Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!

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 Winter Bliss Tournament (Grades K-12 and Adult)

Registration is now open for the Grafton Winter Bliss tournament, to be held Saturday, January 18, 2014 at Grafton Middle School in York County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, January 16.

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 for beginning tournament players (first, second or third chess tournament). Games in these sections are NOT RATED by the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) and players do NOT need to be USCF members.

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.

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.

Upcoming Tournaments

The Old Donation Center Winter Scholastic tournament will be held on February 1, 2014 at Old Donation Center in Virginia Beach. This tournament will include Not-rated and Open (USCF-rated) K-5 and K-12 sections, as well as Open Quads for adults and advanced scholastic players. Online registration will be available beginning in mid-January.

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

Chess Instruction

This Saturday, January 4, Coach Mike Callaham will be hosting Stuffy's Destructive Combinations Camp at Stuffy's Sub Shop, 411 N Harrison Street in Richmond. For more information, visit the VSCA website at

The Maggie L. Walker Governor's School Chess Club hosts monthly Monday night chess clinics at the school, 1000 N Lombardy Street in Richmond. The clinics are free and open to players of all experience levels. The next clinic is Monday evening, January 13. For more information, visit the chess club's Facebook page at

Maggie L. Walker Tournament Results

61 scholastic players participated in the Hopkins Scholastic at Hopewell Tournament, held at Hopewell High School in Hopewell on December 14, 2013.

In the K-3 section, Sriharsha Sambangi won first place with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Collegiate School from Henrico County won the K-3 first-place team trophy.

In the K-5 section, James Ye won first place with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Waddell Elementary School from Lexington won the first-place team award in the K-5 section.

In the K-8 section, Ritvik Kumaran won the first-place trophy with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. There were no teams in the K-8 section.

Brian Kaperick won first place in the K-12 section with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Maggie L. Walker Governor's School from 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.