Blind Chess Copy October 2021

There have been many notable returns in recent memory.  The 80s brought us Return of the Jedi, the 90s brought us Return of the Mack, the 2000s had Return of the King, and thousands of years ago, there was even the Return of the Prodigal Son.  This past weekend however was the return of SCA Chess in person tournaments, and their next one is a Grade Level on November 6th.  Be safe and be mindful of COVID practices… Keep your distance, though, Chewie, but don’t look like you’re trying to keep your distance.

The Minnesota Chess Journal has returned as well, for those who have not seen it yet.  Originally, the MCJ ran from 1964-2011 where and there were paper copies delivered by mail to MSCA members only.  Now, the Journal will be offered digitally, and open to the public, and I will happily share them when they come out.  Thanks to Tim Radermacher, Joe Longen Nels Truelson for their time and efforts in putting this together.

The overall return of Over the Board (OTB) chess has been welcomed by many, and we have seen the following successes as of late:

Congrats to International Master Sean Nagle on winning his 10th Minnesota State Championship!
Congrats to Alice Lee on becoming the youngest ever Women International Master!
Congrats to Sammy Narayanan earning the title of FIDE Master!
Congrats to Troy Cavanah earning the title of National Master!

Hoping for many happy returns to all of you in these times.  Just as every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end, all returns mark the end of a departure.  Not all returns are positive, not all departures are negative.  Not all who returned were welcomed, not all who departed seek a return.  What I told you was true, from a certain point of view.  It’s all a matter of perspective.  

This has been your Blind Chess Copy for October.  Thank you for your time.

Jiten Patel
School Chess Association
Minnesota Chess Journal V2
Minnesota Chess Journal V1

A Notice To My Loyal Readers


Welcome everyone! This weekend, I will proudly be involved with in-person Scholastic tournaments that will be US Chess rated.  Other major tournaments have taken place in the last several months, but this will be among the first with a Scholastic focus in nearly a year and a half.  

This will be also the first tournament in a decade I will not be saying this as MSCA Scholastic Coordinator.  This may come as an abrupt notice to you all.  In fact, it came as an abrupt notice to me as well.  How I choose to process and proceed with this dismissal will not be discussed here; initial steps have already been taken.  Going forward, I will continue to evolve into who I want to be and what I want to become.  I just want to continue being involved in chess, and that’s what I plan to do.  I do apologize for the short notice on this, but this hasn’t been the easiest communication for me to put out considering the above.  

Wayzata Chess will be holding two chess tournaments at the Plymouth Crowne Plaza this weekend and there is still time to sign up.  The tournament on Saturday will have K-12 and K-8 sections.  The tournament on Sunday will have K-3 and K-6 sections, so it is possible for some to play on both days. 

Both events are Individual and Team based (by school), so feel free to encourage your classmates that you may have not seen in a while to dust off that chessboard and play. Space is limited due to COVID restrictions, but plenty of spots remain at the moment.  Reply back if you have any questions.

As always, I thank you all for your time and I appreciate your support over the past decade, making chess in MN what it is today.  I am looking forward to the post-pandemic future of chess in MN.  Thank you all.

2021 Online Scholastic

I remember singing Happy Birthday to friends, family, coworkers…and nobody cringing after blowing out the candles. Congrats, it has now officially become a biohazard cake.  Babies have their own “smash cake” they can wallow in, and I am pretty sure this trend will follow to future celebratory gatherings, a smaller individual cake laden with candles so that the bigger cake is free from pandemic pathogens.

I for one will look forward to celebrating with the chess community when things open up and go back to a sense of reduced fears and enjoying the company of of others.  In the meantime, there is plenty to celebrate this weekend with the MSCA State Online Scholastic.  Ideally this will be the first and last online scholastic, but it will still be important.

The information page has been recently updated, so there is a lot more content to help you navigate details about it.  Register will take to the registration page, Information will take you to directly to the Google Sheets, and MSCA Discord will take you directly to the Discord server.  Please reach out if there are any questions.

One day at a time
One move at a time

Opinions expressed in this communication are solely my own and do not necessarily express the direct views or opinions of the MSCA Board of Directors

Blind Chess Copy February 2021

Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine

I’m begging you please I’ll take it in my hand
Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine…
Please just take it just because you can

Whether its a Tennessee Mountain Home, or one in frigid Minnesota, it’s become a place of work for nearly a year and counting.  Interactions with groups of people still won’t happen for a while which means online chess tournaments on a large scale will continue to be the norm.  US Chess has put out a set of online rules a while ago, but many of you could be seeing this for the first time.

Some people have made this transition better than others.  If you feel your online chess play is likened to a Bargain Store, I may have just what you’re looking for.  NM Matt Jensen has created a site called ChessGoals, with has an online focus.  Soon you will turn those pawn Islands in the Stream into protected passers, check out ChessGoals.

If you are like me, it’s the social interactions that happen at in person tournaments that I miss most, which cannot be replicated, but it is worth trying.  With a textbook, your teachers call it Distance Learning.  With a beverage, your friends call it a Virtual Happy Hour.  With a cat filter, its called a nationwide embarrassment for an unfortunate lawyer last week.  With your participation, it may be a great way to catch up.

This Thursday, I will host an open Zoom from 8pm-9pm for anyone to check in and say hi, talk chess, or anything else that may come up.  Stay for a little bit or stay for a while. This has been your Blind Chess Copy for February 2020, Thank you for your time.

One day at a time
One move at a time

Opinions expressed in this communication are solely my own and do not necessarily express the direct views or opinions of the MSCA Board of Directors

Blind Chess Copy November 2020

I do not usually wear scarves, so as temperatures drop, these face masks are becoming quite useful.  As tempers rise over how 2020 has gone, we find ourselves at a point in the year where people typically come together, or step back and reflect.  There is promise in a vaccine, but the country is still plagued.  The only recount I am unrelenting about are my blessings.  Each one counts; all blessings matter.

Online chess tournaments and Zoom gatherings look to be the norm for a while longer.  Like many, I desire for a return to playing in person.   I would much rather be surrounded my hundreds of people and chess pieces instead as opposed to hundreds of pixels and gigabytes.  Chess is largely a individual activity, but I believe I have made efforts to make it more than just a game throughout the years. 

I would like to conclude with stressing that being in good health is more than just the numbers read after stepping on the scale of which I’ll avoid doing this week…distanced or not, it is still Thanksgiving!!  This year has also taught us to examine our mental health, financial health, social health, academic health, and individual health alongside our physical health.  I may expand on this at a later time, but for now I wish you all wonderful holiday season and a healthy end to this year.  Thank you for your time.  Be safe and be well.

Blind Chess Copy July 2020

Put down that Nintendo Switch, and start playing chess again.  Besides, the last time I got involved with Animal Crossing, my oxen died fording the river and Gertrude came down with dysentery.

Get your affairs in order and make it down to the Chess Castle, they are now open for over the board play.   I am under the impression directives have been made in place to follow with Minneapolis city ordinance.  Also, those with expired memberships, it is best to renew it to make the process easier for the TD.   What does this mean for chess going forward; it’s hard to say honestly, it is rather conflicting, and it might take more time to deal with this open sore as normalcy is healed.  Will chess always be there for you…sure, why not. Chess is great, chess is grand.  Chess is the royal game.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.

Obviously, other activities have been impacted beyond chess, and its hard to look at anything in the eye and feel the same way for it anymore.  While 2020 may feel like a betrayal of trust from what you have previously thought, I have personally found more things to be grateful of than not.  Maintaining perspective on different situations and the ability to adapt can help navigate around the rabbit holes.

Does COVID make you want to take a Louisville Slugger to both headlights…yeah it probably does, but then you are driving blind without direction or purpose, which could be more detrimental, it might be worth it to save the energy and put it into something useful and stay true to the course.  This has been your Blind Chess Copy July 2020.  Thank you for your time.

One day at a time
One move at a time

Opinions expressed in this communication are solely my own and do not necessarily express the direct views or opinions of the MSCA Board of Directors

A Look Into June 2020, And Also Ourselves

For those that need a break, an outlet, an escape, a haven, a sense of normalcy…I get that.  There have been wonderful online tournaments being put on these past few months.  Leading the charge are Saumik Narayanan, Andrew Titus, and Stuart Strack.  For a Link to the Online Grand Prix

For the remainder of the June, there will be other events being put out.  They will continue to make chess available during the COVID Crisis with the same unmatched passion that you have for the game.  I will now shift to the other crisis at hand.  This will conclude your Look Into June, 2020.  You may stop reading, or carry on. 
A mark of a chess player is their ability to reexamine their assessment to the rapidly changing position after each and every move on the chessboard.

A mark of a human being is their ability to reexamine their assessment to rapidly changing information with each moment in the game of life; it is always your move.

Every now and then I realize how much I don’t know, how foolish I am, how naively stupid I am.  This is one of those times.  I am finding it incredibly hard to gauge emotions considering that state many others are in.  I struggle to find well intended words, they feel weightless and void of meaning with the gravity of the situation.  There is a heaviness that people are trying to navigate without direction, trying to find answers when there are none, trying to be vocal when it lands on deaf ears, trying to listen when no one is talking, trying to help when it is not clear how.  This heaviness has taken on many forms as we see the events unfolding in our very own cities [what happens to a dream deferred?].  The murder of George Floyd and many others will have a reverberating impact for years to come.

I pray for peace, not pieces.  The type of peace that comes when actionable mandates are set in motion to uproot generations of unjust practices.  Difficult conversations, the channels of communication need to be open and knowledge to be gathered for true change to happen, for a shift in mindset to expand ones reasoning.  What I thought I had believed has changed with each passing day.  I feel I have learned more in the past week than I have in a generation, and have no plans to stop educating myself and try to make more of a difference.  I believe I will make mistakes along the way, and I will learn from them.  I believe there is still much more for others to learn, and ways to get involved.

This has been your Look into June 2020, but also Ourselves.  Thank you.

One day at a time
One move at a time

Opinions expressed in this communication are solely my own and do not necessarily express the direct views or opinions of the MSCA Board of Directors

Blind Chess Copy May 2020

Thinking of ways to make use of that stimulus payment…However you plan you use yours, I kindly suggest setting some proper fiscal standards.  Need a starting point?  Repeat after me:

  • I will not invest brand new car unless it contains a dedicated compartment for my sunglasses and face mask.
  • I will not invest on a future dwelling unless I can open the doors without having to touch a door knob.
  • I will invest in the MSCA Online Swiss this Saturday where GM Andrew Tang and IM Thomas Beerdsen have signed up to play.

For less than 2 percent of your stimulus, prepare to be over 100 percent satisfied with this online tournament being held this Saturday.  There is also an U1200 section, with prizes in both sections.

If you are more of a chess spectator than a chess player, then plan for May 24th.  A reboot of the old Minnesota vs Manitoba matches will take place online through lichess.  The main commentator will be NM Frank Johnson via Twitch, along with Theo Wolock and NM Mike Fellman. John Bartholomew’s channel will be hosting as well.  Further information can be found below in the links.  This has been your Blind Chess Copy, May 2020.  Thank you all for your time

One day at a time
One move at a time

Jiten Patel
Scholastic Coordinator

A Call To Pawns 033020

Online Grand Prix, Week 2!!

While I have seen a noticeable decline in my gas usage and spending habits as of late, my first real venture out to a major retailer for some much needed errands proved I am still clearly not immune to the following: an impulse bargain buy.  Courtesy of Menards, and a mere $6.99, I am the proud new owner of a salt crystal lamp.  I’m not here to debate the claims of their effectiveness, other than it’s a visual stimulus package for my senses to entertain and soothe the tortured mind from salinity to sanity.  How is everyone else doing?

Week 1 of the MN Online Grand Prix has completed, and ready to start Week 2.  Just over 100 individuals signed up an played in at least one event last week.

What if I cannot participate in all the events?  No matter, play in the ones you can, skip the ones you cannot.  Even if you just play in one event, we just want to see a Minnesota individual engaged.

What is the Entry Fee for this?  There is no cost to this, we just want you to play, compete, and have fun.  There will be some prizes given out, and trophies for Top K-3, K-5, and K-8.

Thank you all for your time
One day at a time
One move at a time

A Call To Pawns 032320

The MN Online Grand Prix has Arrived!!

How can we chess when the earth is sleeping
How can we chess with Corona creeping
The time has come, to play for free
To sign up for the, Online Grand Prix

The message is very simple, 12-14 tournaments will be held throughout the week on lichess.  If you do not have an account, CLICK HERE.  There is no cost to create an account, or sign up for this, and there will be some nominal prizes given to top performers.

The tournaments held are potentially open to all who have a lichess account, but there should be a large MN representation which is nice.  Also, these tournaments will include people of all ages.

Look to below for further information, and also to join the Minnesota Chess WhatsApp group if you desire, as there is a wonderful chess community here in MN.  Thank you all for your time.

One day at a time
One move at a time