Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

November 13, 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.

A Note to Members about the Echo Lake Tournament

Players, Parents and Coaches: As you are aware, we have a new tournament format we are introducing for the Echo Lake event this coming weekend ... a "mixed doubles" format where one boy and one girl compete as a team. At the same time, we are having a "regular tournament" for individual players because we know that not everyone will be able to form a team. What has me surprised is not the low number of registrations for the mixed doubles, but the almost complete lack of entries for the regular scholastic event.

As I write this note on early Tuesday morning, there are only 14 players who have signed up for the regular scholastic event. That's what is really unusual. Please sign up for the tournament!!

VSCA President Mike Hoffpauir

Echo Lake Mixed Doubles Scholastic Tournament (Grades K-12)

Echo Lake Individual Scholastic Tournament (Grades K-8)

Wednesday is the last full day to register for the Echo Lake Mixed Doubles Scholastic and the Echo Lake Individual Scholastic tournaments, to be held Saturday, November 17, 2012 at Echo Lake Elementary School in Henrico County. Advance registration for both tournaments is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, November 15.

Entries for the Mixed Doubles tournament are two-person teams: one boy and one girl. Players should arrange their own teams before they register; each player should submit his or her own online entry form. Players who wish to play in the team tournament but do not have a teammate may still register, and we will match them with a teammate if one is available. (If no teammate is available, players in grades K-8 may play in the individual tournament; players in grades 9-12 who do not have a teammate will not be able to play in this event, but are invited to play in the December 8 tournament in Hopewell.)

Teams will be paired against each other, with the higher-rated players on Board 1 and the lower-rated players on Board 2. The team that wins on both boards, or wins one and draws one, wins the round and receives one team point; the other team receives no points. If each team wins one game, or if both boards are draws, the round is a draw and each team receives one-half team point. Individual point totals are used to break ties at the end of the tournament.

Mixed doubles teams are divided into two sections: Trophies will be awarded to both players on the top 3 school teams (both team members from the same school) and to both players on the top 3 non-school teams (team members from different schools) in each section. Trophies will also be awarded to the Top Board 1 player and the Top Board 2 player (based on individual point totals) in each section.

Players in the Individual tournament are divided into two sections based on their grade in school: Trophies will be awarded to the top 5 individual scores in each section. There are no team awards in the individual tournament.

Current membership in the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) is required for all players in both tournaments. All sections are USCF-rated.

Food and drinks will NOT be sold at this event. Please bring your own lunch and snacks or plan to visit a nearby restaurant.

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

Other Upcoming Events

The Hopkins Scholastic at Hopewell tournament will be held December 8 at Hopewell High School in Hopewell. The event is named in memory of VSCA founder and longtime president Peter Hopkins. The tournament is open to students in kindergarten through twelfth grade, with K-3, K-5, K-8 and K-12 sections. All players must be U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) members. A VSCA membership meeting will be held at this event (see the notice below).

A scholastic chess calendar of Virginia and national events for the 2012-2013 school year is available at

VSCA Membership Meeting

A Virginia Scholastic Chess Association membership meeting will be held during the Hopkins Scholastic at Hopewell tournament on Saturday, December 8, 2012 at 10:00 am. The primary purpose of the meeting is to elect new board members and to discuss the tournament schedule for the 2012-2013 school year. The parents of all players who have participated in one or more VSCA events during the past 12-month period, including the December 8 Hopewell event, are VSCA members and are eligible to vote in the election. For more information, visit the VSCA website 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 recently posted three games which he played against scholastic players (with surprising results) at the Charlottesville Open in July 2012: Scholastic Means Young – Not Weak!

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.