Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

December 2, 2013

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.

Hopkins Scholastic at Hopewell Tournament (Grades K-12)

Registration is now open for the Hopkins Scholastic at Hopewell tournament, to be held Saturday, December 14, 2013 at Hopewell High School in Hopewell. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, December 12. This event is named in memory of Mr. Peter Hopkins, the founder and longtime president of the VSCA.

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.

Food and drinks will be sold at the tournament. Absolutely no food and drinks will be allowed in the library, but will be allowed in designated classrooms at lunchtime.

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

What If It Snows?

Snow and other winter weather is always a possibility at this time of year. We make every effort to hold our tournaments as scheduled, but occasionally we do have to cancel an event due to safety concerns and school regulations. If we have to cancel a tournament, we will post a notice on the VSCA website as soon as a decision is made, and we will also email a notice to everyone who has registered. Please be sure your email address is correct when you register in case we need to contact you. If you have already paid your entry fee online, we will refund your payment if the event is canceled, or if you are unable to travel to the event.

Other Upcoming Events

A VSCA tournament is planned for early to mid-January, 2014. Details will be announced on our website as soon as the event is confirmed. The Old Donation Center Winter Scholastic tournament will be held on February 1, 2014 at Old Donation Center in Virginia Beach.

A scholastic chess calendar of Virginia and national events for the 2013-2014 school year is available at

VSCA Board of Directors Elected

Members of the VSCA Board of Directors were elected at the annual membership meeting on November 23, 2013. New board members are Mike Callaham (Richmond), Ellen Osborne (Charlottesville) and Raj Sambangi (Henrico County). Re-elected board members are Gopal Bhagavatula (Chesterfield County), Ram Dasari (Chesterfield County), Mike Hoffpauir (York County), Bart Mebane (Middlesex County), Christine Morales (Hampton) and Christina Schweiss (Virginia Beach).

Maggie L. Walker Tournament Results

83 scholastic players participated in the Maggie L. Walker Fall Scholastic Tournament, held at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond on November 23, 2013.

In the K-3 section, Scott Morefield won first place with a perfect score of 5.0 points in 5 rounds. Twin Hickory Elementary School from Henrico County won the K-3 first-place team trophy.

In the K-5 section, Rahul Palani won first place with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Shady Grove Elementary School from Henrico County won the first-place team award in the K-5 section.

In the K-8 section, Sathya V won the first-place trophy with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. Moody Middle School from Henrico County won the K-8 first-place team trophy.

Jason Morefield, a fifth grader playing up, won first place in the K-12 section with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. The host team from Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond won the first-place team award in the K-12 section.

Congratulations to all of these players and to all of our other 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. Mr. Callaham has recently issued a Checkmate Challenge to all scholastic players, based on one of his own games. Win a chess book if you can find all the checkmates! For complete details, visit the VSCA website at

Mr. Callaham currently coaches chess clubs at Thompson Middle School in Richmond and Tuckahoe Elementary School in Henrico County, and he has visited many other Virginia schools. He would like to visit as many other school chess clubs as possible on behalf of the VSCA. 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.

Visit Us on Facebook

VSCA has a new Facebook page, thanks to parent and board member Christina Schweiss. Check it out 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 scholastic advance registration entry fee of $7 may be paid online through PayPal (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 payed online. 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 rated sections of a tournament must be current USCF members.

Please visit our website at for the latest news and information.