Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

June 20, 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.

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

Registration is now open for the Maggie L. Walker Summer Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, July 16, 2016 at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, July 14.

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 (rising 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.

There are 3 US Chess-rated sections. The K-5 Under 1200 section and K-12 Under 1200 section (rising grades 6-12) are for current US Chess 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 US Chess membership is required. The K-12 Championship section is for advanced players in any grade (rising K-12) with a rating of 1200 or above. At last summer's tournament this section attracted a number of players rated above 1500 and was very competitive. Advanced players may also be interested in the VSCA Summer Intensive training; see below for details.

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.

VSCA Summer Intensive Training (Rising Grades K-12, US Chess Rating 1200+)

Trying to start the 2016-17 chess season on the right foot? This summer, Candidate Master Isaac Steincamp is offering a free chess intensive for 1200+ rated VSCA players. Be prepared to exercise your practical endgame skills, calculate in dynamic positions, and learn essential positional ideas. This four day course is designed not only to teach you how to play smarter, but how to excel at the advanced tournament level. Advance registration is required, and will be open beginning in early July at

Isaac Steincamp is a rising sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh. A former VSCA player, Isaac has since achieved the title of Candidate Master with a current US Chess rating of 2121. In 2014, he coached his high school team, Maggie L Walker Governorís School to first place at the U1200 National High School Chess Championships in San Diego. Isaac later went on to serve a one year term as director of the VSCA in 2015. Isaac recently took seventh place at the 2016 U.S. Junior Open in New Orleans, losing only to the first- and second-place finishers.

Richmond Spring into Summer Tournament Results

26 scholastic and 7 adult players participated in the Richmond Spring into Summer tournament, held at the Richmond Public Library Main Branch on June 4, 2016. Scholastic sections were K-5/K-12 Not-rated (combined section with separate awards), K-5 Open and K-12 Open. There were three Open Quads sections for adults and advanced scholastic players.

In the K-5 Not-rated section, Apoorva Saurav won the first-place trophy with a score of 3.0 points in 4 rounds. Ruckersville Elementary School from Greene County won the first-place team trophy in K-5 Not-rated.

Jack Simmons won the K-12 Not-rated first place trophy with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. There were no K-12 Not-rated teams.

Cade Petrus won the first-place trophy in K-5 Open with a perfect score of 3.0 points in 3 rounds. There were no K-5 Open teams.

In the K-12 Open section, Nicholas Natalello won the first-place trophy with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. The first place team in K-12 Open was Maggie L. Walker Governor's School from Richmond.

Winners in the three Open Quads were Nick Failon (8th grade), Nic Balser (8th grade), and Mr. Poe Leggette.

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 tournaments are July 2 and August 6, 2016 at the Richmond Public Library Main Branch. For more information, visit the RCI website 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

Championship Chess RVA Summer Chess Camps

Championship Chess RVA, headed by VSCA Board Member Brian Garbera, is hosting camps throughout the summer months at many locations across the Richmond metro area. The camps are open to rising 2nd-8th graders. For complete information and registration, visit the Championship Chess RVA website at

Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club Summer Chess Camp

The Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club, organized by VSCA Board Member Christina Schweiss, is hosting a summer chess camp the week of July 25-29 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. The instructor is FIDE Master James Schuyler (2400). The camp is open to both club members and non-members. For further information, email Tina 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

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.

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 they 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.