The Nakamura Paradox

The New York Knights kept their playoff chances alive by defeating the Boston Blitz 2.5- 1.5 last night in the U.S. Chess League—just as top Knight Hikaru Nakamura had cockily guaranteed. Pascal Charbonneau and Irina Zenyuk both won for the Knights, Hikaru drew, and Jay Bonin lost.

The four occasions on which Hikaru, who’s arguably the most exciting teenage talent in U.S. chess, played first board for New York, the Knights won (twice) or drew (twice). And all three times that he sat out the match, the Knights lost. Now here’s the paradox: Hikaru’s individual record so far is subpar, one loss and three draws. So why does the team only do well when he’s playing?

“It’s his comforting presence and great team spirit,” explained one wag who was watching the game on the Internet Chess Club.

When Hikaru pulls himself out of this slump and gets on a winning roll—and I’m sure he will—the Knights will be unstoppable.

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A new review of my book King’s Gambit has appeared in an upstate New York arts publication. Click here for a look.

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3 Responses to “The Nakamura Paradox”

  1. USCL Fan Says:

    pfff. the knights unstoppable…. please, the knights will prob miss playoffs and even if they make it, there is no way they are gonna beat Boston with its best lineup, that may also include 2 gms!! Not exclude them, like last night. Not to take anything out of NY victory but to beat a team thats 100 pts lower than you on average isnt so shocking in the USCL.

  2. Nakamura Breaks Out « thepHtest Says:

    […] the Queens Pioneers in the US Chess League when Hikaru Nakamura, the White Plains wonder, broke the Nakamura paradox and won his first game as a Knight. Maybe it was the inspiration teammate Jay Bonin provided when […]

  3. Knights Now Try to Do What the Yankees Didn’t « thepHtest Says:

    […] Knights also cast off the spell of the Nakamura paradox, proving that they can win even when their top player is sitting […]

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