Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

January 17, 2018

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.

Upcoming VSCA Events

There are two VSCA events currently open for registration: Grafton Middle School in York County on January 20, and Hopewell High School in Hopewell on February 10. You can read more about each of these events in this newsletter, and register at A calendar of VSCA events as well as other scholastic events in Virginia is available at

Grafton Winter Chess Fest (Grades K-12 and Adults)

Wednesday is the last full day to register for the Grafton Winter Chess Fest, to be held Saturday, January 20, 2018 at Grafton Middle School in York County. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM THURSDAY MORNING, January 18.

The annual VSCA membership meeting (see the article in this newsletter) will be held at this event.

This tournament is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade as well as adult players, and includes rated and non-rated scholastic sections, and quads for adults and advanced scholastic players.

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 1200+) 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;d5. All players registering for Open Quads are expected to play all three rounds.

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.

Snacks and drinks will be sold at the tournament, and pizza orders will be taken for lunch. The VSCA thanks the Hampton Roads Chess Association for providing concessions.

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

Hopkins Scholastic at Hopewell (Grades K-12)

Registration is now open for the Hopkins Scholastic at Hopewell tournament, to be held Saturday, February 10, 2018 at Hopewell High School in Hopewell. The tournament is named in memory of VSCA founder and longtime president Peter Hopkins. This event was originally scheduled in December, but was rescheduled due to snow. This will be the 25th consecutive year of scholastic chess tournaments at Hopewell High School, beginning in 1993. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM Thursday MORNING, February 8.

Players are divided into four sections based on their grade in school: Current membership in the U.S. Chess Federation (US Chess) is required for all players. All sections are US Chess-rated. There will be no Open Quads at this event.

Coach Mike Callaham will be on hand to offer free game analysis and notation training, as well as moderately-priced chess books for all skill levels.

Food and drinks will not be sold at this event. Please bring your own lunch and snacks, or plan to visit one of the fast food restaurants in the area. We will have a lunch break during the tournament.

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 the top 5 individuals and to the top 3 school teams in each section.

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.

VSCA Board of Directors Election

The yearly election for the nine VSCA Board of Directors positions is now being conducted online through Saturday, January 27. Eligible voters are parents or guardians of scholastic players who have participated in at least one VSCA tournament in the past year (January 1-December 31, 2017), and other individuals age 16 and older who have done significant volunteer work for the VSCA, such as assisting with directing or organizing tournaments, or serving as an Officer or Director, in the past year. For more information and voting instructions, please visit

VSCA General Membership Meeting

The annual VSCA membership meeting will be held on Saturday, January 20, 2018 during the Grafton tournament in York County. VSCA members are parents or guardians of VSCA scholastic players, and other interested individuals age 16 and older who have done significant volunteer work for the VSCA. During the meeting, VSCA president Mike Hoffpauir will outline future plans and answer questions, and members will be able to bring up any concerns that they wish to discuss.

Discounted US Chess Memberships

The VSCA still has a limited number of discounted US Chess Federation scholastic membership vouchers which must be used by January 31. Each voucher costs $13, and may be redeemed online for a one-year US Chess membership for a scholastic player of any age (K-12 only, no adults). You may use a voucher for either a new membership or a renewal of an existing membership. The membership will expire January 31, 2019, or one year from the expiration date of a current membership, whichever is later. When the voucher is redeemed, you will be able to print a paper membership card. No other membership card will be mailed. Other than the card, the memberships are identical to Regular Scholastic ($17), Regular Youth ($22) or Regular Young Adult ($26) memberships purchased from the US Chess website. As with the Regular memberships, access to Chess Life or Chess Life for Kids magazine is online only (no printed copy).

We only have four vouchers remaining. We will make them available on a first-come, first-served basis to the first four people who pay the $13 fee online via PayPal at To pay, enter the player's name under Add to Your Cart, select US Chess ($13) as the event, click Add to Cart, and then click the Buy Now button. You will be taken to the PayPal site to complete your payment (credit card or PayPal account). When we receive your payment, we will email you a voucher number and instructions for redeeming it for a membership. We will refund any payments received after all remaining vouchers have been purchased. If you don't see US Chess listed as an event choice, then no more vouchers are available.

State Scholastic Tournament

Registration is now open for the 2018 Virginia Scholastic & College Championships, organized by the Virginia Chess Federation (VCF). The State Championships will be held March 2-4, 2018 at William Fleming High School in Roanoke. For complete information, and to register online please visit the Event Website.

HRCA State Warm-up Tournaments

The Hampton Roads Chess Association, organized by VSCA Board Member Christina Schweiss, is hosting two state warm-up tournaments: Saturday, February 3 and Saturday, February 24. Both events will be held at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach, and will feature K-3, K-5 and K-12 rated sections for experienced players, a K-12 unrated section for new players (no US Chess membership required) and Open Quads for adults and advanced scholastic players. For details and registration information, check the flyer at

Championship Chess RVA Cross-round Tournament

Championship Chess RVA, headed by VSCA Board Member Brian Garbera, is hosting a "cross-round" tournament for grades K-6 on Saturday, January 27, 3:00-6:00 pm at Mathnasium Learning Center, Westchester Commons, Midlothian. The tournament features Quick-rated play for U.S. Chess Federation members and Non-rated games for non-members. For more information, visit the Championship Chess RVA website at

Hampton Roads Chess Association

The Hampton Roads Chess Association, organized by VSCA Board Member Christina Schweiss, 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

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.

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.