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

Featured Upcoming Events

  • October 28, 2017 - Huntsville, AL - The Halloween Classic features four rated sections. Flyer and Registration Form
  • November 4, 2017 - Woodville, AL - Ever played chess in a cave? No, here's your chance. The Huntsville Chess Club is taking chess underground with their first Chess in a Cave Tournament. This fun event for scholastic players features three rated sections in a most unusual setting. Cavern tour included. Flyer and Registration Form
  • November 11, 2017 - Birmingham, AL - The UAB School of Engineering and Caesar Chess will sponsor the 10th annual Dancing Knights Scholastic featuring one rated section and three non-rated sections. Flyer and Registration Form
  • November 18, 2017 - Troy, AL - The 2nd annual Troy Classic features two rated section and one non-rated sections. Flyer and Registration Form
For more tournaments, see the ACF Calendar

Alabama State Chess Championship

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

News Flash

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
Terms of office begin October 1, 2017.

Chess News by Michael Ciamarra

  • 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
  • June 19, 2017 - Alabama player prepares for national tournament, Magnus Carlsen outplayed on home turf

Chess Antics by NM Scott Varagona

August 28, 2017 - The Summer Antics magazine features games from Alabama's newest National Masters Arden Marken and Stephen Adams.

Is the pressure of being a perennial state tournament winner pushing our Antics editor into full-blown paranoia? Scott addresses the topic head on and shares his latest conspiracy theories in "Is Everyone Out to Get Me?".

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 ThoratFrank Johnson (GA), and Roger Johnson tied for 3rd place with scores of 4.5 / 6.0.

Arden Markin Achieves National Master Title

July 1, 2017 - One week after being featured in Michael Ciamarra's Chess News article, Arden Markin competed as the only Expert-rated player in a field of 17 competitors rated Master level or higher at the 2017 Castle Chess Grand Prix in Atlanta. His score of 3.0 / 5.0 against this high quality field was sufficient to earn 6th place and achieve National Master status. National Master status is awarded by the US Chess Federation to players achieving a rating of 2200+. Arden's only loss came in the final round against FIDE Grandmaster Julio Becerra. Entering the 9th grade, Arden becomes one of eight currently active Alabama players (and the only state scholastic player) to have earned the National Master ranking.

National Master Scott Varagona also enjoyed success at the 2017 Castle Chess Grand Prix tournament scoring 3.5 /5.0 to place third, with his only loss also being to Grandmaster Becerra.

More - Coverage and pictures by Michael Ciamarra.

Alabama State Scholastic Championships

Wu! Wu! What a Tournament! / National Tournament Nominees

March 16, 2017 (updated 6/242017)- Madison City, AL - Rochelle Wu and Sijing Wu took top honors in the 2017 Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championship. Rochelle won clear first competing in the K-12 open section to become the Alabama 2017 Scholastic Champion. Older brother Sijing took clear first in his section to become the Alabama K-8 champion and earned ACF's nomination to the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions.

Three high school players tied for second in the open section behind Rochelle. They were Kenneth Jiao, Stephen Chen, and Vikhram Balagee. 6/24/2017 [Update: In a June 11 round-robin playoff between the three players, Vikhram Balagee won both of his first two games to earn the Denker High School Tournament of Champions nomination for Alabama.] Rochelle has been nominated as Alabama's National Girls Invitational Tournament (NGIT) representative.

In the Elementary Section Sarvagna Velidandla (1st-place trophy winner on tie-breaks) and Constance Wang are the 2017 Elementary School state co-champions. [6/24/2017 Update: In a head-to-head post-tournament playoff, Sarvagna Velidandla won the role of NGIT alternate.] Xavier Bruni is the 2017 Primary School Alabama champion.

In the Open (under 1000) section Hugh James Mitchell, Rachel Ehrman, and Mathew Lash tied for top honors. There was a five-way tie for the top in the Jr. High under 800 section between Jacob Asrin, Hesha Shikhtholth, Luke Saurman, Jr., Jacob Holland, and Claire Jun. Catrina Holschen won the Elementary (under 600) section.

Team Championship Results

March 16, 2017 - Madison City, AL - In the team competition on March 12, the following are the 2017 champions:

    Open Section
  • School: Indian Springs School, Bayside Academy [co-champions]
  • Club: Madison City Chess League
    Jr. High
  • School: Discovery Middle School
  • Club: Madison City Chess League
  • School: Rainbow Elementary
  • Club: Chess Kids Nation
  • School: Rainbow Elementary
  • Club: Chess Kids Nation

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.