2016 Alabama State Scholastic Chess Champion Jay-El Shepherd II and K-8 Champion Arden Markin


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!

Featured Events

  • June 25, 2016 - Birmingham, AL - The Alabama Quick & Blitz Chess Championships will be held at Samford University. The quick chess championship starts at 9:00 a.m. and with game times of g/25 d3. The blitz tournament begins at 4:00 p.m. with 6 rounds of g/8 d2 chess. Flyer. If you drive, your car will need a parking permit: Samford University Parking Permit Print this, fill it out and place it in your car window.
For more tournaments and chess camps, see the ACF Calendar

Chess Antics by Scott Varagona

May 24, 2016 - The Spring Antics magazine features five games from some of Alabama's top players including the two scholastic champions pictured above.

Chess News by Michael Ciamarra

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 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 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 Chess in Schools (ACIS) Leads Meet to Plan Fall Programs

April 7, 2016 - Fifteen new schools have joined the ACIS program. Representatives from the ACIS schools met March 24 in Montgomery for an orientation meeting. Veteran Chess Leads from twelve of the initial set of schools reported on their progress and offered advice to the new school representatives who will be starting their programs in the fall. Most encouraging was the enthusiasm and continued support for the program by the educators at the schools who have actually taken part in the first year program.

ACIS is an initiative to promote child development through chess in schools throughout Alabama. It is a cooperative effort of the Alabama State Department of Education and the Alabama Chess Federation. More.


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 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.