This page is for news and recent results of the local chess community. Mostly about the Chess Castle but including the state. If you have some news or an announcement you think local chess players would like to know about send it to Bill at The State chess association has a Facebook page          


January 16 Wasiluk, Gibbins, Mattson, Iwu, Zagar and Voje will be in Duluth.  Weather looks good for the weekend. 
The Blizzard will play their first match of PRO Chess League tomorrow at 6 pm on They signed free agent IM Daniel Gurevich to help Andrew, Sean and John.

January 13 John has fallen a 1/2 point short in Charlotte. He did win the tournament but too many draws left him with 6/9. 
Dane Zagar won the Hot Cocoa Classic with 4/4. 

January 12 John is in Balmy Charlotte NC. for another GM norm attempt. 35-45* Wesley So in Wijk aan Zee (35-40*)for the Tata Steel tournament. All the big guys will be there. The Duluth guys will hold a tournament next week ( 20*). All the cool guys will be there. 
Links:  Charlotte   Tata Steel   Duluth   
January 7
NM Andrew Titus continued his winning ways. He is the new Club Champion scoring 6/7 without a loss. NM Okey Iwu needed a win against Nastassja to tie for the title. They drew. The results are on the front page courtesy of Nate.  
IM John Bartholomew will play something called a "Death Match" on against Lawrence Trent. 
Log on to or on Tuesday, January 9 at  3 p.m.  to catch all the action live. IM Danny Rensch will merely moderate the match as Trent and Bartholomew commentate their own battle! John usually posts it to YouTube later.

January 3 NM Andrew Titus won the most Exerciser Quads and received a club membership. He did this and maintained a 2300+ rating. The calendar has been updated for the next three months. Dane Zagar will be directing the March Think. He has made changes and it will be called a Rethink. Six rounds and game 60 with 30 increment. RDs. 10-1-3:30 both days. Remember to check the front page as things can change. 

Roger Hale announced the following:  As of Jan 1, Dan Voje has returned as Chess Castle Manager.  Jiten Patel has helped immensely during the past two years but now has other work commitments that reduce his availability.  However, Jiten will continue to be involved with the Chess Castle as a valuable volunteer.  We welcome back Dan, a true mainstay of chess in Minnesota and a TD par excellence.”

December 30  What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. ( At least until the tournament is rated.)  The Minnesota contingent had a good time though did not win any money. The North American Open is a brutal 7 to 9 round event. 805 players took part. Our new Masters were there for some tough competition and they found it. Sammy went 4.5/9,  Nastassja went 3/9, Tim went 4/7, Bill went 3.5/7 and Roger was 2.5/7. Las Vegas was busy and with the New Year's Eve party coming it was good to leave. Sunny and 60*.  Tim Lee's son, Calvin, moneyed in the U1500. Our good friends from a few years ago Karthik and Akshay Padmanabahn also played in Vegas. Karthik played in the u2300. Akshay, the older brother on the right, moneyed in the U2100 to the tune of $1020. They will be in the Boston area after a few years in California.  Next up is the Castle Championship.

The club Championship is January 6-7th. This is for club members and frequent guests. Check with Dan to see if you are eligible. 

December 24 The Duluth guys are holding a January Chess Tournament on the 20-21st. A five round classic time controls.  This is a good warm up for MSCA's big events. Check the calendar or online registration. 
The site for the Minnesota Open is the Crowne Plaza Plymouth. A week later this year so Mr. Bill can play. February 23-25th. 

December 17
The FIDE Blizzard Open was a big success. It drew a new player:
 WIM Aura Cristina Salazar. Nastassja was the only one to defeat her in a crazy Queen ending. They tied for first with 4/5. Sammy and Dane Zagar were next with 3.5/5.  James Ellis won the reserve with 4.5/5.  Thanks to Dave and Jiten for directing. 
The Holiday Quads are next Saturday with an enhanced prize fund thanks to Vince Berg. 
The Blizzard Holiday party will take place on December 22. Let Patrick Tang know if you plan to attend so he can order enough pizzas. A Blitz tournament follows the lecture. Details on the calendar.

  December 15 Dennis McGrath, famed Star Tribune reporter, has written an article about our titled youth. Nastassja, Sammy and Andrew all gained titles recently. Sammy and Nastassja are playing this weekend. 

December 11 IM John Bartholomew played well but fell short at the London Classic FIDE Open in his quest for GM norms. GM Wesley So finally won a game in round 9. The event was plagued by a high draw rate. 
Chessbase has an article about Deep Mind Artificial Intelligence project that is rocking the chess world. It crushed Stockfish in a match. 
Club members get a discount for the weekend's Minnesota Blizzard FIDE Open. A club membership would make a great Christmas gift. 

December 7 Tom Babcock is featured in The 
December Check Is in the Mail by Alex Dunne on the US Chess site.  Article Here
December 4 Andrew Tang was perfect at the Minnesota Blitz Championships:18/18. Another strong player has shown up: Alexander Opitz. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. 

John Bartholomew is in London chasing the GM norms. He is off to a good start: 3.5/4. Wesley So is playing in the London Classic leg of the Grand Chess tour. 

December 3 Congratulations to Sammy Narayanan for squeaking over 2200 and becoming a Master. Now I wont feel so bad when he beats me. 
November 28 Saumik Narayanan has started a Go Fund me page to send the University Chess Team to 
 2017 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championships.
  Alice Lee ties for first at the Martz Memorial in Eau Claire. Only Dan could beat here. 

November 26
 ( Dad sent me a picture.) Congratulations to IM Andrew Tang on achieving his last GM norm at Charlotte Chess Center Norm Tournament, becoming the newest and first homegrown Grandmaster in Minnesota! Andrew scored 6.5 out of 9 required and his GM title application will be submitted for approval at the next FIDE congress. Andrew had a great start in the tournament scoring 5 out of 6 in the first six rounds, only needing three draws to secure the norm. However he blundered a winning position in round 8 against IM Raja Panjwani of Canada and put himself in a must-win situation in round 9 with black. Overcoming the huge setback he went on to win round 9 with determination! IM Raja Panjwani also won his last game and achieved his second GM norm. Thanks to Grant Oen and Peter Giannatos of Charlotte Chess Center and Scholastic Academy for organizing such a successful event with two GM norms achieved! The complete results can be found at: NORM   and  ARTICLE .
The Minnesota Blitz Championship will be on Sunday December 3rd at the Castle and we will celebrate Andrew's 18th birthday before the tournament. He did it just days before turning 18, giving himself a nice birthday gift as becoming a GM is his childhood dream. You can register for the Minnesota Blitz Championship using the link: BLITZ 

November 23 I have been informed that the Minnesota Open will not be held on President's weekend. It is scheduled for February 23-25th. The Winter Open is set for January 27-28th. The club Championship will be on January 6-7th at the club.

November 19 The Sammy's Birthday Money Quads drew 36 players. Ashton Jin won the top quad denying the birthday boy the prize. His parents brought cake and pizza. We are back to Exerciser Quads this coming Saturday. 
November 12
Sammy is celebrating his 13th birthday this week. His wonderful parents will be bringing cake and punch to the club for the Money Quads. They are also adding $100 to the prize fund. We have decided to rename the Quads to " Sammy's Birthday Money Quads". Adding in the original $100 this will be the best Quads ever. Dane Zagar directing.  

IM John Bartholomew will be in St. Louis once Magnus leaves town for another try at the GM norm. He did well there before, getting his first norm.  Good luck.  

The Minnesota Class Championships results are posted. IM Andrew Tang was once again perfect in winning the Master/Expert section. Eddie Wasserman was the Class A champ. Both are now seeded into the State Playoffs next Spring. 

MSCA will host the 2018 U.S. Class Championship to be held at the Plymouth Crown Plaza from November 9th to 11th, 2018! The 2018 Minnesota Class Championship will be combined with the U.S. Class Championship. More details will be forth coming.

November 8 John Thomson has posted the upcoming MSCA tournaments on their site. Dates and some site information.

November 3  
IM Sean Nagle is posting some quizzes on his new Twitter site. He is promoting the Blizzard PRO chess league team. They were voted in to the league by their fans after a good qualifying attempt. The league starts on January 17. 

November 3 IM John Bartholomew is at it again with a video on the Scandinavian Opening. He will be playing in another norm tournament in St Louis. Meanwhile at the club Richard Safranski has jumped three hundred points in about a month. 
October 30
Although the old guys at the club tried to push Nastassja over the Master threshold she decided she could not wait . Traveling to Chicago she beat a 2471 and drew a 2400 to clinch the title. Congratulations to her. The December Think will be renamed in her honor. 
Dennis McGrath has written another story on Wesley So. This one about his qualification for the Candidates Tournament.

Turn clocks back this weekend. Extra sleep for the November Think. No reason for the old man bye. 

October 30 
 When cleaning up the club we found a $100 bill and decided to add it to the November Money Quad prize fund. :-) We will divide it evenly between the quads.  A Money Quad is like one of Nate's but with prizes.  Dane Zagar directing. There will also be a special Holiday Quad with an enhanced prize fund on December 23. 

October 29 Andrew Titus was the winner of the Collegiate and Youth tournament this past weekend at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth. Andrew Tang was busy playing online in the PRO chess qualifier with John, Sean and Maricio. Large turnout at 87 players in several sections. Wilson Gibbons was the clear winner in the Senior Open with 4/4.  Tim Radermacher in his first Senior was second.  
Pictured are John, Mauricio, Sean, Andrew and the Scholastic winners. Maybe the Blizzard team would have done better if they played at the Castle more often?

Update: IM John Bartholomew has a video explaining the PRO chess league and the Blizzard's participation in it.   
The polls are open! The Minnesota Blizzard is calling on our supporters worldwide to vote us into the PRO Chess League's regular season! We are the only team from the Midwest in the league or to be voted into the league. Please vote for us using the links below and share them with your friends, families and relatives! The polls are on both Twitter and and if you have accounts on both sites please vote on both. The polls will be valid until Wednesday and the votes on both sites will be added. Go Blizzard!!!  LINK    LINK 2 

October 25 Attention frustrated Class A players and class B players. The cutoff for the Minnesota Class Championships rating wise is November 8th. If you need a few rating points get over the next section line the upcoming November Think will be a good choice. Dan says:
This tournament is your last chance to earn a bigger rating, and qualify for a higher section in next week's MSCA Class Championship Tournament at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth (Well, there is also next Monday's Action Quad also at the Castle). The seven rated games we offer this weekend will be rated by the eighth, and so offer a lot of chances to move up! You probably need the warm-up anyway. Don't overlook our one-day option, for those unable to give the royal game two full weekends in a row!" 

October 22 The PRO Chess League Qualifier will be this coming Saturday 10/28 at 3pm. The format is 15 round individual blitz games (time control: 3+2) and the top three teams will advance to the regular season.  GM Mauricio Flores, IM Andrew Tang, IM John Bartholomew, and  IM Sean Nagle will be the Blizzard team.
They will play in the Crown Plaza Plymouth skittles room. Spectators welcome.

35 players showed up for the Saturday Exerciser Quads. Click link above for results. The Minnesota Class Championships are on for November 11-12th at the Crowne Plaza Plymouth.  Remember this is a chance to qualify for the Playoffs for State Champ. 
MSCA has organized the State Blitz Championship for December 3rd at the Castle Chess Club.
There is also a November Think on November 4-5th.
The Club Championship is scheduled for January 6-7th. 

 October 17 While the chess punks will be playing in the Minnesota Youth and Collegiate Open at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth the old geezers will be fighting for the title of State Senior Champ at the same site. There are only four rounds so no need for the old man bye. Dan Voje, last year's champ, is expected to return for more glory.

October 15 There were only 39 at the 3rd Blizzard Fide Open held at the Castle Chess Club this past weekend.  As expected IM Andrew Tang was perfect and took first. The big surprise was Mr. Bill sneaking into clear 2nd. In the Reserve Perry Zetner was clear first. I have updated the calendar for the Class Championships and another Blizzard event. There could be some minor changes to these so look at the online registration for official details. 

  October 8
The lineup for next weekend's Blizzard has the usual suspects. Tang, Sammy, Nastassja, OK and Radermacher. Discount for Castle members. 


Pictured are Jiten, Saumik and Alice                         Saumik, John, Andrew and Jiten               Sara, Bill and Momi
IM John Bartholomew and IM Andrew Tang tied for first in the Gopher Open. Saumik Narayanan and Jiten Patel were the TDs and Organizers. Alice Lee tied for first in the U1800. 

Well, give us a few hours of your time on Sunday afternoon. Don't fear the blitz sharks, as this truly is a different game. The extra minutes actually allow several big thinks, and the delay gives you a real chance to topple the Jackson-Wahl-types, who have a small chance to just clock you. And no scoresheets to haunt you over the next several days! Come and get in touch with your intuitive side. Sunday at 1:00 pm.

October 3 John is at the Oslo Chess Festival continuing his quest for GM norms. He is leading with 5.5/6. 
Bring your clock for the Blizzard Open. Castle Members get $10 off the entry. 

September 27 I just heard of the passing of Jack Mangan. He died on September 1. He was very active in the Minneapolis school chess scene. Obituary.

September 26 John Bartholomew and Andrew Tang tied for first in the 3rd Golden Gopher Open. Thanks to Saumik Narayanan for organizing a great event. Saumik sent the detals: Everything is rated. John and Tang split first in the Open with 4.5 each. Alice Lee and UMN Student Kaushal Kalyanasundaram split 1st in the U1800 with 4.5 each. Soren Kung won clear first in the U1200 with 4.5. UMN Student Ariel Arjona won clear first in the Unrated section with a perfect 5/5, dominating most of his games. Played in Cuban tournaments over a decade ago. May be a new force to be reckoned with in MN Chess...

There were a total of 51 players representing the University at the tournament, over 40% of the entire tournament. Titled players were IM John, IM Tang, FM Wasiluk, and FM Johnson. Tang gave a simul on Saturday, and John gave a lecture on Sunday, both had decent turnouts of 10-20 players.  John is off to Norway to continue his GM norm  quest. 

The Golden Gopher Open is going to be a great event. Four players over 2300, big prize fund, lecture and simul. Registration.  Early entry has been extended to Sept. 15th. They are going for over 100 players. 
We had 28 in Saturday's Quad. Next one is Sept. 30th.

September 4 The Northern Open had a small turnout. Andrew Tang won the Open with a perfect 5/5. Nathan Hoover and Aaron Thomson were 2-3rd. In the Reserve Robin Li-Yang Tu was clear first with 4.5/5. I liked the multiple choice of schedules. Not playing a third game on Saturday was nice. MSCA decided to hold the annual State Blitz Championship on Saturday. This resulted in a small turnout. John Talghader took clear first with 9/10.
The State Senior Championship has moved to October 28-29th at the Crowne Plaza in Plymouth. There will be a Collegiate Scholastic Tournament at the same time and place. No details at this time. 
Tang and Bartholomew are playing in the Golden Gopher Open. Now is the chance to beat them before they become Grandmasters.

Twin Ports update. Alex Yermolinsky has published an article about his vacation in Superior. Chessbase

Update. Mauricio Flores has an article on his blog about Alice, Linden and Nastassja at the World Cadets. He got a picture. 
August 31 Nastassja finished tied for 2nd-3rd with a loss in the last round. Alice Lee came back strong and finished 3-5th in her section. Linden finished in the middle of the pack in a strong section. USCF ARTICLE ONE  and ARTICLE TWO.Congratulations to all.  Pictured: Proud Dad, Coach Illia Nyzhnyk, Nastassja and Amina Kairbekova. Thanks to Melik Khachiyan for the photo. The tournament was the World Cadets Chess Championship 2017
John Bartholomew is in Texas to try again for a GM norm. Keep tabs on him on Twitter

Update No one was able to score the required 6.5/9 in the Norm tournament. IM Sean Nagle and GM Vladimir Georgiev tied for first with 5.5/9. FM Sam Schmakel earned his second IM norm with 5 points (4.5 points needed). Click on picture to enlarge.

In Brazil Nastassja is 7.5/9 and in second with 2 rounds to go. Alice is 6/9 and Linden is 4.5/9. Crosstable link
USCF has two articles about the World Cadets.  Article one and Article two. Another picture would be nice. 

Tang, Gibbins, Radermacher, Fellman, Hoover, and Utterberg are entered in the Northern Open. 

August 24 The Norm tournament is under way. John is posting his games on his Twitter account. Hopefully there will be a .pgn file available. Wesley So stopped by to push the first pawn. He will be playing in the upcoming World Cup in his quest for a title match.
Alice, Linden and Nastassja are in Brazil for the World Cadets Chess Championship 2017. I need a great photo from there. Results link. Pictured are Alice and Linden at breakfast. Linden in the U12 and Alice in the U 08 Girls. Good luck to all. 

August 22 Minnesota sent a group to Coralville, Iowa to compete for the Iowa State Open Championship. We had last year's champ, Sean Nagle, on our side. GM. Timur Garayev is all that stood in our way. Sadly that was too much. He went 5/5. Crosstable

August 17 The first Minnesota State Chess  Festival, which serves as the grand opening of our chess season, is around the corner! The field of the first event of the festival, the first ever Minnesota GM Norm Tournament, is all set to go. Come watch the three local IMs and other norm seekers battling the GMs and each other to achieve the prestigious GM and IM title norms! 6pm 8/23, 10am, 4pm 
8/24, 8/25, 8/26, 9am and 3pm 8/27. The list of players can be found on chess results.

You can register for the main event Northern Open held at the Regency Ballroom of Crowne Plaza Plymouth using the link below:
The  Minnesota State Blitz Championship will be held on September 2nd at 8pm at the Regency Ballroom of Crowne Plaza Plymouth.
All the details are on the Castle front page or the MSCA site.

August 16 Nastassja Matus was featured on KMSP news. Good luck to her in Brazil. She is now rated 2154 USCF. 

August 14 The Twin Ports Open was a huge success. Many liked the new location in Superior. Pictured are : IM John Bartholomew, the Mayor of Superior, and TD Dane Zagar. 
The Open was won by GM Bryan Smith with 4.5/5. ( His picture did not turnout. ) Three tied for second. In the Reserve Brent Gudowski was perfect with 5/5. Again three tied for second. In the Bantam Ty Kroells was first with 4.5/5. Twin Ports Results
If you were busy playing and wondered how John did in his games here are some links: Timur,Dahl,Hoover,and Twitter,

August 14 IM Andrew Tang was just short on his quest for a GM norm in Riga, Latvia. . He needed some tougher competition to get the performance number. 6.5/9 is usually good enough. When he got the tougher competition in the Blitz he went 10/11 for clear first and a 2733 performance rating. He beat 3 GMs. 
August 7 The Minnesota State Chess Festival events are being finalized. South Dakota is having their Fall tournament on Sept. 16-17th. $20 entry fee and $3500 guaranteed. Details on the calendar. The Minnesota State Senior Championships will be on October 7-8th. Bill will be able to play. Twin Cities Chess League is around the corner. Time to find a team. 

August 2 Wesley So is back in action this week at the Sinquefield Cup. Watch at Chess24. Still time to get in to Twin Ports Open.
Another strong tournament is the Iowa Open Championship in Coralville, near Iowa City. A chance to play Sean Nagle and  3 GMs. 

August 1 Yermo wrote an article for Chessbase about the Senior Open.

MSCA Tournament Schedule

In the red brick Waterbury building on the NW corner of Central and Broadway in the Nordeast.
Phone to reach the club - 612.478.9934 or e-mail at
Club Champions