Virginia Scholastic Chess Association Newsletter

January 16, 2019

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.

Virginia Beach Groundhog Challenge (Grades K-12)

Registration is now open for the Virginia Beach Groundhog Challenge tournament, to be held Saturday, February 2, 2019 at Eastminster Presbyterian Church in Virginia Beach. Advance registration is online only, and closes at 7:00 AM THURSDAY MORNING, January 31.

This tournament is open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and includes both rated and non-rated scholastic sections. Due to limited space, there will be no Open Quads at this event.

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 entry fee is $10 for advance (online) registrations, and $15 for onsite registrations. Please read our Tournament Check-in Policy.

Trophies will be awarded to the top 5 individuals and 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 need to postpone an event due to safety concerns. If we have to cancel or reschedule 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 let us know that you will not be able to attend.

VSCA Board of Directors Election

Voting is open for the nine VSCA Board of Directors positions. The election is being held online from Saturday, January 12 through Saturday, January 26, 2019. Eligible voters are: A link to the candidate statements, online ballot and instructions for voting is posted on our home page,

VSCA General Membership Meeting

The annual VSCA membership meeting will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2019 during the Veritas School tournament in Richmond. 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.

Other Upcoming VSCA Tournaments

The Veritas Winter Scholastic tournament will be held at the Veritas School in Richmond on Saturday, February 23. The Veritas tournament will be open to students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and includes rated and non-rated scholastic sections. The annual VSCA Membership Meeting will be held during this event. Registration will open February 6.

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

Virginia Scholastic & College Championships

Registration is open for the 2019 Virginia Scholastic & College Championships, to be held Friday–Sunday, March 8–10, 2019 at Monticello High School in Charlottesville. The Main Event, this year featuring additional "Under" sections and 5 rounds rather than 6, will be held on Saturday (3 rounds) and Sunday (2 rounds). The Blitz tournament will be held Friday Evening, and the Parents & Friends tournament will be held on Saturday (2 rounds) and Sunday (2 rounds). For complete information, and to register online, please visit the Event Website.

Championship Chess Richmond Cross-round Tournament

Championship Chess Richmond, headed by VSCA Board Member Brian Garbera, is hosting a "cross-round" tournament for grades K-8 on Saturday, January 26, 3:00-6:00 pm at Mathnasium Westchester, 15604 WC Commons Way, Midlothian. The tournament features Quick-rated play for U.S. Chess Federation members and Non-rated games for non-members. Quick-rated Quads for adults and advanced scholastic players are also available. For more information, visit the Championship Chess Richmond website at

Richmond Chess Initiative "Last Saturday" Tournaments

Richmond Chess Initiative (RCI), headed by VSCA Secretary and Board Member Mike Callaham, is hosting monthly Last Saturday Swiss tournaments for all ages at Create Space, 607 Wickham Street, Richmond, featuring free parking and many nearby restaurants. All games are US Chess-rated. The next tournament date is Saturday, January 26. For more information, visit the RCI website at

Maggie L. Walker Tournament Results

60 scholastic players participated in the Maggie L. Walker Winter Scholastic tournament, held at Maggie L. Walker Governor's School in Richmond on January 12, 2019.

There were three scholastic sections: K-5 Not-rated, K-5 Open and K-12 Open. There were no K-12 Not-rated players.

In the K-5 Not-rated section, Rollin Scandlen won the first place trophy by tiebreaks over Kaushik Dhamotharan. Rollin and Kaushik each finished with a score of 3.5 points in 4 rounds. The first-place team in K-5 Not-rated was Twin Hickory Elementary School from Henrico County.

In the K-5 Open section, Leo Chang won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. The first-place team in K-5 Open was Twin Hickory Elementary School from Henrico County.

In the K-12 Open section, Vaibhavreddy Maru won the first place trophy with a perfect score of 4.0 points in 4 rounds. The first-place team in K-12 Open was the Plaskey Homeschool from Louisa County, with two players playing up.

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

Richmond Chess Initiative Workshops

The Richmond Chess Initiative (RCI), headed by VSCA Secretary and Board Member Mike Callaham, meets for chess every weeknight, Monday-Friday, 6:00-9:00 pm, at Createspace, 607 Wickham Street, Richmond. Chess lessons are 6:30-7:00 pm daily, followed by free play from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. Sets and clocks are provided, and there is free onsite parking. For more information, visit the RCI website at If you plan to arrive later than 7:30 pm, please call 804-426-6058 to let Mr. Callaham know.

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.