Best of CLO 2010: Meet the Judges and Runners-up
January 18, 2011
The young NM Daniel Gurevich tied with Arun Sharma for Best of CLO first runner-up. The top ten will be announced one day at a time.
The Best of CLO 2010 competition is a look back at some timeless articles from last year, that you may have missed during the rapid pace of online news. For an idea of how it works, see last year's contest results. In 2010, we'll unveil the top ten one weekday at a time, starting tomorrow, January 19th. Without further ado, meet this year's judges!

Michael Aigner
Michael Aigner is a USCF life master and coach. He played in the 2007 US Championship and has won several U2300/2400 prizes. He enjoys sharing tricks of the royal game to many of Northern California's top juniors and aspires to take lessons from his former students after they earn the IM/GM title. Famous students include this year's World Under 18 champion Steven Zierk. Aigner's online handle "fpawn," refers to his bizarre devotion to the Bird's opening, Dutch defense and other systems that require an early f4 or f5. Check out Michael's popular blog at You can also follow Michael on twitter at

Michael Cornett
Michael Cornett is a vocal chess fan, and has been an attorney in Arkansas for 21 years now practicing mainly in the areas of estate planning and probate. Cornett taught himself how to play chess in 1972 and attended chess camp at Michigan State one year with GM Ben Finegold. Cornett has been vice president of the Arkansas Chess Association, and president, vice president, and is the current secretary of the Little Rock Chess Club.

Howard Goldowsky
Howard Goldowsky is the editor of Masters of Technique: The Mongoose Anthology of Chess Fiction and the author of Engaging Pieces: Interviews and Prose. He's at work on a chess memoir.  Login to read a Chess Life Magazine review of Masters of Technique by CLO editor Jennifer Shahade.  
Dean Ippolito, Photo Betsy Dynako
International Master Dean Ippolito is the founder of the Dean of Chess, a Premier Chess Instruction Company for Children and Adults. The organization now has two locations, in Branchburg and Flemington. He is also aiming to break the Guiness record for the most chess games played simultaneously. Read the full press release on the event, to be held on April 9, 2011 in Flemington, New Jersey.

Arne Moll (37) from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, is an editor for the popular website He is currently trying to combine a busy family life and a job in the banking industry with being a columnist and a reviewer for ChessVibes. He also covered the FIDE presidential elections last year, writing several critical pieces about it.

Arne Moll
Besides book reviews and columns, for which Arne draws inspiration from science, art and popular culture, ChessVibes offers a mix of the lastest chess news, including videos and interviews, tournament reports, cartoons and a popular e-mail subscription magazine called ChessVibes Openings. Although, like most players of his age, he is now semi-retired, Arne still loves the game and tries to keep in shape at his local chess club, playing in the same league team as ChessVibes' editor-in-chief, Peter Doggers.

Damian Nash is a very fortunate man, and not just because he won the 2010 State Chess Championship tournament without playing either of Utah's masters. Read his full account on CLO. He lives in the most spectacular town in Utah (Moab), works in the most spectacular town in Colorado (Gateway) doing a job he loves (teaching) while accompanied by the most beautiful woman he knows (his wife, Dorina, a stained-glass artist from Germany).   As a teacher of secondary science, math and psychology, he has worked extensively with gifted and talented students, often teaching special classes.   He has coached chess teams to state titles in both Utah and Colorado, an Academic Decathlon team to win the Colorado tournament, and a Space Settlement Design team to win the NASA world championships, twice.   

Damian Nash

Women's International Master Iryna Zenyuk is ranked among ten best women players in the nation. She represented the US at the 2008 Mind Sport Games in China. Zenyuk has been a weekly columnist for for two years—see her full catalog of articles under her screen name, energia. She writes for amateur chess players trying to get better. Currently, Iryna is enrolled in PhD program at Carnegie Mellon University researching fuel cells. Watch a US Chess Scoop video from the World Open 2010 featuring Iryna and look for a new one later this week from the 2011 Liberty Bell Open.
Iryna Zenyuk

Best of CLO 2010 Runner-ups

The clear runners-up in this year's Best of CLO competition were just one point out of the top ten.
Arun Sharma
The Grandmaster Apartment by Arun Sharma
Arun Sharma is the vice-comissioner of the US Chess League and the organizer of the Berkeley International. His popular piece chronicled living in the "Grandmaster Apartment" and a successful comeback to chess.

Sharma's prose flows well. Definitely there was a lot of attention paid to this piece. The piece's major strength is its honesty and introspection- Howard Goldowsky

Arun's honest attempt to tell his chess story and justify his return to chess is entertaining, moving and inspiring. The chess examples he gives are not convoluted with the variations but rather explained in a clear and concise way. Through the words Arun shares his joy of playing, satisfaction of winning and disappointment of loss. Round by round the story absorbs the reader completely and one prays for the successful end. I wonder if this article will be one of the series of Arun telling us of his future successes (recent Las Vegas tournament?) and of making his apartment a 100% GM apartment. Fascinating read! -- Iryna Zenyuk

I have never read Arun Sharma’s writing before, but I enjoyed the diagrams, the humor with Josh Friedel and Jesse Kraai, and the background story- Mike Cornett

Daniel Gurevich on Breaking 2200 by Daniel Gurevich (pictured above)

In addition to his in-depth piece on becoming a USCF master, Daniel wrote an article earlier in the year about the Atlanta edition of the US Chess School. It will be exciting to see more from Daniel as both a player and a writer.

Such fantastic writing by such a young man--Howard Goldowsky 

This is the only article in contention written by a chess player of a very young age but of adult maturity. We see a personal account of what chess means to a talented and aspiring junior. He could have dedicated this article to his most brilliant games and to his hard work and determination but  he chose to tell us about friendships and relationships built through chess . A fresh breath of air, a rarity, a jewel in chess writing--Iryna Zenyuk

Sympathetic piece with some colorful and interesting observations-Arne Moll

Additional honorable mentions:

The Hare and the Tortoise by GM Ian Rogers
A solid journalistic account- Howard Goldowsky 

Nakamura Solid and Almost Stellar in Moscow by Macauley Peterson
Bringing back memories of Karpov's blunder in Seville 1987. Chess footage just doesn't get any better than this! --Arne Moll

Peterson's master journalism always impresses me with its attention to detail, great quotes, and lively writing- Howard Goldowsky

Learning From Your Losses by Matan Prilleltensky

This article is an excellent display of self-reflection-Howard Goldowsky 

Very good analysis and psychological observations with the author not sparing himself - always a good sign-Arne Moll

A Chess Dad's Philadelphia Story by Robert Bernard
 I really found this to be a very well-written, touching article.  The chess was not great, but it was not meant to be, and I thoroughly enjoyed re-reading this article after all of these months- Michael Cornett

A nice, short story of a family combining fun and chess during the tournament. Bernard impresses with the ease he describes his worries and feelings as his son plays side by side with him. There is fear for son's emotional state after the loss, worry for the son's safety after the round, pride for his successes  at the same time there is worry about the author's own game--Iryna Zenyuk

A Volunteer's Perspective on Columbus: A Blue Apron & Female Fire by Melinda Matthews

A piece about the weekend of chess for a chess mom who is the volunteer at the scholastic event and her son tells us a story of everyday tournament life with its joys and downturns as well as questions of having separate tournaments for boys and girls. There are some important questions asked and I wonder if there would be a follow-up. Catchy title and overall an extremely well written article- Iryna Zenyuk

Even though this has no actual chess in it, I very much enjoyed the perspective of the scholastic chess scene from a parent-turned volunteer, and her observations of the all girl’s championship-Mike Cornett

Curtis Winter's Junior Grand Prix Odyssey by Andrea Rosen
Nice read with good and objective analyses.- Arne Moll

 A good, solid journalistic effort. No weaknesses-Howard Goldowsky

Stay tuned for Best of CLO's #10 article tomorrow, January 19th.