Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

January 12, 2016

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.

Kemps Landing/Old Donation Winter Scholastic and Quads (Grades K-12 and Adults)

Wednesday is the last full day to register for the Kemps Landing/Old Donation Winter Scholastic and Quads tournament, to be held Saturday, January 16, 2016 at Kemps Landing/Old Donation School in Virginia Beach. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, January 14.

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 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 (US Chess) and players do NOT need to be US Chess members.

The K-5 Open section and K-12 Open section (grades 6-12) are US Chess-rated sections. All players in these sections must be current US Chess members.

The Open Quads sections are US Chess-rated sections open to advanced scholastic players (US Chess 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.

For this event, the entry fee for the scholastic sections is $15 for all players, whether registered online or onsite. The entry fee for the Open Quads is $25 for all players, whether registered online or onsite. Please read our Tournament Check-in Policy.

Trophies will be awarded to the top 5 individuals and 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 be sold at the tournament, including pizza orders for lunch.

The annual VSCA membership meeting will be held at this tournament. Please see the announcement below.

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

VSCA General Membership Meeting

This winter's VSCA membership meeting will be held on Saturday, January 16 at 11:30 am at the Kemps Landing/Old Donation tournament in Virginia Beach. VSCA members are parents or guardians of VSCA scholastic players, and other interested individuals age 16 and older who have done significant volunteer work for the VSCA. During the meeting, VSCA president Mike Hoffpauir will answer questions, and members will be able to bring up any concerns that they wish to discuss. Beginning this year, voting for VSCA Board of Directors positions will be held online, rather than at the membership meeting. Please see the newsletter article below for details. If you are not able to attend the membership meeting in person, Mike Hoffpauir is providing a conference line so that you can listen in on the meeting by telephone. Dial 1-877-885-1087, and enter participant code 6786835905 followed by # (hash mark, pound sign, number sign).

VSCA Board of Directors Election

The yearly election for VSCA Board of Directors positions will be conducted online from January 24 through January 31. (This begins a week later than the previously announced dates.) Eligible voters are: We are now accepting volunteers and nominations for all nine Board of Directors positions. VSCA voting members age 18 or older are eligible to serve on the Board of Directors. Current Board members are welcome to run for re-election. To place your name on the ballot, please email by Wednesday, January 20 (note that this is a new, extended, deadline), and provide your name and a brief statement (150 words or less, plus an optional picture) for our website. Your statement should tell voters a little about yourself and why you are interested in serving as a Director. The candidate statements, along with instructions for voting, will be posted on our website by Sunday, January 24.

For more information, please visit

Other Upcoming VSCA Tournaments

The Maggie L. Walker Winter Scholastic tournament is scheduled for Saturday, February 13 at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond. This tournament will have K-5 and K-12 US Chess-rated and Not-rated sections, and also a special K-12 Championship section for players with a US Chess rating of 1200 or above.

A calendar of VSCA events as well as other scholastic events in Virginia is available at

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 postpone an event due to safety concerns and/or school regulations. If we have to postpone 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 register with an email address that you check regularly 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 postponed, or if you are unable to travel to the event.

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 January 23 at the Westover Hills Library branch and January 30 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. Meetings include training as well as rated tournaments. For more information, visit the chess club's Facebook page at

Maggie L. Walker Free Chess Clinics

The Maggie L. Walker Governor's School Chess Club in Richmond holds chess clinics at the school on one Monday evening each month from 5 to 7 pm. The next clinic will be Monday, February 22. The clinics are free to scholastic players of all experience levels, from beginner to advanced. For further information, visit the chess club's Facebook page 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. 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.

Support Isaac Steincamp on the Road to New Orleans

Isaac Steincamp is a longtime VSCA player, volunteer, tournament organizer and recent board member. As president of the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School Chess Club, he revitalized the chess team, organized free monthly chess clinics for the community, and coordinated the Dragon Chess Camp the past 3 summers. His current US Chess rating is 2105. Now a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh, his goal is to win the 2016 U.S. Junior Open in New Orleans.

Isaac needs your support for his training and travel. For more information, and to find out how you can support Isaac's quest, visit

Also check out Isaac's blog at, which features a free game analysis section. If you would like Isaac to analyze one of your tournament games, email him at

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. Entry fees 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; entry fees may be higher for late entries. 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.

Please note that the above information applies to most Virginia Scholastic Chess Association tournaments. Some tournaments may have different registration schedules and/or entry fees.

Tournament Check-in

To help start our tournaments on time, we have 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:

US Chess Membership

Current membership in the U.S. Chess Federation (US Chess) 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 US Chess at Please do not mail a paper application form or check to US Chess, 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 US Chess members.

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