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Best of CLO 2009: Meet the Judges and Honorable Mentions Print E-mail
January 14, 2010
The hectic pace of online journalism means it's easy to miss CLO's most in-depth pieces. So every January, we roll out the top 10 articles of the previous year, one day a time. Read more about the Best of CLO 2007 and Best of CLO 2008 contests here. Will GM Jesse Kraai win three years in a row? You'll find out soon. For now, let's meet this year's five illustrious judges and announce this year's honorable mentions.

Meet the Judges

Robert N. Bernard is the manager of the New Jersey Knockouts of the United States Chess League, where he started three years ago as the Knockouts' blogger.  For the USCL, he also compiles an unofficial rating list and weekly power rankings. Frequently, he can be found on the Internet Chess Club, where he has some weird tendency to win a lot of their trivia contests.  He is also a member of the USCF's Ratings Committee and coaches his child's chess team.  He has a very nice plaque from the 1982 US Amateur Team Championship, where he captained the team that won the Under 1400 prize.

Grandmaster Ben Finegold is the new GM-residence at the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis, where he recently started a Thursday night lecture series and unveiled a new blog, "Ben's Blog: Musings of a Grandmaster."   A cover story on Ben in the upcoming February 2010 Chess Life, "The 40-year-old Grandmaster", tells the story of how after twenty years of being a strong IM on the verge of GM, Finegold made the critical leap.

Rachel and Myron Lieberman have been involved with chess organization and promotion for a combined total of 97 years. They helped prepare the USCF Executive Board and Delegates' Meeting minutes and other documentation through the 2000s. Both have served as judges for the Chess Journalists of America.
Myron is a chess organizer, NTD and International Arbiter.   His primary chess interest currently is to help others get involved with chess, chess instruction, chess clubs, and chess events and to promote chess as much as he can. He is the Chair of the USCF's Outreach Committee. He is currently an officer of the US Chess Trust and a USCF Delegate at Large. Rachel served on the USCF executive Board as USCF Secretary from 1993 through 1999 and is a very active advocate of chess for prevention. For example, she presented a paper titled, “Chess – A Positive Alternative and a Powerful Tool for Prevention” to an annual meeting of the National Organization for Parenting, Pregnancy, and Prevention (NOAPP).  

Jessica200.jpgJessica Martin
has been a chess teacher for over 11 years in Tucson, Arizona, New York City, and Charlotte.  Jessica utilizes chess as a tool to promote education and respect.   For the past four years, in addition to her daily chess clubs and k-3 chess/math classes, Jessica has been working specifically with girls and women to encourage them to feel both self-confident and competitive. Jessica developed and organized Girls Academy at The International School and with 9Queens in Tucson, and she continues in Charlotte with her own business: Over The Chessboard. She is also the editor of the Plume Zine and a writer herself.  Jessica Martin is currently ranked 82nd woman in the United States.

ArneMoll.jpgArne Moll (36, living in Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is a Slavonic linguist turned computer-programmer and a co-editor for ChessVibes (www.chessvibes.com), one of the leading online resources of daily chess news. Arne mainly writes book reviews (drawing from his experience as a seller of new and used chess books) and columns (linking chess to wide-ranging subjects such as the fabric of the universe, Darwin's theory of sexual selection and the latest novel by Vladimir Nabokov). Arne has some experience as a tournament player in the United States, albeit with very mixed success, winning one of the USCF Grand Prix rapid tournaments together with GM Gregory Serper and finishing clear last in one of the Marshall Chess Club tourneys.

Many articles narrowly missed ranking in the top ten this year. We share them with some brief comments from our judges: 

Best of CLO Honorable Mentions:

GM Rogers on London: Nakamura's Greatest Test, by GM Ian Rogers
This article has a ton of content, excellent games, and notes- GM Ben Finegold

I confess, I have a weakness for Monty Python and especially Fawlty Towers, so I was giggling and smirking throughout the whole article. The chess content, too, was satisfying without being overwhelming- Rob Bernard

The background information given on each player was a treat.  And awesome to get Naka and Carlsen’s commentary on the game!- Jessica Martin

Pascal on His Big Win in Bermuda by GM Pascal Charbonneau
Pascal writes a wonderful piece about a tournament that usually gets too little coverage- GM Ben Finegold
A clever and cheeky travelouge of Pascal's tournament.- Rob Bernard

Fantastically funny!  (I have got to hear the melody to “keep left, keep left, keep left.”)- Jessica Martin
Editor's Note: This year, Pascal will again contribute an article from the 2010 Bermuda Open, February 5-7.

Onischuk on Scorching Moscow by GM Alexander Onischuk 

I rarely read articles by Super GMs, but I was pleasantly surprised at reading about Alexander's great triumph, and nice pics too!- GM Ben Finegold

Nice clear annotations on his games, although the article was a bit on the short side.- Rob Bernard

Lucid, serious and lengthy analysis of crucial games by a super grandmaster.  Hard to find anything not worthwhile here, but nothing very original either. – Arne Moll

GM Joel: Sleepless in Saint Louis
by GM Joel Benjamin

Joel gives an excellent report, as usual, with nice pics, great game analysis, and, as usual, gives one the feeling that they are actually at the event.- GM Ben Finegold

While I really am a fan of Joel's dry wit, I wish he had given a little more about his between-round experiences.  Nevertheless, he always gives insightful and instructive commentary that any level player can understand.- Rob Bernard

Shankland Searches Europe for Third Norm by IM Sam Shankland 

An enjoyable read with some good games- Rob Bernard

Describes (a) player's search for a norm (with an) interesting and good personal touch- Myron and Rachel Lieberman

A Parent's Perspective, This Time Supersized by Mark Schein, (Part II)

Top scores on the humour scale.  Perspective is what we all look for in essays, whether the winner’s, the GM’s, or the parent’s.  I didn’t know y’all weren’t eating during Nationals unless it was your kids’ sandwich crusts.  Sheesh!  This essay had huge appeal for players and non-players alike.- Jessica Martin

Tandem Analysis: Robson and Lenderman
by Alex Lenderman and Ray Robson 

This was a great idea—useful, insightful, and still readable.  A unique idea that I hope is repeated.- Jessica Martin

This is an interesting format. It has the feel of witnessing a post mortem of a game except instead of hovering over a board as the players move pieces it is written. We'd like to see more of this format. (But) there was so much good competition- Myron and Rachel Lieberman

See the best of CLO 2007 and Best of CLO 2008 contests here.
Look for Best of CLO 2009 #10 soon, after which one article will be unveiled each day.

January - Chess Life Online 2010

Carlsen Takes Corus; Nakamura Ties for 4th Americans in Gibraltar at the HalfCarlsen Takes Lead in CorusCarlsen and Kramnik Lead in CorusBest of CLO 2009: #1The Hare and the Tortoise: GM Rogers on Corus Chess in Paradise: Not too Late!The US Chess School in Atlanta: A Student's Perspective USCF News: Calling All State and College Chess Champions Best of CLO 2009: #2Kramnik Grabs Lead in CorusBest of CLO 2009: #3World Team Lecture Series in Saint Louis Nakamura Falls to Karjakin; Kramnik Defeats Carlsen Kosteniuk Simul Set for Elementary Nationals; Book Your Rooms Now! Americans Arrive in GibraltarBest of CLO 2009: #4 Lenderman Dances To the Top at Golden State Best of CLO 2009: #5Nakamura Falters to Kramnik in CorusBest of CLO 2009: #6US Championship, Olympiad Qualification and 2011 World Team Championship RulesNakamura Beats Shirov in Corus! The Scoop on Liberty Bell, Part IIBest of CLO 2009: #7Nakamura Draws in Corus "A", Robson Tearing up "C" Best of CLO 2009: #8Nakamura- Carlsen Battle Drawn; Shirov Still BlazingThe Scoop on Liberty Bell: Part I Best of CLO 2009: #9 Chess-in-the-Schools' MLK Tournament Draws Hundreds of Players Best of CLO 2009: #10 Results in for Golden State: Lenderman Wins Shirov Still Perfect in Corus; Nakamura Holds Anand Svidler on Nakamura: An ICC Treat Shabalov Grabs Clear First at Liberty Bell The Chessdrum on Helping Haiti Nakamura, Shirov and Carlsen Win Again in CorusJennifer's US Chess League Game of the Year Countdown Khachiyan Leads in Concord Chess Exhibition Raises Funds for Haitian Earthquake VictimsNakamura Defeats Van Wely in Corus Van Wely and Shirov Off to Running Start in Corus; Nakamura Draws Golden State Open Begins Hilton on Not Playing the Pan-AmsCorus Schedule Set Best of CLO 2009: Meet the Judges and Honorable Mentions Big Chess Weekend Ahead Silver for the Team and Two Individual Golds: World Team Closing GalleryUSA Takes Silver at World Team!!Instant Replay: USA Loses Lead But Hunts for Medals Robson and Rich on the World Team: US in Clear LeadInstant Replay: US Wins in Round 7 and Leads World Team Barracuda Alert: Adamson on the Board and Fish on the Plate!Ray Robson Officially a GM! Nakamura Annotates Gelfand ScorcherInstant Replay: USA-3, Brazil-1 24th North American Masters BeginsInstant Replay: USA-2.5, Israel-1.5Instant Replay: USA-3, Egypt-1Shankland and Sevian Shine in Santa Clara Paths to the Top: GM Josh on Edmonton and Vegas Instant Replay: Russia-3, USA-1Robson Annotates US Victory Over IndiaKamsky Wins Clutch Game in ItalyInstant Replay: US-3 India-1 at the World TeamsStrong start for U.S. at World Team Championship Lost and Found: An Interview with Jeff Sarwer USA Beats Turkey 3-1 In World Team U.S. Team Arrives, Prepares for World Team ChampionshipSturt,Lapshun and Yudasin Win New Year OpenLenderman Wins the Eastern Open First GM Scalp for Ostrovskiy Kamsky in Italy: Inspiration for the New Decade! World Team Silhouettes Pan Am Photo Gallery: Fun & Games in South Padre IslandThe January '10 Check is in the Mail