A scene from the 2018 Alabama State Scholastic Championship.

Attention Smart Chess Players

Harvard Personal Genome Project (PGP) Seeks Persons with Exceptional Memory, Attention, and/or Reflex Speed

ACF has been asked to invite members to participate in a study that seeks to get people who have remarkable memory traits and engage them in the PGP.

"If you are exceptional in anyway, you should share it, not hoard it." ~ George Church

"Help Harvard PGP discover genetic factors that might affect neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers by playing games for free. For more information visit: https://wyss.harvard.edu/pgp-lumosity."

2018 State Chess Championships

All Girls State Chess Championship

April 28, 2018 - Madison - In the first All Girls State Chess Championship 46 girls competed in three sections. Sarvagna Velidandla (pictured left above) took first competing in the K-12 section with 4.5/5.0 to become the 2018 Alabama Girls Champion. Nirvana Rajbhandari took first in the K-6 section with a perfect 5.0 score. Laya Gowder won the K-3 section scoring 4.5/5.0 points. More pictures and key game analysis from Rasberrychess.

Question for Seniors

While the planned May 5-6 Alabama Senior State Chess Championship has been cancelled due to low early registration, ACF is still open to organizing a chess event for seniors (50+) if there is sufficient interest. Question for Seniors: would you attend a one-day event for seniors (+50) in Birmingham, October 13 National Chess Day? If so, reply on the Alabama Chess Federation Facebook page or email president@alabamachess.org.

Featured Upcoming Events

  • May 19, 2018 - Birmingham, AL - The Summer Scholastic has one rated and three non-rated sections. Flyer
  • May 26, 2018 - Birmingham, AL - The Vulcan Open features three rated and one non-rated sections. Flyer

For more tournaments, see the ACF Calendar

Chess in Schools (CIS)

CIS Training Now Available to All AL Schools

May 1, 2018 (updated) - Beginning this year, Chess in Schools LLC (a subsidiary of the non-profit Alabama Chess Federation) will offer chess in schools services and training to public and private schools looking to establish a chess in schools program in the 2018-2019 school year. Prior to this year, these were only available through the Alabama Chess in Schools (ACIS) Initiative.

The new program, Chess in Schools Now, is available at cost to public and private schools.

Registration for Summer training classes is now open at the Chess in Schools LLC website.

Alabama State Scholastic Championship

ASSCC Results

March 27, 2018 - Mobile - Congratulations to the 2018 Team and Individual Champions! Check out former ASSCC champion Jonathan Rasberry's in-depth reports on the latest championship action:

Madison City Schools and Chess Kids Nation continue Team dominance.

Kapil Nathan and Om Badhe Win Individual Top Honors.

A Closer Look at Madison City Schools' Chess Program

As the latest tournament results show, Madison City Schools have established themselves as powerhouses in competitive chess. Ranae Bartlett provides a glimpse into Madison City School's investment in chess education in this article from ChessKid.com.

ASSCC Crosstables

Technical Note: Crosstable updates by the USCF on Tuesday, April 3 may result in minor adjustments for some players.

ASSCC Team Crosstable

ASSCC Individual Championship Crosstable

Individual Championship History

2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013
Open Kapil Nathan
Rochelle Wu Jay-El Shepherd II Jonathan Rasberry, Vikhram Balagee Stephen Adams Stephen Adams
Jr. High* Om Badhe
Sijing Wu Arden Marken Logan Mercer, Arden Marken Arden Marken, Samuel Sands Alexander Lay, Ethan Hugh Smith
Elementary* Geon Park
Sarvagna Velidandla, Constance Wang Rochelle Wu Mohak Agarwalla, Benjamin Kennedy David Xu Luo Arden Marken
Primary Aaditya Saxena
Xavier Bruni Geon Park Rochelle Wu Siddharth Doppalapudi, Sarvagna Velidandla James Hongjie Shi

Team Championship History

Madison City schools continued their dominances sweeping the top school team places. Chess Kids Nation swept the club team titles.

Section 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014
Open School: Bob Jones High School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Indian Springs School, Bayside Academy; Club: Madison City Chess League Indian Springs School School: Bayside Academy; Club: Chess Kids NationSchool Bayside Academy, UMS-Wright; Club: Caesar Chess
Jr. High School: Discovery Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Discovery Middle School; Club: Madison City Chess League School: Discovery Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Discovery Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Bumpus Middle School; Club: Chess Kids Nation
Elementary School: Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation Rainbow Elementary; Club: Madison City Chess League, Freedom Chess Academy
Primary School - Rainbow Elementary Club - ChessKidsNation Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation Rainbow Elementary; Club: Chess Kids Nation School: Vestavia East; Club: Freedom Chess Academy, Chess Kids Nation School: Vestavia East; Club: Magic City U

Chess Antics by NM Scott Varagona

February 4, 2018 - The Winter Antics magazine brings a variety of interesting games from Stephen Graveling, NM Scott Varagona, and Charles Anthony.

Alabama Chess Growth by the Numbers

Rated Game Play in Alabama: 2010 - 2017

The number of rated games dropped 8% from a record high in 2016. Still, 2017 had the second highest number of annual rated games for the decade.

In another measure of chess activity that reflects growth in non-rated chess, Alabama Chess in Schools (ACIS) growth continued. While not shown in the following chart, the number of students participating has grown to approximately 2,700 in the 2018 school year.

Friends of Chess in Schools

1/1/2018 - We have exciting news to share about the Alabama Chess in Schools (ACIS) Initiative, the nation's only statewide, teacher-driven Chess in Schools program. Join Friends of Chess in Schools today to get news on ACIS as well as glimpses into CIS in other parts of the world from National Chess Education Consultant Jerry Nash (right) and others. Receive 2018 updates on:

  1. Just-released research results for Year two of the ACIS program
  2. Testimonials on the benefits of ACIS from parents and teachers
  3. ACIS fundraising and future plans for ACIS and Chess in Schools.
  4. How you can help promote chess in schools.
  5. A new website for ACF's Chess in Schools
  6. The 60 Minutes Chess in Schools story about Chess in Franklin County, Mississippi and connections to ACIS.

Sign up to get this exclusive content.

Sign Up Now

Artificial Intelligence and Chess

December 8, 2017 - "Imagine this: you tell a computer system how the pieces move - nothing more. Then you tell it to learn to play the game. A day later it has figured it out to the level that beats the strongest programs in the world. DeepMind, the company that recently created the strongest Go program in the world, turned its attention to chess, and came up with this spectacular result".

Employing the late artificial intelligence advances, researchers are showing that the current crop of chess engines are about to become obsolete.

What openings would such a computer gravitate to if it had to discover the merits and vulnerabilities of each opening on its own? What would it have to say about NM Scott Varagona's (semi-serious?) contention that the refutation to 1 e4 is 1... c6!? Read this story from Chess News, The future is here - AlphaZero learns chess.

Chess News by Michael Ciamarra

  • October 30, 2017 - National Chess Day in Alabama, unique chess tournament coming up
  • October 8, 2017 - New Orleans chess master Jude Acers visits Birmingham, National Chess Day
  • August 30, 2017 - Alabama State Chess Championship preview, Sinquefield Cup brilliant game

Alabama State Chess Championship

9/15/2017 - Read Michael Ciamarra's full account of the state championship.

9/3/2017 - Scott Varagona (right) won his seventh state championship finishing with 5.5 / 6.0, a point ahead of 2nd place finisher Tejas Thorat (left) in a field of 28 players. Scott also established himself as the 2017 All-around champion having previously won or was co-champion in the 2017 Blitz, Quick, and Dual-Rated titles.

Zachary Snow won the 2017 Reserve Championship with a score of 5.5 / 6.0, edging out 2nd place finisher Joshua Lin (5.0/6.0).


ACF Annual Membership Meeting & Election of Officers

9/3/2017 - ACF members elected the following officers to terms beginning October 1, 2017. The number in parentheses indicates the length of the term in years as the ACF shifts from 1-year terms to staggered 2-year terms for officers.

    Executive Board Members
  • Neil Dietsch: President (2), Education VP(1)
  • David Hayes: Vice President (1)
  • Paul Mulqueen: Secretary (1)
  • Paul Nager: Treasurer (1)
  • Balagee Govindan: Scholastic VP (2)
  • Michael Ciamarra: Director of Public Relations (2)
    Other Elected Representatives (1-year term)
  • Gerald Larson: US Chess Federation Delegate
  • Michael Ciamarra: US Chess Federation Delegate - Alternate

Other Tournament News

Rochelle Wu Wins NGIT

August 1, 2017 - Rochelle Wu scored 5.5/6.0 to take clear first in the National Girls Invitational Tournament. More: Coverage by Michael Ciamarra

Team Alabama Tops Under 2100 Competition at Barber/Denker/NGIT Combine

Rochelle Wu, together with brother Sijing (left), who represented the state in the Tournament of K-8 champions and Vikhram Balagee (right) in the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, Team Alabama won first place in the Under 2100 team competition based on combined finishing scores.

2017 Alabama Dual-Rated Championship

July 20, 2017 - On July 15, 30 players from Alabama and Florida competed at the 2017 Alabama Dual-Rated Chess Championship, hosted by Evangel Chess Club at Evangel Church in Montgomery. The tournament had four rounds of competition at a time control of game in 45 minutes with a 10-second increment per move.

Defending Open co-champions Scott Varagona and Jonathan Rasberry competed once again and finished 1st and 2nd in the nine-player Open section. Roger Johnson tied with Jonathan for 2nd place.

In other sections Christian Friedman and Isaac Snow tied for 1 st among 12 players in the U1800 section with Kristian Jordan finishing third and taking the U1500 prize. The nine-player U1200 section had four players playing their first tournament in a longer-than-quick time control. Raghavan Madabushi won the championship, followed by Mark Gordon in 2nd place. Parker Liu and Alejandro Iglesias shared the U1000 prize.

2017 Alabama Quick Championship

July 1, 2017 - Scott Varagona (4.5 / 5.0) is the 2017 Alabama Quick Chess Championship held June 24, 2017. Steve Graveling and Tejas Thorat took second and third with scores of 3.5/5.0.

2017 Alabama Blitz Championship

July 1, 2017 - In the Blitz Championship Scott Varagona and Stephen Graveling tied for first with 5.0/6.0. Tejas Thorat, Frank Johnson (GA), and Roger Johnson tied for 3rd place with scores of 4.5 / 6.0.

Home Grown Chess Web Sites

Did you know that some Internet chess websites are authored here in Alabama? Besides ACF affiliate sites, you can improve your chess skills at sites like Logical Checks and Logical Chess both maintained by Huntsville's David Hayes.