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Best of CLO 08: #1 Print E-mail
January 16, 2009
GM Jesse Kraai. Photo Jennifer Shahade
The number one article in Best of Chess Life Online 2008 is Tulsa Fight Club by GM Jesse Kraai. Judges praised Kraai's prose style, metaphors and his passionate defense of choosing chess as a career.

This is the second year in the row that Jesse has won top honors in Best of CLO. Last year, he won the #1 placement for East Bay Fight Club. Kraai's feisty fight club series recently inspired fellow Bay Area GM-house resident IM David Pruess to write, "The End of the Fight Club?"

In 2007, Jesse Kraai earned the Grandmaster title and was interviewed and on the cover of the July 2007 Chess Life Magazine. With two Best of CLO's in a year, we hope that Jesse will attempt a "three-peat."

The Judges Sound Off
Read more about the judges here.

"Wonderful article, full of both humorous and pointed insights into the life of someone who has chose chess as a career, something not easily done. Well done."- Mike Atkins

"The feeling I had after reading the article for the first time was something like 'this man is complaining a lot, what's his problem, is he jealous for never having had the guts to quit chess or something?' His personal style has many nice metaphors like 'improve faster than his moustache grew' and that's why I wanted to read it a second time, because I had this gut feeling that it might well be a very good article.  I had difficulty understanding some sentences, like 'I sense their desire to undo my pieces' and 'They can only occasionally send an elder statesman to enquire whether I can take the time off work to play in the US Championship.' 

So after reading it two times more, I think I have to admit that I just cannot accurately assess the quality of this piece. (But I suspect that it might just be the best of all in the end. It's very literary. It's kind of an essay.)"- Peter Doggers

"I liked the attitude that kept leaking out into the page in Jesse Krai's piece. The writing was active and interesting, not stale, like 90% of chess writing these days is. And yet, he didn't lose track of the point for the piece and the love for chess as an end in itself."- Arlen Walker

"Tulsa Fight Club by GM Jesse Kraai  — Kraai writes with both style and substance in this thoroughly insightful and thoughtful article about chess in the culture and marketplace of America."- Mark Taylor
"This was pure pleasure- both traversing Jesse's thoughts and surrendering to one beautiful sentence after another.Jesse may only work a few days per year, but when he does...wow."- Irina Krush

Top Ten Chess Life Online articles of 2008

1. Tulsa Fight Club by Jesse Kraai
2. U.S. Chess School Comes to New Jersey Part I and Part II by Elizabeth Vicary-Read judges thoughts.
3. Interview with an American Medallist: IM Sam Shankland by Jennifer Shahade and Sam Shankland-Read judges thoughts.
4. Searching for Fischer's Legacy by Mike Klein-Read judges' thoughts.
5. A Parent's Perspective Part I and  Part II by Mark Schein  Read judges' thoughts.
6. Playoff Theory by Tom Braunlich - Read judges' thoughts.
7. Akobian on Top in Australia by Ian Rogers - Read judges' thoughts.
8. U.S. Teams Celebrate Bronze Medals by Mike Klein - Read judges' thoughts.
9. Adventures of a Samford: Finally a GM by Josh Friedel - Read judges' thoughts.
10. Evan Rosenberg on Breaking 2200 by Evan Rosenberg- Read judges' thoughts.