Meet the Judges: Best of CLO 2012
By CLO   
January 17, 2013
Best of CLO judge GM Ben Finegold on a camel in his recent trip to UAE for the World Cities Team Champs
Our annual Best of CLO countdown celebrates the best writing of the previous year that is sometimes lost in the hectic pace of the online tournament news cycle. See the 2011 countdown here and meet the 2012 judges below. Also find out about this year’s honorable mentions.

Michael Aigner is a USCF life master, private coach of talented juniors, ICC administrator, blogger and above all a dedicated disciple of Caissa.  His attendance at tournaments has been limited for the past 2.5 years by a life-changing medical condition though he fulfills his chess quota by playing blitz online.  Contact fpawn online at ICC or visit his chess blog

Tim Brennan
Tim Brennan writes a free, award winning, chess tactics e-mail newsletter. Sign up for free at his blog, He is co-author of the #1 best selling chess Kindle ebook "Tactics Time! 1001 Chess Tactics from the Games of Everyday Chess Players".

Ben Finegold is a popular Grandmaster, coach and commentator based in Saint Louis. See his blog at and follow him at

Dr. Daaim Shabazz is the creator and sole operator of The Chess Drum, an internationally-known chess website. The site was created in 2001 and now tops 12,000 pages. Having served the journalist community since his collegiate days, Daaim has traveled widely for chess and has covered many tournaments including four Olympiads. He currently serves as a tenured faculty member at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, USA.
Dr. Daaim Shabazz

PollyWright.jpgPolly Wright is a tournament player, chess instructor, tournament director and  writer. Polly has also run triathalons and recently completed a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. With that completed, she plans to play and write more at in 2013.

This year's top two honorable mentions, finished just outside of the top ten:

HM #1-Interview with a Bug Wizard by CLO editor Jennifer Shahade

"A rare article on bughouse turned a few heads and earned bonus points for creativity.  No doubt, many youngsters loved it!  What set this story apart was that the "Bug Wizard" actually played serious chess too, and at a high master level.  Fun reading! " - Michael "f-pawn" Aigner

"An aspect of chess that we often hear about but do not take seriously. FM Kazim Gulamali  presents an inside look at bughouse and provides an intricate look inside of this small fraternity of aficionados. We may think that bughouse is about plopping pieces on squares, but Gulamali shows us that there is much more to the variant than we realize."- Daaim Shabazz

HM #2-Forking with Tebow's knights Avoids Mate to Win USATE by Al Lawrence

Article showing how fun team tournaments can be! Indeed! It was written in a readable style as well.-
Daaim Shabazz
Excellent tournament reporting as usual-Polly Wright

A fun-filled report brought the Amateur Team East to life, and maybe encouraged a few readers to participate next month.  The writer touched all bases: the struggle for first, a key annotated game, recognition for all the winners and even a word about the hard-working staff-
Michael "f-pawn" Aigner

Follow our countdown, with one article being unveiled each weekday for the next two weeks. Chime in about your favorites on facebook and twitter.