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  • Writer's picturejennifervallens

Tournaments, Travel and Blindfold Chess

It has been a long time sine my last post. I am putting the finishing touches on my current newsletter and hope to have it out by next week.

The past few months have been a whirlwind of chess activity. I have partnered with ACA's Jerry Yee and organized several OFF da ROOK Scholastic Chess tournaments. They have been growing with each new tournament and are a success by all accounts. We had over 100 kids at our last one. Our next tournament is scheduled for January 17.

Coach Jerry and I will also be putting on our first Chess Workshop on January 10th. This event is being sponsored by Westlake Elementary. Our hope is that we can continue to build interest in Chess in the Conejo Valley. We plan for this to be the first of many workshops. Check out flyers on the website for more details.

This past summer and through October, I have been busy working with good friend and Blindfold Chess expert Timur Gareyev scheduling events for his Blindfold Chess tour. I was able to secure events in Reykjavik, Iceland, Boston, Cupertino, Fremont, San Francisco, Portland and Oklahoma City.

I joined Timur in Cupertino and participated in my own Blindfold Chess simul. It was a great to experience it from a player's point of view. It was truly remarkable to go over my game with Timur afterward. One of the highlights of my trip was visiting the home of Woman's International Master Ashritha Eswaran and Candidate Master Aksithi Eswaran.

The Chess travel continued as I attended a Blindfold Simul in Nashville and got to spend time with fellow Chess Mom and friend, Sherri Gough. Her son Turner is quite the super star. He started a company called KID-TO-KID CHESS ( where he shares his knowledge and experience for those interested in the scholastic competitive chess world told from a kid's point of view. I also visited my dear old friend Marshall Altman from my Capitol Records days. His son coincidentally was participating in the Scholastic Tournament in Nashville that I was attending. Small, small world!

From Nashville I headed to Fort Collins, Colorado to meet up with Timur and help him coordinate details for his playing forty 10-minute Blindfold Blitz Consecutive Games. He chose to ride an exercise bike while playing the 5 hour match. He is a maniac! It was truly an impressive feat! Also, I got to meet some really great folks. I met Randolph Schine from the Denver Chess Club and Brad Lundstrom and Zachary Bekkedahl from the ChessMates Chess Club in Fort Collins. All I can say is that I am so fortunate to be part of this amazing chess community.

October continued to be quite a busy chess month. Evan and I headed to the Millionaire Chess Event and spent 6 days in Las Vegas. Evan was not thrilled with his playing performance, but the tournament was nonstop fun and an experience to remember. Amy Lee and Grandmaster Maurice Ashley pulled off another classy showstopping event. My respect and love for them as people and organizers continues to grow. What they have done to mainstream chess inspire me as I help plan for the Blindfold Chess World Record Challenge.

The travel continued the following week when I met Timur in Chicago to check out a potential location for his World Record Challenge set for October next year. We partnered with the Chicago Area Mensa HalloweeM conference and had a really amazing time with the Mensans. What a delightful and interesting conference. Timur did a Blindfold Simul there as well, in costume!

I am happy to say that my travels have slowed down a bit. It is so nice to be HOME with my family. I expect things to pick up again in the Spring as more Blindfold Chess events are being scheduled and we step into high gear for the Record Breaking Event, but for now, I can BREATHE.

Blog from 2015 travels

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