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

June Tournament News

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.

Featured Upcoming Events

  • July 15, 2017 - Montgomery, AL *** A State Championship Event ***
    The Alabama State Dual-Rated Championship features a 4-round, G/45 + 10-second increment time controls. (The increment is added to a player's clock after each move. The tournament has three rated sections: Open, U1800, and U1200. This is the third in the 4-tournament championship series. Tournament Flyer
  • July 29, 2017 - Dothan, AL - The Clarence Kalenian Classic Chess Tournament will include two rated sections with a G/70 d5 time control. Flyer
  • August 12, 2017 - Montgomery, AL - The Chris Bond Memorial XIII will include three rated sections with a G/60 d5 time control. There will also be a non-rated scholastic section with a G/20 d5 time control. Flyer
  • September 1-3, 2017 - Birmingham, AL *** A State Championship Event ***
    The grand finale of the Alabama Chess Championship season takes place over Labor Day Weekend. In addition to the Premiere and Reserve (U1600) sections the Alabama State Chess Championship includes one-day scholastic and team tournaments. Championship Flyer and Registration Form
For more tournaments, see the ACF Calendar

Chess News by Michael Ciamarra

  • June 19,2017 - Alabama player prepares for national tournament, Magnus Carlsen outplayed on home turf
  • June 11, 2017 - Alabama's rising chess star Arden Markin, tournament results
  • January 30, 2017 - MLK Day Chess Tournaments, Aronian's brilliancy

Chess Antics by Scott Varagona

May 5, 2017 - The Spring Antics magazine features games from the Queen of Hearts including an upset win by Ken Goodman over the Alabama State Champion. Sijing and Rochelle Wu present key games from their dominant performances at the 2017 Alabama State Scholastic Championship.

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
    Elementary
  • School: Rainbow Elementary
  • Club: Chess Kids Nation
    Primary
  • School: Rainbow Elementary
  • Club: Chess Kids Nation

Talladega and Tuscaloosa Schools to Join ACIS

February 24, 2017 - Talladega City Schools, Tuscaloosa City Schools, and Tuscaloosa County Schools have been selected to join the Alabama Chess in Schools Initiative this Fall.

In Talladega, Graham Elementary, Houston Elementary, Salter Elementary, and R.L. Young Elementary, Zora Ellis Jr. High, and Talladega High will take part. Tuscaloosa County participants will include Lake View Elementary, Brookwood Middle School, and Brookwood High.

Tuscaloosa City Schools, which already has programs active in some of its schools through the University of Alabama's Every Move Counts program, will expand chess in schools through the ACIS program. Initial participants will include Martin Luther King Jr Elementary, Verner Elementary, and Woodlawn Elementary.

Alabama State Championship Results

Open Section: Bill Melvin is the 2016 Alabama State Chess Champion.


September 8, 2016 - Huntsville - Between 1990 and 2001 Melvin was the top active player in the state, claiming the state championship title seven times, making him the current record holder for most Alabama state championships. At this year's event, fifteen years after his last state championship, Bill extended his record to eight, winning clear first with a score of 5.5/6.

The final round drama featured Melvin defeating six-time champion Scott Varagona. Mathew Puckett finished second.


Reserve Section: Why is Krishin Yerabolu Smiling?

There was drama in the reserve section as well as Krishin Yerabolu ranked 28th in a field of 30, took first place with a score of 5.0/6.0 to become this year's Reserve champion. Krishin's rating rises an astounding 324 points in one tournament!

More State Championship Coverage

The Madison City Chess League provided a great facility and coverage of the state championship. Check out their report and photos as well as Michael Ciamarra's detailed coverage of the event

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.