Over 200 players participated in the 2017 AL State Scholastic Chess Championship in Madison. This year's championships will take place in Mobile on March 24 and 25.


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.

Featured Upcoming Events

  • February 17-18, 2018 - Montgomery, AL - The Queen of Hearts sponsored by the Montgomery Chess Club has been been a mainstay of Alabama chess tournaments for 46 successive years. The two-day tournament has three rated sections and one non-rated section. Flyer and Registration Form
  • March 17, 2018 - Huntsville, AL - The Huntsville Challenge Tournament features three rated sections and one non-rated section. Flyer and Registration Form
  • March 24-25, 2018 -Mobile, AL - The Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championships ASSCC) attract over 200 players each year to both the Team Championship (March 24) and the Individual Championship (March 25). Tournament Flyer

    *** Register Online Now ***

    Reserve a room/rooms at hotels with ASSCC Rate Discounts for rooms booked on or before March 9, 2018:
  • *** Book your hotel ***

    • Courtyard by Marriott Mobile
      1000 W I-65 Service Road South, Mobile, AL 36609
      Phone: 251-344-5200 Fax: 251-343-4050. Double/Double; $109+tax
    • Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Mobile
      950 A W I-65 Service Road South, Mobile, AL 36609
      Phone: 251-316-0029 Fax: 251-343-4050. Double/Double; $89+tax
For more tournaments, see the ACF Calendar

Chess in Schools (CIS)

CIS Training Now Available to All AL Schools

February 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. Schools wishing to participate should plan to attend one of two chess in schools orientation meetings:

  • March 7 - Alabaster, AL
  • March 9 - Loxley, AL

There are a limited number of complimentary spots available for qualified school representatives. The sessions will also include ACIS participants preparing to expand their programs to additional grades and schools in the 2018-2019 school year. Funding for ACIS in FY 2019 is in the hands of state legislature. Please make your support for chess in schools known to your local legislators.

Details regarding registration, times, and prices will be posted to the Chess in Schools LLC website by February 4. Interested schools should contact National Chess Education Consultant Jerry Nash by phone at 888-400-7182, Ext. 3 for additional information.

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.

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

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.