Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

January 24, 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.

State Championship Warmup at Grafton (Grades K-12 and Adults)

Registration is now open for the State Championship Warmup at Grafton scholastic and quads tournament, to be held Saturday, February 13, 2016 at Grafton Middle School in York County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, February 11.

This tournament is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and also adult players, and includes both rated and non-rated scholastic sections, and rated quads for adults and advanced scholastic players.

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.

The entry fee for the scholastic sections is $10 for advance (online) registrations, or $15 for onsite registrations. The entry fee for the Open Quads is $20 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 not be sold at this tournament. Please plan to bring your own lunch and snacks, or visit one of the nearby fast-food restaurants. We will have a short lunch break during the tournament.

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

VSCA Board of Directors Election

Online voting is now open for VSCA Board of Directors election. Voting is online only and is open through Sunday, January 31. There are nine candidates for the nine Board positions. To vote, visit and follow the link to the online ballot.

You are eligible to vote in the election if you are the parent or guardian of a scholastic player who has participated in at least one VSCA tournament since January 1, 2015, or an individual age 16 or older who has done significant volunteer work for the VSCA, such as assisting with directing or organizing tournaments, or serving as an Officer or Director, in the past year.

Other Upcoming VSCA Tournaments

The Maggie L. Walker Scholastic, originally scheduled for February, has been postponed due to a schedule conflict at the school. The tournament will be rescheduled in the spring.

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

Virginia Scholastic and College Championships (Grades K-12 and College)

Online registration is open for the Virginia Scholastic and College Championships, to be held Friday-Sunday, March 4-6, 2016, at Rock Ridge High School in Ashburn (near Dulles Airport). This year's event is organized by the Virginia Chess Federation (VCF) and includes four separate tournaments: The Main Tournament will be held Saturday (rounds 1-4) and Sunday (rounds 5-6). The Blitz Tournament and the new Bughouse Tournament will both be held Friday evening at 6:00 pm. The Parents and Friends Tournament for adults will be held on Saturday (rounds 1-3) and Sunday (round 4). Complete event information and online registration are available at the Event Website.

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.

Kemps Landing/Old Donation School Tournament Results

123 scholastic and adult players participated in the Kemps Landing/Old Donation School Fall Scholastic and Quads tournament, held in Virginia Beach on January 16, 2016.

The K-5 and K-12 Not-rated sections were combined, with separate awards. In the K-5 Not-rated section, Lucas Knapp won the first-place trophy by tiebreaks over Christian Carrasco. Lucas and Christian each finished with a perfect score of 5.0 points in 5 rounds. The host team from Kemps Landing/Old Donation School won the K-5 Not-rated first-place team trophy.

In the K-12 Not-rated section, Rylan Ribera won first place with a score of 3.0 points in 5 rounds. There were no teams in K-12 Not-rated.

In the K-5 Open section, Bryce Phillips won first place with a perfect score of 5.0 points in 5 rounds. The host school, Kemps Landing/Old Donation School from Virginia Beach, won the K-5 Open first-place team trophy.

In the K-12 Open section, Matthew Bustillos won the first-place trophy with a perfect score of 5.0 points in 5 rounds. Maggie L. Walker Governor's School from Richmond won the first-place team trophy in K-12 Open.

The winners in the five Open Quads sections were Yang Zhang, 12th grade; Mr. David Kea Jr.; Loyal Soles, 11th grade; Trey Johnson, 10th grade and Nathan Ortiz, 9th grade (tie); and Mr. David Ulissi.

Congratulations to all of these players and to all of our other tournament participants. Complete tournament results are 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 tournament is 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.