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Best of CLO 2009: #5 Print E-mail
By CLO   
January 24, 2010
GM Jesse Kraai, Photo New York 2009 by Elizabeth Vicary
The #5 article in Best of CLO 2009 is The Grandmaster House by GM Jesse Kraai. Judges praised Kraai's insightful humor and his lucid and fluid style.

Jesse dominated Best of CLO in 2007 and 2008 , winning first place honors each year. In 2007, it was for "The East Bay Fight Club" while, "Tulsa Fight Club" was recognized as the #1 article of 2008.

In 2007, Jesse Kraai earned the Grandmaster title and was interviewed and on the cover of the July 2007 Chess Life Magazine. Kraai also represented the US in the 2008 Mind Sport Games in China and through the US Open, qualified for the 2010 US Championship. You can find instructional videos by Jesse on chesslecture.com.

The Judges Sound Off

Read more about the judges here

Not just clever, this essay is illuminating; we get to see the age-old comparison “chess is life” not-so-ironically played out.  The GM house!  What a thought!  The reader is invited into the house:  dishes askew and brimming with muck, the overall fresh clean appearance of “what used to be a crack-home,” only imaginable, personal interactions exchanged in favour of the more heady “communal study.”  We see the epitome of a group whose, in Kraai’s words, “meditations upon self-identity are viewed with the same indifference as the dishes.”

But what happens here is truly great:  each individual in the house is able to witness the talent, the clarity with which each move is identified, the wonderfully described “sigh” of intuition or understanding of a position.  Kraai humbly notes the beginnings of such a sigh developing within himself.  Naturally, with this insight into the GM-perspective, two things can happen:  1) awe, and then, frenzied motivation; and/or, 2) awe, and then a sour realization of your own limitations.

Kraai’s lucid descriptions, psychological insightfulness (his poignant axiom—“And the lack of a taught chess language inhibits the growth of chess wisdom”— I found both shrewd and a fascinating idea), and his utterly compelling prose—the metaphor of the sigh, the comparison between chessplayers getting stuck on a variation and “eight year olds massed around a soccer ball, drifting about the field as if it were a ouija board,”—make this my first, my very immediately chosen first choice.

Such self-reflection, and reflection on the mindset and abilities of GMs was welcome, welcomed, and hopefully welcoming to whoever decides to move to the fantasy chess palace next.  Some one with the superpowers of dishwashing, that is.- Jessica Martin

Jesse Kraai is a great chess writer. He's funny, his message is urgent and he manages to keep the article at a perfect length, which is admirable compared to some of the other nominated articles. His piece hits the nail on the head in many ways. I particularly liked the fact that he's not afraid to show the weaknesses of the project. It's easy to assume an ironic stance in such cases. Kraai prefers sincerity. The result is excellent stuff.- Arne Moll

Best of CLO 2009 Countdown
#5-The Grandmaster House by GM Jesse Kraai
#6-Kamsky on Match: "Life Goes on." by Macauley Peterson
#7-Abby Marshall on her Denker Win by Abby Marshall
#8-How to Score a Summer Upset by Matan Prilleltensky
#9- Adventures of a Samford: Friedel on the 2009 US Champs  by GM Josh Friedel 
#10-Interview with a Hall of Famer: GM John Fedorowicz  by WGM Jennifer Shahade 

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