Top Ten Posts over the Last Year

by admin on October 25, 2011

It’s Blog Stats time again!

About a year ago I wrote a post called “Counting Down the Hits,” where I listed the top 15 posts from this blog in total page views.  I also counted down seven “undeservedly neglected” posts, some of my favorites that for whatever reason had not attracted so many page views.

This morning I decided to check in again and see which posts have been the most popular over the past 12 months. It turns out that this exercise is slightly biased — posts dated around October of 2010 have an unfair advantage because they got both the initial “bounce” of readers when they first come out, plus the full 12-month “long tail” effect. By comparison, a post that I wrote just last week wouldn’t have much chance to hit the top 10.

Nevertheless, the top ten is an interesting mix of posts from late last year and “oldies” from longer ago. There are one or two major surprises (to me) on the list. So let’s go…

  1. Sam Shankland Quits (July 7, 2010) — 586 hits. Even though this is very old news, and Sam Shankland has long since un-quit and earned his GM title, it is my most popular post ever, and it’s still collecting hits. Why?? I don’t quite get it!
  2. Dana’s opening philosophy (July 5, 2008) — 520 hits. This “oldie” got a new lease on life when Dennis Monokroussos posted a response to it in his blog. I’m grateful to him, because even if he disagreed with me, the debate got people thinking. My central point in this post was that opening theory is a scam.
  3. Maris’d (Nov. 20, 2010) — 381 hits. This post is about receiving my Life Master certificate from the USCF and discovering that it has the equivalent of an asterisk on it. Nevertheless, I don’t really mean to complain. I’m proud of making Life Master (even with an asterisk), because it truly is a lifetime accomplishment.
  4. Opening philosophy, part deux (Jan. 12, 2011) — 314 hits. The sequel to #2, this was my response to Dennis Monokroussos. I conceded that “opening theory” in small letters (the general principles of good opening play) is important, but continued to argue that “Opening Theory” in capital letters (the latest, trendiest 25-move-deep variations in grandmaster play) is a waste of time for amateurs.
  5. Russian chess names: a guide for the perplexed (Dec. 12, 2007) — 303 hits. The oldest entry on this list, but still going strong.
  6. Steven Zierk and “infinite resistance” (Oct. 30, 2010) — 302 hits. When I wrote this, Steven Zierk had just won the world under-18 championship. In this post I showed my first game against Steven, from 2007 when he was just an unknown expert. Zierk blundered a piece in the opening but never gave up, and he eventually equalized the position and won on time. At the time I was astounded and profoundly embarrassed to lose this game, but later events showed that Steven was no ordinary expert …
  7. Pictures from Crete (Oct. 12, 2010) — 230 hits. Just some pretty travel pictures from a beautiful island. Maybe I should write a travel blog… if I could only afford it!
  8. Karpov-Fischer (Sept. 19, 2008) — 205 hits. This is the biggest surprise to me on the list, because it was nowhere near the top ten last year, and as an “oldie” I wouldn’t have expected it to suddenly catch fire. But it’s definitely worth reading if you’re interested in chess history. Karpov either rewrites history or sets history straight about the match that never happened.
  9. Mystery GMs + GMs named Alex (Oct. 14, 2010) — 195 hits. High on the list of ephemeral news stories was the claim last fall by a Survivor contestant named Marty that he was a chess grandmaster. Survivor fans hit the Internet in droves to see if his story was true. (It wasn’t.) In fact there are no grandmasters named Marty, but I was surprised at how many GMs are named Alex (or some variation thereof).
  10. Creative collaboration (Feb. 3, 2009) — 195 hits. This one continues to be a total head-scratcher. I wrote about a quilting block by my wife that somehow looked like a doll that has been run over by a car. We named it “Tire-Track Sue.” To this day, somebody searches for “tire tracks” about once every other day and ends up on my blog. Who are all these people searching for tire tracks, and why???

One thing that strikes me about this list is that not a one of them involves chess analysis. I mentioned that last time, too. I write a lot of blog posts with analysis, but I guess people don’t really want to think that hard. Posts about current events (Sam Shankland, Steven Zierk) do well, and strangely they sometimes continue to do well even after the news is no longer current.

Also, off-topic posts generally do well, although I try to keep them to a minimum because I advertise this as a chess blog. People like pictures of far-off places, and gosh darn it, there are some sickos out there who like pictures of tire tracks. In fact, sometimes I think that just about anything is more popular than chess! (Sigh.)

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Aman October 25, 2011 at 1:32 pm

I hope these stats don’t discourage you from writing posts with chess analysis. Those are my favorites.


admin October 25, 2011 at 9:40 pm

Thanks for the vote of confidence, Aman! Yes, I will continue to do analysis. I don’t take the Blog Stats too seriously because I realize that number of readers does not equate to the value of the post. I could probably write about politics and get hundreds of hits, but that’s not what this blog is here for … and there are already way too many political bloggers.

However, I am thinking about having a humorous “solution” to this problem in a few days. Wait for it!


Cortiano October 26, 2011 at 1:31 am

Hey Dana, I’m sorry too that chess seems so abstruse to so many people. When you love, like we do, something so wonderful as chess, we kind of want the whole world to share the bliss.
To end happily this sad comment, Dr Tarrasch wrote: “I feel a bit sorry for everybody who does not know the game of chess, in a similar way I feel sorry for everybody who has not known love. Chess, like love, like music, has the ability to make people happy.”

PS. Did you get my email with the Chico Mate comic strips?

Keep spreading the love, man!


admin October 26, 2011 at 7:42 am

Hi Cortiano,

Yes, I did get your e-mail, and I really liked the comic strips. I’m sorry that I forgot to respond earlier — I’ve got too many things going on!


Maple47 November 11, 2011 at 3:47 am

This is meant as a comment for your observation about your top 10 most viewed blog posts being about other things than analysis.

Found this site by googling for chess blogs. Why was I looking for a chess blog? Not for analysis, but to get some idea of what is going on in the chess community.

After being hooked by Josh Waitzkin’s commentary on many of his own games in Chessmaster (latest installment from Ubisoft), it became clear to me that static media like books (and blogs?) are so inferior to media that combine a dynamic chessboard with narration, that I look exclusively for the latter type when interested in analysis.

Another reason is quite likely that analysis can only target an audience in a somewhat limited rating range. For people with higher rating, the analysis is too trivial, and for those with too low rating, it is too complex.

This is not to discourage you, or anyone, from writing chess blogs, including analysis, but simply meant as food for thought.


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