Earlier this week Steve Ferrero, Atlantic Chess News editor, a Chess Expert and a friend, passed away. We got acquainted in 2009 when my twin boys, Taran and Roshan, started playing at the Dean of Chess Academy. Steve was a permanent fixture at DOCA and even more permanent was the smile on his face. His exuberance and love for the game made us gravitate towards him. He was always showing chess positions to T&R challenging them to figure out the best move or showing them an opening or two, 1. b3 being his favorite. He was happy to analyze games that the boys played and was complimentary to them even when they lost their games. Needless to say, Steve had a fan following in us (and the larger DOCA community) to the extent that Taran and Roshan considered him to be a mentor and a friend (chess is a great equalizer – age no bar). A week ago Taran played against Steve (his second last rated game) and lost. Steve, being the quintessential one, heaped compliments on the way Taran played and analyzed the game to the minutest detail possible at the late hour. He left DOCA telling me T & R have a great chess future and that he will proudly watch their progress. Little did we know that this would be our last interaction.

Early Wednesday we found out about Steve’s sudden death. Mere words can’t describe our emotions at that moment. For an instant I felt as if someone had punched me hard in my stomach and pulled my organs out. For an instant I felt breathless as if the air is devoid of oxygen. For an instant I felt as if a part of our life (chess has been a huge part of our lives) has been erased. And then, together, these “instants” just stayed with me even till today, 5 days after the world lost a spark. It’s never easy to hear about someone’s death. The suddenness of it makes it even more unbelievable. It was even more in this case as Steve, with his immense energy, boyish looks and a charming face looked almost a decade younger than his actual age of 51. If my family, merely chess friends, who did not know him out of the chess world, felt such an acute loss, how would his family and close friends feel?! And then there was the sensitive and difficult part of explaining this to my children. 9 year old brains cannot really process this unfortunate news and yet, it was from these little brains that I derived my strength. After numerous questions, Taran commented, “Well, I am glad I lost to him last week.” Roshan remarked, “For somebody who loves chess so much, I am sure he would be happy to go to heaven with wins.” By struggling to overcome the pain and sadness of losing Steve, we became aware of the dignity and preciousness of life (rendered last Wednesday by having the privilege to play chess against Steve and on a bigger scale, for having him in our lives).

And just like that the thought occurred to me, that as much as we grieve the impermanence of Steve’s life, at the end how he lived is what counts. And there is no doubt in my mind that Steve lived his life with a zest that is admired by many but implemented by few. He accomplished much, developed his state of life and on the way made many people happy. The hollowness that the chess community feels is a testament to that little part of Steve’s life that we were privy to. Steve Ferrero, a chess mentor and friend, may you rest in peace.


It's that time of the year again when while bidding Adieu to the year gone by and welcoming 2013, we wish to share with you how we fared in 2012.

Taran and Roshan turned 8 this May & are enjoying being 3rd graders. This year was "politically" special for them as they followed the elections closely. Nidhi continues to volunteer at their school and in the community. She has also been spending time on expanding her Reiki practice. Ritesh reached 3 milestones this year – he turned 40 and he joined ISGN, a technology led services company focused on the US residential mortgage market as their CEO. He also joined the Board of Directors at Cargo Airport Services, the largest cargo handling company in North America. 

There were many firsts for the Idnanis in 2012. Taran and Roshan went on their first camp with their friends & teachers. While the boys enjoyed their entire camping experience and came back craving for more, Nidhi miraculously started to breathe again on seeing the kids after 2 nights & 3 days! Thankfully, there is life after the umbilical cord breaks!  

The boys continue to do well at chess. They both tied for 1st place at the NJ grade level state championship. Taran stood 1st at the National chess championship for 3rd grade & Roshan stood 5th in the PanAmerican championship held in Peru for his age group. They were proud to be part of “Team USA” in this tournament where chess players from 23 countries participated across North & South America.

Taran, Roshan and Nidhi started violin lessons this summer. Yet again, this was a family experience with Ritesh contributing financially and emotionally – he pays for the lessons and he gifted the neighbors earplugs!

Tennis & Football continued to be a big part of the family with a couple of stadium watches – a first for the “entire family experience”. The Idnanis cheered for Novak in the semi finals of US Open in Arthur Ashe stadium and rooted for the Patriots in the Giants stadium. Thankfully their hero/ team won thereby giving the boys bragging rights & giving Ritesh satisfaction that he could finally justify the purchase of those expensive jerseys to Nidhi!

Ritesh & Nidhi ran their first half marathon! It was an extraordinary experience. There were lots of locals & volunteers cheering them along the way. While they were crossing the 6th mile mark, they even got a high 5 from the winner of the marathon who was trudging back home!

The Idnanis decided to travel the unexplored path this year with a trip to Peru. The stunning landscape & vistas of this country were both, bewildering and intoxicating. Machu Picchu beat all expectations but Lake Titicaca & Arequipa were a total revelation. From sailing on the highest navigable lake in the world to visiting the floating islands to exploring the innumerable shades of greens and browns of the Andes and to eating ceviche and Peruvian potatoes (mostly in the fried form) - the trip left them exhilarated, & circular. They returned to the US after the stupendous 3 weeks with a round head, a round torso & round thighs!!! Glitzy Vegas and touristy Montreal were spring and summer destinations. December brought an absolutely delightful road trip to Florida with family & friends (spanning 3 generations across 5 families). The insatiable appetite for rides and spending Christmas holidays with 2 little mice & their friends in Orlando made this trip a positive family memory. 

Finally, the Idnanis also spent time visiting and hosting friends and family from the Netherlands, New York, Maryland, Texas, Virginia, Georgia, India and Canada. We feel so blessed to be surrounded by loved ones.

We wrap up this newsletter with a prayer in our heart wishing you and your loved ones a reservoir of courage, hope, confidence and peace in 2013. 

Happy New Year!

The Idnani Family

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