Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

March 15, 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.

Rivers Edge Scholastic (Grades K-12, USCF-rated)

Registration is now open for the first annual Rivers Edge Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, March 31, 2012 at Rivers Edge Elementary School in Henrico County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday morning, March 29.

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.

Lunch, snacks and drinks will be sold at the tournament.

Please visit for information and to register online.

Upcoming VSCA Events

The 17th annual Fork Union Scholastic tournament will be held on Saturday, April 21, 2012 at Fork Union Military Academy in Fluvanna County. The Fork Union 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 in early April.

Other Upcoming Events

Advance registration closes Friday morning at 7:00 am 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 scholastic chess calendar of Virginia and national events for the 2011-2012 school year is available at

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 game posted on the website is Kaustav Rajesh vs. Joshua Felton from the February 18 Hampton Sports Festival Scholastic. Be sure to read Mr. Callaham's analysis of this game.

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 the high school chess team at the Collegiate School in Richmond. The Collegiate coach writes: "Wow! He was excellent and really helped their thinking. ... The VSCA is lucky to have such a great player and wonderful teacher."

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.

Grafton State Championships Warmup Tournament Results

101 scholastic and adult players participated in the Grafton State Championships Warmup tournament, held at Grafton Middle School in Yorktown on March 10, 2012.

VSCA parent volunteer Christina Schweiss took some great photos at the tournament, including a shot of every player at his or her board. You can browse through Tina's photos at To download a photo for free, right click on the image and save it to your computer. Contact Tina at if you need help or more information. (The link is provided as a service to our players and parents, and is not an endorsement of the SmugMug website.)

In the K-5 Not-rated section, Bryce Phillips won the first-place trophy for grades K-3 with a perfect score of 5.0 points. Nic Balser won the first-place trophy for grades 4-5 in the K-5 Not-rated section by tiebreaks over Michael Johnson. Nic and Michael each finished with a score of 4.0 points in 5 rounds. Yorktown Elementary School won the K-5 Not-rated first-place team trophy. Drew Lawrence won the first-place trophy in the K-12 Not-rated section with a score of 4.0 points in 5 rounds. The host team from Grafton Middle School won the K-12 Not-rated first-place team trophy. In the K-5 Open section, Daniel Zhou won the first-place trophy for grades K-3 with a score of 4.5 points in 5 rounds. Teja Guruvelli won the trophy for the top player in grades 4-5 in the Open section with a score of 4.0 points in 5 rounds. Hampton Roads Academy won the K-5 Open first-place team trophy. In the K-12 Open section, Ryan Balser won the first-place trophy for grades K-8 with a perfect score of 5.0 points. Rakshith Raghu won the first-place trophy for grades 9-12 in the K-12 Open section with a score of 4.0 point in 5 rounds. Poquoson Middle School won the first-place team trophy in K-12 Open. Winners in the four Open Quads were Mr. Dexter Wright; Vadim Barnakov, a ninth grader, and Will Overman, an eighth grader (tie); Mr. Rajesh Pandit; and Divij Rajesh, a tenth grader.

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.