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 

May 22 Doug Olson has relayed that NM Robert K (RK) Johnson has died. Robert passed away on Sunday, May 20, 2018. Robert was a resident of Robbinsdale, Minnesota at the time of passing. U.S. Army Veteran. Memorial Service will be June 2 at 11 am Elim Lutheran Church, 3978 W. Broadway Ave., Robbinsdale with visitation 1 hr before at church. He played a few Senior events in the past few years. 
Monday's action Quads will start at 6:00 pm. 
May 20 The U.S. Amateur North was won easily by Ashton Jin with 4.5/5. In the Reserve section Morgan Bozeman cruised to a 4.5/5 result and first place. The Minnesota Masters was shortened to a one day quad as only three Master entered. Expert Dane Zagar filled out the field. Alex Richter and Steven Cooklev tied with 2.5/3. 
Weekend events posted on the home/front page.
May 18 
Chess Castle member Stuart Strack was the Co-Champion in the K-5 U900 section at the National Elementary Championships in Nashville last weekend. He is pictured on the left with GM Irina Krush. Stuart went 7/7 in a field of 370.
Others in Minnesota that won awards at the Elementary Champions were:
Kartik Saravanapandi - Champion K-6 Unrated
K-6 U1400 - Harry Breheim- 3rd Place
K6 U1000 - Marshall Tsai- 2nd Place
K-3 Unrated - Grace Emerson - Champion, Rose Freiberg - 2nd Place, Mateo Cancino - 3rd Place — Along with Xavier Emerson they also won the team championship.
There were over 2000 players in 14 sections.
If you have time to kill between rounds at the Amateur this weekend, two new videos from IM Bartholomew: One and Two. John you need to create a separate playlist for them.

May 16 The St. Paul Park and Recreation Dept is looking for someone to work with youth in a after school chess program starting in the Fall. It is a paid position and they will supply boards and pieces. All the details need to be worked out.  Contact me and I will get you in touch with the person in charge. 
May 14
The May Think was won by NM Steven Cooklev with 6.5/7. Niki Ringel won the Girls and Women's  tournament with 4/4. She has accepted the invitation and will be our representative to the NGIT. She is to the left.

May 4  Dane Mattson reports: Grandmaster Alex Yermolinsky and WGM Camilla Baginskaite confirmed their participation in Twin Ports Open this year!  We'd also like to remind people to register before May 20th, as the registration fee will increase and hotel rooms will become increasingly more difficult to find. 

May 3 The USCF site is undergoing maintenance and the Minneapolis Open should be rated today, Thursday. And now it is rated. Congratulations to Dr. Iwu and Steven Cooklev for their first place tie.
The Summer calendar is being filled in with great events. Of note is the new Classic Tournament that can be stretched over three days or played quickly in two and then merged. Also note that Thursday and Monday are again very popular at the Castle. Be on time. 

May 1 GM Andrew Tang played a match against the AI computer program, Leela Chess Zero, in an attempt to defend humans. You can see how he did on Lichess

April 26 We have heard the very sad, very unexpected,  news from Ms. Katmerka Tabakovic that her son, Muhamed passed away at his home last weekend. Chess was very important to her boy, and she wanted us to know. More recent members of our chess community might not be familiar with this strong master-level player unless they've played in the Gold Section o: the chess league, or in the coffeehouses of south Minneapolis. He had only played several rated tournaments in the last 15 years, but before that, he was quite active at the Chess Castle (mostly at our old, original address in the Midway area of St Paul) since his first tournament in 1993. He was an extremely intense and competitive player, very good at tactics, and willing to play chess at any speed.
Pictured are Muhamed in action and his family: Parents, Ibro and Katerka Tabakovic, and his brother, Mirza, in back.
  April 23
Lots of news from the weekend. Wesley is in first place in the U.S. Championships. Somplayers from the club went to Okoboji Iowa and then played each other.  Sammy got to play a GM and Stuart got to play me. Pictured from left: Roger, Sammy, Lynn, Bill, John and Stuart in front. 
The 2018 KCF All Girls National Championship was held in Chicago.
Nastassja Matus won clear first with 5.5/6 in the U18 section. Alice Lee did well in the Blitz and U14 section.  
Minneapolis Open this coming weekend at the club.

Patrick Tang reports:
 Sorry for the long delay in sending you this update. It was an incredible journey this season for the Minnesota Blizzard, way beyond everyone's expectation, and thanks to all of you for your enormous support to the team. In the rematch against St. Louis Archbishops in the Atlantic division final we had a good start leading 2.5 to 1.5 after round 1. However in round 2 we lost two winning games, tuning a potential 3 to 1 score to 1 to 3. This was a huge psychologically blow to the team as we became desperate to try to win games (St. Louis had the draw odds). Mauricio had an incredible performance with 3.5 out of 4 (2800+ performance rating?) but we could not catch up trying to force wins against very strong opponents. Mauricio had been a hero in several matches and all our players made their best efforts in every match. Though a loss in a match in which we had real chances hurt a little and we were not far from going to the semifinal in San Francisco, we can be proud of ourselves for being one of the best teams in the league! "Minnesota" and "Blizzard" have become "buzz" words in the global chess community :).
Pictured are the original Blizzard team: GM Flores, GM Tang, IM Bartholomew and IM Nagle. 

The Blizzard will be involved in the second GM norm tournament in Minnesota at Plymouth Crowne Plaza from 6/15 to 6/19 and will also hold the Minnesota Blizzard Championship during the National Chess Day weekend of Oct 13 to 14. Again thanks to all of you for supporting Minnesota Blizzard!            

 April 18 The U.S. Championships has finally started in St. Louis. Go Wesley!! Mr Bill returned from Denver after finishing in the middle and missing the blizzard.  Now off to Okoboji. There is a GM entered. 

 April 9 Fortunately for Mr. Bill, Alice Lee did not play the last round of the April Think. This allowed him to take first place after beating her earlier and losing to Eddie Wasserman. Alice was at 5/6 after beating four strong club regulars. She boosts her rating to 1949.  The victims can be found in the crosstable.  
Coming up: Okoboji, and the Minneapolis Open and 2018 U.S. Amateur North Championship and the First Gopher Scholastic and the Rochester Open and finally the Twin Ports Open. Check the online registration page.

April 1 The MSCA board will be posting a statement concerning events that took place at the Minnesota Scholastic Championship. Check their website.
March 28 Dennis McGrath wrote an article for the StarTribune about Fabiano Caruana winning the Candidates. You may need a subscription to read it. 
IM John Bartholomew is in Charlotte, NC for another norm event. 
NM Andrew Titus is our 2018 K-12 High School Champion
Noah Muller won the K-12 under 1200 with 5.5/6.He bested a field of 75 
NM Nastassja Matus won the K-8 section beating NM Samrug Narayanan in round 5. Nastassja was perfect at 6/6 though she had some tense moments pushing in every game. This was another section of 75 players. 
Jordan Timm was perfect in the K-5 section with 5/5. Jordan sports 1800 rating!! 
The K-3 section players seemed to enjoy themselves the most. Arvind Thiagarajan cruised to a 4/4 result. 
Team Standings page. In all there were 242 players. Dan Voje's family came thru again with a fine job running the tournament. Thanks to the Judge for watching the K-3 kids and John Thomson's help with credit cards. Jackson Wahl and Dan Voje did a smooth job directing.  
You can click on the Facebook link above to see 5 pictures. If proud parents took some I will try to post them. 

March 20 Update.  IM John Bartholomew, with a fresh haircut, streamed the games from the match.  The Minnesota Blizzard in the PRO chess league have a big match against the St. Louis Archbishops on March 21. The Pairings. You can follow them on Facebook. GM. Mauricio Flores had a great result with 3/4 against Webster.  Article.  
March 18
  The two favorites met in round 3. Andrew Tang, last year's champ, won.  He went on to win the title with a 5/5 score. Sean Nagle, eight time champ, finished with 3/5 losing to Kevin Wasiluk. Joe Longen was able to draw three games. 1.5/5. :-)   Ashton Jin as the low rated in the group did well to score 1.5/5. In the Amateur Eddie Wasserman was first with 3.5/5. In the Reserve Jack Reichert was first with 4/5. In a side match Alice Lee scored 2/2 against Dane Zagar. Crosstable.
The State Scholastic Championships are this coming weekend. 

March 14 Saumik is organizing another tournament at the University of Minnesota. A Scholastic Championship on June 2. Details on the calendar or Online Registration. Also in June is Rochester and Twin Ports. 
In a truly epic rematch Minnesota Blizzard won with the slimmest margin of 8.5 to 7.5 against Webster Windmills and reached the Atlantic Division final!  Check their Facebook page for details.
March 12 If you ever wondered what chess players do to relax the picture shows the answer. Click on picture to enlarge. 
Meanwhile Wesley So is struggling in Berlin. Off to 1-4 start he still has time to recover. John Bartholomew is facing the challenge of a large open tournament. Grandmaster one round and then much lower the next. He finished at 6/9. He will be in Charlotte on the 28th for a Round Robin Norm event. 
The closed is this coming weekend at the Chess Castle. Quiet visitors welcome. 
The Blizzard is in the playoffs of the PRO chess league. Facing Webster on Tuesday. You can follow them on Facebook. 

March 9 USCF has a scholarship for chess players.
March 5  MSCA has elected its officers: John Thomson President, Jiten Patel Vice President, Dane Zager Treasurer, Richard Weber  Secretary.  At Large: Nate Hoover, David Kuhns and D.J. Hooker.    This weekend's Rethink has decided to play the third round each day at 5:30. This gives people a dinner break.     Matt Jensen has posted this year's Rochester Open on the online registration site.  It will be June 22-23 with probably a game at the Castle on Wednesday. Check closer to the date. Meanwhile John is in Iceland chasing a GM norm. Wesley So will play in the Candidates starting March 10 in Berlin. 

March 4 A Blizzard update from Patrick Tang: "Our four players GM-elect Andrew Tang, GM Akshat Chandra, IM John Bartholomew, and IM Sean Nagle overcame a 5-7 deficit after round 3 and went 4-0 in the last round beating Miami 9-7 and made history to secure a playoff spot with one match to spare! Our last regular season match will be against Montclair Sopranos on Wednesday March 7 at 4:45pm. The first and second playoff matches will be on March 13 and 21. It is single elimination and the semifinal and final will be held in San Francisco on April 7 and 8. I published the following news on Facebook"

February 27 The following have qualified for the Closed Championship Playoffs: Nagle, Tang, Wasiluk, Longen, Hoover and Iwu. Ashton Jin is the alternate. 

 Some news from MSCA. Dane Zagar and Richard Weber are the new board members. We all know Dane. Richard has been active in SCA and has playing sons. The voting age for board members is now 16.  NM Tom Britt has moved from Ohio and hopes to play here. There was discussion about who would be eligible for the title of State Champion. Should there be co-champions. Should out of state players be allowed to play in the closed. No decision was made. There was talk of restarting the Minnesota Chess Journal. 

Our Dad is the best!!
February 26 The Minnesota Open drew 186 players. IM Sean Nagle , many time state champ, was again in form. He went 6/6 beating GM-elect Andrew Tang. With two heavy hitters on the top boards. A score of 4 will let some in the playoffs. It is rated.  More to follow.

A committee, Radermacher, Longen, Truelson and Adams, has established a MSCA hall of fame. A special induction ceremony was held where the inductees were honored. Ed Zelkind, Larry Lampert and George Barnes were this years deserved choices. Ed was joined with family and friends for the occasion. Larry is deceased and his family accepted the award in his honor.  

February 25 There will be another U.S. Amateur North Championship on May 19-20th at the Crowne Plaza Plymouth. There will also be a Master's section. Details soon.
A scholastic tournament at the UofM. 

Twin Ports Open has moved to June 30th -July 1st, 2018. Friday pizza party too.  Information is posted on the Online Registration site. 

Patrick Tang reports;"
Thanks to our four players for the hard fought games last Wednesday but this time luck was not on our side. We lost with the smallest margin 7.5 to 8.5 to much higher rated Webster Windmills, giving the leader of the league a very respectable challenge. This is definitely the toughest match we ever played. Not only they had a super GM who performed very well and by using a strong female player on board 4 they fielded an exceptionally strong lineup because her rating was counted 100 points less. She also performed well enough to make the difference. Also their recent ratings are higher than their September ratings. They are lucky that their September ratings made them just below the limit. If we keep playing like this we can beat any team in the league! 

Look forward to the super Saturday match today at 1:30pm Central! Our lineup is: GM Mauricio Flores, GM-elect Andrew Tang, GM Akshat Chandra, IM Daniel Gurevich, who will take on @NorwayGnomes lead by World Champion Magnus Carlsen in round 1 and other Eastern/Central teams!

February 23 I have been told there will not be a Catfish Tournament in 2018.
 Ivan Wijetunge has started a GoFundMe  fund to sponsor the 2019 event. You can talk to Ivan at the MN. Open. 
February 23 
The Chess Castle of Minnesota won third place at US Amateur Team North in Chicago during the President's Day weekend. The team consisted of Andrew Tang, Andrew Titus, Jackson Wahl and Stuart Konezny. As one of the top teams they got upset in round 2 by University of Chicago A but won other matches with big advantages achieving the best tie breaker. Andrew won the blitz tournament. The complete standings can be found at: TEAM 
Blizzard update: The Minnesota Blizzard lost narrowly 7.5 to 8.5 to the much higher rated Webster Windmills lead by super GM Le Quang Liem last Wednesday. The talented young GM Akshat Chandra made his debut for Blizzard. The Blizzard currently is in the third place in the Atlantic division and will play the second super Saturday match this Saturday at 1:30pm.

February 20  A new format for the Think series at the club. Dane Zagar is trying a six round tournament in two sections at Game 60 with 30 increment. We are calling this a Rethink as one will have extra time to rethink their moves. Also the Minneapolis Open has moved to April 28-29th. 

Entries for the Minnesota Open are up to 118. It looks to be quite a strong event. The annual membership meeting will be held at 6:00 pm. on Friday before the first round. 

IM John Barthlomew has been busy chasing another GM norm. He has played some good chess but became ill in Texas. You can keep up on his travels on Twitter. Sammy was at the Southwest Class also. He drew a 2558, lost to a 2500+ and two 2400+. He beat some Masters to finish with 4.5/9 and is once again solidly above 2200. His twin brother Saumik played in the Expert section finishing with 3.5/7.

February 12  The Library is getting into the chess scene. Another site.
A chess group in St. Paul is active. LINK
Another meeting: The chess meetup is every Monday from 4:30-6pm @ Town Hall Station (4500 Valley View Rd, Edina 55424). Attendees should bring their own chess set. Kid meals are free w/ the purchase of an entree. 
February 9 Patrick Tang reports: "
The Minnesota Blizzard won the battle of the Dutch against Montreal Chessbrahs as our board 4 IM Thomas Beerdsen of Netherlands scored 1.5 against his fellow countrymen GMs Robin van Kampen and Jorden van Foreest! Board 3 GM Nikola Mitkov also scored 1.5 against them! We won an incredible match 10.5 to 5.5!
Board 3 and 4 of the Blizzard contributed 5.5 points and board 1 and 2 contributed 5 points to the total 10.5 points: GM Mauricio Flores 2, GM-elect Andrew Tang 3, GM Nikola Mitkov 3 and IM Thomas Beerdsen 2.5!"
GM Wesley So has done two DVDs for Chessbase. One on 1.b3 and another on The Italian.
John lost his first game in St. Louis. Watch it here.

February 7
Tim Radermacher has been working on the Hall of Fame for Minnesota chess. He has created a wall at the Castle with the first inductees. There will be a ceremony at 3:30 pm on February 25 before round six of the Open. We will be inducting our 2018 new members into the MN Chess Hall of Fame in a ceremony.
The Blizzard continue winning in the PRO chess league. Details

John Bartholomew is continuing his GM norm hunt. He will be in St. Louis first. More details on his Twitter site. 
The entry for the Minnesota Open goes up on the 17th.
A Think tournament this weekend at the Castle.
February 5 The Blizzard came up just a little short yesterday and did not get any match point though we won and drew some nice matches against those super strong teams. We just needed 1.5 more game points get get half of a match point. Thanks to our four players for the hard fought battles against much higher opponents and we will be back on Feb 7 at 4:45pm against Montreal Chessbrahs!
Andrew's move is nominated for the move of the week. If you have Twitter please vote for him below Andrew's Move 

January 28 I often get inquires for a chess coach. We have some names on the  New Players page but I think there are more. If you would like your name added let me know. If you specialize in one kind of player that should be included. 

GM Elect Andrew Tang easily won the Winter Open with 4.5/5. Five players were second with 4.  The big news was the re-emergence of NM Allan Storbakken who was in that group, losing to Tang. Robert Klein was perfect in the reserve with 5/5. Weiwen Leung and Soren Wiedmann, two new players to rated chess, won the 47 person Bantam. 130 players total took part. Thanks to Dave Kuhns for directing. 

Note: The Minnesota Open Entry Fee: $85 by 2/16; $95 by 2/21; $100 on site. GMs, IMs FREE. 
Looking for a chess related college scholarship?  Click Here USCF

 January 25 The Blizzard will play the Buenos Aires tonight at 5:50pm. GM Mauricio Flores will debut in the season tonight with GM-elect Andrew Tang, IM Daniel Gurevich and IM Sean Nagle. Go Blizzard!!! PRO Chess League home. Blizzard Wins!!
The Winter Open first round time is 9:30.
The Minnesota Open announcement is posted on the Online Registration page. Link above. 

January 22 Pictures from the MLK tournament in Duluth.  The Great Danes changed their yearly one day a month tournament to a  weekend one. Hoping to play some different folks and get another shot at Wilson Gibbins I traveled North. Kevin Wasiluk easily won the event with 5/5 and will have his name put on the trophy. Wilson and I (Bill) placed second though he had the tougher opponents. Several out of towners were put up at local homes or for free at Black Bear Casino. Mom Zagar and my wife prepared food for between rounds and kept the coffee pot full. The Danes are planning the yearly Twin Ports tournament and I will post when the details are final. Thanks to Marv Mattson for keeping the Duluth club going strong. 
Local: The Winter Open first round time is 9:30.  Alice Lee broke 1800. No word on the details for the yearly election of board members. 

January 19 Minnesota Blizzard pulled off an unbelievable Thursday against the defending champion St. Louis Archbishops just like the Vikings! St. Louis used one super GM, two 2600+ FIDE GMs and one 1900 FIDE player, hoping their three strong GMs will take care of the business. Minnesota had four IMs in the lineup (IM/GM-elect Andrew Tang, IM Daniel Gurevich, IM John Bartholomew and IM Sean Nagle). At the end GM-elect Andrew Tang defeated two GMs over 2600 FIDE and drew their super GM in the last round. Our free agent IM Daniel Gurevich scored a huge upset win over their 2600+ GM in the last round and drew the super GM earlier. IM Sean Nagle also drew one of the 2600+ GMs in round two. All of our players defeated their lowest player. The Blizzard won with the slimmest margin of 8.5 to 7.5! Minnesota Blizzard will face Buenos Aires Krakens on Thursday January 25 at 5:50pm.  

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. 

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