Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

January 18, 2012

This newsletter is sent to families who participate in Virginia Scholastic Chess Association tournaments. The VSCA is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization dedicated to promoting scholastic chess in central and southeastern Virginia. Please email to subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address.

It's Your Move!

VSCA secretary and Class A player Mike Callaham has generously offered to analyze and comment on VSCA tournament games which players send him. If you have a game that you're proud of, or a game where you feel you could have played better, and would like Mr. Callaham to take a look at it, all you need to do is send him a copy of your complete scoresheet (game notation). He will respond by email, and games which are especially interesting or instructive will be published on the VSCA website. For more information, and to see Mr. Callaham's commentary on one of his own more memorable games, visit the VSCA website at Two games have already been submitted and are posted on the website: Dennis Burke vs. Divij Rajesh (2011 Eastern Open) and Atesh Camurdan vs. Ankith Laichetty (2011 Virginia Closed). Be sure to read Mr. Callaham's analysis of these games.

Mr. Callaham currently coaches chess clubs at J. B. Fisher Elementary School and J. E. B. Stuart Elementary School in Richmond. He would like to visit as many other school chess clubs as possible on behalf of the VSCA. Parents and coaches, if you would like to have Mr. Callaham visit your school club for a free simul, chess clinic or lecture, please contact him at Be sure to provide contact information for the school chess sponsor/coach. The schools that Mr. Callaham visits will be featured on the VSCA website. This is a wonderful opportunity for your school to benefit from the help of an experienced chess player and teacher.

Mr. Callaham will have a table and demo board set up at the Old Donation Center tournament this Saturday, January 21, in Virginia Beach. Please stop by his table, get to know him, and let him do a quick analysis of your game. You may also leave a copy of your scoresheet with him if you would like him to send you a more thorough analysis.

Old Donation Center Winter Scholastic Tournament (Grades K-12 and Adult)

Wednesday is the last full day to register for the Old Donation Center Winter Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, January 21, 2012 at the Old Donation Center, an elementary school in Virginia Beach. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, January 19.

This tournament is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and also adult players, and includes both rated and non-rated sections.

The K-5 Not-rated and K-12 Not-rated (grades 6-12) sections are strictly for fun, and are designed primarily for beginning tournament players. Games in these sections are NOT RATED by the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) and players do NOT need to be USCF members. USCF members with a rating below 400 (K-5) or 800 (K-12) may play in the Not-rated sections if they wish.

The K-5 Open and K-12 Open (grades 6-12) sections are USCF-rated sections. All players in these sections must be current USCF members.

The Open Quads sections are USCF-rated sections open to advanced scholastic players (USCF rating 1000+) and adult players. Quad entries will be divided into groups of 4 by rating. Each group of 4 (quad) will play a 3-round round robin with a time control of G/60.

The entry fee for the scholastic sections is $7 for advance (online) registrations, or $14 for onsite registrations. The entry fee for the Open Quads is $20 for all players, whether registered online or onsite.

Trophies will be awarded to the top 5 individuals and to the top 3 school teams in each scholastic section. Additional trophies will be awarded in each of the K-5 sections to the top 3 individuals in grades K-3 who do not receive section trophies. There are cash prizes for the Open Quads, with no trophies or team competition.

Food and drinks, including options for lunch (pizza or sandwiches), will be sold at the tournament.

Please visit the VSCA website at for more tournament information and to register online.

Manchester Scholastic (Grades K-12, USCF-rated)

Registration is now open for the 5th annual Manchester Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, February 4, 2012 at Manchester Middle School in Chesterfield County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday morning, February 2.

Players are divided into four sections based on their grade in school: Trophies will be awarded to the the top 5 individuals and to the top 3 school teams in each section. Current membership in the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is required for all players. All sections are USCF-rated.

Food and drink concessions are in the planning stages and may or may not be available. Please check the VSCA web site for announcements.

Please visit for information and to register online.

What if it Snows?

Snow and other winter weather is always a possibility at this time of year. We make every effort to hold our tournaments as scheduled, but occasionally we do have to cancel an event due to safety concerns and school regulations. If we have to cancel a tournament, we will post a notice on the VSCA website as soon as a decision is made, and we will also email a notice to everyone who has registered. If you have mailed a check in advance we will refund your payment. Please be sure your email address is correct when you register in case we need to contact you.

Other Upcoming Events

The Hampton Sports Festival Scholastic Championships, organized by the Virginia Chess Federation (VCF), will be held on Saturday, February 18, 2012 at the Hampton Roads Convention Center in Hampton, Virginia. The scholastic tournament will feature K-5 and K-12 Not-rated sections for beginning players (USCF membership not required) as well as K-5 and K-12 Open (USCF-rated) sections. Online advance registration will be opening soon. For more information, please visit the event web page,

The Hampton Sports Festival offers two other chess events in addition to the scholastic tournament: A Simultaneous Chess Exhibition by International Master Oladapo Adu on Friday evening, February 17, and the Hampton Sports Festival Chess Championship (USCF-rated, USCF membership required) on Saturday-Sunday, February 18-19. For details on both of these events, visit the Hampton Sports Festival Chess Activities web page at

The Grafton State Championship Warmup, organized by the VSCA, will be held at Grafton Middle School in York County on Saturday, March 10, 2012. The Grafton tournament will feature K-5 and K-12 Not-rated sections for beginning players (USCF membership not required) as well as K-5 and K-12 Open (USCF-rated) sections.

The Virginia Scholastic and Collegiate Championships, organized by the Virginia Chess Federation (VCF), will be held March 16-18, 2012. The location will be announced as soon as the site is confirmed. The Blitz Championships will be held Friday evening March 16, with the main tournament on Saturday and Sunday.

A scholastic chess calendar of Virginia and national events for the 2011-2012 school year is available at

Tournament Registration and Entry Fees

Advance registration for VSCA tournaments is ONLINE ONLY at, and closes at 7:00 AM on the Thursday before the tournament. In order to accurately process entries, we cannot accept mail, phone or e-mail registrations. The advance registration entry fee of $7 may be paid by mail (preferred) or at the tournament. Players who do not register before the 7:00 AM Thursday deadline can register at the tournament between 8:00 and 8:45 am on Saturday, but they will need to pay the late entry fee of $14. Players who register later than 8:30 am on Saturday may or may not be paired for the first round, depending on the number of late registrations.

Tournament Check-in

In order to help us complete registration and start our tournaments on time, please check in at the registration desk by 8:45 am, even if you have mailed in your payment. This will minimize the number of names that we have to call in order to check attendance, and will also allow our volunteers to close registration and balance the books earlier. Players arriving after 8:45 am (8:30 am if you have not registered in advance) will risk not being paired for the first round.

If you have registered online, but later find that you will not be able to attend, please email as soon as possible so that we can withdraw your name. If you have to change your plans at the last minute and will be absent or late, please email or let someone else know so they can tell us at registration.

USCF Membership

Current membership in the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is REQUIRED in order to play in VSCA tournaments, except for sections specifically designated as non-rated. In order to avoid delays on Saturday, please join or renew directly with USCF at Please do not mail a paper application form or check to USCF, since this may cause delays in processing your membership. If you are unable to join or renew online, please plan to fill out a membership application at the tournament. You can check membership status at The U.S. Chess Federation maintains a national database of ratings (relative playing strengths) for adult and scholastic players. In order to update the ratings following each tournament, all players in the tournament must be current USCF members.

Please visit our website at for the latest news and information.