In modern-day chess, it is a kind of norm that you have to be good at playing very fast. And when it comes to quick calculations and speed Hikaru Nakamura is one of the top chess players in the world.

Not only that but also, the American is one of the top online chess content creators. His speed runs are watched by millions of people on Youtube and Twitch, and he keeps mixing the flavors to represent chess to the world in a more presentable and exciting ways.

Reacting to memes, collaborating with other chess content creators, pogchamps, puzzle battles, analysis of on going top games, Nakamura simply does everything that a chess content creator possibly can do.

Listed below are his current ratings across all formats in world chess federation’s ratings:

Classical ChessRapid ChessBlitz Chess
Rating: 2760Rating: 2851Rating: 2850
World Rank: 11 World Rank: 2World Rank: 1

His rating is back on the FIDE website in classical chess because he participated in a FIDE-rated tournament recently. Previously it was removed because he didn’t play any classical chess for more than 2 years, and by rules, his name was removed from the list of active players.

Hikaru Nakamura Playing Style

Like any modern-day super grandmaster, Hikaru is highly skilled and familiar with a huge repertoire of chess openings. He is comfortable playing almost any system. But like any other top player, he prefers playing certain systems e.g. he has played over 100 classical games in Queen’s Gambit Declined and 75+ in Ruy Lopez, Berlin defense, open variation. You can check Hikaru’s all games here.

See what other Grandmasters say about Hikaru’s chess playing style in 1 word:

How good is Hikaru Nakamura at chess?

Hikaru Nakamura is currently one of the best chess players in the world. He is 5 times US champion, and at peak his rating was a massive 2816, making him one of the few players ever crossing the magical 2800 mark in classical chess.

In Blitz chess, Hikaru is still world #1 with a rating of 2850 according to World Chess Federation website, and world #2 in Rapid chess with a rating of 2823.

Why is Hikaru Nakamura Famous

Firstly, Hikaru is a 5 times US champion, and at one stage was the 2nd top-rated chess player in the world behind Magnus Carlsen. But the American Grandmaster cashed the real fame in online chess.

Hikaru is a regular streamer on Twitch and Youtube. He has done both individual and collaborative streams with other chess streamers. And his current net worth is $50 million.

Some famous highlights of his online streaming are his speed runs and reaction videos.

His most famous video on Youtube has over 4.5 million views, where he beat Mr. Beast, one of the top online video content creators with only a King and a Queen. Check out that video below:

His most famous reaction video is currently at 2.8 million views. Where Hikaru reacts to the games of top chess players including himself.

Is Hikaru a Super GM?

Yes Hikaru is a Super GM. He is 5 times USA champion, was world #2 in classical chess at one point, and currently world #1 in blitz chess, so of course, Hikaru Nakamura is a Super GM.

Super GM is a term informally used for elite chess players rated above 2700, and Hikaru is way above that rating. No matter however you make a case of it, be it titles or ratings, Hikaru Nakamura’s name fits under the Super Grand Master title in every manner.

Hikaru and Chess Elitism

Chess Elitism refers to the fact that some experienced chess players are not quite receptive to new/inexperienced players. According to them, chess is a noble sport and the ones who are not good at it don’t deserve to play, teach or stream chess both online and offline.

Hikaru is not a fan of elitism in chess. But thinks he finds himself guilty of that thing. But that was not in any bad intentions. He says he stopped doing it when he felt others will take it as looking down at them. But he also thinks it’s normal that players of similar range ratings hang around with each other. And it’s not only a thing in top-level chess. Even 2100 rated club players do that.

See the 2 videos below where Hikaru is reacting to chess elitism and is appreciating the stand people are taking against it. Hikaru thinks chess will only get more popular if people from other domains start broadcasting it or streaming it. That’s where the actual exposure to chess is.

Hikaru reacting to Agadmator’s views on chess elitism starting at 5:33 in the video below:

Hikaru Nakamura Best Games

The Benko Gambit he played against Maxime in 2008 is certainly one of his top games also the game against Ponomariov in 2009 where he played 33 Qa5xe5!! in a Sicilian, Scheveningen, Keres Attack.

But these are just my personal favorites. Hikaru is a super-GM and has played many great games. It will be hard to judge which one is the best.

Hikaru Nakamura vs Magnus Carlsen

Against World Champion Magnus Carlsen, Hikaru Nakamura’s head-to-head record is a very bad one. In Classical games, Magnus Carlsen’s record against Hikaru Nakamura is 14 to 1, with 23 draws. In rapid chess, the record is 1 win 1 loss, and 6 draws. And in Blitz, it’s Carlsen with 5 wins, 16 draws and no wins for Hikaru Nakamura.

You can check these stats on the FIDE site here.

Hikaru’s Family in Chess

Hikaru learned chess from his stepfather. A FIDE Master Sunil Weeramantry, who was also his 1st coach.

Among siblings, Hikaru is not the only one who played chess professionally. His elder brother Asuka Nakamura won the 19th annual Laura A Aspis prize in 1998 for being the top-rated chess player under the age of 13.

Nakamura’s brother’s rating at the time was 2112 and surprisingly at the end of the year, Hikaru was already a 2237 rated player. Much stronger than his elder brother and was showing signs of being a future great player. At age 10, Hikaru became the youngest American to beat an International Master.

Hikaru’s step-father says, his son never learned chess from classical games but improved his chess more like AI engines by playing a lot of games.

His mother Carolyn Merrow Nakamura is a classically trained musician and former public school teacher. She never took any interest in Chess.

Hikaru Nakamura’s future in Chess and Personal Life

The American legend is past his prime, or maybe has lost interest in classical chess, but online chess is where his true potential and future lies. More and more top players are starting their online chess careers, and it will be great to see what they do for chess in the future.

Talking a little about his personal life, Hikaru is currently unmarried but has a girlfriend from Italy, named Maria De Rosa.

Hikaru Nakamura has an IQ of 102, a score he got from the famous Mensa IQ test. And he is 165cms in height which is pretty low among top chess players.

But who cares, we love Hikaru for his chess 🙂

Can Hikaru Speak Japanese?

Hikaru took lessons in Japanese when he was 10 and took Japanese as a subject during 1st semester at Dickinson College, but English is still the only language that he is fluent in.

Is Hikaru Nakamura mixed?

Hikaru Nakamura is 12.5% German, 12.5% Swedish, 50% Japanese and 25% mix of randomness! This is what he shared in his tweet on August 6, 2015. So yes, he is a mix.

Hikaru traveled to Japan in 1995 with his family. In a video below you can watch a whole video of it, but at no point is Hikaru Nakamura speaking Japanese:

Also Read:

Playing Style of Famous Chess Players from Past and Present

Magnus Carlsen | The Mozart of Chess | A True World Champion

Categories: Chess

Bilal Ahmed

A random guy on the Internet enthusiastic about Blogging Chess and Football Life motto "make people's lives easier"


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