Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

April 13, 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.

Meadowdale Spring Scholastic (Grades K-12)

Registration is now open for the Meadowdale Spring Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, April 30, 2016 at Meadowdale Public Library in Chesterfield County. Onsite registration and payment (for those who don't pay online) is 8:00 to 9:00 am. Orientation for new players is at 9:00 am, and the first round begins at 9:30. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, April 28.

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

The K-5 Not-rated and K-12 Not-rated (grades 6-12) sections 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 and K-12 Open (grades 6-12) sections are US Chess-rated sections. All players in these sections must be current US Chess members.

The K-12 Quads sections are US Chess-rated sections open to advanced scholastic players only (US Chess rating 1000 and above). There are no adult quads at this event. 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 all sections is $10 for advance (online) registrations, and $15 for onsite registrations. 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 Swiss sections. There are cash prizes for the K-12 Quads, with no trophies or team competition.

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

Other Upcoming VSCA Tournaments

Two additional VSCA tournaments are scheduled before the end of the school year: May 21 at Grafton Middle School (York County) and June 4 at the Richmond Public Library Main Branch. Both of these tournaments will have K-5 Not-rated and K-12 Not-rated sections for new players (first three tournaments), K-5 Open and K-12 Open sections for experienced players and Open Quads for adults as well as advanced K-12 players. US Chess Federation membership is required for the Open scholastic sections and the Open Quads.

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

Fork Union Tournament Results

26 scholastic players participated in the Fork Union Spring Scholastic, held at Fork Union Military Academy in Fluvanna County on April 9, 2016. The K-3 and K-5 sections were combined with separate awards, and the K-8 and K-12 sections were combined with separate awards.

Momen Mohamed, playing in his first tournament, won first place in the K-3 section by tiebreaks over Hridhay Pothunoori. There were no K-3 teams. Ky-Quan (Kiwi) Pham, a third grader playing up, won the first place trophy for K-5 with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Providence Elementary School from Virginia Beach won the K-5 first place team trophy.

Andrew Rousseau, a fourth grader playing up, won the K-8 first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 point in 4 rounds. Lylburn Downing Middle School from Lexington won the K-8 first place team trophy. Sophie Peng won the first-place trophy for K-12 by tiebreaks over Reid Jesselson. Sophie and Reid each finished with a score of 2.0 points in 4 rounds. The host team from Fork Union Military Academy won the K-12 first-place team trophy.

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 May 7, 2016 at the Richmond Public Library Main Branch. For more information, visit the RCI website at

Tournament Director Seminar

National Tournament Director (NTD) Ernest Schlich, assisted by NTD and VSCA president Mike Hoffpauir, will present a free two-day seminar for current Tournament Directors (TDs) and anyone interested in becoming a TD. The seminar will be held at the Old Dominion University Regional Education Center in Virginia Beach on Saturday June 11 and Sunday June 12. For more information, visit

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 Summer Chess Camp

Dragon Chess Camp, organized by the Maggie L. Walker Governor's School Chess Club, will be held at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond the week of July 11-15, 2016, followed by a VSCA tournament at the school on July 16. The camp is open to rising 3rd-9th graders. For further information, visit the chess club's Facebook page at and the camp website at

Richmond Chess Initiative Free Chess Training

The Richmond Chess Initiative (RCI) and the Richmond Public Library host weekly chess training sessions, free and open to the public. Sessions are 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

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 an extremely interesting game from the Virginia Scholastic Championships in Ashburn.

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 2112. 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.