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State Scholastic Champions Nominated for National Tournaments

April 17, 2014 - The Alabama Chess Federation is pleased to nominate Stephen W. Adams to represent Alabama at the prestigious Denker Tournament of High School Champions. The invitational tournament consists of nominees from each state and is held in conjunction with the US Open Championship. This year's tournament will be in Orlando, Florida from July 26-29. Stephen is a junior from Birmingham. Stephen qualified for the nomination by winning his third straight Alabama Scholastic Championship title in March. This will be Stephen's second year to attend the Denker. Stephen will work with chess master Bradley Denton to prepare for this year's competition.

Arden Markin has been nominated for the 2014 Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions . Arden is a home-schooled 5th grader from Tuscaloosa. He is pictured with his Alabama Scholastic Championship (K-8) trophy with Freedom Chess Academy coaches Neil Dietsch and Rose Marie Stutts. Having reached the class A ranks, Arden now uses the International Chess School resources provided by FCA for his advanced chess studies. He too will be working with Bradley Denton as he prepares for the Barber.

Featured Tournaments

May 3, 2014 - Montgomery, AL - The Montgomery Scholalstic Chess Tournament features a rated section for grades K-12 playing 5 g/30 d5 games. and two non-rated sections scheduled to play seven briskly paced games in 15 minutes per player (G/15).

May 17, 2014 - Birmingham, AL - The Summer Scholastic Chess Tournament will be a half-day tournament with 5 G/15 games in both its rated and non-rated sections. Flyer

Click here for more tournaments (including those of non-ACF affiliates) and the complete Tournament Calendar

Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championships

Individual Championship Results

When the last of more than 700 chess games had been played on Saturday, a new set of champions stepped forward to receive trophies and recognition as the best of Alabama's scholastic chess players.

Last year's winner Stephen Adams retained his title of Alabama Scholastic champion. In the K-8 section, Arden Marken and Samson Sands tied with 3.5 points after four rounds. Arden then won a 2-round blitz playoff to take the first place trophy.

David Luo took first in a field of 71 in the elementary section. In grades K-3 Sarvagna Velidandla (a winner from the 2013 Supernationals) and Siddharth Doppalapudi both had a perfect five wins to become primary co-champions.

2014 ASSCC Photo Gallery

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  Place
Champion 2nd Third
High School (K-12) Stephen W. Adams Jonathan Rasberry, Varun Yarramsetti -
Jr. High (K-8) Arden Markin, Samson Sands -Logan Mercer, Cesar Juarez, Jr.
Elementary David Xu Luo Michael Guthrie, Rahul Boddupalli, Labdhi Mehta, Sijing Wu, Vishay Ram
Elementary (under 600 rating) Willam Bao, Zachary Snow - Anton Timares, Max Rogers, Tyler McWilliams, Jonathan Parris
Primary Siddharth Doppalapudi, Sarvagna Velidandla - Andrew Robertson, Constance Wang, Rochelle Wu, Hudson Markin, Vinay Yerramsetti, Eshika Kudaravalli, Sherwood Dong

Click here for complete individual championship tournament crosstable results.

Team Championship Results

  Grades
2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
OpenSchool: Bayside Academy, UMS-Wright A; Club: CaesarChess School: Huntsville High; Club: ChessKidsNation School:Bayside Academy (tiebreak), Indian Springs; Club: ChessKidsNation ChessKidsNation Indian Springs School (Pelham) Bob Jones High (Madison)
Jr. High School: Bumpus Middle School; Club: Chess Kids NationSchool: Huntsville Middle School; Club: ChessKidsNation School: W.J. Christian; Club: CaesarChess W.J. Christian (Birmingham) ChessKids Nation Christ the King School (Daphne)
ElementarySchool: Rainbow Elementary; Club: Madison City League, Freedom Chess Academy School: Vestavia Central; Club: ChessKidsNation School: Vestavia Central, Randolph; Club: ChessKidsNation The Knight School Huntsville Chess Club Bayside Academy
Primary School: Vestavia East; Club: Magic City USchool: Liberty Park; Club: ChessKidsNation School: Vestavia East Elementary; Club: Magic City U ChessKidsNation, The Knight School ChessKidsNation --

Click here for complete team championship tournament crosstable results.

Scott Varagona Scores A Chess Grand Slam

Completes Sweep of All Four 2013 State Championships

December 7, 2013 - Montgomery - Scott Varagona won the Alabama Dual-rated Championship on Saturday. This marks the first time that one person has won all four state championship events in a single year. In March Scott took first in the state blitz championship tournament held in Madison (8.5/10). In May he took the state Quick Chess Championship in Tuscaloosa (4.0/5.0). In September at the Alabama State Chess Championship he scored 5.5/6.0 to become the official Alabama State Chess Champion for the fourth time in his career. Saturday's Dual-rated Championship victory completed the sweep. In all four competitions he won first place outright.

For those unfamiliar with the different times, the blitz chess championship is played with each player having five minutes on their clock. Such games effect only the players' blitz rating. The Quick Chess Championship has game times under 30 minutes; only the players' quick chess rating is effected. Dual-rated championship times are between 30 and 60 minutes and effect both the players' quick chess and regular ratings.

Dr. Varagona is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Montevallo. He has been instrumental in arranging to have the 2014 Alabama Scholastic Chess Championship held there in March. He is a past editor of Antics.

Congratulations to a great and highly respected competitor for a remarkable accomplishment and a demonstration of great chess flexibility. Look for one of Scott's games from this tournament in the next issue of Antics magazine.

The reserve section of the Alabama Dual-rated Championship was won by Neil Dietsch (4.0/4.0). More about this tournament and the Huntsville Open.

Alabama Chess in Schools Pilot Planned

USCF and ACF Meet with AL Superintendent of Schools

January 28, 2014 - *** UPDATE *** The Alabama Chess in Schools Proposal was prepared and submitted to the Department of Education on October 1, 2013. The Alabama Superintendent of Schools has indicated that he wishes to personally lead this initiative when his schedule allows. Given the nature of the Chess in Schools Initiative, ACF views this is a positive development. Dr, Bice's involvement as well as his judgment regarding the appropriate timing for a Chess in Schools pilot is crititical to its success.

September 14, 2013 - The state Board of Education hopes to prepare a chess in schools pilot program for the 2014-2015 school year. In August USCF and ACF representatives met with Alabama Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Tommy Bice. Dr. Bice reported that he found the evidence for the benefits of chess compelling and wished to take the next step forward: a chess in schools pilot program. To do this Michael Ciamarra (al.com Chess columnist and ACF member), Jerry Nash (USCF Director of Scholastic Research), and Neil Dietsch (ACF President) will lay out a recommended approach, suggest pilot locations, and provide educators with an inventory of chess community resouces available in the pilot areas. Balagee Govindan and Frank Chamaratta, Jr. also took part in the meeting.

The pilot approach will include professional development for teachers to learn how chess contributes to children's learning, how it supports specific educational performance goals, and how it can be worked into daily lesson plans. They will receive basic instruction in chess from someone with teaching credentials. This approach is critical to gain the trust, support, and enthusiam of teachers. The reason a teacher-driven approach is considered best-practice for a broad-based program is that the highest priority goal is to develop learning skills in many children, not necessarily to fill trophy cases, though some schools in the pilot may choose to pursue that as a secondary goal by bringing in outside chess coaches.

While the pilot is intended to be educator-driven, the Alabama chess community will provide optional support and services that most schools are not equipped to provide themselves, including leading after-school programs, organizing school chess tournaments, assisting teachers who may be less than confident in their chess understanding initially, and perhaps offering follow-up technical training to teachers. A few organizations may bring various scalable, technology-based chess teaching options involving DVD and Internet-based instruction; The Knight School and ChessKidsNation are two examples.

The ACF is reaching out to Alabama Chess coaches to compile a chess resource inventory of coaches and chess organizations (for-profit and not-for-profit) that it will include in its report to Dr. Bice in late October. If you are a chess coach (or considering becoming one) and would like to be a part of this exciting initiative, get on the ACF's chess coach mail distribution. If you have not already received an email from the ACF president, contact president@alabamachess.com and request to be added. Dr. Bice has specifically asked the ACF to recommend locations for pilots where there are available chess community resources to help make the pilot successful. This shows that the he is serious about seeking chess community involvement. The response the ACF gets from you will have a bearing on where we recommend pilots be held.