Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

September 7, 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.

Grafton Fall Scholastic and Quads (Grades K-12 and Adults)

Registration is now open for the Grafton Fall Scholastic and Quads tournament, to be held Saturday, September 24, 2016 at Grafton Middle School in York County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, September 22.

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 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 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, and $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.

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

Virginia Beach National Chess Day Festival

The Virginia Beach National Chess Day Festival will be held outdoors at Virginia Beach Town Center on Saturday, October 8, 2016. The event is organized by the Hampton Roads Chess Association and sponsored by the City of Virginia Beach. The all-day festival will include a tournament with US Chess-rated sections for experienced players and not-rated sections for beginners, a simultaneous chess exhibition by five-time Virginia State Champion and National Master Dan Miller, free chess lessons for beginners, a giant chess board, and other chess activities. Spectators are welcome. Many of the activities are free; there is an entry fee is $5 per player for the tournament and $5 per player for the simul. There is no charge for spectators. Advance registration for the tournament and the simul is now open at

Other Upcoming VSCA Tournaments

The next VSCA event following the Grafton tournament is the Meadowdale Library tournament on October 15 in Chesterfield County. This 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.

The Virginia Scholastic and College Championships, organized by the VSCA, will be held the weekend of March 10-12, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach-Norfolk Hotel and Conference Center in Virginia Beach. Complete information and online registration will be available beginning December 1.

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 October 8, November 5 and December 3, 2016 at the Richmond Public Library Main Branch. For more information, visit the RCI website at

Maggie L. Walker Tournament Results

70 scholastic players participated in the Maggie L. Walker Summer Scholastic Tournament, held at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond on July 16, 2016.

The K-5 Not-rated section and the K-12 Not-rated section were combined with separate awards. There are no team awards at our summer tournaments.

In the K-5 Not-rated section, William Sutton won the first place trophy by tiebreaks over Ian Frazier. William and Ian each finished with a score of 3.0 points in 4 rounds.

In the K-12 Not-rated section, Alex Boyce-Draeger won the first-place trophy with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds.

In the K-5 Under 1200 section, Sriharsha Sambangi won the first place trophy by tiebreaks over Aman Kanuri. Sriharsha and Aman played to a draw in the final round and each finished with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds.

In the K-12 Under 1200 section, Nalin Jha won the first-place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds.

In the K-12 Championship section for advanced players, Jeffrey Song won the first-place trophy with a score of 2.5 points in 3 rounds.

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

Advanced Chess Camp Held in August

Isaac Steincamp, a former VSCA player, Tournament Director and Board Member, now a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, conducted a free four-day intensive camp for advanced VSCA scholastic players during the second week of August. Isaac was assisted by VSCA Secretary and chess instructor Mike Callaham. The VSCA sincerely thanks Isaac and Mike for their hard work, long volunteer hours and dedication in putting together the lesson plans and teaching the classes, and we are also grateful to the Richmond Public Library for making facilities available at the Main Library Branch.

We welcome donations to the Virginia Scholastic Chess Association so that we can continue to support scholastic chess initiatives like this one, from Charlottesville to Virginia Beach. Your donations help make programs like this one a reality. Donations should be made payable to VSCA and mailed to VSCA, PO Box 29901, Richmond, VA 23242.

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.