Counting down the hits

by admin on November 15, 2010

A couple days ago I figured out how to get WordPress to tell me which posts on this site have gotten the most viewers. Just in case you would like to see what your fellow readers like to read about, here are my top 15 posts by popularity, along with links. Also, I will list six of my personal faves that, for one reason or another, are not at the top of the charts in popularity.

The numbers here come with one caveat. Although the blog has been going for three years, the page view counter did not work for the first two years. So for posts dated before September 2009, the actual number of page views is higher than the numbers shown here.

With that disclaimer, here are the rankings (along with the number of page views and the initial post date):

  1. There’s a match going on! (936 views) (April 28, 2010) My first translation of GM Sergei Shipov’s commentary on the Topalov-Anand match, this post covers game four, which Anand won in what was generally considered the most brilliant game of the match.
  2. Game 12 — shocker in Sofia! (815) (May 11, 2010) GM Sergei Shipov’s analysis of the last game of Topalov-Anand. The shocker is that Anand won as Black to bring the match to a sudden end.
  3. Game 7 — Both players are heroes! (611) (May 3, 2010) A classic, hard-fought draw from the Topalov-Anand match, in which Topalov plays a speculative exchange sac and Anand lives to tell the tale.
  4. Sam Shankland Quits (577) (July 7, 2010) This post is still getting a fair number of hits as people try to understand Sam’s decision. It would be nice if one of the 577 readers was Sam himself, but WordPress can’t tell me that.
  5. Creative Collaboration (514*) (February 3, 2009) This one would probably be close to #1 if pre-September 2009 views were counted. In this off-topic entry I wrote about one of my wife’s quilting patterns, which we called “Tire-Track Sue.” The fact that it ranks so high clearly shows that the online quilting community is larger than the online chess community. Or else it has a warped sense of humor!
  6. Mystery grandmasters + grandmasters named Alex (463) (October 14, 2010) This makes the top 10 also for non-chess reasons. A contestant on the current season of Survivor said that he was a chess grandmaster. Lots of fans of the show wanted to know if that was true, and they got the straight scoop here.
  7. Russian chess names — a guide for the perplexed (383*) (December 12, 2007) A true evergreen topic, I think this one also would be in the top three if pre-September 2009 views were counted. In fact, the perplexity seems to be increasing. This post has gotten two hits per day so far this month, up from its usual one hit per day.
  8. Round three, Dortmund (381) (July 17, 2010) Another translation of Shipov’s commentaries, which have turned out to be sure winners for attracting visitors to this blog. Here, Shakhriyar Mamedyarov outclasses Le Quang Liem.
  9. If only chess pieces looked like this (371*) (October 15, 2008) Chess art. You don’t even need to read it. One look will show you why this post is in the top ten.
  10. Dortmund, round ten (359) (July 25, 2010) Translation of Shipov’s analysis of the final round of Dortmund, a draw between the winner Ruslan Ponomariov and Le Quang Liem.
  11. Dana’s opening philosophy (289*) (July 5, 2008) “Opening theory is a scam.” You read it here first! Plus three other useful principles of opening preparation.
  12. Top secret project revealed! (235) (September 27, 2009) The secret is that I helped edit Daniel Naroditsky’s book, Mastering Positional Chess.
  13. The excitable Mr. Odessky (227*) (February 19, 2008) Another oldie, which has gotten a few hits recently because the excitable Mr. Odessky has been in a bit of trouble. However, Colin McGourty’s recent translation shows that his writing is as entertaining as ever…
  14. New class, Jeff Sarwer interview, etc. (217) (January 9, 2010) I’m not sure why this is so popular, except that it has a link to a truly fantastic interview by Jennifer Shahade. You should read the interview, not my blog post!
  15. Bird by Bird, part 3A (213*) (November 25, 2008) Jeez, we have to go all the way down to #15 before we get to a post with actual original analysis by me (as opposed to GM Shipov). I kind of thought that would be the bread and butter of my blog, but I guess not.

And now let me list six of my favorite posts that do not appear on the top-15 list. I hope that this will inspire some readers to go back and check my older posts!

22. John Donaldson — The Chief Mechanic (176*) (November 26, 2007) One of my earliest entries, this was my attempt to write a blog entry in true journalistic style, phoning Donaldson and doing an interview. I quickly decided that wasn’t the way I wanted to run this blog — it was too much work, it lacked spontaneity, and it was too much like what I do for a living. Nevertheless, I think it’s a good post.

40. Tortoise and Hare (134) (December 14, 2009) I know it sounds awfully immodest, but I just loved the idea of annotating a chess game as a fable. I’d do it again, but then I would be guilty of copying myself …

51. Jerry Hanken on Reshevsky vs. Fischer (118) (April 17, 2010) Quite possibly my favorite post of all time. In this post, the late great chess journalist speaks from beyond the grave about a historic and controversial match that he was eyewitness to. Don’t stop before you read the last line!

75. Pruess parties like it’s 1899 (88*) (December 18, 2008) One of my best titles for a post, plus a terrific game by David Pruess (in a Cochrane Gambit, no less!).

149. Best-played loss (41) (April 22, 2010) My friend Gjon Feinstein organized a chess party, at which each person was supposed to show his best-played loss. I dug up a game from 2003 with lots of beautiful tactics and difficult decisions. If I had just played two moves in the opposite order, this would have been one of my best-played wins. Thanks to Gjon for a great idea!

???. The story behind “Double Queen Sacs” (??) (September 15, 2008) I don’t even know how many page views this post has had, because WordPress only lists my top 200 posts, and this one is not in the top 200. All I can say is that it has had 20 or fewer page views. Come on guys, it’s a much better post than that! It’s a great tale of serendipitous discoveries on the Internet, and it shows a little-known game with an unforgettable winning combination. How often do you see someone sac two queens in one game?

Finally, an honorable mention of some sort should go to this post, which attracted the longest comment thread of any post on this blog (34 comments):

???. Yo, Hallman (??) (June 1, 2008) A review of The Chess Artist, a book by J.C. Hallman that had some very good moments but was ultimately disappointing to me. Hallman wrote back with a spirited defense of his book, along with a chess challenge that was irrelevant to the points I was trying to make … but nevertheless made for quite an interesting comment thread. Of course, other bloggers like Elizabeth Vicary can attract more than 34 comments with their eyes closed and their hands tied behind their backs. Alas, most of my discussions tend to peter out after one or two comments (if that many).

Does anyone else remember any “oldie but goodie” posts on this blog that they particularly liked? Give us a shout in the comments. It’s not just for me, but also for other newcomers to this blog who might want to know what they can find here.

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