Chess Chatter

This page is for news and recent results of the local chess community.

 If you have news send it to, Bill at



May 20 The first leg of the Summer Grand Prix was a success. with 107 players the final total. As expected it was won by Sammy Narayanan with 4.5/5. Andrew Titus and Josiah Jorenby were second with 4/5. David Schabert was the U2100 winner. There were many upsets. The tournament brought a lot of new players and a couple of old timers: Brian Campbell and Nathaniel Graham. For those not going to Chicago or the lake there is an Exerciser Quad on Saturday and Action Quads on Monday. 

May 14 The St. Cloud Open is going to be great. 85 players and the start of the MN. Grand Prix. State Champ Sammy Narayanan leads the field with I think nine Masters so far. The site is very nice with a restaurant on site. Free parking.

April 17 Updated.   Time to get in shape for the Summer chess season. The MSCA Grand Prix is back and will be better than last year. Remember there is a spot in the Closed Playoffs at stake to the winners in several sections. Also prizes for each tournament and overall winners. 

The Chicago Open has an early entry date of  May 22nd. MSCA's St. Cloud Open has been posted.  The Blitz Championships information is posted. Early entry May 15th. The Superior Open information is available at Online Registration. Early entry May 31st. Expedia had a few rooms available but one should check the hotel website too. Dane Zagar has sent out the Catfish Days information and it is posted. Early entry May 1st. I was unable to book a room at the casino due to a concert and chose the Redwood Lodge, in Redwood Falls. The Morton Inn is another choice. Rochester Open is posted. Early entry June 7th.

April 8 Jordan Timm is the newest Master. Winning two events over the weekend put him over the top.  He is a regular on Monday night which is getting stronger as the weather improves and is a great place to get in three games. Congratulations to Jordan.

The Rochester Open details are posted. Free entry for Masters with early entry. 

April 14 After splitting the two slow games in the tie break for the title of State Champion Sammy and Sean played two rapid games to two hard fought draws. In the deciding Armageddon game Sean bid 12:30 and Sammy 12:29. Low bid gets White but has to win. Black wins with a draw. Sammy won and starts his streak as champion at two. He is also chasing norms and I will report back on his progress. Congratulations to both for a hard fought contest. Dane directed and handled the DGT boards.  Games

April 1st. At the General Membership meeting there was an update on MSCA and The Castle Chess Club buying a building. They will start building a free standing 10,000 sq. ft. two story dream Castle in May. The main level will house a 5,000 title bookstore and coffee shop. Healthy sandwiches will be available. Also a  comfy Mother's room for chess Moms to relax in while  their kids crush old men upstairs.

The main playing area has 80 DGT boards with orthopedic chairs. In the corner the Hall of Fame will house our history and the coveted, and updated, Castle Championship trophy. Magnus is scheduled to be at the ribbon cutting playing our state's best in Blitz. 


If you are interested about the real story of a permanent home for Minnesota Chess contact the MSCA  board or talk to them at tournaments as they prepare for the 2024 Grand Prix. 

March 24 IM Sean Nagle and Samrug Narayanan tied at 4/5 in the Closed Playoffs. I assume there will be a playoff, as MSCA rules state, at a later date. The Experts also had a tie with Jordan Timm and Vladimir Maltsev scoring 3.5/5. In the Amateur Eddie Wasserman, returning champ, cruised to victory at 4.5/5. In the Reserve Liam Eriksson won with 4.5/5. More details at MSCA site.

March 21 Alice won the American Cup by beating GM Irina Krush in the Rapid match today. $40,000.  Congratulations Alice. Chessbase has a recap.

IM Alice Lee beat GM Irina Krush in the first final match. It is a double elimination event. They will play 4 rapid games today for the overall title starting just after 1:00 pm. 

March 18 The Summer chess calendar is starting to take shape. The Chicago Open has an early entry date of  May 22nd. MSCA's St. Cloud Open has been posted. Early entry is April 30.The Superior Open information is available at Online Registration. Early entry May 31st. Expedia had a few rooms available but one should check the hotel website too. Dane Zagar has sent out the Catfish Days information and it is posted. Early entry May 1st. I was unable to book a room at the casino due to a concert and chose the Redwood Lodge, in Redwood Falls. The Morton Inn is another choice. 

If the games from the playoffs are online I will post a link.

State Champ Samrug Narayanan

FM Samrug Narayanan went undefeated in the Minnesota Open. The State Champ defeated IM Sean Nagle, the speedy Jackson Wahl and now Senior Leonard Johnson on his path to clear first. Sean qualified for the playoffs and will be joined by Radermacher, Richter, Iwu and Wahl for a tough closed tournament to crown the State Champ.

Dan Voje won clear first in the Amateur. MSCA has the crosstables posted already. Pictured below from a file photo. 

The Minnesota Open has been rated.

Tim Radermacher was on Minnesota Live plugging chess and the Scholastic Championships.

February 24 Top boards at the MN OPen round 4. State Champ NM Sammy Narayanan, upper right, trying to eliminate some competitors early.

February 19 Tired of playing kids? The 2024 U.S. Senior Open, July 12-14 will be held in Chicago. The US Junior too. Organized by Caveman Chess. It does not for once conflict with our State events. Early entry in the Chicago Open ends March 19th. 

February 5 At the left is a picture of the remodeling that was done after the accident. A huge amount of sewage fell from a broken pipe and covered the floor, tables, sets and clocks. Dane showed me pictures and it was massive. Southdale took no responsibility and it was left to volunteers to fix the problem. Thankfully Roger Hale once again stepped up with carpeting and other items. This was huge. Dane's Dad, Bruno, volunteered his skills at sheet rock repair and all round handyman to help get the club looking great. Many others helped too. The place looks brand new and more tables will be added to get us back to be able to handle bigger events. I advise you to take advantage of one of the best clubs in the nation.  

January 26  Ionaton Giurgiu has just made Master. Congratulations.

 January 22 The Winter Open was a huge success. with over 200 players in three sections at the Roseville Oval Community Center which was full.  The dry weather helped and thanks to Brian Ribnick for bringing students. The Open was won by Jordan Timm and Vladimir Maltsev with 4.5/5. MSCA raised the prize fund and added more class prizes. Dane Zagar did a great job directing with help. It should take a few days for USCF to rate the event because of all the new members. 

Chess Lessons:  NM Alex Balandin and his team has a chess coaching program to help you achieve your chess goals and brighten the Winter days. He has been doing this for a number of years and has been recognized by the Hall of Fame selectors for his chess contributions and successes. The program is for Beginners to Advanced players in separate groups. the link is here.

January 12 The Superior Open has been pushed back a week due to Grandma's Marathon taking the original date. Andy is getting the details finalized. 

Check the front page for details on the new weekend tournament at the club to replace the FIDE /Open event.

January 8 Dane Zagar and Tim Radermacher are the new Club Champions. A field of 40 competed for the coveted title. We should be in our old space fairly soon as clean up is almost done.

December 25 Check early entry dates for the above tournaments and save money.

December 18 The Hall of Fame tournament was held at the Castle this year. 52 players total in three sections. Michael Perry and Alexander Augustine tied for first with 4/4. Both gained a massive amount of points. Some of us are back on our floor. Next up after the first of the year is the annual Castle Championship on January 6th-7th. There is a new format eliminating the need for an old man bye. First round is at 11:00am and early entry ends on the 2nd. 

November 19 Tim Radermacher defeated Okey Iwu in a very tough tiebreak match that went to armageddon. He will represent Minnesota in the National States Senior Championship in July. Joining our scholastic winners chosen early next year.

The Minnesota Class was a large success for with over 100 entries. There was a tie in the Master/Expert section and Okey will have another tiebreak playoff with Alec Richter. 

October 23 The Senior Championship resulted in a three way tie. Dan Voje slowed newly old Leonard Johnson with a draw and Murray  slowed  Okey Iwu in the same manner. This made winning in the last round mandatory. Tim Radermacher drew and allowed Iwu and Murray to catch up. Murray won the Over 65+ title and a playoff is being discussed for the right to play in the Senior US States Championships next Summer. 

Alice Lee is in the Isle of Man for the FIDE Grand Swiss which can lead to the next Candidates cycle. 

October 18 Alice Lee finished strong in the US Women's Championships. She was clear third with a 2450 performance. Two early losses and the top two playing very strong held her back. Still for a fourteen year old it was a terrific result. The $20,000 prize was able to soften the result. I would suggest she play the MN Class and secure a spot in the State Playoffs. So much fun to watch her play.

October 5 Alice Lee and Andrew Tang are playing in the US Championships. Games are live on YouTube with analysis. Chessbase has a lot of information and the games.

September 18 The Northern Open was a huge success. 125 players total. Jack Bellinger ran a on time flawless tournament. Sammy Narayanan, state champ, and Ashton Jin were tied for first with 4.5/5. Charles Wynn was clear 3rd. It has been rated already.

September 12 Alice Lee played board one on the Women's Team Championships played in Poland. The team was fourth and Alice won individual gold. Lots of coverage on Chessbase and USCF. My treadmill chess site, Agadmator, covered one of Alice's victories. The USA team will not be in the TCCL but hopefully someone has scooped Alice for their team. Details for this year's TCCL are on the MSCA site and above.

August 9 GM Andrew Tang won the US Open on tiebreak and will be in the US Closed Championships.  ARTICLE

Early entry to the Northern Open ends on the 16th for the lowest rate.  

August 3 The latest FIDE list is out and it shows Alice Lee as #61 on the Women's list and #6 on the girls. That makes her the top USA girl and 2nd USA Women. IM-pressive. :-)  Fun facts: Dan is her most played opponent at 33 games of which he won 12. I have 4 victories against her. Beat them when they are very young. 

July 24  The Catfish Days Tournament was a big success. Though some of the big guns withdrew the competition was strong. As Usual Okey Iwu and Andrew Titus finished on top. They were joined by a new friend from Manitoba, Theodore Wolchock. These guys did not lose a single game though some byes taken gave many players a chance to get through to the top. Sadly that did  not happen. Finishing at 5.5/7 was good enough for a crowded first place. There were 5 close behind at 5/7. It has been rated. Next up is some weekend events at the Castle and the last Grand Prix in September, the Northern Open. 

IM-Elect Alice Lee is cruising to first place in the US Girls Championship.   Interview one.   Interview two.   Interview Three

July 10  Once again NM Andrew Titus came through in the Grand Prix circuit. Going 4.5/5 in the Open section at Rochester. With a field rich with Masters this was impressive. Only NM Jackson Wahl could slow him with a draw. Michael Takahashi, form Iowa, joined Jackson in second place with 4/5. Local NM Matt Jensen, of Chess Goals fame, finished with 3.5/5. These guys were followed by 10 at 3 points. A very strong, even field. In the 32 player U1900 Victor Pesola and Ibrahim Bukhari Shared the top spot at 4.5/5 dashing John Blomer's hopes after a 4/4 start as he lost in the last round. It has been rated. 

If you would like to see some photos and possibly buy them go to this site. 

IM elect Alice Lee is in St. Louis for the US Girls Championship.  

June 26 NM Andrew Titus, after a scare from me in round one, pulled himself together and won the Superior Open with 4.5/5. The best anyone could do were the six bunched at 3.5 points. In the Under 1900 John Blomer was perfect with 5/5. Making his chess Mom so proud. He will soon be over 1900. In the Bantam improving players Brandon RichardWebster and Ryker Johnson scored 4/5. With 68 players the Superior Open is on the way back to Twin Ports glory days. The Site and directing were flawless. Thanks to Dane Zagar and Andy Grube. I will skip the dorms next year. Next up is Rochester and Catfish Days. Grand Prix Standings. 

June 18 With Alice out of town her big brother took advantage and crushed the Blitz field at the Minnesota State Championships. Scoring 15/18  for clear first. Second was Andrew Titus and Alex Aimdilokwong, from Iowa. The amazing record of 74 players was due to the explosion of online chess during the pandemic and great organizing by Tim Radermacher and the rest of MSCA. Sarah and Jackson did their usual job of great directing. We all liked the big screen posting of pairings and standings. Much of the field was first time OTB players. 

Matt Jensen did a study on how much blitz is good for one. Very interesting. He has lots of videos at his Chess Goals site. Check it out. 

June 12 Alice Lee has been busy. Traveling to Montreal for a very strong tournament she earned her third IM norm. She is now an IM-elect and WGM-elect. She is the youngest ever female IM in the USA (at the age of 13 years and 7 months), breaking the previous record held by Carissa Yip (at the age of 16 years and 1 month).Alice became one of three female chess players to achieve the title of IM at the age of 13 or younger, joining the ranks of Judit Polgar and Kateryna Lagno. . In this tournament, she defeated two GMs (including 2605-rated GM Arturs Neiksans) and drew four other GMs (including 2617-rated GM Lazaro Bruzon Batista). Details.        Chessbase can not get enough of her. 

If looking for more Minnesota chess news here is MSCA link.

March 27  Sammy Narayanan did not need a playoff this year to clinch the first of probably many State titles. He finished with 4.5/5 taking the title from IM Sean Nagle who was looking for 12th title. The games can be found on the link above. Thanks to Dane for giving up a weekend to direct and Tim for organizing . 

In the U2200 section Ionatan Giurgiu scored 3.5 for first. In the U2000 Eddie Wasserman was almost perfect at 4.5. In the U1700 Michael Haynes was perfect after four rounds clinching the title but faltered in the last round to end at 4 points.

 December 7 Dan Voje lost his 3000 game this weekend. He once again beat me but  Arvind Thiagarajan dealt Dan the painful blow. Dan will now start to work on getting his 4,000th win.  

This design was painted on our wall at Southdale just outside the club for all to see. Thanks to Dane and Brandon for getting the job done. It looks amazing.

The Castle Chess Club will now be at the Southdale Mall in the basement. Enter at the Hennepin County Service Center entrance off of York and go down the stairs. We are located by the dance studio. 

     The picture is of the club. With sets and new chairs and good lighting and posters the place looks like a real club. There is more work to do but it is coming along very well. 

The May issue of the Minnesota Chess Journal is now posted on the MSCA site. 

Games from the Closed Playoffs

Games  from Nagle -Narayanan tie break. 

If you would like to follow the State Playoff Championship 

the games are on Lichess and the pairings on Google. 

Games download.