Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

February 22, 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.

Grafton State Championships Warmup Tournament (Grades K-12 and Adult)

Registration is now open for the Grafton State Championships Warmup tournament, to be held Saturday, March 10, 2012 at Grafton Middle School in York County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, March 8.

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 (quads) by rating. Each 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 3 individuals in grades K-3 and to the top 3 individuals in grades 4-5 in the K-5 Not-rated section and the K-5 Open section. Trophies will be awarded to the top 3 individuals in grades K-8 and to the top 3 individuals in grades 9-12 in the K-12 Not-rated section and the K-12 Open section. Trophies will also be awarded to the top 3 school teams in each of the scholastic sections. There are cash prizes for the Open Quads, with no trophies or team competition.

Food and drinks will NOT be sold at the tournament. Please plan to bring your own lunch, drinks and snacks, or visit one of the nearby fast-food restaurants.

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

Upcoming VSCA Events

The first annual River's Edge Scholastic tournament will be held on Saturday, March 31, 2012 at River's Edge Elementary School in Henrico County. The River's Edge tournament will have four sections, all USCF-rated: K-3, K-5, K-8 and K-12. Advance registration will be available on the VSCA website beginning March 13.

Other Upcoming Events

Registration is now open for the Virginia Scholastic and Collegiate Championships, organized by the Virginia Chess Federation (VCF), to be held March 16-18, 2012 at the Best Western Tysons Westpark Hotel in McLean, Virginia. The Blitz Championships will be held Friday evening March 16, with the main tournament on Saturday and Sunday. For more information, and to register online, please visit the event web page, State Ch/Home11-12.html.

A Grandmaster Chess Camp, hosted by the Virginia Beach Friends School and featuring GM Alex Stripunsky (2706), is planned for Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25, 2012. For details, see the event flyer at

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

Congratulations to NTD Mike Hoffpauir

VSCA president Mike Hoffpauir recently passed his NTD exam to become a U. S. Chess Federation (USCF) National Tournament Director. NTD is the highest USCF certification level for tournament directors, and in addition to passing an extremely difficult test, requires years of experience in directing all types of chess tournaments. There are only two other active NTDs in Virginia (Mike Atkins and Ernie Schlich). Mr. Hoffpauir is the Chief Tournament Director at most of our VSCA events, as well as other events throughout the state, and is frequently a tournament director at USCF national events. We are proud to have him in our organization.

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 and legible 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, visit the VSCA website at The most recent games posted on the website are Sam Washburn vs. Joshua Felton and Sathya V vs. Nikhil Chintalapati, both from the January 21 Old Donation Center Winter Scholastic. 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. He recently visited Nandua Middle School on the Virginia Eastern Shore. Afterwards, the school PTA wrote to the VSCA: "... Now that we have met Mike Callaham, we are recommitted to promoting chess at NMS - and beyond! As a matter of fact, one of the simul participants, a high school student, was so impressed that he approached a teacher at the high school to start up a chess club there. That teacher will attend our next meeting to begin learning the ropes he too will benefit from the sound advice of Mike Callaham. ..."

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.

Manchester Scholastic Tournament Results

51 scholastic players participated in the February 4 Manchester Scholastic tournament, held at Manchester Middle School in Chesterfield County.

In the K-3 section, Arvind Manohar won the first-place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Colonial Trail Elementary School from Henrico County won the K-3 first-place team trophy. Kapil Iyer, a third grader playing up, won the first-place trophy in the K-5 section with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. River's Edge Elementary School from Henrico County won the K-5 first-place team trophy. The K-8 and K-12 sections were combined, with separate awards. Ryan Balser won the K-8 first-place trophy by tiebreaks over Santosh Dasari. Ryan and Santosh each finished with 3.0 points in 4 rounds. Hungary Creek Middle School from Henrico County won the K-8 first-place team trophy. Will Overman, an eighth grader playing up, won the K-12 first-place trophy with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. There were no K-12 teams.

Congratulations to all of these players and to all of our tournament participants. Complete tournament results are 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.

Please note that the above information applies only to Virginia Scholastic Chess Association tournaments, and does NOT apply to the Virginia Scholastic and Collegiate Championships or other Virginia Chess Federation events.

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.