Hikaru Nakamura–the world’s wealthiest ($$$) chess player–married Atousa Pourkashiyan in July 2023.
Hikaru, born in Japan on December 9, 1987, is a chess Grandmaster and the #2 ranked chess player in the world.
Atousa, born May 16, 1988 in Iran, is a Woman Grandmaster (WGM) and the 7-time Iranian women’s chess champion–a record among Iranian women chess players.
Wisdom in Privacy!
Hikaru and Atousa live very private lives, but Atousa did choose to announce their marriage with a warm photo on Instagram!
Nakamura also commented on the wedding in a Reddit post, quoting American billionaire Warren Buffet.
Buffet is credited for saying, “Marry the right person. I’m serious about that. It will make more difference in your life. It will change your aspirations, all kinds of things.”
Atousa, an Iranian-American, holds the title of Woman Grandmaster (WGM), which FIDE awarded to her in 2009.
Atousa is the 7-time Iranian women’s champion (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014)–an Iranian record.
In 2022, Atousa made international news when she competed without a hijab at the World Chess Rapid & Blitz Championship held in Almaty, Kazakhstan, thereby joining the anti-hijab “Mahsa Amini” international protests.
In December 2022, she changed her chess federations from Iran to the United States, where she currently resides with her husband Hikaru Nakamura.
How Does He Do It?
Hikaru Nakamura possesses a “…combination of teacherly wisdom, galaxy-brained skills, and uncommon expressiveness.” -Nathan Grayson, a reporter at The Washington Post focusing on live-streaming and digital culture.
Hikaru Nakamura was born on December 9, 1987 in Hirakata, Osaka Prefecture, Japan to a Japanese father, Shuichi Nakamura, and an American mother, Carolyn Merrow Nakamura. His mother is a classically trained musician and former public school teacher.
$50 Million Dollar Man
Hikaru’s estimated worth is $50 million dollars. Only a small part of Nakamura’s wealth comes from winning prizes in chess tournaments. For example, he recently finished in 3rd Place at the 2022 Madrid’s Candidates Tournament where he won a mere $24,500 USD for his efforts!
Streaming ($$$) Does It!
At the start of the Covid pandemic, Hikaru dedicated himself with passion and obsession to streaming on social media platforms–mostly talking about chess, playing or commenting on his own chess games live, hosting guests, interacting with viewers, and teaching chess.
The Midas ($$$) Touch
His passion, charisma, sense of humor, engagement with guests, communication skills, personal chess accomplishments–and most of all–his love of chess have made him the richest chess player of all time.
In His Own Words
In his own words, Hikaru Nakamura attributes his success to “…the ability to play extremely high-level chess while seemingly…not focused on the game while conversing with the viewers.”
Hikaru Knows Social Media!
Subscribers pay $4.99/month to access Hikaru Nakamura’s social media Twitch streaming account–GMHikaru. He now has 1.4 million followers on Twitch and a similar number on YouTube.
Nakamura also earns substantial income from energy drink endorsements along with other things.
In comparison, the World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen’s total earnings are estimated at $8 million dollars to date–after playing and winning five World Chess Championship matches over the past 10 years!
Magnus Carlsen is scheduled to defend his title in another World Chess Championship match in April 2023, and split the $2 million dollars prize fund (60%-40%) with the Challenger, Russia’s Ian Nepo, who recently won the 2022 World Chess Candidates Tournament.
Hikaru Nakamura Knows Money!
Nakamura has appeared on Bloomberg Television to discuss the relationship between chess and stock trading. He invests much of his earnings in stocks, and during his chess streams Nakamura occasionally discusses stock market investing and general financial topics.
An Essential Ingredient – Likeable!
He’s likeable! Nakamura greets his fans very kindly. He signs autographs, takes photos, and even plays rapid games for hours in the hotel lobbies at tournaments. Unlike most mind-sports stars and elite chess players, he genuinely enjoys visiting with fans–and he frequently participates in charitable fundraising events and activities.
Hikaru Nakamura Knows Chess!
Nakamura is the five-time USA Chess Champion, most recently winning the title in 2019.
He’s one of a handful of chess players who have earned a 2800+ rating. In 2015, Hikaru was the No. 2 rated player in the world at 2816–behind only World Chess Champion Norway’s Magnus Carlsen.
When Nakamura was two years old, his father, mother and older brother Asuka moved from Japan to the United States, where he grew up in White Plains, New York. A year later in 1990, his parents divorced.
He began playing chess at 7 years old when famed Sri Lankan FIDE Master, chess author and over-the-top successful chess coach Sunil Weeramantry began coaching his older brother Asuka. After Asuka won the National Kindergarten Championship in 1992, Sunil developed a relationship with the boys’ mother and eventually married her.
“Youngest-Ever” Chess Records
Hikaru Nakamura set several “Youngest-Ever” records in USA chess history.
– Youngest (10 years, 0 months) player to defeat an International Master (IM) in a USCF-rated game.
– Youngest (10 years, 117 days) player to defeat a Grandmaster (GM) in a USCF-rated game.
-Youngest (13 years, 2 months) player to earn the International Master (IM) title.
Nakamura on Women, Chess & Dating
Former Girlfriend for 9 Years
Maria De Rosa
Italian Women’s Chess Champion
According to a June 2022 e-Celebrity Mirror Online article, in 2013 Hikaru Nakamura began dating the reigning Italian Women’s Chess Champion, Mariagrazia De Rosa–known as Maria De Rosa.
Nakamura and De Rosa met at chess tournaments. While dating, Nakamura spent most of his time in the United States and De Rosa in Italy, so they did not live together at that time.
Nakamura believed at the time that it was not practical to live together when you are playing competitive, professional chess. However, they saw each other often for 9 years during their free time and at chess tournaments.
Prior to dating Maria De Rosa, Nakamura dated women who were not chess players, women entirely unfamiliar with the game. His mindset changed after meeting De Rosa.
He felt happy to have a sweetheart who played chess. Being a chess player herself, De Rosa understood the range of emotions her boyfriend experienced during the course of a tournament, from winning to losing–the elation and the exhaustion, and most importantly, the amount of preparation time necessary to compete at the elite level.
Given their competitive chess careers, and their social media streaming during their mid-20s to their early 30s, in 2022 after 9 years together Hikaru Nakamura and Maria De Rosa parted ways romantically.
Italian Women’s Chess Champion!
Maria De Rosa
Maria De Rosa has won the Italian Women’s Chess Championship three times–in 2003, in 2010 and in 2013.
Maria De Rosa was born in Naples, Italy, in 1988. Like her current boyfriend, De Rosa was passionate about chess since her early childhood days.
De Rosa earned the FIDE Women’s International Master (IM) title in 2014. Maria De Rosa is still active and often participates in chess competitions in person or online.
Maria De Rosa is also a chess Twitch streamer at ParthenopeChess and currently has 7.1K followers, where she regularly live streams chess games with several well-known chess players.
Carolyn Merrow Nakamura
Carolyn Merrow Nakamura, Hikaru’s mother and Sunil Weeramantry’s wife, is a concert violinist and former elementary school.
Chess Champions Start Here!
Learn to Play Chess
Hikaru & Atousa Play Chess!
Chess Rules For Students is a workbook for students learning the game of chess and for beginning students returning to the game. No previous knowledge of chess is necessary. Parents unfamiliar with chess will find this booklet a valuable guide to their child’s new interest.
Chess Rules For Students is designed with students, coaches, and parents in mind. Reading level is appropriate for grade-school use. All major rules of chess are covered, and algebraic notation worksheets are included. Each page is in easy-to-use worksheet format.
A student-friendly Answer Key makes self-correction fun!
Checkmate! Ideas For Students is a workbook for beginning and intermediate students. Checkmate! covers the tactics used in checkmate attacks with clear explanations, diagrams and arrows to pinpoint the key features.
Unlike many other basic checkmate books, Checkmate! categorizes the checkmates by the tactics used to force the checkmate–like Pins, Sacrifices, Removing the Guard, Attraction, Clearance and Attacking Flight Squares–rather than only the checkmate pattern itself.
The worksheets and Answer Key are clear and simple for the student to use, and easy for the parent, teacher and coach to correct! Fun!
Chess Tactics For Students contains 434 carefully selected problems in worksheet format.
Chess Tactics has been extensively field tested with elementary, middle-school, and high-school students over a four-year period. This book is ideal for independent seat work as well as for homework and classroom instruction.
The worksheet format and Answer Key enable self-correction with minimal dependence or direct help from a chess teacher, coach, or parent.