Jonathan Rasberry and Scott Varagona are the 2016 Alabama Dual-rated co-champions.


Alabama Dual-Rated State Chess Championship

July 25, 2016 - Montgomery, AL - 36 players from Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida competed in the 2016 Alabama Dual-rated State Chess Championship on July 23 at Evangel Church in Montgomery, AL. The tournament was four rounds at a time control of 45 minutes + 10 seconds increment per move. The Dual-Rated Championship was directed by Doug Strout at Evangel for the fifth consecutive year.

The open section was won by Jonathan Rasberry (trophy winner as Champion) and Scott Varagona. The victory is Scott's third at the Dual (2013, 2014, 2016). Since Scott has finished first in all three championships so far in 2016 (Quick, Blitz, Dual), the possibility of another "Scott slam" (2013) will be in play at the State Championship in Huntsville over Labor Day weekend. The victory is Jonathan's first in the Dual-Rated Open section, but he did win the title in the U1600 section of the Dual in 2012.

The U1800 championship was won by newcomer Tejas Thorat, a half-point ahead of co-runnersup Christian Friedman and Mohak Agrawalla. Mohak and Christian finished first and second, respectively, in the Reserve section of the 2016 Quick championship. The U1200 championship was won by Kristian Jordan, and Joseph Jacob Hayes of Florida tied for first place in the U1200.

Featured Events

  • August 6, 2016 - Montgomery, AL - The Chris Bond Memorial Tournament will have three rated sections and one non-rated section each playing four G60/d5 rounds. Flyer.
  • September 2-4, 2016 - Huntsville, AL - The 63rd Annual Alabama State Chess Championship takes place Labor Day Weekend. This year's tournament will feature $3,200 in guaranteed cash prizes. Flyer.
For more tournaments, see the ACF Calendar

Alabama Chess in Schools Prepares for 2nd Year Expansion

July 15, 2016 - Montgomery, AL - In late June 45 teachers took part in training offered by the Alabama Chess in Schools (ACIS) Initiative. Teachers preparing for their first year of teaching chess received four days of training. Returning chess teachers took two days of classes.

The teaching is intended to prepare teacher to teach chess in the classroom in the coming school year. ACIS teacher training is a mix of chess training and teaching methods for integrating chess into the teaching of core educational material. Teachers also learn about the latest internet-base chess training curricula and are introduced to the ACIS support network provided by the Alabama Chess Federation and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE).

National Chess Education Consultant Jerry Nash led the training with a team that included an array of volunteers from the chess and education communities: Neil Dietsch (chess coach, ACF president), Nancy Johnson (former ALSDE lead and current ACF Chess in Schools Liaison), Caesar Lawrence (chess coach & tournament organizer), Pat & Steve Schneider (principals of Championship Chess out of Atlanta), and Charles A. Smith (National Chess Coach and ACF VP). Andy Meadows and Michele Matin participated as ALSDE representatives.

Returning ACIS veteran teachers Telura Hamilton (Montevallo Intermediate School), Christina Purdy (pictured right, Huguley Elementary), and Brenda Scott (W.O Parmer K-2) were on hand to provide tips to teachers about teaching chess in the classroom for the first time. More

Alabama Chess Championship Results

Quick Chess

June 30, 2016 - Birmingham - Scott Varagona continued his dominance in Alabama chess tournaments winning his 4th Alabama Quick Chess Championship in the past five years. Stephen W. Adams, who has two Quick Chess Championship titles during that period (he and Scott were co-champions in 2012) finished in second place this year in a tie with Sijing Wu. 55 players played in the Quick Championship.

Blitz Chess

June 30, 2016 - Birmingham - Stephen W. Adams shared the top spot in the blitz chess championship with Scott Varagona. This is Stephen's 3rd consecutive state blitz championship. 28 players played in this year's competition.

Chess News by Michael Ciamarra

  • July 10, 2016 - Fastest chess players in Alabama meet in tournament and who made Top 100 lists
  • June 23, 2016 - Alabama chess life here and there
  • May 13, 2016 - Alabama chess players excel at national tournament

Chess Antics by Scott Varagona

May 24, 2016 - The Spring Antics magazine features five games from some of Alabama's top players.

2016 State Championship Series - Special Award

ACF Vice President Charles Smith has announced the award of a beautiful, handmade chess board along with an oversize chess set from the House of Staunton, along with a box for the pieces to the winner of the most points scored in the four 2016 Alabama state championships. These include the Quick and Blitz Chess championships being held at Samford University on June 25, the Dual-rated championship on July 23, and the State Championship on Labor Day Weekend. The award is being presented to encourage our players to compete in all of our major events. Let's have some fun and play some chess!

Alabama Scholastic Nominees for National Invitational Tournaments

April 21, 2016 - The ACF Executive Board has selected the following nominees to represent Alabama in a set of simultaneous national tournaments during the 2016 US Open taking place from July 30 to August 2 in Indianapolis.

Jay-El Shepherd (left) will represent Alabama at the 2016 Denker Tournament of High School Champions. Jay-El pulled out a narrow victory over Kenneth Jiao in the 2016 Alabama State Scholastic Championship (ASSCC).

ASSCC K-8 Champion Arden Markin (right) will make his second trip to the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions. Arden will be the first Barber representative from Alabama this century to take a 2000+ rating into the Barber. However Arden wasn't the first Alabama K-8 player to achieve the expert level. Sijing Wu hit 2022 in February of this year, but Arden won their head-to-head match-up during the ASSCC to top 2000.

The Wu family will not miss out on the US Open events. ASSCC K-6 state champion Rochelle Wu repeats as the ACF's nominee to the National Girls Invitation Tournament. Only in the 4th grade and with a 1958 rating, Rochelle too is flirting with the 2000 rating mark. In addition to her NGIT nomination, Rochelle will be the official representative of the US Chess Federation in the U10G section at the 2016 World Cadet Chess Championship.


Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championship

Individual Champions

March 23, 2016 - Congratulations to the 2016 Alabama State Scholastic Chess Champions. Check back shortly for additional photos and commentary.


2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Open Jay-El Shepherd II
Jonathan Rasberry, Vikhram Balagee Stephen Adams Stephen Adams Kelly Chen, Stephen Adams
Jr. High* Arden Marken
Logan Mercer, Arden Marken Arden Marken, Samuel Sands Alexander Lay, Ethan Hugh Smith LeeAngelo Groves, Jonathan Rasberry, Joshua Anders, J Wesley Brown
Middle*


Logan Mercer, Colin Jay Bamford, Samson Sands Steve Mengxi Chen
Elementary* Rochelle Wu
Mohak Agarwalla, Benjamin Kennedy David Xu Luo Arden Marken Logan Mercer
Primary Geon Park
Rochelle Wu Siddharth Doppalapudi, Sarvagna Velidandla James Hongjie Shi Arden Marken

* Grade groupings were changed in 2014 to Elementary: Grades 4-6; Jr. High: K-8, Open: K-12.

Team Champions

Section 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Open Indian Springs School School: Bayside Academy; Club: Chess Kids NationSchool Bayside Academy, UMS-Wright; Club: Caesar Chess School: Huntsville High; Club: Chess Kids Nation School:Bayside Academy (tiebreak), Indian Springs; Club: Chess Kids Nation
Jr. High School: Discovery Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Discovery Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Bumpus Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Huntsville Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: W.J. Christian; Club: CaesarChess
Elementary School: Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation Rainbow Elementary; Club: Madison City Chess League, Freedom Chess Academy School: Vestavia Central, Randolph; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Vestavia Central, Randolph; Club: Chess Kids Nation
Primary Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Vestavia East; Club: Freedom Chess Academy, Chess Kids Nation School: Vestavia East; Club: Magic City U School: Liberty Park; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Vestavia East Elementary; Club: Magic City U


Rapid Growth of Alabama Chess Continues in 2015

# of Players in Alabama Rated EventsJanuary 16, 2016 - Rated chess play in Alabama grew by 12% in 2015. Gains in North Alabama, South Alabama, and Montgomery had significant gains to offset a decline in the Birmingham area, which has been the hub of past growth.