Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

June 28, 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 Summer Scholastic (Rising Grades K-12)

Registration is now open for the Maggie L. Walker Summer Scholastic tournament, to be held Saturday, July 15, 2017 at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, July 13.

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 1400 and was very competitive.

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.

Grafton Tournament Results

44 scholastic and adult players participated in the Grafton Summer Scholastic and Quads Tournament, held at Grafton Middle School in York County on June 24, 2017.

There were four scholastic sections: K-5 Not-rated, K-12 Not-rated, K-5 Open and K-12 Open. The K-5 Not-rated and K-12 Not-rated sections were combined with separate awards. There is no team competition or team awards at our summer tournaments. There were also two Open Quad sections for adults and advanced scholastic players.

In the K-5 Not-rated section, Matthew Adams won the first-place trophy with a score of 2.5 points in 4 rounds. Christian Phillips won first place in the K-12 Not-rated section with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds.

In the K-5 Open section, Saket Sambaraju won the first place trophy by tiebreaks over Smit Kothari. Saket and Smit played to a draw in the third round and each finished with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. In the K-12 Open section, Trevor Leggette won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds.

In the Open Quads for adults and advanced scholastic players, the first-place winners were Daniel Zhou (eighth grade), Mr. Thomas Burgess and Mr. David Kea (three-way tie); and Mr. Blaine Eley.

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

U.S. Open Scholastic Championships

The 118th Annual U.S. Open Chess Championship, featuring the top players in the country, will be held in Norfolk this year, July 29 through August 7. As a part of this event, the U.S. Open Scholastic Championships will be held on Sunday, July 30. The one-day, four-round scholastic tournament features four sections: Junior High/High School Championship, Junior High/High School Under 1200, Elementary Championship and Elementary Under 1000. This is a rare opportunity to compete with some of the top scholastic players in the country, right in our own backyard. For more information, visit the U.S. Chess Federation website.

Championship Chess RVA Cross-round Tournament

Championship Chess RVA, headed by VSCA Board Member Brian Garbera, is hosting two non-rated "cross-round" tournaments in the Richmond area this summer: Saturday, July 8, 2:00-5:00 pm at Stuffy's Subs, 324 Libbie Avenue, and Saturday, August 19, 1:00-4:00 pm at Battlegrounds game store, 13176 Midlothian Turnpike. US Chess membership is not required. For more information, visit the Championship Chess RVA website 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 Summer Camp flyer.

Richmond Chess Initiative Summer Chess Camps

Mr. Mike Callaham, VSCA Secretary and CEO of the Richmond Chess Initiative (RCI) is hosting three one-week summer chess camps in Richmond: 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 10-14, followed by a VSCA tournament at the school on July 15 (see above). 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. For complete information, visit the Championship Chess RVA website at

Hampton Roads Summer Chess Camp

The Hampton Roads Chess Association, organized by VSCA Board Member Christina Schweiss, is hosting a summer chess camp the week of July 24-28 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. Featured instructors are FIDE Master James Schuyler (2400) and National Master Justin Lohr (2200). The camp is open to students in grades K-12 (ages 5-17). Read the camp flyer at For further information and registration, email Tina 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 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 Boushall, Lucille Brown, Thomas Henderson and Thompson Middle Schools in Richmond; Armstrong High School 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.


The VSCA is an all-volunteer, non-profit organization. We welcome volunteers of all interests and experience levels to help with tournaments and other scholastic chess activities, or to assist with planning by serving on the VSCA Board of Directors. There is one vacancy on the Board of Directors for the remainder of the current year, and voting for all nine Board positions will be held during the coming winter. Parents of scholastic players who have participated in one or more VSCA tournaments in the past 12 months, and individuals age 16 or older who have done significant volunteer work for the VSCA in the past 12 months are eligible to serve on he Board and vote in elections. If you are interested in volunteering as a Director candidate or in any other capacity, please contact VSCA President Mike Hoffpauir 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 the following check-in policies:

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.