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Cyrus Lakdawala vs Hikaru Nakamura
Chessmaster US Championship 2005 (2004), San Diego, CA USA, rd 2, Nov-25
Trompowsky Attack: General (A45)  ·  0-1


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Kibitzer's Corner
Dec-03-04  Bobsterman3000: White's king migration was a huge mistake...
Sep-09-14  Ke2: "I played Nakamura. He was 18 years old at the time, at the 2005 U.S. Championship. His name is Hikaru Nakamura. And he's the top U.S. player right now." This is the top chess player in San Diego, international master (IM) Cyrus Lakdawala, 46. He's telling me about the strongest opponent he's ever faced. "This kid Nakamura's just a natural genius," Lakdawala says. "And I don't normally use that term. I think it's thrown about, like, 'Oh, this guy's a genius,' and 'That guy's a genius.' But Nakamura really is a genius. He was a 16-year-old grand master. The top seed at the U.S. Championship. I think he's almost 20 now."

Lakdawala has been a professional chess player for the past 27 years. He's one of the best in the world. The average serious chess player rates about 1500. Lakdawala's international rating is 2424. But the U.S. Champion, Nakamura, rates a 2651.

"When I played this kid," Lakdawala says, "I remember one point in the game where I spent 45 minutes on this incredibly long combination. I had a horrible feeling in my heart that it wasn't going to work, but I had to do it, because it looked like I was winning. I spent 45 minutes thinking it through, and I just plunged into the position. I'd worked out what I felt was a win at every line. So I made my move. And Nakamura looked at the position, and then he sat back in his chair, and he looked up at the ceiling. He looked at the ceiling for about 5 minutes, after I moved. He didn't even look at the board. He was just looking at the ceiling, which was actually very intimidating. He was working it out in his head and not looking at the board."

Lakdawala chuckles. "And then he made his move, and we banged out the entire sequence that I thought was going to happen. At the tail end, he saw one move further, and my whole position just collapsed completely. He saw this in his head in 5 minutes. He saw one move further than I did, in 5 minutes in his head, than what I could see in 45 minutes of looking at the board. You just can't beat someone like that. The genetics are too powerful. You would have to have blind luck. He would have to be sick, or just really off, or maybe I could beat him on a good day."

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