Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

September 5, 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 Back to School Tournament (Grades K-12 and Adult)

Registration is now open for the Grafton Back to School tournament, to be held Saturday, September 29, 2012 at Grafton Middle School in York County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, Septrember 27.

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.

Other Upcoming Events

The calendar for the first part of the new school year is now available at Some dates are still tentative and are shown in gray on the calendar. Confirmed dates are October 20 at Old Donation Center in Virginia Beach (Rated and Not-rated scholastic sections and Open Quads), October 27 at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond (sections to be announced), and November 17 at Echo Lake Elementary School in Henrico County. In addition to individual scholastic sections, the Echo Lake tournament will include Mixed Doubles sections of boy-girl teams, from either the same school or different schools. The calendar will be updated as additional dates are confirmed.

Colonial Trail Summer Scholastic Results

71 scholastic and adult players participated in the Colonial Trail Summer Scholastic tournament on August 18 at Colonial Trail Elementary School in Henrico County.

Players were divided into five sections, based on their grade in the 2011-2012 school year: K-3, K-5/K-8 Combined (grades 4-8), and three Open Quads for adults and advanced scholastic players. Trophies were awarded by grade in the scholastic sections. There is no team competition at our summer tournaments.

Bryce Phillips won first place in kindergarten with a score of 3.0 points in 5 rounds. In first grade, Franklin He won first place with a score of 4.0 points. Ronit Jain won the first-place trophy for second grade with a perfect score of 5.0 points. In third grade, Rahul Palani won first place with a score of 3.5 points.

Miles Anderson won first place for fourth grade with a score of 3.5 points in 5 rounds. Joel Hughey won first place for fifth grade with a score of 3.0 points.

In sixth grade competition, Zoey Lamb won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 5.0 points. Matthew Houff won first place in seventh grade with a score of 2.5 points. Alex Bustillos won first place for eighth grade by tiebreaks over Evan Frazier. Alex and Evan tied with 2.5 points.

The winners in the three Open Quads were Will Overman, Nicholas Gu and Jenny Gu.

Congratulations to these players, and to all of our tournament participants. Complete tournament results are 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 at Mr. Callaham has also posted a great instructional column for all skill levels, Earning Secret Weapons.

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.

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 scholastic 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.

The entry fee for Open Quads sections is $20 for both advance registrations and on-site 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.