Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

July 7, 2015

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.

Maggie L. Walker Summer Scholastic (Rising Grades K-12)

Wednesday is the last full day to register for the Maggie L. Walker Summer Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, July 11, 2015 at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, July 9.

This tournament is open to students who will be in kindergarten through 12th grade in the coming school year, and includes both rated and non-rated sections. Players who have already graduated from high school are not eligible for this tournament.

The K-5 Not-rated section and K-12 Not-rated section (grades 6-12) are designed for beginning tournament players (first, second or third chess tournament, with exceptions on a case-by-case basis). Games in these sections are NOT RATED by the U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) and players do NOT need to be USCF members.

There are 3 USCF-rated sections. The K-5 Under 1200 section and K-12 Under 1200 section (grades 6-12) are for current USCF members with a rating below 1200 (or unrated). New players who want more challenging games are welcome to play in these sections rather than the Not-rated sections, but a USCF membership is required. The K-12 Championship section is for advanced players in any grade with a rating of 1200 or above. The USCF July ratings will be used for this tournament.

The entry fee is $10 for advance (online) registrations, or $15 for onsite registrations. Please read our Tournament Check-in Policy.

Trophies will be awarded to the top 7 individuals in each of the five sections. There are no team awards at our summer tournaments, and players from the same school may be paired against each other.

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

Other Upcoming VSCA Tournaments

The next VSCA tournament is scheduled for August 15 at Kiptopeke Elementary School on the Eastern Shore. The Eastern Shore Summer Scholastic will include K-5 and K-12 Not-rated sections and K-5 and K-12 Open (rated) sections. Sections are based on the grade the player will be attending in the fall.

The first tournament of the new school year will be on September 19 at Grafton Middle School in York County. The Grafton tournament will include K-5 and K-12 Not-rated sections and K-5 and K-12 Open (rated) sections, as well as Open Quads for adults and advanced scholastic players. A calendar of VSCA events as well as other scholastic events in Virginia is available at

Richmond Metropolitan Grand Prix Tournaments

The Richmond Chess Initiative (RCI) and the Richmond Public Library are hosting a series of Saturday tournaments for scholastic and adult players. The next tournaments are July 11 at the Richmond Main Library branch, July 18 at the Westover Hills Library branch and July 25 at the North Avenue Library branch,. Weekly training sessions, free and open to the public, are also scheduled every Monday evening 6:00-7:30 pm at the North Avenue branch and the Westover Hills branch, and every Wednesday evening 6:00-7:30 pm at the Main branch and the Belmont branch. The CEO and founder of RCI is VSCA secretary Mike Callaham. For more information, visit the RCI website at

Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club

The Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club, organized by VSCA Board Member Christina Schweiss, has merged with the Hampton Roads Chess Club and the Virginia Beach Chess Club, and meets on Tuesday evenings at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. Scholastic players meet from 5:00 to 7:30 pm, and adults and advanced scholastic players meet from 7:00 to 10:30 pm. The club meets throughout the summer for training, and is currently accepting new members. The next meeting is Tuesday evening, June 30. For more information, visit the chess club's Facebook page at

Summer Chess Camps

Several chess camps will be held in the Richmond area during the summer months.

RCI Summer Chess Camps, organized by Richmond Chess Initiative, will be held at Lucille Brown Middle School in Richmond. The two remaining sessions are July 20-23 and August 17-20.

Dragon Chess Camp, organized by the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School Chess Club, is being held at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond this week, July 6-10.

Maurice Ashley Summer Chess Camp, organized by Maurice Ashley Teaches Champions (MATCH), will be held at Collegiate School in Henrico County the week of July 27-31.

Championship Chess RVA Summer Camp, organized by Championship Chess RVA, will be held at Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church in Chesterfield County the week of August 10-14.

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 complete details, visit the VSCA website at Mr. Callaham has recently posted his analysis of three outstanding games from the Virginia Scholastic Championships in Charlottesville, and a very interesting game from the April 18 Fork Union Spring Scholastic.

Mr. Callaham is the CEO and founder of the Richmond Chess Initiative, the coordinator and head coach of the Richmond Middle School Chess League, and currently coaches chess clubs at Binford, Boushall, Lucille Brown, Thomas Henderson, Albert Hill, and Thompson Middle Schools in Richmond, J. B. Fisher Elementary School in Richmond, and Tuckahoe Elementary School in Henrico County. Coach Callaham has also met with chess clubs at many other Virginia schools, and 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

Check out the VSCA Facebook page at, managed by parent and board member Christina Schweiss.

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 $10 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 9:00 am on Saturday, but they will need to pay the late entry fee of $15. 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

To help start our tournaments on time, we recently implemented a new check-in policy. Players who pay online do not need to check in at the tournament, but must let us know if they are not coming. Please read the following brief instructions:

All Players: If you are registering and/or paying at the tournament: If you are paying online:

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 not-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.