Approximately 90 teachers are receiving training in June 2017 as part of the Alabama Chess in Schools (ACIS) initiative.


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.

2018 Championship Schedules

December 8, 2017 - The Alabama Chess Federation announced the addition of two new state championship tournaments for 2018. Here is what is what is on the horizon:

AL Championship Date(s) Location Affiliate Status
Scholastic (Team) March 24 Mobile ACF Confirmed
Scholastic (Individual) March 25 Mobile ACF Confirmed
Girls April 28 Madison Madison City Chess Club Confirmed
Seniors May 5-6 Birmingham ACF Confirmed
Quick/Blitz June ? South Alabama? Open for Affiliate Bid
Dual July / Early Aug. Central AL? Open for Affiliate Bid
Regular September ? South Alabama? Open for Affiliate Bid

Chess Antics by NM Scott Varagona

November 25, 2017 - The Fall Antics magazine is jam-packed with games and photos from recent tournaments including Scott's own games that gained him the 2017 State Champion title. For pgn versions of key games, click on Magazine (Antics) in the left menu.

Featured Upcoming Events

  • December 9, 2017 - Montgomery, AL - The Capital City Scholastic features one rated section and two non-rated sections. Flyer and Registration Form
  • December 30, 2017 - Birmingham, AL - The Magic City Classic features four rated sections and one non-rated section. Flyer and Registration Form
For more tournaments, see the ACF Calendar

Alabama Chess in Schools Grant Funding Cut for FY 2018

November 6, 2017 - Due to significant cuts in a state-funded grant to the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE), the Alabama Chess in School (ACIS) Initiative has not been funded for fiscal year 2018.

Chess in Schools LLC, a subsidiary of the Alabama Chess Federation, will work with ACIS stakeholders to continue this important program. While the decrease in funding will slow the growth of ACIS, it will not end it. Where a door closes a window opens. CIS will adjust its plans for 2018 and beyond. Though not providing FY 2018 funding, ALSDE remains a supporter of chess in schools and will continue to be involved in ACIS research and program monitoring. Expect to hear more news in the coming weeks about plans for supporting ACIS.

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).

Crosstables

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.