Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

February 8, 2017

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 Winter Scholastic (Grades K-12)

Registration is now open for the Maggie L. Walker Winter Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, February 25, 2017 at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, February 23.

This tournament is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade 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.

There are 3 US Chess-rated sections. The K-5 Under 1200 section and K-12 Under 1200 section (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 with a rating of 1200 or above.

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 5 individuals in each of the five sections, and to the top 3 teams in each section except K-12 Championship. There is no team competition in the K-12 Championship section, 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.

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.

Virginia Scholastic & College Championships

Registration is open for the 2016-2017 Virginia Scholastic & College Championships, to be held Friday, March 10-Sunday, March 12, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach-Norfolk in Virginia Beach. The Main tournament will be held Saturday (4 rounds) and Sunday (2 rounds). There are also three side events: The Blitz and Bughouse tournaments will take place Friday evening, and the Parents & Friends tournament will be held Saturday (3 rounds) and Sunday (1 round). For complete details, and information about hotel reservations and tournament registration, visit the Event Website. Online registration is open until Friday morning, March 10, but to take advantage of the discounted entry fees participants must register and pay by March 6. Entry fees increase for any payments submitted March 7 or later.

VSCA Board of Directors Election Results

Members of the VSCA Board of Directors were elected by the VSCA membership in online balloting which concluded on January 29, 2017. Re-elected board members are Mike Callaham (Chesterfield County), Jeff Forbes (Virginia Beach), Brian Garbera (Chesterfield County), Cheryl Havens (Virginia Beach), Mike Hoffpauir (York County), Bart Mebane (Middlesex County), Ellen Osborne (Albemarle County) and Christina Schweiss (Virginia Beach). There is currently one vacant board position.

Virginia Beach Tournament Results

87 scholastic and adult players participated in the Virginia Beach Winter Scholastic and Quads Tournament, held at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach on January 28, 2017. We are very grateful to Eastminster Church for hosting the tournament.

In the K-5 Not-rated section, Vikram Goudar won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. The first-place team in K-5 Not-rated was Brickell Academy from Virginia Beach.

In the K-12 Not-rated section, Sundeep Tripuraneni won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. The first-place team in K-12 Not-rated was the Waldorf Homeschool.

In the K-5 Open section, Manas Niranjan won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Grace Academy Homeschool Co-op from Virginia Beach was the first-place team in K-5 Open.

In the K-12 Open section, Bruce Flores won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Providence Elementary School from Virginia Beach, with two players playing up, won the K-12 Open first-place team trophy.

In the Open Quads and Small Swiss sections for adults and advanced scholastic players, the first-place winners were Mr. Joseph Jackson and Mr. Dexter Wright (tie); Ryan Balser and Lucas Knoll (both 11th grade, tie); Mr. Matt Thomas; and Mr. Mike Anliker.

Congratulations to all of these players and to all of our other tournament participants. Complete tournament results are available 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. The club is also hosting a State Champ Camp for scholastic and college students. The camp will be held during the regular club meeting hours (Tuesday 5:00 to 7:00 pm) on February 21, February 28 and March 7. Fees for the camp are $10 for club members, $40 for Grace Homeschool Co-op members and $60 for the general public, with discounts for families. For more information, visit the chess club's Facebook page at, and also check out the State Champ Camp flyer.

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 weekday evening each month from 5 to 7 pm. The clinics are free to scholastic players of all experience levels, from beginner to advanced. The next clinic is Tuesday evening, February 21. For current 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 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.

Follow Isaac's European Chess Trip

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 summer Dragon Chess Camp. His current US Chess rating is 2052. Now a sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh, Isaac is taking this semester off to play chess in Europe during February, March and April. Isaac will blog about his experiences on his website Chess^Summit (

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.