Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

March 22, 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.

Fork Union Spring Scholastic (Grades K-12)

Registration is now open for the Fork Union Spring Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, April 8, 2017 at Fork Union Military Academy in Fluvanna County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, April 6.

This tournament is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. All sections are US Chess-rated, and all players in the tournament must be current US Chess members.

Players are divided into four sections based on their grade in school: The entry fee is $10 for advance (online) registrations, or $15 for onsite registrations.

Trophies will be awarded to the top 5 individuals and to the top 3 school teams in each of the four sections.

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

Other Upcoming VSCA Tournaments

Two additional VSCA tournaments are scheduled this spring: April 22 at Spratley Gifted Center in Hampton, and May 20 at Meadowale Library in Chesterfield County. 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 (US Chess membership required), and Open Quads for advanced K-12 players (US Chess rating 1200+) and adults.

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

Maggie L. Walker Tournament Results

85 scholastic players participated in the Maggie L. Walker Winter Scholastic Tournament, held at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond on February 25, 2017.

In the K-5 Not-rated section, Tony Zhang won the first place trophy by tiebreaks over Jeremy Gaubatz. Tony and Jeremy each finished with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. The first-place team in K-5 Not-rated was Marguerite Christian Elementary School from Chesterfield County.

In the K-12 Not-rated section, William Mickiewicz 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 Appomattox Regional Governor's School from Petersburg.

In the K-5 Under 1200 section, Saket Sambaraju won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. Rivers Edge Elementary School from Henrico County won the K-5 Under 1200 first-place team trophy by tiebreaks over Twin Hickory Elementary School, also from Henrico County.

In the K-12 Under 1200 section, Joshua Yu won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. The host team from Maggie L. Walker Governor's School won the K-12 Under 1200 first-place team trophy.

In the K-12 Championship section (US Chess rating 1200+), Nick Failon won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds.

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

State Scholastic Tournament Results

A number of our VSCA players and schools participated in the Virginia Scholastic and College Championships, held March 10-12 at the Holiday Inn Virginia Beach-Norfolk Hotel & Conference Center. Congratulations to the following award winners: 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. 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. For current information and the date of the next clinic, 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.