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Member since Aug-09-04 · Last seen Dec-12-19
Mariano Sana, Argentinian living in the US since 1995. Naturalized US citizen since 2015. 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 review of Gary Alan Fine's "Players and Pawns" is here:

My avatar comes from a cartoon of mine drawn by a friend. My username, besides the pasta, is my senior cat's name (born in 2001, still kickin'), inspired by this cartoon:

My first tournament was at age 12 in 1979. 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 after grad school. I play between zero and five tournaments a year.

I won the Louisiana State Championship in 2007, featuring the Swiss gambit. I 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, lost game 7, and won games 8 and 9. My last round win was featured as a Tuesday puzzle: K Gulamali vs M Sana, 2014.

I'd say that I am essentially a good but inconsistent player. My playing style is a mix of strategic and tactical. I'm usually very willing to sac a pawn or allow positional weaknesses in exchange for active piece play. For years I've been hovering around 2200. On a good day, well rested and inspired, I may beat an FM or IM (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 2045 after my catastrophic show at the 2019 World Open (+1-6). Whenever I have a really good tournament, it is not FIDE rated!

Lately, my tournament play has been limited to Nashville events. Sometimes I travel. If you see me at a tournament, feel free to say hi. I am a friendly fellow!

My participation on this website goes through ebbs and flows, and 80+ percent of my posts are about chess. I often post on my own forum just to keep records, for myself. Everyone is welcome to visit and share! (But please don't post about politics here.)

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

   Fusilli has kibitzed 4516 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Dec-12-19 M Sana vs A E Franklin, 2008
Fusilli: <jith1207 ... It's not fair, the game itself is an exercise in futility.> I'm afraid you are right!
   Dec-12-19 AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2018 (replies)
Fusilli: <Carrots and Pizza> The same can be said of R vs B. With perfect defense (depending on the initial position), it is drawn. But again, from a human point of view, it is hard to defend. I would even say the same about Q vs R, which is a theoretical win except in some trap-like ...
   Dec-11-19 F Trois vs Adorjan, 1979
Fusilli: <siggemannen> I bet.
   Dec-11-19 Burn vs G Marco, 1898 (replies)
Fusilli: <Carrots and Pizza: Burn's desperados saved the game after 40.Rh6+> Indeed! While it is forced, it still is a great resource.
   Dec-07-19 AlphaZero vs Stockfish, 2018
Fusilli: <Thief: The sequence <15... Kg7, 16... Nh5, 17... Kg8, 18... Ng7> is really something.> Yes! And it has its logic. When Stockfish played 15...Kg7 (not sure why), AZ responded with 16.Na4 and that changes a lot of things, because Black no longer has Nxc3 if White plays ...
   Dec-06-19 S Mariotti vs Larsen, 1978
Fusilli: <woldsmandriffield> Good point. Strange that Larsen would miss that. White's winning maneuvers are not so difficult to see. 81.Ke6 screams to be played.
   Dec-03-19 N Panchenko vs Botvinnik, 1927 (replies)
Fusilli: <<I see nothing wrong with 23...gxf5> There isn't, 23.Nhf5?? gives away a piece for nothing.> I guess White thought he had Qh6 and Nh5 following the capture of the piece, but Black is safe with Ng6 and f6.
   Dec-02-19 Raymond Keene (replies)
Fusilli: Didn't GM Keene run for FIDE president once? Was that against Campomanes?
   Nov-28-19 Gligoric vs Stein, 1967
Fusilli: <Jesspatrick: I think 13.Bg4 is just the wrong idea. I understand the motivation to trade off the light squared Bishop, but that's not the time.> Hm... I don't know. Trading the LSB is an opportunity that few players would pass on with white. I thought Stein's play was ...
   Nov-25-19 Larsen vs Unzicker, 1968 (replies)
Fusilli: Of course Unzicker doesn't take the h4. There's nothing decisive against doing so (in fact, the computer sees only equality after 15...Bxh4), but in practical chess, you just know you don't take that pawn. Not against a player like Larsen anyway. The odd 22...fxg6 instead of the ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

My Facerook Wall

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 64 OF 64 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-16-19  Boomie: I missed it, too. I failed to see the strategy behind the move. The structure is calling out for attention. Capa's trick of finding the best square for a piece could also work here.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Boomie> Glad to get company! But you know, we are trying to see the Nh2-Ng4 maneuver in moves 18-19 out of the diagrammed position after Black's 13th move. As a regular OTB player, I can tell you it's surely a tough call, so let's not be too hard on ourselves :) Of course, a grandmaster would want to kill himself for missing this, but I'm not in that league!

This is a good example of why I always say that puzzles are not a great training tool, because no one in a real game whispers in your ear "hey, there is a winning move here!" Yusupov says that one of the key advantages of grandmasters is that they are better at pinpointing when the key junctures in a game are happening. That's a great skill! In the first diagram, my instinct was telling me the bishop sac was wrong, but my instinct is not as convincing as reading "white to play and win." (This is why I recommend Guest the Move as a better training exercise than solving puzzles. Puzzles are good to sharpen your calculation skills though.) So, someone who solves every single puzzle may still fail miserably at the board if he/she doesn't even realize that it's a "puzzle position" (and of course, if you treat every sharp position as a puzzle position then you'll run out of time).

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I would have never seen that OTB. Being told a shot exists makes it much easier.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Since I came back from my disaster in Philadelphia, I've been kicking butt at speed chess online. My rating on ICC is at an all-time high on 3-minute games and close to my all-time high on 5-minute games. I seem to be quite alert, tactical and fast.

I've been studying Yusupov. Maybe my IM friend is right. He told me "Study Yusupov and your rating will go up 100 points." It motivates me to keep working on it.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Here's a pretty finish from a 5-minute game on ICC. I am Black. I am very clearly winning, but as said, the finish is pretty. White just played Qg2-f3:

click for larger view

1...Bc5+ 2.Nxc5 Qxc5+ 3.Qf2

click for larger view

3...Rd2! 4.Bxd2 (4.Qxc5 Rg2#) Rxf2 5.Rxf2 Ne5 0-1

click for larger view

Aug-09-19  parisattack: #15 <Fusilli>. I hope all is well with you, yours.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <parisattack> Thank you, and happy 15 year anniversary with <CG> to you too!
Premium Chessgames Member
  wordfunph: <Fusilli> happy 15th!
Premium Chessgames Member
  juan31: Un Ángel más en el cielo, Tristan, para usted mis condolencias
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: My deepest condolences <Fusilli>.

So sorry to hear.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Count Wedgemore: Dear <Fusilli>, I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Tristan. May our Lord bless and comfort you and your family in this difficult time. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Your friend Bjřrn.
Premium Chessgames Member
  WinKing: My condolences to you & your loved ones <Fusilli>. You are all in my prayers.
Premium Chessgames Member
  bubuli55: < Fusilli > Condolences. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Reposting here as my forum is about to get busy with a prediction contest:

<Fusilli> that's sad to hear. My sympathies on the loss. You can be sure any prayers offered had some impact in this lifetime and the next.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Thank you so much, everyone. If you are curious, here's a photo of Tristan:

Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: Hi <Fusilli>. I'd also like to give my condolences on the loss of Tristan.
Aug-18-19  morfishine: Dear <Fusilli> I am so sorry for your loss. I wish you great strength during this time.

Thank you for sharing the excellent photograph

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Thank you <penguincw>, I appreciate it.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Thank you so much <morf>.
Premium Chessgames Member

It seems that Schwarzenegger is a big chess fan, as reported by Bill Hader in this funny clip.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: I got 10 new games up, from 2017-19. Thanks, <Annie K>!
Oct-10-19  Thief: Are you a Full Professor yet?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Thief> I'm not.
Oct-12-19  Thief: <Fusilli> You better become a Full Professor by 2021 or I'm gonna steal all of your stuff.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <Thief> Thank you, now I have two financial incentives to be promoted. The pay raise and keeping all my stuff.
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