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Best of CLO #1- Krush on Baku Print E-mail
January 28, 2014
Bakurelaxing.jpgThe #1 article in Best of CLO 2013 is Irina on Baku: Water From a Stone by GM Irina Krush. The article delved into Irina's final Grandmaster norm result at the Baku Open. 

 I know my opponent's rating, but it's just a number, not my sentence. For me, chess is a fight, sixty four squares where you lay out everything you have, and I believe in my ability to fight, because it's really just a function of your ability to give everything you have, to put it banally, 'to do your best.'

I want to make the maximum effort, whether that means pushing myself to find the best moves, being resilient in defense, or overcoming any psychological weakness that can come up during a game: inclinations towards cowardice, towards giving up in difficult positions, or slacking off in better ones. So while I just can't see myself to be very good in the actual playing of chess, I do come into every game with the belief that I can give it 100%, and that's probably not a lot less than what my opponents can bring.


Irina Krush is a five-time US Women's Champion, and the reigning Women's champ. She has also represented the US in numerous World Team Championships and Olympiads. In the World Team Championship in Astana, March 2013, she posted a 7/9 result on board one, achieving a gold medal, her second norm and a 2600+ performance rating. A contributor to CLO and Chess Life Magazine, Irina is currently hosting live commentary at the Gibraltar Chess Festival (January 27-February 6) with GM Simon Williams, and will blog for CLO from that event.

The Judges Sound Off
(More on the judges here) 

I always like articles about norms and games of the author.  I also liked the local color that Irina always gives in her articles.  Congrats to Irina on earning the title, and I hope she writes many more articles on her chess endeavors.- GM Ben Finegold

“Irina Krush tells a wonderful story. First she talks about her journey to Baku and provides great pictures of her travels. Next she discusses each of her chess matches in the tournament with in depth analysis of her chess games and also her psychology. Irina Krush's perspective is an essential element of her writing style that reveals her personality. She highlights the specific context and purpose of her trip to Baku as well as illustrates her experiences with storytelling, pictures, and chess games. Irina Krush's personalized writing style is what sets her writing apart and makes it unique. Well written and great content!”—Galen Pyle

The reader follows in the author's footsteps as she experiences the ups and downs of a competitive tournament in a foreign environment.  Instructively, not everything goes according to plan.  Aspiring players of both genders can learn from the approach taken by the US Women's Champion.  She derives confidence from exerting "maximum effort" in each round and tries to grind out positions even when her brain acquiesces to a draw.  

The reader can play through eight games, each with light comments.  The photos of Baku, including the stray cats, complement the storyline.  Will any American chess master undertake a similar adventure in 2014? --Michael Aigner

In my opinion, this article is inspirational because it showed to me that dreams can come true. I believe that harmony is the key to success and this article represents it.

Therefore, external factors like friends and tourism combined with Irina's 100 percent effort in every game lead to her epic chess performance. The path was not easy, but she did not give up and achieve her GM norm in her last game.- Carla Heredia

Great tournament report, great photos, very well written.  Nice mix of games, stories, insights, and a peek into the life of a top player.  Fun and instructional, inspirational, and with a well-deserved happy ending!-Tim Brennan

Thank you to all of our judges, who you can follow @TacticsTime @HerediaCarla @BenFinegold @chesspdx & @fpawn.
 
Best of CLO Countdown 2013
1.
Irina on Baku: Water From a Stone by GM Irina Krush
2.
Ten Things We Learned From the Sinquefield Cup by GM Ian Rogers
3.
Dinos to the Slav: Silman on Apple Apps by IM Jeremy Silman (Judging article)
4. The Scoop on SuperNationals V from the US Chess Scoop (Judging article)
5. Summers at the US Chess School by Matan Prilleltensky (Judging article)
6. On the Mat, Over The Board by Melinda J. Matthews (Judging article)
7. Greg on Chess: Magnus & Openings by IM Greg Shahade (Judging article) 
8. On the Way to Breakthrough by IM Justin Sarkar (Judging article) 
9. Melinda's Swan Song to SuperNationals by Melinda J. Matthews  (Judging article) 
10. Reykjavik Open Ends with a Whimper (or why Greg Shahade is Wrong, Again) by GM Ian Rogers (Judging article)
 
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