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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 3975 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Dec-14-17 Mamedyarov vs Le Quang Liem, 2017 (replies)
Fusilli: <Check it Out> I think <JohnDMaster> was being sarcastic. Pretty exciting game.
   Dec-11-17 Orest Averkin
Fusilli: He was one of Polugaevsky's seconds in his 1980 candidates semifinal match with Korchnoi in Buenos Aires, the other one being Sveshnikov. The two of them visited my club and played some blitz games. It was exciting to have them.
   Dec-08-17 AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2017 (replies)
Fusilli: <AlphaZero> plays like a brutal machine! Oh, wait... it is! Really, Kxd2!, Ke3!, f5! What a bulldozer!
   Dec-07-17 J Rousselle vs M Sana, 2007
Fusilli: <morf> Thanks! I got lucky though. I fumbled the opening and lost a pawn with no compensation. He got overconfident.
   Dec-06-17 G Borisenko vs Kotov, 1955
Fusilli: Beautiful game. Kotov thoroughly outclassed his opponent here. Suerior strategic thinking and an inspirational way to play the Nimzo.
   Dec-05-17 G Chandler vs B Tauren, 1989 (replies)
Fusilli: <BOSTER: < Fusilli:Nice,flashy game by Sally>.. After 17...Rc8 and black is better.> Bloody blah blah. Do you get off on, nearly every day, posting petty comments on these puzzles, or "creative variations" of the puzzle just to promote your insecure self? (As you did ...
   Dec-05-17 G Ilivitsky vs Keres, 1955
Fusilli: <Eggman: ... Gosh, when you see the position after 28...Rxd5 (see below) it's impossible to imagine a World-Championship calibre player like Keres losing it!> Indeed, but it is instructive. The blunder move, 37...f5, should be instinctively suspicious to the seasoned player, ...
   Nov-30-17 Geller vs V Mikenas, 1955
Fusilli: I don't like 17...Qb4. This short term harassment seems to only help white improve his pieces while black loses tempi. After 21.Qc7 black should probably exchange queens and brace himself for patient and unpleasant defense. Leaving the white queen on c7 means quick collapse.
   Nov-27-17 Korchnoi vs Smyslov, 1955
Fusilli: I was thinking along the lines that Korchnoi was always grumpy and ill-humored, which is kind of "old at heart"... Smyslov was mild-mannered and pleasant. So it's not as hard to imagine Smyslov young as it is to imagine Korchnoi, or at least that's my theory.
   Nov-27-17 Fusilli chessforum
Fusilli: R.I.P., Dmitri Hvorostovsky. I saw him as Simon Boccanegra at the Houston Opera about 10 years ago. What a treat that was.
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  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!

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  WannaBe: If you see this guy Philip Irwin tell him we all miss him!!
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  Fusilli: <WB> Oh yeah, he looks familiar. I think I've seen him at other tournaments in the past.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: It gets tiring to read posters brag about their puzzle solving abilities. When you look at their user pages, they have no bio to let us know what their amazing competitive rating is. Why? Because they can't show what they don't have. So, they compensate by pretending that the puzzle of the day is always easy for them to solve.
Premium Chessgames Member
  heuristic: increasing level of abstraction:

1) pride vs brag
hard to classify an overt statement of accomplishment. classification is usually specific to each recipient

2) non-verbal cues
written text is devoid of them. hard for readers to discern intent and meaning.

3) static limits
for problems with defined bounds (academic tests, sports), it's straightforward to assess accomplishment. for "life", there are no accepted canons for determining performance.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <heuristic> Interesting arguments. Let's see:

<1) pride vs brag>

I mostly had in mind posts that announce that the puzzle was "easy" when in my opinion it was not. Since I am a active 2200 player (USCF master), I logically assume that a user who finds easy something I do not must be way above 2200. I find it odd that anyone that strong and prone to bragging would not write anything about their strength on their user profile, because if they brag about solving a puzzle, why not to brag about their rating too? Announcing that a not-so-easy puzzle was easy makes a claim for high placement in the status hierarchy of chess players. But the world of chess has a well-polished system to define that hierarchy: the rating system (nice treatment of it in Gary A. Fine's "Players and Pawns" and in Puddephatt, A. 2008. “Incorporating Ritual into Greedy Institution Theory: The Case of Devotion in Organized Chess,” The Sociological Quarterly, 49(1): 155-180.)

I would also say that calling the puzzle "easy" is clearly bragging rather than pride. Pride would not lead someone to deride the puzzle, since that detracts from the merit of solving it. A proud statement would be more like: "I was able to solve this difficult puzzle!"

<2) non-verbal cues
written text is devoid of them. hard for readers to discern intent and meaning.>
In the absence of the resources provided by face-to-face communication, it is on the writer to make sure his/her meaning is properly conveyed. I can only infer that he wants to announce to the world that 1) he solved the puzzle, 2) it was easy (when it was not so to me). Then what I wrote above (which addresses intent) seems appropriate, or at least seems to fit. I am open to hear alternative analyses where the components of the story also fit. (And I am not even considering that it is not true that he solved the puzzle.)

<3) static limits> I agree with this, but why did you bring it up?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <heuristic>

On a different note, I looked at your user page and noticed that sometimes you post puzzle suggestions on game pages.

Daniel Freeman (also known as <CG>!) advised me that if I want to suggest a puzzle, I can email him, but he told me not to post on the game page so as not to attract attention to it. Over time, I suggested (via email) a number of puzzles that did become puzzles of the day. I still do that now and then.

(Also, if you just post on the game page, he may not notice it.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Off to Vegas to the National Open!
Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Good luck, and play $2 on #00 for me on the R'let wheel. =))
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Thanks <WB>!
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Just finished the National Open in Las Vegas. I played the open section and was among the lowest rated. All my games were against players rated higher than me. Results:

Round 1: Mariano Sana (2205) v FM Ian Findlay (2406): 0-1

Round 2: Sungho Yim (2373) v Mariano Sana (2205): 1/2-1/2

Round 3: Mariano Sana (2205) v WIM Ashritha Eswaran (2238): 1/2-1/2

Round 4: Gabriel Sam (2313) v Mariano Sana (2205): 0-1

Round 5: Mariano Sana (2205) v FM Sam Shmakel (2450): 0-1

Round 6: Andy Lin (2314) v Mariano Sana (2205): 1-0

So, 2 in 6 vs a lot averaging 2349 is a 2224 performance. I'm going up 3 humble points. So, pretty much as expected. But I'm thinking this: My opponents' ages were 57, 18, 17, 15, 21, and 23. I'll be 50 in a few weeks. No wonder I tire faster than them! I can honestly say that my round 6 loss was the result of exhaustion. Next time I'll take a bye or two. Two games each day for three days in a row is brutal.

Jun-19-17  Boomie: <Fusilli>

Nice win with black in round 4. Will you be uploading your games?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Boomie: Nice win with black in round 4. Will you be uploading your games?>

Thank you! Yes, I plan to submit all six. A few of them are pretty interesting.

I posted a miraculous endgame on my player's page if you are curious. :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: <Fusilli> Nicely done. USCF and their 2 games per day are just brutal, and I am not even talking about playing a shortened schedule.

Hopefully you had a chance to see Vegas, besides just playing chess. =)

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Looking over at the results for the Open Section.

1. Dr. A. Saidy was there! Wow, he's still competing. Good for him. =)

2. N. De Firmian ($1417) and A. Lenderman ($225) won some prize money, but doubtful it was enough to cover for the trip + room + food. Tough to making a living only playing chess. =))

3. IM D. Gordievsky came in tied for 2nd-7th with 4.5/6 but to get a norm, you must play in a 9-round tournament(?!).

Premium Chessgames Member
  WannaBe: Our very own <WhiskeyRebel> was there! He played in the U2100 Section.

Good to know he is still kickin'. =))

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <WB> Yes, Dr. Saidy played next to me in round 4, when I won. He brought me luck! He looks pretty good at 80. He took two or three byes, wise man.

I didn't get to see much of Vegas at all. The tournament schedule hardly allowed it, but I've been to Vegas before and, honestly, I don't like it. (Plus I don't gamble, so that is lost on me.)

The hotel/resort/casino where the tournament was played (Westgate) is terrible. They have five or six restaurants, but only 2 open for lunch, and one of them only until 2pm. Getting lunch on Sunday, on a tight schedule, was an ordeal. There was a 45 minute wait for the one restaurant! I had to take taxis to go to another hotel just to get a lousy sandwich and rush back to play.

And don't get me started with how overpriced everything is! :) $4 for a Starbucks small coffee??

If I play there again, I'll rent a car. I wasted money on taxis and paying too much for bad food at the hotel. I'll spend a bit more but have much more independence.

Aug-09-17  parisattack: Happy Baker’s Dozen <Fusilli>. I hope all is well with you and yours.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <parisattack: Happy Baker’s Dozen <Fusilli>. I hope all is well with you and yours.>

Likewise, my friend! You've been MIA. Nice to see you back!

The US Chess Federation gave me a little CG-birthday gift. They just wrote me to let me know I made it to a top-100 list: blitz rating for age 50+. At 2080, I am 91st. :) That only means, of course, that most folks 50 and over don't play blitz!

Aug-09-17  parisattack: Congratulations <Fusilli> - That's a real feather in your cap. I was never good at Blitz...of course, I was never very good at Classical, either. :) Take care.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <parisattack> Thank you. I hope you come back. I always enjoy your posts.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Knight13: <Fusilli> I know of only two reasons--if what you said about women being relegated to "less" important tasks in STEM is true--that they would do such a thing to female postdocs and assistant scientists. It's because they are afraid that those women might quit to have kids, or may do so in the future and therefore they don't want to put those women in positions of responsibility, spend money and train them, only for them to drop out and have children or otherwise take on a lesser role after spending all the money and resources, therefore "wasting" everyone's time and resources. In short, they are responding to risks based on observable reality, fair or not. 2) Said women just aren't relatively talented. Less capable Women aren't the only ones subject to such treatment. Mediocre men don't get the "more" important positions just because they're men.

Never attribute to sexism that which can be adequately explained otherwise.

Just had to put a closure on that topic. There, the box is fully closed.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <K13> <Just had to put a closure on that topic. There, the box is fully closed.>

Okay, closed! :)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: R.I.P., Dmitri Hvorostovsky. I saw him as Simon Boccanegra at the Houston Opera about 10 years ago. What a treat that was.
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