Best of CLO: Meet the Judges
By Jennifer Shahade   
January 21, 2008
fireworks1.jpgDue to the hectic pace of online journalism, timeless and in-depth articles can be forgotten fast. To counteract this effect, The Best of Chess Life Online 2007 contest revisits the best articles of the past year. Our six judges were free to select their own criteria, whether it be instructive chess content, originality or writing style. We'll reveal the #10 article soon. Which articles do you think should come out on top? Feel free to post a comment with your own opinion.

Meet the Judges

TD and CLO contributor Michael Atkins. Atkins' most recent tournament report on CLO was on the 2007 Eastern Open . Michael also wrote, "Chess Heroism at Virginia Tech," cluing CLO readers into Derek O'Dell's courageous acts in the April 16 Virginia Tech massacre. 

CLO's self-professed, "biggest fan", Michael Cornett hails from Little Rock, Arkansas. He took a rigorous approach to judging, submitting six pages of explanation along with his final choices.
Writer and FM Michael Klein wrote "Searching for Fischer's Legacy " and also created the recent CLO Holiday Trivia Contest . His most recent article for Chess Life Magazine was "Chess on a Plane." He is a 5-time North Carolina High School champion. Michael Klein graduated with a degree in journalism from UNC at Chapel Hill.

Dr. and WIM Alexey Root is a senior lecturer at the University of Texas at Dallas, a former U.S. Women's champion (1989) and a writer. Check her most recent work for USCF publications, "Play Like Ray " for CLO and "UTD Takes Grudge Match with Belgrade" for CLM. She is the author of Children and Chess: A Guide for Educators. You can read an in-depth CLO interview with Dr. Alexey Root here.

U.S. Chess League Vice-president and NM Arun Sharma organized the Fantasy Chess Competition for the 2007 U.S. Championship. He wears many hats in his role as U.S Chess League Vice-president; among his roles is editing the website and judging the Game of the Week contest. He writes numerous articles for the USCL website, including weekly critiques of the USCL Game of the Year picks ! Arun is truly a judge of judges.

GM Yury Shulman was the 2006 U.S. Championship runner-up, and the 2006 U.S. Open Champion. He has too many other chess accomplishments to list here; Check his bio or his official website for more of Yury's victories.  He coached the 2006 U.S. Women's Olympic team to a 4th place finish in Turin, and also coaches children in Chicago. In 2006, Yury founded a nonprofit, the Yury Shulman Chess Without Borders Organization.
Honorable Mentions

The votes for the top ten are already in, but we'll unveil them in reverse order in the next week and a half. Interestingly, there were three articles ranked 11-13th that were way ahead of any other articles, and very close to sneaking into the top ten. Here they are, along with comments by our judges:

Honorable mention #1- Mexico Heats Up by GM Ian Rogers

Direct quotes from eight players about their round two games (Kramnik vs. Morosevich; Aronian vs. Anand; Svidler vs. Leko; and Gelfand vs. Grischuk) made this article a unique insight into the chess thinking of world championship contenders- Alexey Root

This was a very nice synopsis of day two of the World Championship in Mexico.  The four games he gave, with the deep annotations, and the many comments by the players, made this one of my favorite articles of the year.  I remember thinking how well-written it was when it first appeared, and time has done nothing to change my opinion-
Mike Cornett

 I consider the bread-and-butter of CLO to be timely tournament coverage, and the GM gave an outstanding example of how to report on a big event. In the round two report, Rogers is notable for giving thoughtful analysis to all four games, but also for quoting all eight players participating in the tournament. Chess journalism often lacks insightful quotes mixed with game coverage, but Rogers does not overlook them-Michael Klein

Honorable Mention #2- 64 Square Tour by Bart Gibbons

Wonderfully original concept and idea!--Michael Atkins

A “Wow!” article.  This was a fantastic collection of great moves, and was the only one of the 17 articles I completely missed when it first appeared—I blame it on the holidays. I really didn’t know where to put this tremendous effort, but I (didn't rank it that high) because ultimately, it should be made into a book, and thus it wasn’t fair to list it with the CLO articles, which by their nature cannot be a book- Mike Cornett

Honorable Mention #3- The Rising of the Black Star by Daaim Shabazz, webmaster of the chessdrum :

I learned the most about chess history from Shabazz's piece. Nearly all of the article was news to me- Michael Klein

An informative historical look at the history of Blacks in chess and what the future might bring.  It does a very good job of detailing the old heroes and the new potential ones.  It's hard for it to match the sheer chess content of the top  articles though- Arun Sharma

The photographs of the early players helped bring this article to life.  I enjoyed the games presented as well as the tactical position puzzles.  I must confess that I was surprised at how much I actually enjoyed this article as I usually find categorizing games/players by race to be idiotic and beneath our society. As a fan of pure chess history itself, however, I enjoyed reading this article- Mike Cornett

 What will the number 10 article be? Guess away, and feel free to make your comments if you agree or disagree with the judges!