The Worst Time To Play Hikaru Nakamura

The Worst Time To Play Hikaru Nakamura

NM SamCopeland

There is probably no good time to play a super-grandmaster like Hikaru Nakamura, but there are some bad times. The fiercest chess competitors like Nakamura, Garry Kasparov, and Magnus Carlsen have generally been most feared right after a loss.

"Look at Garry Kasparov. After he loses, invariably he wins the next game. He just kills the next guy." - "Maurice Ashley"

Today's video looks at two consecutive games played by Hikaru Nakamura in the 2009 Toronto Open. The first, against IM and then-reigning Canadian Junior Champion Artiom Samsonkin, must be one of the least pleasant losses in Nakamura's career. Nakamura misses a Sicilian shot, and his opponent converts his winning position with multiple stylish move.

The second game sees Nakamura taking on FM Michael Barron in the fifth and final round of the tournament. Barron could expect to be outmatched by Nakamura in any case, but coming off a defeat, a motivated Nakamura plays the most aggressive possible move at every turn, throwing Harry the h-pawn up the board on move four, sacing an exchange on move seven, and forcing mate in under 25 moves. Brutal.

My notes on both games are below.

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