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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 4045 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Feb-19-18 Fusilli chessforum
Fusilli: <morf> Thanks! The big day is June 3. The kids are not very interested in chess, except for (luckily!) the youngest one (7 years old). She is at the President Day's chess camp right now at the Nashville Chess Center, run by FM Todd D Andrews and his sister, Tiffany Elliot. ...
   Feb-17-18 Taimanov vs Y Sakharov, 1960
Fusilli: Black blunders on move 41, one after the time control... maybe unsure if he had made it? White is going to take the knight and pin the queen. Game over.
   Feb-14-18 Yuri Averbakh
Fusilli: I believe he is also the last survivor of the 1954 USSR championship. Also, a number of USSR championships in the 1950s featured both Averbakh and Spassky. For example, both are the last survivors of USSR Championship (1958) . As for USSR Championship (1956) , in addition to ...
   Feb-12-18 Showalter vs J Mason, 1900 (replies)
Fusilli: <KEG>, <Dyonisius> Exactly. Analyzing is needed for training, and in the process we judge positions, not necessarily players. I mean, we can evaluate players, but not with a sample of one. Everyone makes mistakes, overlooks wins, and blunders now and then. The backup ...
   Feb-12-18 Prins vs Wade, 1952
Fusilli: Round 19 exhaustion? Really, really sad game for white. He plays the dullest thing ever and is lost after move 11.
   Feb-11-18 Kotov vs Wade, 1952
Fusilli: Black played suicidal and got what he deserved. It looks to me like 7.c5 is only dangerous if black cooperates by taking the c-pawn.
   Feb-11-18 Petrosian vs Prins, 1952
Fusilli: <Sem> In this tournament, he lost to Kotov: Prins vs Kotov, 1952 . I guess you mean the 1954 Olympiad: Prins vs Kotov, 1954 .
   Feb-10-18 Biographer Bistro (replies)
Fusilli: <zanz> Actually, from your Wiki link, there is a photo of Averbakh playing Averbakh vs Parma, 1963 Beautiful photo, no copyright issues!
   Feb-08-18 Miguel Najdorf
Fusilli: <perfidious> Well, it has to be. The clarification of the player's country indicates an international tournament, and not that there are many other international options when we look at the history of games between these two players.
   Feb-08-18 Panno vs Kavalek, 1980 (replies)
Fusilli: Panno calmly shows Kavalek that his sac was unsound. Now, what's up with the last 10 moves or so? And what's up with still moving the pieces after Qxa8??
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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  Fusilli: <parisattack> Thank you. I hope you come back. I always enjoy your posts.
Oct-16-17  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.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Merry Christmas and Happy New Year <Fusilli>.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: In three of my about 10 last games on ICC I missed mates in one (in my favor). Have I reached the downhill point of no return??
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: The bottom of the hill would be to miss the mate in one in the opponent's favor.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OCF> That happens too!

They cause different reactions though: if I get mated unexpectedly it's "oops!" or "ouch!" If I miss a mate it's more like "arghh!!!!"

On ICC the end of a game is announced with a one-bang bell sound. When you get mated unexpectedly, it can be rattling to suddenly hear "BANG!" (Of course you can turn off that feature, but I like it regardless.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Painful loss to Todd Andrews last night in the first round of the city championship final. With 45 seconds left I blundered a complex endgame that was heading for a draw.

I slept badly, I'm tired and demoralized, have a headache and a messed up shoulder (HAVE to go to physical therapy now!) and I'm playing again in an hour. But I'm a fighter, so by the time I sit at the board, I'll be ready! (Or at least that's what I'm telling myself!)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I have some thoughts about time trouble caused by the pervasiveness of engine analysis. I'll try to get those thoughts organized and post later. They might have some bearing on the time trouble situation you described.
Jan-21-18  Boomie: Back in my tournament days, I had the habit of showing up 30 minutes late. Late Saturday it was announced that the morning game was starting 30 minutes earlier. Unfortunately, I missed the announcement. I showed up just in time to see my flag fall as I was sitting down. My opponent refused to play on so I had to forfeit. Now that's time trouble.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OCF> Looking forward to it.

<Boomie> Ouch!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Actually, with Todd I blundered twice. First I blundered the win, then I blundered the draw. Here's how I blundered the win:

click for larger view


I played 44...Ra2+ which leads to a draw. Winning was 44...Ra1! It can be seen conceptually that boxing the white king must be the way to go, but white will promote in two moves, and it requires calculation to see that it works. For example: 45.Kc2 Re1 46.g7 Ra2+ 47.Bb2 Re2+ 48.Kc1 Rxb2 (either rook) 49.g8=Q doesn't work.

What works is not to take the bishop but threaten mate with 48...Kd3:

click for larger view

...which wins a tempo. Now mate is coming.

So, white can't play 46.g7. He needs to play 46.Rg2 or even 46.Kb2, and in both cases black at least captures the e3 and the computer says black is winning.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I think when you watch live games, or review games with an engine, it's very easy to forget that your flesh and blood opponents don't see everything like the engine does. I suspect engines have caused people to be reluctant to make speculative sacrifices or enter complex games, for fear that their opponent will just as easily find a refutation as the engines do. Likewise, I think people tend to use more time than is practically expedient, for fear they are missing something that ubiquitous engine/opponent will spot immediately.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OCF> That makes a lot of sense to me. If there is something computers have taught us is that there is just so much, but so much, that we don't even consider during a chess game. It surely increases the pressure on analysis, leading to time trouble especially in complex games.
Premium Chessgames Member
  thegoodanarchist: Surely I cannot be the first person to bring to your attention an episode of the great TV comedy "Seinfeld", which features "Fusilli Jerry". However, in case I am, enjoy!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <thegoodanarchist> lol, no, you are not, but thanks for the laugh anyway!

My next user name will be Festivus! ;)

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Fusilli > Hadn't noticed that word before...

Did a quick looksee and it's supposed to be gender neutral?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <chancho> Big debate going on around it, but so far mostly constrained to academia. It worries me when academics decide that something new should apply to an entire population of millions of people without any consultation with them.

I have my reservations and want to write a short essay for the Heterodox Academy website. Yes, it's supposed to be gender-neutral, but I see problems with it. And I think there is a contradiction in taking a word from Spanish and making it an English noun and at the same time say that it is gendered. Nouns in English are not gendered. So, to me, the plural "Latinos", once it is a new English word, was no longer gendered. (And it certainly does not imply all men in Spanish!) The problem is that once they adopted "Latino", then "Latina" naturally followed. And as Latinos are largely bilingual, it became impossible to think of it as non-gendered.

Another argument I want to make is that language to classify people can be about sex or can be about gender, but we have to choose. Sex is easier because it's so much easier to see (and there are not so many choices!), and many people prefer to keep their gender identity private.

I'm still clarifying ideas in my head...

Jan-29-18  Boomie: Another problem with losing all those words that end in 'o' or 'a' is they are perfect for song lyrics or poetry. I mean, what rhymes with 'LatinX'? Frankly, it sounds like the name of a medical supply company.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Boomie> Yeah... to me it sounds like a cleaning product (there is Clorox, Folex, Latinx...) or cold medicine (there is Mucinex, Latinx...)
Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: <Fusilli> You are one of my favorite posters!

I noticed some comments you've made regarding people here at <CG> who actually play chess and/or have studied chess seriously. I've said in the past that its odd that hardly anyone plays chess here at <CG> and that its mainly a social-center for chess gossip. Well, I've found out thats not entirely accurate. Many members here at <CG> were at one time active players. However, many of those are basically inactive or retired from competitive play.

Interesting comments you've made about people over at the POTD not seriously committed to solving or training to improve their analytical abilities. I can say the operative word here is 'commitment'. As for my case I can tell you I got started late with chess at age 20+ but was 'hooked' and devoured book after book with a ravenous appetite, feeding my desire to improve. I guess I got to around 1800+ when interest waned. Recently at age ~50 I began a daily regime of puzzle solving & time mgmt exercises that lasted 2+ years. My goal was to reach 2000, but interest again waned, this time after I finally reached 1900

The painful thing about chess is once one stops training, even for a month or two, at least in my case, the rating drops like a stone! Very cruel :(

So I, like many others probably, just don't have the time to commit fully to playing chess, so I just try to find other ways to enjoy the game. For example, these days, I play exclusively Chess960. My rating fluctuates wildly, but who cares! At this stage in my chess journey, its just for fun!

Happy chess, morf


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Thank you <morf> :)

My own commitment has been sharply reduced over the years. There was an entire decade of my life when I totally quit. These days I play a lot of frivolous blitz on ICC. When I decide to study, I either pick up Yusupov or watch ICC videos (Larry Christiansen's attack videos are my favorites), or I work on John Nunn's favorite chess puzzles. But I have very little time anyway. And my time is shrinking, as I am about to marry a mother of 4 and I am getting more and more involved as a dad.

I wish I had more time for serious tournament competition. Can't manage more than one or two local tournaments a year now...

Premium Chessgames Member
  morfishine: Wow <Fusilli> congratulations on your imminent marriage! I imagine all your time will now taken up teaching your new 4 kids how to play chess with a goal to fill the house with Grandmasters!

BTW: Yusupov's books are excellent training vehicles. I enjoy playing over at my user is 'morf' and try to sneak in a couple of games per day


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <morf> Thanks! The big day is June 3.

The kids are not very interested in chess, except for (luckily!) the youngest one (7 years old). She is at the President Day's chess camp right now at the Nashville Chess Center, run by FM Todd D Andrews and his sister, Tiffany Elliot. They are very good with kids! (And there are about 40 of them at the camp.)

Of course, I dream of getting my little girl all the way to GM, but she just started! :)

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