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A Call To Pawns

I get the impression that people still read these things based on responses, so I clearly need to be mindful of what I say…or keep doing what I have been doing and continue soapboxing as I see fit.  Empty soapboxes of course, which seem to be abundance nowadays, but stores are slowly replenishing their quantities.  So I begin with the following disclaimer that I make no claims to be 100% pure of mind or claim to be an expert of anything, unlike some profess to be.  We are all hypocrites and the sooner people come to terms with that, the sooner we can move on and progress forward. 

While the last communication came about as spur of the moment, glad to see 45 individuals competed  in the Blitz held by Stuart Strack.  Great job Stuart, I know you were elated to see many join.  A shout out to John Bartholomew and Chessable in echoing the Call to Pawns in his early morning  tweet, and others who used their mediums to get the word out.  In the next several days, a few of us will seek to generate a “online schedule” to offer some variety in terms of time controls and rating caps.  Also in need are people wanting to host a tournament themselves for us to advertise since there limits Lichess has set up. 

Creating a lichess account:  A suggestion would be create a separate email account for this.  If that email gets compromised somehow, there is not a whole lot of personal information tied to it.  On the subject of safety, please be mindful of who you converse with on these platforms.  While, yes, people as a whole can be trusted, just watch out.  Follow those you choose, and perhaps block those you do not, just be safe.  I will fully disclose that my username on lichess is MNchessTD, and I have started “following” certain usernames.  Just be safe…measures have been taken to keep ourselves safe in public, be just as vigilant in being safe online.

March 20th, Andrew Titus will be hosting a Blitz tournament from 3:30-5:00pm.  Username: Titus369
Link:     Password: my coach said no

March 21, for those seeking a format longer than a five minute control, I will host one that is 15 min from 12:00-2:00pm,  Username: MNchessTD
Link:     Password: mnchess

More will follow, more communication will likely come out.  For now, sign yourself up for the Blitz on Friday, and the G15 on Saturday.  Get the word out, this is one of the few things that is being encouraged to spread.  Thank you all. One day at a time, one move at a time.


Food, Shelter, Income, Health.  Things often mentioned as things taken for granted,  Along with other things, Human Interaction can safely be added to this list.  The excited part of me looks forward to the time when this will all come to pass, and perhaps some kind of “Welcome Back” event will take place.  At the present time, things carry a different meaning, and take on a whole new perspective.  I’d be hard pressed to tell you what day of the week it is, as they all seem to meld into one.  

However, that are options for the chess minded individual, and highly encouraged options.  It starts with creating an account on (link Below) and an internet connection.  Members of the Minnesota Chess community have been hosting their own online tournaments.  

March 19th, (less than 24 hours away!!) Stuart Strack will be hosting a Blitz tournament from 1:00-2:30pm.  Username: ZebraGM123
Link:     Password: Nationwide Pandemic

March 20th, Andrew Titus will be hosting a Blitz tournament from 3:30-5:00pm.  Username: Titus369
Link:     Password: my coach said no

March 21, for those seeking a format longer than a five minute control, I will host one that is 15 min from 12:00-2:00pm,  Username: MNchessTD
Link:     Password: mnchess

A plan is, as more and more people play and sign up in these events, that tournaments will be created with rating caps in place so that there can be sections like Under 1600, Under 1400, ect…but it starts with you signing up, playing, and getting a rating established.  These ratings are different than your actual chess rating, but the formula tends to be comparable.  Online chess is different than playing in person, but is something that will take an adjustment while maintaining your chess prowess in these times.

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

Twenty Twenty Twenty Four Hours To Go

…I wanna be checkmated

The Ramones had a humble and unique embracing when it came to losses, that’s the only way we can learn and grow.  Other musicians have also secretly been expressing their love for chess, if you know where to look.

Drake probably does not win too often, expecting a lot of bad things…He would benefit greatly from IM John Bartholomew, who explains the game so well. with his videos, and also Chessable   Johns Plan…Johns Plan.

Simon and Garfunkel were serious chess players, often wanting quiet when they were contemplating moves …The Sound of Silence…need I explain more?

Even the King himself, Elvis Presley emphasizes how one must take their time while playing…wise men say, only fools rush in… 

Ten years running, but some hearing this for the first time.  Players, coaches, and parents admitted they have sung this in the shower the morning before the Scholastic.  Well…I do too.  Why refer it to “chess thing?”  It comes from this scene in Searching for Bobby Fischer  

Without further ado, I present to you John Denver with some final advice to you for this weekend.

[Chess] bags are packed and ready to go
And notation, and pencil, chess clock, ect.

I’m standin’ here outside your doorI hate to wake you up to say goodbye
Did you preregister?  Get some extra rest then.

But the dawn is breakin’ it’s early morn’   The taxi’s waitin’ he’s blowin’ his horn
Probably feels like being a cab driver at times, eh?  Just remind them who keeps a roof over their head. 
Already I’m so lonesome I could die
Chess is not a spectator sport for most people, many find time chatting with fellow parents and really getting to know one another.

So kiss me and smile for meTell me that you’ll wait for me
Flattered, but I don’t know all of you that well.  I won’t whisper sweet nothings into your ear.   Maybe, I will ever so softly squeeze your shoulder, but nothing more!

Hold me like you’ll never let me go
They sure grow up fast, don’t they?

Cause I’m leavin’ for a [chess thing]; Don’t know when I’ll be back again
Oh babe, I hate to go,
Congrats Seniors, and to all of you embarking on a new chapter in your lives. 

There’s so many times I’ve let you down; So many times I’ve played around
Many games are decided because of playing too fast, will it happen to you?

I tell you now, they don’t mean a thing;  Every place I go, I’ll think of you
Every song I sing, I’ll sing for you; When I come back, I’ll bring your wedding ring
Again, flattered, but I will gladly settle for a dark roast, no cream no sugar

Cause I’m leavin’ for a [chess thing];  Don’t know when I’ll be back again Oh babe, I hate to go
For those who have taken the time to read this till the end, this final line takes on a very real meaning, but more to come on this at a later time.

Good Luck to everyone playing, see you this weekend.

A Look Into January 2020

Hope 2020 has started off well, did you realize how chess can absolutely aid in making your New Years resolutions a genuine reality?  Have a look at the most common habits people want to change:

Spend less money:  A new chess set with bag will run you $40-$50 and may last a lifetime whereas your kids hockey skates start at that price and you have to get them new ones every year!

Be healthier:  All this hype about Beyond Burgers…sounds like an absolute boon for a vegetarian such as myself, but hold on there…most of what goes into that thing is highly processed and manufactured…it’s basically a vegan Twinkie.  Stick to a generous serving of chess.

Less screen time: This is a great way to limit time spent in front of a mobile device because when playing, one cannot operate a mobile device.  This bears repeating.  When playing, one cannot operate a mobile device.  Just.  Saying.

Travel more:  Start with this weekend at the MSCA Scholastic this Saturday at the Castle, or Twin Cities Chess League on Friday.  Need a reason to get out of the Cities?  The Twin Ports Chess Club will host their annual MLK Tournament on Jan 18-19, which can be found on the MSCA Calendar.  To further appease your wanderlust, take a look at the US Chess National Events Calendar! Don’t forget to join us at the end of the month for one of the MSCA’s premier events, the Winter Open.  

It is fairly obvious that a little more chess will be that much closer to fulfilling all you set to accomplish for the new year. This has been your Look Into January 2020.  Thank you for your 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 December 2019 

Is 2019 coming to an end already?  Will the 2020 [eyesight] wordplay begin with constant quips of references to the year in question?  Insightful readers inevitably know the answer to this, and I will see to it that my vision is perfectly in line with what I am trying to view, while others will turn a blind eye and only offer a passing glance to this communication.

Something of note regarding the MSCA Class Championships a short while back, a special congrats to Timothy Radermacher.  Tim was the winner of the 1987 State Championship, and to claim another state title over this span is quite impressive.  Results of the MSCA Class can be found in the links below, congrats to all who participated.

For those who are unable to make it to the SCA Grade Level tomorrow, the next MSCA Scholastic will take place next Saturday at the Chess Castle.  A Think will take place this weekend, and the MN Blitz Championships will be on December 15th.  Another thing to mention is Round 3 of the Twin Cities Chess League.  This has been your Look Into December 2019.  Thank you for your 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 November 2019

There are some celebrations in order, MN can now lay claim to two world champions.  Wesley So has become the first official Fischer Random World Champion, defeating Magnus Carlsen convincingly in a series of matches.  It was only a few months ago where Alice Lee was named the Under 10 World Champion at the Cadet Championships.  Not to be overlooked, older brother Linden Li has reached the status of US Chess Master, a milestone that only about 5% of chess players may ever attain.

The joyous occasions do not stop there–a Birthday Blitz will take place at the Chess Castle this Sunday for Sammy Narayanan!  Your Saturday options include the Chess Castle Exerciser Quad, or feel free to check out the one being held by Adriel Agam at the Eden Prairie Mall. The SCA has gotten into the swing of things with their ever popular Grade Level tournament this past weekend, and will have their next one will be on the 16th.  Featured sections will include the All-Girls and Rated.

The adventurous ones may make the trip to the Ice Harbor in Iowa this weekend.  I know I do not necessarily want to be reminded of the months ahead, but that’s Life in a Northern Town.  The Dream is alive for chess in the state of Minnesota these last few months but also for the Scholastic Coordinator who is thrilled to see all these all these achievements taking place, among other things.  The premier MSCA event that will take place this month would be the Class Championships and the November Scholastic, which will happen on the same weekend in a couple weeks.  People have already signed up, so take a look.  This has been your Look Into November 2019.  Thank you for your 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

MSCA October Events

For a number of individuals, this time in October serves as a break for many, with the MEA weekend serving as an unofficial Minnesota “holiday”.  Those who are in town, consider the October Rapid this Saturday at the Chess Castle

The following weekend however, the MSCA will mow the lawn for a final time, get the boat and cabin in cold weather mode, and prepare for the months ahead, putting on a series of tournaments where all players of all ages may be able to find a section appropriate for them.  Additional details may be provided, so check the tournament links below for the latest updates.

Youth and Collegiate: A special thanks for those who have been attending the MSCA Scholastics at the Castle the past few months, there will be a Saturday only, G30 section like you are familiar with, but there is the option of a Saturday-Sunday with longer time controls, G60.

October Open: Open to all players, for those that want more classical time controls and a longer game.

MSCA Senior Championship: As the name suggests, this is age restricted; to those of age 50 and older

Ice Harbor Open: Okay, not an MSCA event, and I am a huge fan of sets of 3, but the committee of one has decided this will be included in an email containing  “MSCA Events” I want to take the opportunity here to mention this premier event in all it’s glory.  This is a widely successful tournament, and has moved from the its traditional May date to November now, but has not lost any of its charm.

Thank you for your time, 

Judge, Jury, Executioner
Nina, Pinta, Santa Maria,
Father, Son, Holy Ghost
Huey, Dewey, Louie
Snap, Crackle, Pop
MSCA Scholastic Coordinator

Jiten Patel

A Look Into October 2019

Now that school has started, your child may have explored new activities, but some things have not went as planned.  A few bars short of making the fall musical this year…You don’t get cut in chess.  Perhaps a few steps behind for the athletic team…You don’t get benched in chess.  A few pins short of a spare…You will always roll a strike with chess.  Or maybe just unable to break past a hundred pounds on the bench press at the moment…do your heavy lifting with chess. 

The MSCA will kickoff things at the end of the month, but I would like to acknowledge the Rated tournament run by Adriel Agam this Saturday at the Eden Prairie Mall again.  A National Master has registered for the Open Section, and the Scholastic is also boasting a strong attendance.  .

The following day, the Chess Castle will host a Birthday Blitz for Dan Voje and Alice Lee.  For those in town during the scholastic “holiday weekend” also known as MEA, the Castle will host a Rapid tournament.

Thank you to those who have been attending the Monthly Scholastic tournaments, the October one will be held as part of a larger event eligible for all people of all ages, and multiple formats to select from.  More on this in a separate blast to explain in further detail, as the registration site may be undergoing some web maintenance.  This has been your Look Into October for 2019.  Thank you for your 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 September 2019

This is usually a time of year that brings about change and plenty to look forward to.  Pumpkin Spice Lattes which apparently sounds more palatable than Zucchini Bread Mochas, wearing white after Labor Day as only a few subscribe to those archaic rules anymore, vibrant greens turning into deep yellows and reds while gazing into striking blue skies, and I suppose more chess.

While it starts a little early this year, Round 1 of the Twin Cities Chess League, this Friday, Round 2 will be much later, so there will be plenty of time to still sign up for a number of teams looking to get into the swing of things, and even elect to take a half point bye if needed for the first round.

The Gopher Open is coming up again, so sign up now before you forget to.  This now annual event has quickly become a favorite for many, and a wonderful way to kick off the Fall season.  The University of MN Chess Club has continued to produce this high quality tournament on a yearly basis, and your support will keep it going strong.

Turning my attention now to a new tournament, and budding director, I am proud to present to you a tournament you may have not heard of, because it hasn’t existed yet.  It is the October Chess Tournament at Eden Prairie Mall which will be run by avid chess player, now tournament director, Adriel Agam.  The details of this can be found below along with the other tournaments, and there is limited entry so sign up to secure a spot.

As always, more events can be found on the Chess Castle and MSCA websites.  This has been your Look Into September for 2019.  Thank you for your 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 August 2019

We are in the middle of Shark Week, and based on my play as of late, I definitely want to hammer my head against a wall.  I may need to watch more content from our local shark, aptly going by the alias Fins.  John’s other product you would want to look into is Chessable, with a great learning model for tactics and strategy.  And for those that are fearful of going second, looking for an opening against the Great White, Chessable excels in this too.

A special thanks to those to were at the initial Castle Scholastic in July.  We will kick off August with another one this Saturday.  The Shark Week Scholastic will be very similar in format.  Team based like last time, and also an Open [Waters] section for anyone to enter.  Another addition to this will be an evening Barracuda Blitz that will start around 5:30.  Many have seen this, and there is still plenty of time to sign up for it!

This will be a great initial tournament to one of the premier events that many have been looking forward to in the Summer, the Twin Ports Open.  It has always been my pleasure to promote this on behalf of the Twin Ports Chess Club for its 8th year.  While the venue has changed, there has been numerous efforts to make number eight, truly great.  There will even be a frenzy of titled players headlining that weekend, including John Bartholomew.

The Castle will also hold an “End of Summer” tournament, which can be found on the Chess Castle site as well.  This has been your Look Into August for 2019.  Thank you for your time.