Keep Your Friends Close But Your Enemies Closer

Hello again, since my last post was a total failure, I know I must really put the work in this time. Well, my “temporary insanity” post lost to an article that took a whole 10-min to write BUT which featured lots of multiple choice questions and we all know the judges are suckers for those. SO without further ado, lets start with a multiple choice question of our own:

When preparing for a playoff USCL opponent, what is the best preparation method?

A. use your own head and common sense.
B. Watch Inspirational videos like Rocky and Scarface.
C. Make a dummy that looks like your opponent’s head and riddle it with machine gun fire.
D. Use, higher rated players on YOUR team
E. Use, higher rated players on HIS  team.
F. Pray to God                                                      

Hint: The answer is somewhere below.

(5 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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25 Responses to “Keep Your Friends Close But Your Enemies Closer”

  1. Brian Wall says:

    Awesome article, brilliant and sarcastic at the same time.

  2. damian D says:

    Wow, Ilya is unreal, why don’t you write every week man ?

  3. Alexander Druker says:

    Iluxa, molodetz klassnaya partiya I afigenniy report. Blitz vpered

  4. Jason R says:

    Marc is right– as white you are hoping to play Ke2!


  5. Jason says:

    More past references to Marc’s Ke2 love:

  6. Sergey Erenburg says:

    Hello Ilya,

    Unfortunately I don’t have your email, so, I have to write to you on the “enemy” territory of Boston’s fans :)

    First of all, congratulations on your recent victory! I’m glad that there are people in the USCL who read the CBM’s and, in particular, my annotations.

    I’ve read your article and there are couple of things that are unclear to me… Well, I’ll omit the questions of whether it is appropriate to use phrases such as “it’s not everyday you get to prepare with someone who epitomizes and embodies sheer greatness.” After all, you won the game, your team won the match, so, now you can say (almost) whatever you want.

    Now to my question. You wrote the following:
    “Meanwhile, my opponent is blitzing his moves like there is no tomorrow, maybe even premoving sometimes.Now, I know Sergey is playing on your team buddy but cmon man, play for the Blitz”, and “What could this all mean, could it be that Erenberg is a double agent, working on both sides??!!”
    So, what these are supposed to mean?

    I’ll appreciate your answer.
    P.S. I haven’t changed my last name yet. It is Erenburg, just to remind. I know you didn’t like when somebody (a judge on the GOTW contest) misspelled your first name, so, I’m sure you know how strange one may feel…

  7. Ilya Krasik says:

    Sergey, first of all hello and thanks for commenting/asking questions here.

    I will try to cover everything. First of all, I had my doubts about the spelling of your name as I was writing but due to the speed at which I was typing,and lack of proof-reading(I believe Chris Bird did proof-read a bit) I decided not to check and of course I should have known better considering I was using your analysis– so my apologies for that.

    The point of the article was to make it FUN lighthearted, my style often exhibits levity not dissimilar to the style in which Marc Esserman annotated his game for uscl blog, so I wouldnt and I sincerely hope you do NOT take me seriously. In many instances I do get carried away but I again my intention was never to hurt your feelings, or that of your teammates.My intention was only to make it funny and to make it seem like you and I actually prepared togeather, until the reader gets to the end of the article. From what I gather, the plan was quite succesful.

    The line you are refering to is missing one word- “I” It should read cmon man, I play for the Blitz. Meaning why are you blitzing and I’m not :)Btw, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your analysis and my expression of gratitude was very much sincere.

  8. Sergey Erenburg says:

    Ilya, thanks for your reply.

    But what about the double agent thing? Since I “helped” you to prepare, the use of “double agent” hints (or directly states) on that I helped your opponent as well. I still don’t get why could I be the “double agent” in this situation… Could you please clarify that?

  9. Ilya Krasik says:

    Well, Sergey thats what I was hinting at, that you may have helped him prepare too, you guys are teammates afterall.

  10. Sergey Erenburg says:

    Ilya, it doesn’t make much sense to me.

    Why would I recommend my teammate play the line where I showed that Black cannot equalize??
    Also, if you were wondering why Adithya was “blitzing” (while you are on Blitz team), then why did my name appear in that sentence?

    You mentioned that Marc uses lots of humor in his articles, and that’s what you were trying to do here as well. OK, he does, but I’ve never noticed him using somebody’s name thousands of times in some questionable contexts.

    I hope that in the future you’ll write some more successful articles (as this one) but without carrying out direct attack (as sophisticated as it was) against your opponents.

    P.S. Btw, your team deserved to be in the semi-final, since you seem to take this league more professionally than most other teams. So congratulations to all the Boston Blitz fans.

  11. ilya krasik says:

    I don’t think I will be changing my writing style you can’t please everyone all the time. I don’t think you should take my sense of humor personally Sergey.

  12. Jason says:

    I think Ilya was trying to imply that you were a “double agent” because maybe after you helped Ilya prepare, so to speak, you then told your teammate something like, “Ilya is going to play this line, I know because I helped him, but I didn’t tell him about my improvements!” That is a classic double agent move. Given how fast his opponent moved, I think it is pretty funny to suggest that he was moving fast because maybe you spilled the beans about your discussion with Ilya, and maybe even misled Ilya about hidden improvements in the position– even though of course that discussion was only in a book. So I think this double agent comment is right on the money and key to the whole style of the piece!

    There are some typos and grammatical irregularities that may lead to occasional confusion, but I think overall it is pretty clear what Ilya is trying to do here. It would take a pretty willful misunderstanding to think Ilya means anything in a literal sense here.

  13. Boylston patzer says:

    I think, Jason is correct and I dont see how anyone can take this piece literaly or seriously at all. Its all in good fun and it is quite funny. On the other hand I feel like Ilya is actually giving Sergey a lot of praise for finding all these ideas whereas he could have claimed all the credit to himself, it would have been dishonest but easy to do. Anyhow, he didnt and he gave props where credit is due, he read Sergey’s analysis and he trusted it enough to go against Sergey’s own teammate, who could have been and should have been prepared in these lines given Sergey is there. All in all a very interesting theoretical duel occured following by fairly good technique, Adithya also played extremely sharp and certainly didnt back down to Krasik, one or two nuances and it could have easily gone the other way.

  14. Sergey Erenburg says:

    I’ve never understood people who leave anonymous comments. What’s the point of doing this??? Why don’t you write your first name and last name?

    From my point of view, only three people participated in this discussion: the King of the USCL, the most talented writer of all times, Ilya, Alexander Druker, and myself. (Chris Bird can also be listed if he proved-read it, so, apparently, he thought that all this article is appropriate)

    So, let’s see, how can somebody take this piece of art “literally”. Please do the following, substitute your last name (whatever it is, Krasik, Druker or Bird will do) for Erenberg (and btw, you don’t have to misspel it). Also please take into account that the only time Ilya was sincere is when he expressed his gratitude for your analysis (now it’s yours; remember, we substituted your last name for mine). Not only that, Ilya did not provide much background for what lead him to write this article. He did not mention that we had some dispute on the USCL website where I mentioned what he said two years ago about my game that ended up being second in the GOTY. Here is what he said about the decision made by the judges: THIS IS A DISGRACE TO THE LEAGUE AND ESPECIALLY THE JUDGING CONTEST, ITS A COMPLETE FARCE AND I AM TREMEDENDOUSLY DISSAPOINTED. So, this article should be seen as a pure act of revenge.
    Now read the article and see whether it can be offensive.

    P.S. And btw, this is quite an interesting way to express the gratitude for using someone’s analysis by mocking of him. I mean, minimum respect would be appreciated.

  15. Jason Rihel says:

    Given that I and others could have signed with “Sergey Erenburg” or “Jason MadeUpName” instead of Jason, I don’t see what is so particularly special about the people who posted first and last names. If they make legitimate points, anonymity is not such a big deal– in science, we are routinely criticized by a set of our peers without ever knowing their names. It is only when people use the anon to post caustic and hateful stuff that a problem exists.

    Sorry, I did what you suggested– I even cut and paste my own name into Ilya’s text in Word– and I don’t see any problems. Not a single one. Even if I squint. Van de Mortel was attacked harder than you in this piece.

    You mentioned the Esserman piece as a comparison. I suggest you read it again, as it is really much, much harsher than Ilya’s. In fact, it was a direct attack on the USCL judges. Ilya’s piece was merely exposing the irony of using your analysis in a game against your opponent. He praises your analysis, which he obviously respected enough to use in his game. What more do you want?

  16. My feelings on the anonymous comments is that real men put their name up there if they have something to say.

    I can see how Sergey could be annoyed by this blog post, but just remember Sergey there are more important things in life than USCL blog posts. I myself have wasted too much time and energy on this sort of thing and have learned to just ignore it.

    Anyways, I want to officially wish Boston good luck in the upcoming match on Wednesday night. Win/lose/draw it should be an exciting match between what are the 2 best teams in the league. It’s too bad that we don’t play in the finals instead since we both have the 2 best records in the league and I think that would be more fitting.

  17. Chris Bird says:

    I would just like to state for the record that the only thing I did on this post was put the game viewer on. I did absolutely no editing of the actual article.

  18. Ilya Krasik says:

    I dont think that editing this article was neccesary. It is written in a fun way and with no alterior motive whatsoever. I understand that I made a mistake in misspelling Sergey’s last name but that happens when you type as fast as I did and without checking. It is extremely silly to bring up some blog thread from 2 years ago where I voiced my displeasure with the judges; the judges get ripped every other week if you havent noticed. What does it prove that I have a “vendetta” against Sergey Erenburg and that I waited for 2 years to “pay him back” is this what we are led to believe? I think, as was pointed out by some people to me in person, it maybe a languague barrier problem but I would like to unequivocally   state for the record that i never harbored any ill will torwards GM Erenburg and to this day do not.

  19. Julius G says:

    “After I won my game I was expecting to see my pretty face on the league page but instead I was being reminded again that I haven’t won all season.” Well I’m glad you won Game of the Week, well deserved. I think a lot of people in general are just waiting to take offense to any comment steered their way, whether it be a misunderstanding or obvious joke, they just want to take it to heart. I’ve been playing chess and posting on Boston sites for a few years now and I’ve seen some explosive back and forth battles involving you, so I think no matter what you say, or how you say it, people are going to take offense to it thinking the worse which is unfair. I haven’t met you in person yet, but you have been my personal favorite in the USCL since starting to watch it because you take risks in your games and because you are vocal and speak up. All these chess blogs wouldn’t have been nearly as entertaining without you in them. Hopefully I can swing by and watch you play some time, because I imagine you are fun to hang out with in person. I think the whole “bad boy” image should be lifted from your name, and people should really consider the amusement and value you’ve put into a league that needs soooooo much more fans and entertainment. On a side note, while we are sort of on a topic of apology, I’d like to quickly say I’m sorry, in ’07 I might have alluded that I saw Dean Ippolito posing in a jeep in JustUsBoys Magazine, that was wrong of me.

  20. Mark La Rocca says:

    Great blog by Ilya. For proof that it is tongue in cheek, just referring to his “pretty face” is enough. That GM Erenburg should take offense is a shame. But, perhaps we are not sensitive to this because we weren’t on the losing team. I know that Ilya intended no such offense. In fact, the whole article is a tribute to GM Erenburg… and I took it as such. It was an outstanding piece of sarcasm based on the irony that he was using GM Erenburg’s analysis to defeat Baltimore. The humor lies in the fact that as I read it, I believed that GM Erenburg was helping him prepare (perhaps over the phone) right up until he shows that all his prep came from Chessbase magazine. I haven’t read a blog this good all season. If there were a prize for blog of the year this one should get it.
    I would also like to thank GM Erenburg for his wonderful Chessbase article… we needed it.

  21. Sergey Erenburg says:

    First of all,
    I was interested in who is writing the posts simply because there are people whose opinion I respect.
    You guys, Jason Rihel and Braden Bournival, are among those that belong to such category.

    Braden, I did my best not to write any post recently until a friend of mine referred me to this article. I read it and tried to understand whether Ilya was mocking of me or he meant something else when he used the following phrases:
    “The double exclam is not for ME-dummies, I am not that arrogant. If it wasn’t for Sergey’s diligence, the world would have never known this brilliant resource…”, “The exclam is again not intended for me but rather as a sign of reverence for Sergey’s talent, it’s not everyday you get to prepare with someone who epitomizes and embodies sheer greatness.” (Others are mentioned in my earlier posts) Clearly, nobody could really mean it…

    So, what I did is that I asked several friends to read the article and let me know what they think of it. Only one of them said that he doesn’t find it very offensive, but he emphasized that it’s hard for him to tell, since it was not directed at him. He also warned me that if I write something, people may think that I “overreact”. (It seems that he was right :) ) All others agreed that it was a provocation and direct attack against me.

    In fact, Braden said that he sees how could I be annoyed by this blog post.
    Given that so many people don’t find it offensive and that Ilya said that he “never harbored any ill will torwards” me, I consider this incident settled.

    P.S. I’ve never denied that the idea of the article is good and that it was well written. Indeed, it is very ironic that my team is beaten thanks to my analysis. However, I still don’t get why Ilya had to be so sarcastic every time he commented on some move with “!” sign. So, I don’t know if it’s the language barrier (might be), it’s just that I used to somewhat different standards (full respect to opponents whose game is commented and full respect to anybody whose analysis is used in the article) when I read chess article.

  22. Jason Rihel says:


    I see now what you are saying. The tone of some of the commentary hits a touch too much on the sarcastic side. But part of that was actually a ploy to cover-up his ruse, which he revealed at the end. A bit of the “false narrator” style, nothing to worry about.

  23. Sergey Erenburg says:

    I completely missed Ilya’s comment that it was silly to assume that this blog post was kind of revenge for our discussion that took place two years ago. What I said (and there is no way that Ilya wouldn’t know that) is that we had a dispute on the blog post two weeks ago ( where I reminded him of his biased comments and maybe I did it inappropriately (I appologized btw). So, I’m not that crazy to assume that Ilya waited two years for revenge; he waited two weeks to “pay back” :) But it doesn’t really matter now.

    Also, recently Braden mentioned some kind of chess professionals that post comments on the USCL’s website. Well, I have news: I haven’t seen any chess professional (a person that make living from ONLY playing chess) that posted any comment there. At least I quit professional chess almost 5 years ago and now I am just first year grad student in Applied Math, so, I have some life besides chess :)

    Finally, I felt relief when Chris Bird wrote that he didn’t do any proof read for this blog post. I think that Chris Bird is a very kind man and one of the most professional individuals in the US chess. In fact, I consider him my friend, so, it is good to know that I did not get a knife in my back from a friend.

  24. Ilya Krasik says:

    I’d like to point out that Chris Bird who is sitting next to me right now, could have stopped my malicious, slanderous blogpost from seeing day light…but he did not. Its all his fault!!