Duda got “Bongclouded” by Nakamura

Duda got “Bongclouded” by Nakamura


GM Jan-Krzysztof Duda played the Bongcloud opening against GM Hikaru Nakamura at the Chesscom Global Championship 2022 and the American streamer was not happy!

Photo: Eric Rosen

In 2021 the Guardian wrote: “The self-destructive opening (2. Ke2) is known as the Bongcloud for a simple reason: you’d have to be stoned to the gills to think it was a good idea.” and they couldn’t be more accurate!

Jan-Krzysztof Duda decided to rock the chess world by playing the Bongcloud against the “Bongcloud Master” Hikaru Nakamura with the commentators noticing Naka’s “disgusted” face! “What? What is going on? Did he just play the Bongcloud?! […] I don’t know what we’re supposed to say right now!” Aman Hambleton and Robert Hess said. The game ended with Hikaru winning a what it seemed hopeless position.

“It was very clear he was on tilt…it’s obviously absolute garbage, there’s a reason it’s a meme.” Nakamura commented on Duda playing the Bongcloud.

About the Bongcloud

This bongcloud has been a cult favorite in chess circles since the dawn of the internet, a popularity only fueled by Bobby Fischer’s rumored deployment of the opening in his alleged series of games with Nigel Short on the Internet Chess Club back in 2000. But its origins as a meme can be traced to Andrew Fabbro’s underground book Winning with the Bongcloud – a pitch-perfect parody of chess opening manuals and the purple, ponderous language that fills their pages – which took its inspiration from the evidently doomed tactics deployed by an online chess participant whose openings under the username “Lenny_Bongcloud‘ caused hilarity among fellow players.

That’s not to say, like, say, Michael Chang’s underhand serve against Ivan Lendl in the 1989 French Open, there’s no place for it at the elite level. Carlsen used it last October in the first game of a speed chess final win over the American grandmaster Wesley So, who confessed to its psychological effects in the aftermath: ‘It’s hard to forget the game when someone plays f3 and Kf2 and just crushes you. That’s so humiliating.’

Then later: ‘If you lose a game against 1 f3 and 2 Kf2 it’s just very psychologically draining.’

Of course it’s Nakamura who has become the player most associated with the bongcloud. The American streamer won a rapid game using it against the American grandmaster Jeffery Xiong during the $250,000 St Louis 27-round Rapid and Blitz 2020. He’s even streamed a speedrun series where he attempted to reach a 3000 rating with a new account using only the Bongcloud.

The combined visibility, culminating with Carlsen’s Bongcloud choice against Nakamura at the preliminary stage of the $200,000 Magnus Carlsen Invitational 2021, have lifted an obscure meme opening out of the shadows. Of course, not everyone will be a fan: no less than Short himself appeared to describe the Bongcloud as an ‘insult to chess’.


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