Most Popular Posts (2018 Edition)

by admin on April 3, 2018

About once a year I take a look at my site statistics to see what my most popular posts were. Then for the rest of the year, I ignore what’s popular and just write what I feel like writing!

I do think that new or infrequent visitors might appreciate a guide to what some of my most popular posts were, so here are my top ten for the past year and the top ten for all time.

Top 10 posts for the year 4/3/2017 to 4/2/2018

  1. How AlphaZero Wins (1511 views). AlphaZero’s crushing victory over Stockfish was a bigger bombshell than I expected; I think that chess players had been in a state of denial that deep learning was relevant to computer chess. But whatever else you think about AlphaZero, you have to agree it played beautiful chess. This post has detailed analysis of one of the games.
  2. Thirteen is lucky for Caruana! (862 views). Yes, a post that I wrote just a week ago is already #2 for the year! When something newsworthy happens in the chess world, I often see more traffic on my blog. This entry has analysis of Fabiano Caruana’s crucial round-13 victory over Levon Aronian in the Candidates tournament.
  3. Scandal Ruins World Cup’s Best Day (455 views). The scandal was, of course, the brouhaha over Anton Kovalyov’s shorts. Sadly, it overshadowed the biggest upset of the World Cup, Xiangzhi Bu’s brilliant victory over Magnus Carlsen. I am afraid I missed the chance to give this post a much better title: Bu Who?
  4. One Small Step for Computers, One Giant Leap for Mankind (252 views). This one is also about AlphaZero, but less of an in-depth look than post #1. It’s also the post where I plug my upcoming book, The Book of Why, for the first time.
  5. How I Got Nimzovich’d (205 views). This is my most-viewed “ordinary,” non-news-driven post of the last year, and I have to say that it may well be my favorite, too. On Halloween, my chess computer was taken over by the spirit of Aron Nimzovich, and this is what happened …
  6. Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death, But Don’t Make Me Change My Openings! (167 views). Probably my best title of the year. In this post I root for the Russian to beat the American simply because the Russian played an opening that I like. A super entertaining game, Nepomniachtchi vs, Shankland.
  7. The Seesaw in the KQ vs. KR Endgame (140 views). A maneuver the endgame books never told you about. Teaching examples are Wesley So vs. Liren Ding and Levon Aronian vs. Maxime Vachier-Lagrave.
  8. A wonderful, awful idea (133 views). Another game I played against Shredder, with a truly unique winning idea. To say more would give away the fun.
  9. Chess is Not Math (124 views). A theme is beginning to emerge: Many of my most popular posts last year were about games from the World Cup. In this post we see how Levon Aronian could have beaten Daniil Dubov with an ingenious application of the formula 2 + 2 + 1 + 2 = 7. Instead, he beat him by torturing him until he blundered. Chess is not math, it’s a good deal more bloodthirsty.
  10. A Still Unknown Trap (121 views). A really easy trap for White in the Center Counter that I lectured on several years ago at, but it is still virtually unplayed and unknown. It’s also risk-free; if your opponent doesn’t fall into the trap, you can go back to book lines.

And here are my all-time most-read posts. Curiously, there are some on this list that I don’t think are very terrific posts at all … but they somehow resonated with the audience. For example, I have no idea how #2 and #3 got to their lofty positions, but now that they are there, they are unlikely to be evicted any time soon. (At least they got evicted from #1 and #2, which is where they were for a very long time.)

  1. “The Edge of The Truth” (Computer go and chess) (4624 views) [2017]
  2. Stop Presses II … Elizabeth Vicary Gets Hitched! (4085 views) [2011]
  3. How to Break Fort Knox in 13 Moves (2735 views) [2011]
  4. Dana’s opening philosophy (2661 views) [2008]
  5. State chess champions … all states, all years (2604 views) [2012]
  6. Russian chess names — a guide for the perplexed (1792 views) [2007]. Okay, this one should get some kind of award, because it was one of my very first posts and it’s still among the top ten.
  7. Why Not Nuke the Caro? (1611 views) [2010]
  8. How AlphaZero Wins (1511 views) [2017]
  9. What If There Were No King’s Gambit? (1487 views) [2013]
  10. Grading the Openings (Part One) (1453 views) [2015]


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