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Member since Aug-09-04 · Last seen Nov-30-21
Mariano Sana, Argentinian living in the US since 1995. Naturalized US citizen in 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 late cat's name (he died in March 2021, age 19), 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 might still be apt today, on a good day.) Unfortunately, no game scores survived from those years. I started to play again after grad school. I haven't played OTB since 2019.

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.

I also 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 hovered around 2200, down to mid 2100s a few years ago. 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.

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 4869 times to chessgames   [more...]
   Nov-21-21 Korchnoi vs Alterman, 1998 (replies)
Fusilli: Definitely too early to resign. White is just better, not winning. Must have been a time forfeit.
   Nov-21-21 Korchnoi vs J Gallagher, 1998
Fusilli: <myschkin: Right after the game: Korchnoi's answer 5.Ne2 a6?! to Gallagher's question, where he went wrong ;))> It does sound like a reasonable answer!
   Nov-14-21 H Bouwmeester vs E Cobo Arteaga, 1970
Fusilli: If 27.Nb6, I thought black had 27...Rh6 and the rook on a8 is untouchable because of Qh4. The computer gives 27...d5 though, then 28.Nxd5 and then 28...Rh6. White plays the conservative 27.Qb6. The computer says 27.Nxf4 instead and black is cooked (because white's DSB now watches ...
   Nov-14-21 Korchnoi vs Geller, 1971
Fusilli: <WCC Editing Project: Paul Keres confirms that Geller lost this game on time.> I guess that explains 32...Qg4. Black had to play Bf6. Hard to believe Geller would not see the Nxc5 threat, but if he lost on time, he must have been playing instantly at that point.
   Nov-06-21 E Mnatsakanian vs G Ustinov, 1959 (replies)
Fusilli: I clicked on "see a random game" and I got this totally crazy lollapalooza. Nice choice, randomness fairy!
   Nov-05-21 J Salaba vs D Belik, 1991
Fusilli: Nice technique in the endgame.
   Nov-05-21 Burke vs So, 2021
Fusilli: [DIAGRAM] So, here white played 9.d4. It's like white is trying to maximize the power of the black pieces! White needs to keep the position closed. Winning a pawn in exchange for the bishop pair and piece play is bad business.
   Oct-19-21 Fusilli chessforum (replies)
Fusilli: <OCF> You are right. Or at least I agree! After I read the solution (I was leafing through a 2012 Chess Life issue where this was published and I was too lazy to try to solve it), I kept wondering what if black plays 1...c3 instead: [DIAGRAM] The idea is that if now 2.Kf7 c2 ...
   Oct-15-21 M Weigel vs S Limontaite, 2008
Fusilli: White bungled her pieces into total disharmony here, culminating in a blunder. I find 9.Bxc6 too greedy. It gives black perfectly nice piece play. I like playing the Catalan with black, and I do it often on ICC. I just played this line and tried 10...Qd6 instead of 10...Nd5. ...
   Oct-02-21 D Bailey vs L Day, 1988
Fusilli: <GrahamClayton: <IMlday> This was a big money game, last round of the Canadian Open, board one. A brave choice of opening in a tournament deciding game.> Did white need to win? Was black winning the tournament with a draw? White turned down the repetition draw in move ...
(replies) indicates a reply to the comment.

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Kibitzer's Corner
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Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: From my morning game on

I am white and just played 19.Rab1, which happens to be a blunder.

Black to play and win.

click for larger view

Black didn't see it, but I lost the game anyway.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: 19...Bf3 followed by 20... Qh5 look unstoppable.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <chancho> Yes!
Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Amusing line from a Greg Iles novel I'm reading:

When you're from Mississippi, Vanderbilt is considered a northern school.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OCF> Haha, that's funny!
Dec-21-20  morfishine: Dear <Fusilli> I hope you and your family have a wonderful Holiday Season! morf
Premium Chessgames Member
  Penguincw: < Dec-25-19 Penguincw: Enjoy the holiday season, <Fusilli>. >

< Dec-27-19 Fusilli: <Penguincw> Thank you! Right back at you! >

And right back at you now! Enjoy the holiday season again.

Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Wish you a merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year !
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: <Fusilli> Feliz Navidad, y prospero año nuevo.

Que el nuevo año te encuentre con un elo de 2550.


Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Merry belated Christmas, <morf>! I was off the grid for a few days. Cheers!
Premium Chessgames Member
  moronovich: Also merry belated Christmas to you dear
<Fusilli> !

And all the best wishes for the New Year to come which hopefully will be a better one ! May all your pawns enjoy a touchdown.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: The analysis feature in is great. I take post-mortem looks at some of my blitz games (I always play 3min 2sec) for a quick evaluation.

Some evaluations are decidedly funny though. For example:

Someone v Fusilli:

click for larger view

Black to move. Of course, I am hopelessly, categorically, and unforgivably lost. The evaluation is +14. I played 45...Qd8 and the computer gives it ?? because it allows mate in seven (starting with 46.Rf7 Qf6), while 45...Qb8 kept the position at +14.

As it happens, I won on time right after making that move. I had seven seconds left.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Just played on

Fusilli vs Someone

click for larger view

White to play.

Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: 1.Rd6!

If Queen takes, 2.Rg4+ and mate on the next move.

If 1....Rf1+ then 2.Kg2.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <chancho> Si! Lindo, no?
Premium Chessgames Member
  chancho: Claro que si.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Oddly, a 2300 player let me get this position (I was white) on yesterday:

click for larger view

And here he played 13...Nxg2?

click for larger view

Now white kills, easily but flashily. See it?

Premium Chessgames Member

I see it, my good international maritime geophysical feature.

14.Rxh7+ Kxh7

15.Neg5+ Kh8

16.Rh1+ Nh4

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <JFQ> Nice! Either knight wins, but I played the other one, so that after Bh6, Rxh6+ Kg7, Rh7 is mate (no escape to f6 because of the knight on e4).
Premium Chessgames Member

<Massive Ocean Plate Nexus>


I sea. You supply trenchant proof there is more than one wave to engulf Black's position!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: Difficult and beautiful.

Pal Benko, 1990
White to play and win

click for larger view

Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: The solution is:

1.Ke7 d2 2.Rd6 c3 3.Kf7! Kh7 (otherwise 4.Rd3 and 5.Rh3 with mate)

click for larger view

4.g4! c2 5.g5, c1=Q (or d1=Q) 6.Rh6+! gxh6 7.g6+ Kh8 8.g7+ Kh7 9.g8=Q mate.

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: Pretty solution. Interesting how often the side with an extra piece in an endgame vs. extra Pawns has to continue to make mate threats.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Fusilli: <OCF> You are right. Or at least I agree!

After I read the solution (I was leafing through a 2012 Chess Life issue where this was published and I was too lazy to try to solve it), I kept wondering what if black plays 1...c3 instead:

click for larger view

The idea is that if now 2.Kf7 c2 (2...d2 3.Rd6 transposes to the main solution) and if 3.Rg3? c1=Q followed by Qh6. But white has 3.Rc6, I think:

click for larger view

If now 3...d2 4.Rc3 mates, and if 3...Kh7 4.g4. (Now if 4...d2 5.g5 --or just 5.Rxc2. Notice that 5.Rxd2 in the main solution didn't work, but here it does because a queen from d1 is useless to stop mate). But now what if 4...g6? (BTW, if 4...g5, 5.Rc3).

click for larger view

5.g5! d2 6.Rxc2 d1=Q 7.Rh2+ Qh5 8.Rxh5+ gxh5 9.g6+ and white wins.

(I am not checking with a computer, but I think I got it right.)

Premium Chessgames Member
  OhioChessFan: I first noticed the mate threats issue in a little different context. Just learning chess, I tried to win with Queen vs. Knight. You need to threaten mate to get it done in any reasonable timeframe.
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