In 2018 Madison City Schools swept the school Alabama State Scholastic Team Championships in all school sections. The 2019 championships are scheduled for March 3. Pictured is the first place team in the open section from Bob Jones High School. Read more about the Madison City Chess League's history and the program's remarkable evolution.

Featured Upcoming Events

  • February 16-17, 2019 - Montgomery, AL - The 47th Annual Queen of Hearts tournament is one of only two two-day, classic time control tournaments held in Alabama. This is a G/120 d5 tournament with $1,600 in fully guaranteed cash prizes. A non-rated one-day quick chess tournament is available on Saturday for scholastic players (K-12) Flyer
  • Online Registration for the ASSCC tournament has been restored.

    Credit/debit card transactions no longer have to go through Paypal (the culprit). We apologize for the delay. The Early Bird discount has been extended to February 22.

  • March 2, 2019 - Fairfield (a Birmingham suburb), AL - This year the Alabama State Scholastic Chess Individual Championship - Jr.High and Open tournament will be held on the campus of Miles College near Birmingham. The state championship draws large turnouts of players from across the state. Tournament are become eligible for nomination to the Denker Tournament of High School Champions and the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions. Flyer *** Register ***
  • March 2, 2019 - Fairfield, AL - This year the Alabama State Scholastic Chess Individual Championship - Primary & Elementary tournament will be held on the campus of Miles College. The state championship draws large turnouts of players from across the state. Flyer *** Register ***
  • March 3, 2019 - Fairfield, AL - This year the Alabama State Scholastic Chess Team Championship - Primary & Elementary tournament will be held on the campus of Miles College. The state championship draws large turnouts of players from across the state. Pictured right is the 2018 Primary School Championship Team from Rainbow Elementary. Flyer *** Register ***
  • March 3, 2019 - Fairfield, AL - This year the Alabama State Scholastic Chess Team Championship - Jr.High and Open tournament will be held on the campus of Miles College near Birmingham. Flyer *** Register ***
See the ACF Calendar for additional events.

Chess in Education

Research Results Reaffirm ACIS Program Effectiveness

February 10, 2019 - Independent researchers from Tennessee Tech University and the University of Alabama have released findings based on three years of data from the Alabama Chess in Schools (ACIS) program. The study is believed to be the largest of its kind in the United States to assess the benefits of a teacher-driven chess in education program. Click here for more on ACIS's impact on critical thinking, 21st Century Skills, Teachers' perceptions, and student perceptions.

Get the full report: Teaching with Chess: Exploring the Relationship between Chess and Student Learning Outcomes - ACIS Years 1-3 Report 1

Read's Story on the ACIS Research

Chess in Schools Announces Programs for 2019

Chess in Schools LLC (CIS), the operational arm of ACF that manages ACIS, announced a set of new programs.

Interested in getting a Chess in Education program started at your school? Visit the Chess in Education website.

Chess Antics News

Winter 2019 Issue Available

January 23, 2019 - In the Winter Antics magazine editor and 2018 state champion Scott Varagona discusses reprises a complicated game with co-champion Tyler Freeman in a Leningrad Dutch opening played this past November.

Antics Preservation Project

Thanks to the efforts of some dedicated volunteers including Charles Anthony, Ken Goodman, Scott Varagona and others, the Antics Preservation Project has finally borne fruit. Scroll to the bottom of the Magazine page to find not only classic Antics from past decades, but a summary of contents for all the Antics collected so far from 1977 to 2003.

Alabama State Championship

September 4, 2018 - Scott Varagona won the 2018 Alabama State Chess Championship trophy on tie breaks. Tyler Freeman continued his string of upsets (see story below on the Dual-Rated championship) to match Varagona's score of 5.0/6.0 to earn the title of co-champion. Alexander Kristjansson finished first in the Reserve section scoring 5.0/6.0.

State Championship Crosstables

ACF Election Results

September 4, 2018 - The following ACF officers were elected for two-year terms at the September 2, 2018 Annual Membership Meeting. Terms of office start October 1, 2018.

  • Vice President: Jonathan Rasberry
  • Treasurer: Paul Nager
  • Secretary: Vacant
  • Education VP: Neil Dietsch
  • US Chess Delegate and Alternate: Vacant
Vacancies may be filled by a vote of the Executive Board.

Volunteers Wanted

ACF relies on volunteers willing to commit time to keep our chess community active and vibrant. Opportunities for volunteers include:

  • webmaster / assistant webmaster
  • website developer [WordPress]
  • volunteers to work at the Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championship in central Alabama in March: registration desk, floor TDs
  • content-providers willing to provide copy and pictures from tournaments for the website and/or Facebook site
  • chess instructors willing to work with schools

If you have an interest in helping, please contact any of the current officers listed on the About Us page. Find out more about the ACF Board and its operation from the ACF Bylaws.

Other Alabama State Championship Reports

Dual-Rated Championship

August 8, 2018 - Ranked 11th out of 12 competing players, Tyler Freeman (R: 1653; Q: 1519) upset a number of higher rated players to become the 2018 Alabama Dual-Rated Championship. Tyler scored 3.5 / 4.0 for clear first ahead of Joseph Jurjevich (R:2069; Q:2000), Aaron Decord (R:1915; Q:1816) and Christopher Trees (R:1937; Q:1693) who finished with 3.0 / 4.0. Tyler is new to the state chess scene having previously been a regular at Tennessee and Mississippi chess tournaments. Welcome, Tyler!

Quick & Blitz Championships

June 30, 2018 - Alabama's elite players squared off for rounds of fast chess on June 23 in Birmingham. Zachary Snow II (pictured right) earned his first state championship title in the Quick Chess Championship, tying perennial state champion Scott Varagona (left) with a score of (4.0 / 5.0) at the 2018 Alabama Quick Chess Championship held June 23, 2018. Arden Markin (Tuscaloosa) braved the challenge of fast time controls to take 3.0 points which was good enough to win the under 1800 [Quick Rating] prize. Tyler Freeman (Tuscaloosa) and Mohawk Agarwalla (Huntsville) shared first place in the Reserve section with 4.0 points. Hudson Markin (Tuscaloosa) won the U1300 prize.

The 2018 Alabama Blitz co-champions are Stephen W. Adams (Birmingham) and Scott Varagona, scoring 5.0/6.0 in a field of 22 players.

Falcon Chess Invitational

June 23, 2018 - Jonathan Rasberry reports on the history and current winners of a tournament organized by and for Alabama's elite players: the Falcon Chess Invitational. Congratulations to this year's winners: Steven Graveling and Bill Melvin. More

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.

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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

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.