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Member since Aug-09-04
Mariano Sana, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina (I am exactly five years GM Alexey Shirov 's senior), living in the US since 1995. Since summer 2009, I am an associate professor of Sociology at Vanderbilt University: Previously, I was at Louisiana State University (2003-2009).

My published academic work can be seen here:

My avatar comes from a cartoon of mine drawn by a friend. My username, besides the pasta, is my cat's name, inspired by this cartoon:

My first tournament was at age 12 in 1979 in Argentina, and in that first stage of my chess life I played until the early 1990s. I finished 8th in the Argentine junior championship in 1985. So, I was good enough, but not great. (That same evaluation is apt today.) Unfortunately, no game scores survived from those years.

I started to play again when I finished grad school in Philadelphia in 2003. I play between zero and five tournaments a year.

I won the Louisiana State Championship in 2007. My playing wasn't that great, but I was mentally well prepared, slept well, and had a touch of luck. I played the Swiss gambit... Lost the first game and then won six in a row. This was my last round win, where I got lucky after playing the opening pretty terribly: J Rousselle vs M Sana, 2007.

More recently, I won the under 2200 section of the US Open in 2014. Again, Swiss gambit. Lost the first one, then won five in a row. Then I lost game 7, but won games 8 and 9. My last round win was featured as a Tuesday puzzle: K Gulamali vs M Sana, 2014. (I think this is my best game since I started to play again in 2003.)

I'd say that I am essentially a good but inconsistent player. For years I've been hovering around 2200. On a good day, well rested and inspired, I can collect an FM or IM scalp (T Bartell vs M Sana, 2009, R Burnett vs M Sana, 2012, M Sana vs C Blocker, 2014, M Sana vs R Burnett, 2015). But on a bad day, I can play horribly and lose against whoever is sitting in front of me, losing tons of rating points at once.

I hold the title of National Master. My FIDE rating is 2132. Whenever I have a really good tournament, it is not FIDE rated!

When I was a teenager I studied briefly with IM Jaime Emma, who was Argentine champion in 1978. Mostly, I studied alone, but I didn't study much. I also attended group classes at my club, taught by FM Mariano Varga (there's no game of his in this database). He was a great coach, actually.

In the summer I am likely to hit the road and play an open tournament or two. In particular, I like the World Open and the US Open. I also like to play the city championship here in Nashville. If you see me at a tournament, feel free to say hi. I am a friendly fellow!

When I post comments on this website, I always disclose if I am checking with my engine. Since I often do not, I may post flawed suggestions.

My participation on this website goes through ebbs and flows. It can be addictive and distract me from work, so I need to regulate that!

On August 9, 2014, I had my 10th year anniversary on Cheers!

IMPORTANT: Please do not post politically partisan or angry comments on my forum. Social commentary is welcomed if presented in an analytical and respectful way. (Although, as a general principle, I think those topics have a better home in other pages of this website.) Thank you.

>> Click here to see Fusilli's game collections. Full Member

   Fusilli has kibitzed 3821 times to chessgames   [more...]
   May-21-17 Kholmov vs Taimanov, 1969 (replies)
Fusilli: <CHC> Yes, but black moves too :) Because that plan would take forever, black has plenty of choices to get comfortable, dynamic piece play. Ng3 can be countered with g6, a natural move. If white then plays for Be2, Nf1, etc. black can play for Bc6, Ne6, and Nd4 is in the air, ...
   May-21-17 Fusilli chessforum
Fusilli: <WB> Oh yeah, he looks familiar. I think I've seen him at other tournaments in the past.
   May-18-17 Vasily Smyslov (replies)
Fusilli: <zanz> Wow, and a pretty difficult aria indeed! Moving bariton voice. Thank you for sharing.
   May-16-17 Sadler vs R Forster, 1997
Fusilli: Weirdness on steroids.
   May-16-17 Korchnoi - Polugaevsky Candidates Semifinal (1980) (replies)
Fusilli: I saw some of the games of this match live. They played inside a glass box on a theater's stage. Nice memories.
   May-16-17 D Olivares vs M Loiterstein, 1994
Fusilli: Crazy game. White threw everything he got at black's king, and almost got him. 49.Re1 was the way to go.
   May-13-17 Ratmir Kholmov
Fusilli: Anyone else out there who beat both Fischer and Kasparov and was not himself a world champion? Ah, yeah, Larsen and Korchnoi. But Kholmov played Fischer only twice, and Kasparov only once.
   May-13-17 Kholmov vs V Rogovski, 2005
Fusilli: <BookValue: 35. Ne6. Nice tactical move. Kholmov's last recorded game in this database and he gets a nice tactical maneuver in.> Indeed! What a classy exit, Kholmov at 80.
   May-12-17 Reshevsky vs Y Gruenfeld, 1987
Fusilli: Oh man. I was playing through the endgame and thinking: "how did Sammy win this?" Premature to resign though. Decided on time?
   May-12-17 V Asadli vs Javokhir Sindarov, 2015 (replies)
Fusilli: <cocker: Black could have omitted 28 ... Bxc1> That's what I thought, and what I decided for: the sequence in the game but without Bxc1. Maybe black thought Bxg5 would be a problem, but it's not. Simply hxg5, and the same mating net goes on.
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <K13> I didn't look at INSPIRE, nor do intend to (I can't follow everything). (BTW, the Demography paper you quoted had no reference to gender.)

From what I have read, the real problem is that most STEM environments tend to treat women in ways that discourage them from pursuing their careers there, even after they have already started them. So, labs tend to give women the most routine and mind-numbing tasks, STEM departments at universities give women faculty heavy service responsibilities, and so on. But I haven't looked at the issue in a long time.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <Fusilli> The paper didn't have to have reference to gender--it showed indication that you had some knowledge in this topic.

Citation needed for your claims.

Here's my citation: "National hiring experiments reveal 2:1 faculty preference for women on STEM tenure track" Significance: <"The underrepresentation of women in academic science is typically attributed, both in scientific literature and in the media, to sexist hiring. Here we report five hiring experiments in which faculty evaluated hypothetical female and male applicants, using systematically varied profiles disguising identical scholarship, for assistant professorships in biology, engineering, economics, and psychology. Contrary to prevailing assumptions, men and women faculty members from all four fields preferred female applicants 2:1 over identically qualified males with matching lifestyles (single, married, divorced), with the exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference. Comparing different lifestyles revealed that women preferred divorced mothers to married fathers and that men preferred mothers who took parental leaves to mothers who did not. Our findings, supported by real-world academic hiring data, suggest advantages for women launching academic science careers."> Abstract: <"National randomized experiments and validation studies were conducted on 873 tenure-track faculty (439 male, 434 female) from biology, engineering, economics, and psychology at 371 universities/colleges from 50 US states and the District of Columbia. In the main experiment, 363 faculty members evaluated narrative summaries describing hypothetical female and male applicants for tenure-track assistant professorships who shared the same lifestyle (e.g., single without children, married with children). Applicants' profiles were systematically varied to disguise identically rated scholarship; profiles were counterbalanced by gender across faculty to enable between-faculty comparisons of hiring preferences for identically qualified women versus men. Results revealed a 2:1 preference for women by faculty of both genders across both math-intensive and non–math-intensive fields, with the single exception of male economists, who showed no gender preference. Results were replicated using weighted analyses to control for national sample characteristics. In follow-up experiments, 144 faculty evaluated competing applicants with differing lifestyles (e.g., divorced mother vs. married father), and 204 faculty compared same-gender candidates with children, but differing in whether they took 1-y-parental leaves in graduate school. Women preferred divorced mothers to married fathers; men preferred mothers who took leaves to mothers who did not. In two validation studies, 35 engineering faculty provided rankings using full curricula vitae instead of narratives, and 127 faculty rated one applicant rather than choosing from a mixed-gender group; the same preference for women was shown by faculty of both genders. These results suggest it is a propitious time for women launching careers in academic science. Messages to the contrary may discourage women from applying for STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) tenure-track assistant professorships.">

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <K13> My recollection is that the main concern was with attrition, and that's why in my previous post I wrote "even after they have already started [careers in STEM]" and referred to the kind of work they do once hired. As for hiring, every department out there wants diversity, including gender diversity, so hiring women is a priority for everyone everywhere. It makes them look good.

That said, I don't really come to this website to engage in time consuming discussions that would force me to do research. If I wanted to do that, I'd regularly post and argue on the Kenneth Rogoff page. I come to this website to relax and look at chess. Occasionally, I exchange opinions and some knowledge, but without having to do extra work. For research, I have my job. I don't want to come here and find that I have to do more work.

So, since you are interested in these topics, why don't you look for research on attrition (including students changing majors after testing the waters) and on female satisfaction in STEM jobs and tell me what you find? Maybe what I remember has been refuted, or maybe it's still a concern. But this is not a topic that I am interested in now (I realize you assumed I was given my publication record), so I'm not going to do the work.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Just played on ICC (5-min game). I was black. Black to move:

click for larger view

I believe one pawn move wins, another one draws, and the other one loses. Which one is which? Any takers?

I played the one that draws, and my opponent... resigned!

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: I think, ...a3 wins, ...b3 draws, ...c3 loses
Premium Chessgames Member

click for larger view

<wannabe> Sorry, I think I got it wrong and none wins. I think both a3 and b3 lose, and c3 draws.

1...b3 2.axb3! c3 3.Kd3! cxb2 4.Kc2 a3 5.b4 and the black king can't stop both the b and f pawns.

click for larger view

1...a3 2.bxa3! bxa3 (b3 3.axb3 cxb3 4.Kd3 white wins) 3.f6 Ke6:

click for larger view

4.g5 and white wins. (4.Kd4 enters an unnecessary race but I think White wins that one too. I count 10 tempi each to promotion but white promotes first @a8, thwarting black's promotion @h1.)

1...c3 --this is what I played, and he resigned (??) 2.b3! The white king will get stuck to stop the c-pawn and the black king will get stuck to stop the f-g pawns. Draw.

I haven't checked with a computer, but I hope I didn't overlook anything.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <Fusilli> Your claims, the burden of proof is on you. You don't want to provide any, that's fine. I don't have to believe them, either.

The research paper from Cornell found that women are 2:1 more likely to get hired than men. You're telling me that women get the short end of the stick after getting hired, presumably just because they're women. So let me get this straight: they hire women over men only to screw them over after hiring them? Is this a game or something? Oh, and at least they get the jobs, unlike the men who got rejected based on their gender so that they can hire women (couldn't even get their foot in the door).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <K13> <So let me get this straight: they hire women over men only to screw them over after hiring them?>

You asked as if that were some kind of illogical situation. It's called sexism. Hiring them makes departments and labs look good. Then sexism kicks in. I am not saying this happens everywhere, but it happens. And I am not saying this is a conscious plan. There is no dark back room of male scientists plotting the exploitation of female scientist-to-be.

On a different environment, but related topic, when I was an assistant professor at LSU, my senior colleagues routinely declared "we don't burden assistant professors with service work, so that they can focus on research and getting tenure." Yet, when service committees were announced by the chair, year after year, assistant professors got more and heavier committee assignments than senior faculty (and, btw, the women more than the men). But I am sure my senior colleagues really believed the opposite to be true.

You may find this one interesting:

This said, I am sure things have been changing for the better.

This discussion ends here, and as a matter of fact, your posting on my forum ends here. For the first time in my almost 13 years on this website, I am going to block someone from posting on my forum. (And I yet have to put anyone on ignore.) You keep using my forum to display your ideas, and keep making me invest time in what I am not interested in discussing. I come to this website to look at CHESS. It is not what you think, but your persistent attitude. I recommend that you invest the 20 bucks or however much it is to become a premium member and open your own forum and post there at will.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <K13> Apparently I can't block you from posting here. My only choice seems to be to ignore you altogether, but I don't want to do that. I don't mind reading your posts elsewhere (especially about chess), I just don't want them here. Please abstain from posting here or I'll delete what you post.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: Sexism, but only against women because reasons and never against men nor is that ever a problem. Women are always innocent victims and men are always getting the better deal at the expense of women. (Now you know where my "attitude" comes from because this is the impression I am getting from you.)

On a another note: understood. Your forum, your rules. Will respect. Until I change my mind in five years.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <K13> That's not the attitude I meant. I meant being pushy. I just don't want to debate these things, let alone here. Again, I suggest you set up your forum.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <Fusilli> I'll send you two dozen live freshwater clams (Corbicual sp.) as an apology. :-D Gimme your P.O Box.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <K13> Apology accepted. No clams needed. Really, start your own forum! You want to have a voice. Give yourself the proper outlet. :)
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <Fusilli> You can buy the freshwater clams (Corbicula sp.) on sale for $2.79 each right now at Live Aquaria (, if you're still interested. LOL
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: Hi <Fusilli>.

In regards to your Openings by year question in chessgames forum...

Do you run SCID at all?

If you don't, or if you don't use the Opening Tree feature, I could give you a quick run-down on how to do exactly what you requested.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <zanz> I guess I don't use SCID, because I don't even know what that is.

Go ahead, I'm all ears.

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: SCID is a very wonderful, and full-featured, chess database interface. It's similar to ChessBase, but better, imo.

There's a little bit of a learning curve, but it's mostly intuitive, and therefore, fairly obvious in usage.

(This doesn't apply to all the advanced features - but everything is well worth learning to use)

It's free (aka open-source) software - so the first step is to download a copy (I suggest v4.4):

Find your version - let's assume you run windows, then this is the right version: (32-bit) (64-bit)

The 32-bit is safest, as it works pretty much everywhere.

The next thing you need is a good, complete database - for that, I recommend <MillBase> - another free download:

And the direct link: (144Mb compress/240 Mb compressed)

It's compressed with 7zip, so you might need that software to unpack it:

<MillBase> is up to date with TWIC as of 2017-07. It's historically very complete as well - not perfect, but very good.

Now, you want to create an opening tree from the games.

The quick starting point is to use all the games in <MillBase>.

Select that database in SCID.

Then run the Tree Window button (it's a button on the SCID toolbar that looks, funnily enough, like a tree - often next to the ECO button)).

That will build an opening tree window from the games in the database. Just close the tree window when done.

(To close - right click on the tab, and select close)

If you run opening explorer it should be familiar enough to just hit the ground running.

OK, next step - select a range of games over a certain period.

Use the <Header Search> feature - another button on the toolbar, this time one that looks like a pair of binoculars.

That allows you to select games from a given interval in time. You can permanently make another database, or you can just copy them to the clipboard database in SCID (for temporary use).

After you set up a "filter" via the Header Search, you can go to the Database Switcher winder, and click-drag the games from the database (e.g. <MillBase>) into the Clipboard db.

Then select the Clipboard and rerun the Tree Window button on just those games. It will give you what you wanted.

Don't be put off by this long post. I probably didn't explain it as well as possible. I think, with a little determination, you should quickly figure it out, and realize that it's fairly easy and straight-forward.

And very versatile (you can apply the same procedure with different Header Search criteria - e.g. for a given player, for players of certain ratings, etc. etc.).

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <zanz>. This is wonderful! Thank you so much. I'll let you know how it goes.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Fusilli> great - hope you find those tools as useful as I do.

I'll check your forum over the next couple of days - in case you have a question or two.

Bon chance!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <zanz> Oh, it looks like it's going to take me a lot longer to get to it. I'm swamped right now. I'll drop a note on your forum when I do.
Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: <Fusilli> just drop one in the Bistro - my forum isn't generally open.

(Yeah, I'm funny like that.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <zanz> Going to take a while. My dear Sony Vaio died after a water-spilling accident on the keyboard. First, half of the keyboard died, then the whole keyboard. I switched to an external keyboard, but then it stopped turning on altogether. The IT guy pronounced it dead. All in five days. I absolutely loved my Sony Vaio. (I lost nothing, btw. I keep everything on the dropbox or backed up.)

So, now I am waiting for a new computer, using in the meantime my backup computer, a 7-year old Latitude with bare bones features and software.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: I'm going to play the National Open in Vegas in June. Of 19 advanced entries so far in the open section, I am the lowest rated!

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: If you see this guy Philip Irwin tell him we all miss him!!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <WB> Oh yeah, he looks familiar. I think I've seen him at other tournaments in the past.
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