playing in that event was a scheme to pick up a couple rating points is unfair. He happened to be enjoying down time in Vancouver and was persuaded to play. I know one local master who lost to Naka and was delighted by the time Naka spent positively analyzing the game post mortem.
10. Written by This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it on 08:22 02 2012 .
Doesn't the list show that Nakamura has remained at #6 rather than regained #6. 
Everything about his conduct says that he did this to promote chess rather than to promote himself. 
We have a local GM who regularly participates in weekend opens it's a real boost when he turns out. It is a real shame when promoting the game is viewed so cynically.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 11 April 2012 )
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