An Interview with IM Cyrus Lakdawala

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  • An Interview with IM Cyrus Lakdawala

    An Interview with IM Cyrus Lakdawala

    March 3, 2019

    In a discussion in this forum, the name of Cyrus Lakdawala came up as perhaps being a “Canadian author” in view of his growing up in Quebec. My conclusion was that he is not.

    From Post #15:

    “Cyrus Lakdawala was born in India on 10 October, 1960, grew up in Montreal and has lived since the late 1970s in San Diego.

    To date he has published more than 30 chess books - among them: Caruana, move by move, How Ulf beats black, Chess for hawks, Anti-Sicilians, move by move and Capablanca, move by move. All these between 2010 and present.”

    https://forum.chesstalk.com/forum/ch...0th-chess-book

    ___________

    I know very little about the man and so was pleased to see an extensive interview with him inThe Georgia Chess News by Davide Nastasio (March 1, 2019):

    http://georgiachessnews.com/2019/03/...rus-lakdawala/

    An extract from that:

    Davide Nastasio: Could you tell for our readers how the chess journey began for you?

    Cyrus Lakdawala: My father taught me how to play at age eight, and I have never forgiven him for it! I got immediately addicted, even though I didn’t display an iota of talent for the game.

    DN: Who coached you when you were young?

    CL: At first I only played my father (who was an A-player) and kids at school, but never had a formal coach. I was essentially self-taught from books — and I wasn’t a very good teacher, since my study was all over the place. Also, I was completely dishonest with myself, since at age eight, I strove to be the new Tal, which was a wee bit off the mark, since on the chess board I was the biggest dove of all time.

    When I was a kid, during summer vacation I desperately sought out strong competition and would walk miles to the shopping center bus stop, take a 45-minute bus trip to downtown Montreal, then take a 20-minute metro ride to the En Passant Chess Cafe. There I could play blitz with strong masters, like FM George Levtchouk (maybe I’m misspelling his name, if so, sorry George!) and GM Kevin Spraggett, and many others. I would play endless blitz games for stakes of 25 to 50 cents per game, which for a 13-year-old in 1973, was a fortune, since I only made $5 per week from my paper route.

    I was completely lopsided in playing strength with fast and slow time controls. I could hang with masters and even some titled players in blitz, yet in tournament play, I was still rated 1795 in over-the-board play when I was 17 years old, so it would be slightly dishonest to describe myself as a budding prodigy!

  • #2
    and from that 17 yr old developed a 2500 player, a fantastic and down to earth writer and a very approachable guy. Sounds like a fascinating story and should be published. Gives hope to us all!

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    • #3
      In the same way that Frank Marshall was not a Canadian but a chapter of his life was.

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      • #4
        I still have all the cross tables from those weekly En Passant blitz tournaments from the 70s.

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        • #5
          It might be interesting to share or would that involve too much work? Id appreciate seeing them.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
            An Interview with IM Cyrus Lakdawala

            .....There I could play blitz with strong masters, like FM George Levtchouk (maybe I’m misspelling his name, if so, sorry George!) and GM Kevin Spraggett, and many others. I would play endless blitz games for stakes of 25 to 50 cents per game, which for a 13-year-old in 1973, was a fortune, since I only made $5 per week from my paper route....
            Some time later (circa 1978-9) he tried to do well making money with backgammon as it was briefly popular at En Passant before the police closed it (backgammon) down. He was doing well against the amateur minnows for small stakes and tried to play with the bigger league players at $5/point but this did not turn out well.

            The titles for the players mentioned came somewhat later than 1973.


            Originally posted by Wayne Komer View Post
            An Interview with IM Cyrus Lakdawala

            .... I was completely lopsided in playing strength with fast and slow time controls. I could hang with masters and even some titled players in blitz, yet in tournament play, I was still rated 1795 in over-the-board play when I was 17 years old, so it would be slightly dishonest to describe myself as a budding prodigy!...
            If Hugh publishes his old blitz crosstables you will see that he had a 400-500 point gap between his slow and blitz ratings. The blitz ratings were not strictly comparable to regular ratings (people like Spraggett or Hebert also had huge rating as well by racking up points against the many weak players) but he was much stronger in blitz than slow chess. In 1 hour time controls, I beat him in a 6 game match and I was probably 1800 - 1900 or so at the time (1978 maybe?) but he was definatively much better than me at blitz.

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