Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

June 6, 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.

President's Notes

Players, parents and coaches ... it's been another great year of chess in the VSCA. I want to take a moment of your time to recap a couple of "big wins" for VSCA players, to review what we're planning for Summer Chess, and to kick-start our planning for the coming school year 2012-2013.

First, this past March twin brothers Vignesh and Vikas Rajasekaran from Moody Middle School took 1st and 2nd place in the K-8 Section of the State Championships held in northern Virginia. Many of you may recall that Vignesh and Vikas "grew up" playing in our VSCA events! They've also volunteered at some of our tournaments, serving as "assistant tournament directors." This coming August, Vignesh, as the State Champion, will represent Virginia at the 2012 Barber Tournament of State Middle School Champions during the U.S. Open in Vancouver, Washington. I know all of us in VSCA wish him the best of luck against what will be some really tough competition. I also want to congratulate the Moody Middle School team for capturing 1st Place Team honors in the K-8 Section of the State Championships.

By the way, next year's state tournament will be in March, either the weekend of March 9-10, or March 16-17. The leading candidate to host the tournament is Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. We've never held the event there, but they have awesome facilities for chess.

For Summer Chess, as I write this note it looks like we will have two tournaments on the calendar: One at Grafton Middle School on July 21st, followed by an August 18th tournament at Colonial Trail Elementary. The Grafton tournament will be a K-5 and K-12 Open and Not-Rated event of 4 or 5 rounds. We also will plan to have a Quads Section for those players who want to play against tougher opposition or adult players. The Colonial Trail event will have K-3, K-5 and K-8 sections, plus a Quads Section for K-12 and adult players. Both tournaments will award individual trophies only, no team trophies. Players can play in their school grade from this past school year; they do not have to play in the section for next year's grade. Watch for registration to open about June 23rd for the Grafton tournament (

It is time now to start planning for next year. Already, Old Donation Center in Virginia Beach has scheduled a tournament for October 20, 2012. Parents and coaches need to help us out by beginning to talk to your schools as soon as possible. When you do this, here are a few pointers to help you in your discussions with the schools:

1. Contact us to discuss available dates. Email Mike Hoffpauir at and/or Bart Mebane at If your school hosted an event this past scholastic year, we will try to make the same weekend available next year.

2. You need to schedule the tournament as an event sponsored/hosted by your school's chess club. This approach helps us get the "internal" fee structure, which can be half, or less, of the fee charged to an outside organization such as the VSCA. For example, we tried to schedule a tournament at a school this summer and were told we were going to need to pay over $800 to run a Saturday tournament. When the Chess Club at the school clarified things, that rate dropped DRAMATICALLY.

3. You should plan on the school being open from at least 8 am until 5 pm.

4. Find out when the school or school district wants to be paid. Some schools want their money up front; others will send us an invoice later. If the school requires proof of insurance, we can provide that.

5. Be sure you arrange both a place to play the chess games, plus a "skittles" area for the parents to sit, and for the players to use between games. Class rooms for larger teams are a possibility too, but this is not necessary.

6. Enough tables and chairs need to be set up before the tournament to accommodate the number of advance entries, plus a few extra, as well as tables for registration and scorekeepers.

7. We can help you decide on the age groups and sections that are appropriate for your tournament, depending on the location and the available space.

8. Plan to sell concessions at your tournament. It's a great way to raise funds for your Chess Club!

9. GOOD LUCK! And, Please Help Us.

I'd like to close by thanking the officers and members of the board for making this another super year. In particular, Bart Mebane and Mike Callaham stand out for their performance. Bart, as all of you probably know, is our "Pairings Director" for almost every tournament. Bart takes the entries and payments in the morning, puts players in the pairings computer, prints the pairings, then submits the final results to the US Chess Federation for rating (in rated sections) and tells us who won what awards or trophies. If that's not enough, Bart also is the mainstay (the only "stay") behind our VSCA website. Thanks Bart, from all of us.

Mike Callaham, our VSCA Secretary and an 1800+ player, started something new this year. Mike approached me at the start of school-year 2011-2012 and asked about "analyzing players' games." Mike's idea has grown steadily, as I've seen players huddled around "Mike's Table" at many of our tournaments where they hear Mike's constructive comments on their games. By the way, this is a GREAT REASON to teach all your players how to record their moves ... you can't review a game that isn't recorded. For next year, Mike has more ideas.

Thanks again to all of you for participating in our events.

Mike Hoffpauir
National Tournament Director
President, VSCA

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 Akhil Bharani vs. Atesh Camurdan from the March 31 Rivers Edge Scholastic, and Anthony Wang vs. Arvind Manohar from the March 17-18 Virginia Scholastic & Collegiate Championships. 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. Mr Callaham has recently visited chess clubs at Westside Elementary School in Smithfield and Echo Lake Elementary School in Glen Allen. 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. This is a wonderful opportunity for your school to benefit from the help of an experienced chess player and teacher.

Spratley Gifted Center Scholastic Results

54 scholastic players participated in the 2nd annual Spratley Scholastic tournament on May 19 at Spratley Gifted Center in Hampton.

In the K-3 Not-rated section, Elijah Bond won the first-place individual trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Michael Johnson won the first-place individual trophy in the K-8 Not-rated section with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. There was no team competition in the Not-rated sections. Arvind Manohar won the K-3 Open first-place individual trophy with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. Providence Classical School from James City County won the first-place team trophy in K-3 Open. Samuel Washburn won the first-place individual trophy in K-8 Open with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Poquoson Middle School won the K-8 Open first-place team trophy.

Congratulations to these players and schools, and to all of our tournament participants. Complete tournament results are available at

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