Sunday, December 30, 2012

Ashland XXXI begins Jan 3!

Our first weekly tournament of the year begins on Thursday, Jan 3. Ashland XXXI will be five rounds, one round a week. You do not have to play every round, play when you can! Two sections, Open & U1505. Entry fee is $2 for club members, $5 for non members. Renewing or new members receive free entry into current weekly tournament when renewing or joining. One bye allowed, no last round byes. Rounds start at 7:30, register by 7:15.

Time control change!! We will try Game 75 +30 second increment in this tournament. If your clock does not do increment, you will use 30s delay. If you have any questions, check with Bob or Dan on site.

The Land of the Sky tournament is coming up Jan 25-27 in Asheville, NC. Early entry deadline is Jan 18.

The Snowstorm Special has moved to Summerville on Feb 16 & 17 and has a new format!

NEW Sat series for 2013! Cola Chess & CSRA Chess are working together to bring you the Lowry Grand Prix Series. This is a series of six tournaments held every other month alternating between Columbia & Augusta starting Feb 23. Entry fee is only $5 for each tournament. There are no tournament prizes but players will accumulate points towards series prizes that will be paid to the top five finishers at the end of the final tournament, Dec 28. The series is named after Paul Lowry who brought a friendly atmosphere to club each week and whose presence is missed.

The Club Championship will begin on Feb 21. This year's championship is shaping up to be a real battle of champions as State Co-Champions Edsel Pena & Ben Caiello are expected to compete as well as State Amateur Champion (U1800) Chris Labrecque and State Reserve (U1400) Champion Andrew Manion. Of course Three Time and defending Club Champion Keith Eubanks is expected to try to claim his third straight crown. The clocks start for the Championship in only 8 weeks and the top two boards will be broadcast live!

The club is also meeting regularly Monday evenings from 6:00pm-8:30pm at the St Andrews Regional Library on Broad River Rd. These are more casual meetings and are great for new or beginning players to come out and play.

Be sure to check the SC Chess Calendar for a list of weekend tournaments.

2013 is shaping up to be another active year for chess! Come out and play!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Odds & Ends as 2012 winds down and 2013 cranks up

The year is winding down and there's only one tournament left that counts toward the Year End Awards, Ashland Quick XXXIV on Nov 29. The final standings will be updated shortly after and the winners will be posted. Our points keeper for the Awards, Ralph Buske, is stepping down and we need someone to keep track of the standings starting in 2013. If you would like to take this job please let Dan or Bob know. A Big Thank You to Ralph for handling this job for the past five years.

December will be our fun month again with a Bughouse Tournament scheduled for Dec 6. Dec 13 is still up in the air, could be a blitz tournament, quick tournament or even a Chess 960 so let us know what you would like to see! Vote Here. Dec 20 is the Awards Night when the Club's over achievers are recognized for their results over the course of 2012. Dec 27 is open, we may have the Ashland Action again so be sure to let us know if you would like this tournament to be held.

The Columbia Chess Club swept the 2012 SC Championships as Edsel Pena & Ben Caiello were State Co Champions, Chris Labrecque is the Amateur (U1800) Champion, and Andrew Manion is the Reserve (U1400) Co Champion. This is the first time the Cola Club has swept the SC Champs! Well done guys!!

Thanks to Rod Franco we are able to meet at the St Andrews Regional Library on Monday evenings from 6:00 - 8:30 in addition to our normal Thursday night meetings. Meetings started again on Nov 19 with around a dozen players engaging in blitz, lessons and casual slow play. This is a great opportunity for new and beginning players to come out! We also plan to have a few Beginner tournaments next year.

If you missed it, the USCF is offering three years premium membership at the two year price. The deal expires at midnight, Nov 30. The full details are HERE.


If you miss the weekly broadcast of the top two boards we plan to bring them back in 2013.

The first tournament of 2013 will be Ashland XXXI beginning on Jan 3. It will be our normal five round, two sections(Open & U1500), $2 entry. The only change will be the time control. We are going to try G75 +30s increment and see how it goes. If it causes games to go too late we'll switch back to G90 +5s delay for future tournaments. See this NC Chess Thread for opinions and experience with the 30s incr.

The Club Championship will run from Feb 21 - Mar 21. It will be one Open Section again with accelerated pairings so bring your A Game!

The third club tournament of 2013 may be a team tournament! If you would like to see the team tournament return let us know!

The first two big weekend tournaments next year are the Land of the Sky (LOTS) Jan 25-27 in Asheville, NC. This is a first class tournament. This is not a tournament only for "good" players! There is an U1200 section so everyone is good enough to compete and win in this tournament! Quite a few Cola Club members compete each year so if you'd like to go and share a room ask around at the club.

The next tourny is the Snowstorm Special  Feb 16 & 17 in Summerville this year. New Format!! It's now two sections, Open & U1400, so again, everyone is good enough compete & win! Summerville is about 90 mins from Columbia and the hotel is right at exit 199 off I26. I encourage all Midlands players to participate in this tournament.

2013 will be a fun, active year with plenty of tournaments and TWO places for the club to meet each week. Come out and play!!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Ashland XXX Round 3

In the Open Sections, Ben Caiello, Steve Boshears, and Chris Labrecque were all winners in week 3 of Ashland XXX.

In the Amateur, Paul Potylicki, Birney Blind, Richard Watts, Christian Dunlap all gained a point.

Round 4 continues on Thursday Nov 8th.  Call, text or email you entries by 7:30 pm to be counted.

The Columbia Chess Club did very well in this past weekend's SC Championships.

Ben Caiello scored 4 pts and is co state champion with Dr. Edsel Pena and Gene NixKeith Eubanks won the U2200 prize and Steve Boshears won the U2000 prize.
Chris Labrecque was crowned Amateur champion with a perfect 5-0 score.

In the Reserve, Andrew Manion played well and was the section champion with 3.5 points.

Congrats to all for the successful weekend.
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Monday, October 29, 2012

Ashland XXX Round 2

There was a buzz in the air for Round 2 of Ashland XXX.  In the Open section Ben Caiello(1944) held on to a pawn advantage to defeat Gil Holmes(1860).  Ron Hinds(1542) pulled the upset against Chris Labrecque(1574) to round out the section.

In the Amateur section, Mike Mayfield(1459) fought off tough competitior in Birney Blind(1251), to take the point.  Paul Potylicki(1420) continued his impressive return to the board by defeating Christian Dunlap(1109).  Max Witherell(1146) won against club newcomer Zebulon Griggs(992).  Andrew Manion(1020) continued his winning ways and defeated James Doyle(1178). In the evening’s longest game, Julie Sheil(1087) and Richard Watts(1246) signed the peace accord, agreeing to a draw.

Round 3 will be Thursday Nov 1st.  Call text or email your email you entries by 7:15pm to be counted.

In the fourth game of the Johnson-Shaw match, Klaus Johnson(1822) evened the score at 2 pts apiece by winning with the white pieces against Adam Shaw(1856). 

The SC State Championships are this weekend Nov 2-4 2012 at the Hilton Garden Inn NorthEast Columbia.

SC chess friend IM John Bartholomew was the subject of a player profile this week.  Click here for the full Article.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ashland Quick XXXIII

Congrats to James MacDougall, Chris Labrecque, and Andrew Manion for winning their respective Quads during Ashland Quick XXXIII.

Ashland XXX starts Oct 18th with round 1.
Call text or email before 7:15 pm to reserve your spot.

The SC Championships are being held at the Hilton Garden Inn in NE Columbia on Nov 2-4.
This is a different Hilton Garden Inn from last years tournament.

More Info here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Reserve Angel VII - Charlotte Chess Club

From the Charlotte Chess Club , just 90 minutes up the road:

Reserve Angel VII
Oct 6

3-SS, G75, EF: $25. at site

($5. discount for CCC members!)

Dowd YMCA, 400 East Morehead St.,

7th Floor, Charlotte, NC 28202

(Very Quiet! - Excellent Lighting!)

(At the intersection of South Blvd & Morehead St.)

(Hot coffee and confections available in snack bar!)

In 10 man sections: $100-50 per section. Guaranteed

75% Payback! Rds: 10-1-3:30. Reg: 9:45 am at site.

Running late, but want to play call 704-965-8931

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Research Study Sept 27th

Would you like to participate in a research study?

We would like to invite chess players to participate in an experiment about economic decision making. This experiment will involve multiple participants, giving you a chance to match your wits with others. Cash earnings are paid at the end of experiment, and your earnings will depend on your decisions and also on chance. Participants will earn at least $10 and will have a chance to earn up to $40 more.

The experiment will be held at 7:00 PM on September 27 at the Columbia Chess Club, and it is expected to last one hour. We will be recruiting 16 to 32 participants. 
To register for the experiment and reserve a place, please email If you do not pre-register, we may still be able to work you in, but we cannot guarantee a place.

All participation is voluntary and risk free. This research has been approved by the USC Institutional Review Board.  

Ashland XXIX Round 3 Caiello and Manion in the lead

Yessir, An explosive evening it was for Ashland XXIX round 3.

In the Open Section, Ben Caiello(1923), the sole winner of the night with the white pieces, moved to 3 points with a win over Erik Murrah. Gil Holmes(1862), with the dark pieces, defeated Chris Labrecque.

In the Amateur section, Andrew Manion(1023) defeated Max Witherell to move into the lead with 2 points. Richard Watts(1289) defeated James Price and Birney Blind(1273) defeated Mark Woodman. In the first game to finish Christian Dunlap and James Doyle, agreed to a draw.

Round four continues the tourney on Sept. 20th. Call or Text your entries before 7:15pm to be counted. Sept 27th is the Chess/Economics experiment with the University of South Carolina Economics department and IM Alexander Matros and Round 5 wraps up the tournament on Oct 4th.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Ashland Rapid

Sept. 15th is Ashland Rapid with McMahon pairings.  You can play up to 4 games for only $6.

4-SS G/45 TD/5. Ashland Rapid. McMahon Pairings Used.
EF: Free for unrated members, $6 for COLA  members, $10 for others.

Rounds at 10:00, 11:45, 2:30, 4:15

Q:What are McMahon pairings?

A:In McMahon parings, players are given a set # of points before the first round.
Expert+ (2000+ rating): 5.0 points
Class A (1800-1999): 4.0 Points
Class B (1600-1799): 3.0 Points

Players are then paired normally, so Class A players will play class A players, Class B players will play class B players, etc. in the first round. These pre-1st round points are never taken away in the tournament, so in the 2nd round, a class B player who lost his first game might play a class C player who won his first game (as both would now have 3.0 points)

Q:Why have McMahon pairings? Why not have one open swiss?

A:McMahon pairings give many more players a chance to play players who are approximately their own skill level. Under this format, it will be rare that a player has to play somebody more than one class level away from them. In an open swiss, players probably wouldn’t get to play somebody their own class until the 3rd or even 4th round.

Q:Why have McMahon Pairings? Why not have quads instead?

A:Quads (where players are divided by rating into groups of 4) do allow players to have three games with players who are close to their own rating, but since they are round-robins they have inflexible schedules. Players cannot come late or withdraw early without messing up the tournament for the other players. Also, the top rated player in each quad will not have an opportunity to play anyone rated higher than himself, and the lowest rated player in each quad will have no opportunity to play anyone rated lower than himself.

Q:Will I receive credit towards COLA tournaments for full-point byes, forfeit wins and half-point

A:Players who obtain a full-point bye or a forfeit win will receive $3 credit towards another tournament, as if he had won a rated game.

Players who request half-point byes will receive $1 credit toward another tournament, as if he had drawn a rated game.

Q:What is the limit for half-point byes?

A:You may declare half-point byes up until 15 minutes before a scheduled round. There is no limit to the # of half-point byes you can take.

Q:What is the penalty for forfeiting a game?

A:If you are withdrawing from a tournament, TELL THE TOURNAMENT DIRECTOR so that you won’t be paired! Not only is this courteous and respectful to both the director AND any potential opponent(s), but you are missing out on $1/game credits if you had declared half-point byes!

As an extra incentive, any player who forfeits a game at an Ashland Rapid will lose any and all accumulated credit towards other tournaments and may be required to pay a deposit for future club tournaments.

Q:What can the discounts on future COLA events be used for?

A:Columbia Chess Club has many events throughout the year that these discounts ($3 for each in, $1 for each draw) can be used for.

Columbia Chess Club Membership ($10/yr):

Membership gives you discounts on many COLA tournaments and also makes you eligible for the club prizes at the end of the year and the Columbia Chess Club Championship. Just three tournaments a year makes the membership worth it!

Ashland Club Games ($2):

This is the bread-and-butter of the Columbia Chess Club. These tournaments are five- round Swisses, with one round a week (G/90) at the Ashland Church. The club holds approximately six of these events a year. If entries warrant, players will be split up into multiple sections.

Ashland Rapids ($6):

You can use your winnings from an Ashland Rapid to gain entry into another Ashland Rapid. As long as you win two games each Rapid and maintain your club membership, you won’t have to buy another entry. This is a new event, but the club is planning on
holding four of these events for 2012-2013.

Ashland Quick ($10):

This is a three-round quad G/20. 1st place in each quad wins $20 and 2nd place wins $15.
The club holds approximately five of these events a year on Thursday nights. Check the calendar on for the date of the next Ashland Quick.

Columbia Chess Club Championship ($10):

Like the regular Ashland club games, this event is held over five weeks with one round played a week. The winner of this tournament becomes the Club champion for the year.
Unlike other COLA tournaments, the Championship is open only to club members.

Ashland Action ($20):

This is a four-round swiss G/30 which is held the last club meeting of each year with about 80% of entries paid out in prizes.

Columbia Open ($59):

The premier weekend event in South Carolina. This tournament is held in mid-August
each year, and is a five-round swiss. Sections in 2012 were Open, U2000, U1600, and

Ashland XXIX rd2 Ashland XXIX rd 2

Eighteen Players came out to battle in Round 2 of Ashland XXIX.

In the Open section, Ben Caiello(1928) continued his winning ways by defeating tough competitor, George Morton(1582).  On board 2, Ethan Winter(1811) made good use of his time and defeated a crafter player in Chris Labrecque(1574).  Erik Murrah(1693) defeated Lendel Robinson(1767) to continue his non-losing streak to six games.  Ron Hinds(1564) and Ralph Buske(1450) agreed to disagree and agreed to a draw.

In the Amateur section, Max Witherell(1162) defeated Richard Watts(1289) to move into a share of the lead with 2 points.  Co-Leader Andrew Manion(1023) defeated Birney Blind(1273) to keep pace with Witherell.
Jaime Sanyer(1175) and James Price(1111) fought hard but ended the game in a draw and in the evenings longest game Christian Dunlap(1104) and Mark Woodman(1103) played it down to a rook pawn and Kings.  Woodman easly held the draw at that point.

In the Johnson-Shaw match, round two was an interesting French Defense by Shaw which ended in a draw after all but four pawns each came off.  In round 3, Shaw has the white pieces.

Round 3 continues the tournament on Sept. 13th.  Call or Text your entries before 7:15pm to be paired.

Sept. 15th is the Ashland Rapid tournament where  you can play up to 4 games of G45 for only $6!

Monday, August 13, 2012

IM John Bartholomew to visit Carolinas

International Master John Bartholomew will be visiting the Carolinas on a lecture and simul tour before playing in The Columbia Open on Aug 17th -19th.

The following events are scheduled:

Monday Aug 13th St. Andrews Regional Library 2916 Broad River Road Columbia, SC 6:30 pm

Tuesday Aug 14th   Lecture and Simul at Queen City Chess Club
Asian Herald Library 1339 Baxter St., Charlotte, NC  6:00 pm

Wednesday Aug 15th Lecture and Simul  at the Charleston Chess Club
Park Circle Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall
4701 Park Place West Durant Ave. North Charleston, SC 7:00 pm

Thursday Aug 16th Columbia Chess Club
Ashland United Methodist Church 2600 Ashland Rd. Columbia, SC 29210 7:00 pm
Lecture and consultation game vs local IM Alexander Matros.

A $10 donation to play in the simuls will be collected for scholastic chess.

More information on South Carolina's chess friend can be found here.

Come by for a lesson and bring your best game to checkmate a chess master.

Shaw and Price Win Ashland XXVIII

Eighteen players returned to the board to wrap up Ashland XXVIII.  Twenty six players in all competed in the tournament.

In the Open Section, Adam Shaw(1789) defeated Dan Quigley(1812) to claim 4 points and win the section.
Ben Caiello(1927) defeated Lendel Robinson(1767) to claim 3.5 points and improve his rating to 1949.  Erik Murrah(1693) never relinquished the initiative with white and defeated Dan Caiello(1626).  Visitor from the Greenville Club, Tim Rankin(2002) used all his time wisely to defeat Mike Mayfield(1395).  In the longest battle of the evening, George Morton(1623) converted his advantage to a win against Gil Holmes(1862).

In the Amateur section,  James Price's 3 points held strong winning the section.  Birney Blind(1202) defeated Julie Sheil(1104). Mark Woodman and Christian Dunlap agreed to disagree and agreed to a a draw.  Richard Watts(1309) returned to his winning ways by claiming the point against Michael Thompson and Andrew Manion(1023) claimed the point against newcomer Zach Hadsell.

Full tournament results can be seen here.

August 16th will be casual night and IM John Bartholomew will share some chess wisdom with a lecture before squaring off against IM Alexander Matros in a teaching consult game.

August 17th starts the Columbia Open.  If you aren't registered you can still register online or on site.

August 23rd will be Ashland QuickXXXII.  3 rounds of G20 quick chess.  Entry is $10.

There are lots of opportunities for chess learning int he near future.  Come out and share in the fun.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ashland XXVIII Round 4

The inclement weather didn't keep the die hard competitors down for Round 4.

In the Open section, Adam Shaw(1789) claimed the point against Lendel Robinson(1767), which puts him into the lead with 3 points going into round 5.  Ethan Winter(1804) and Erik Murrah(1693) split the point with a draw and Dan Quigley(1812) defeated George Morton(1623).

In the Amateur Section, Josh Lewer(1198) defeated leader James Price(1111) and Christian Dunlap(982) claimed the point against Julie Sheil(1104).  In an extra game and longest game of the night, Ron Hinds(1582) converted the extra pawn in the knight and pawn endgame against Smith.

Round 5 wraps up the tournament on August 9th.  Call or text your entries before 7:15 to be counted.

Early entries keep rolling in for the Columbia Open.  Reserve your entry and save by entering by August 9th.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Price & Plyler win the Beginner's Tournaments!

Ten players participated in the Beginner’s tournament with six new players joining and one returning to rated play. 

James Price (1111) won the free entry to the Columbia Open for the early tournament after defeating Drew Plyler (1043) in the final round, then winning the tie break game with Jared Whiting (UNR) after both finished with 4 points after five rounds. 

Drew Plyler (1043) cruised to the late tournament win and free entry to the CO scoring 4.5 points. Jared Whiting (UNR) finished second.

Chess will be available at the library on most Mondays from 6-8:30. Check the Club Calendar.

The final results are HERE.

This Thursday is Round 4 of Ashland XXVIII. Register by 7:15, Round starts at 7:30.

Deadline date for early entry into the Columbia Open is Aug 9, ONE week from THIS Thursday! Don't miss out on the $59 early entry to save $16 off the regular entry price of $75. You can register online and see who's entered on the Columbia Open page.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Ashland XXVIII Round 3

If you weren't in attendance for Round 3 of Ashland XXVIII you missed out a great night of chess.

Winners in the Open Section were Ben Caiello(1927), Lendel Robinson(1767), Ethan Winter(1807), and Daniel Caiello(1626).  With 2.5 points each, a showdown between co-leaders Ben Caiello and Lendel Robinson is eminent.

In the Amateur section James Price(1111), Birney Blind(1202), and Josh Lewer(1198) all claimed points.  James Price is in the lead by a point and a half, Who will catch him?

Early entry rate of $59 for the Columbia Open ends August 9th.  Get your entries in early and save.

Round 4 is August 2nd.  Call or text your entries before 7:15 to be counted.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Beginner's tournament heading into final round!

After four rounds in the early St Andrews Regional Library Beginner's Tournament, James Price (1111) and Drew Plyler (1043) are tied for first with 3.0 points setting up a final round showdown to decide the tournament winner. Mike Jumper (225) and Anthony Young (UNR) are tied for third with 2.0 points each.

Drew Plyler outlasted James Price to win the late tournament with 3.5 points with one round still to play! Drew wins a free entry into the Columbia Open Aug 17-19! Jared Whiting (UNR) sits in second place with 2 points.

The final round will be Monday, July 30.

Round 3 of Ashland XXVIII is this Thursday, July 26.

Early entries are coming for the Columbia Open. Early entry fee of $59 ends Aug 9. Be sure to register early to take advantage of the $16 discount!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ashland XXVIII Round2 Shaw, Price in the lead

There was strong tension in the air during Round 2 of Ashland XXVIII, with all games still going after the halfway mark of 90 mins.

In the Open section, Adam Shaw(1789) defended his 1st place standing against a worthy adversary in Mike Mayfield(1393). In a tough battle, Ben Caiello(1927) claimed the win with the black pices against George Morton(1623). Lendel Robinson(1767) continued his winning ways against Ron Hinds(1582). David Boyd(1487) and Daniel Caiello(1626) battled it out until David found a fork on Daniel's Rook and King, and eventually claiming the point. Erik Murrah(1693) returned to his wining ways by defeating swashbuckling Ralph "Buccanneer" Buske(1453).

In the Amateur section, James Price(1111) defeated Richard Watts(1309), continuing his winning streak to 5 games since returning to the club and moving into first place of the section with two points. In the last game to finish and arguably toughest battle, Julie Sheil(1104) and Mark Woodman(1103) both had less than 5 minutes on the clock in a even but tense position. As tiem continued to dwindle for both players, Mark snatched a pawn and Julie centralized he Queen, it was Julie who won a rook and then finished with a mate with Mark's King in the middle of the board.  A very exciting finish and tough battle for both players!

In the skittles room, Masters from out of town, Stephen Welt from the Charleston Chess Club and Evan Rabin from NY played blitz with regular Craig Johnson and others.
Come join in the fun for Round 3 on Thursday,July 26th. Call, text, or email your entries before 7:15pm to be sure you are paired.

The Beginners Tourney continues on Monday at the St. Andrews Library.

The Columbia Open is August 17-19th at the Hilton Garden Inn Harbison. This year there are four sections: Open, U2000, U1600, and U1200 which allow everyone to play for the section win. This tournament is Columbia's premier event and at $59 pre-entry rate is a steal for the quality of competition. If you haven't registered hurry and do so before the low rate and fun pass you by.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Plyler leads the late Beginner Tournament after 3 Rounds!!

Nine players are now competing in the early Beginner's Tournament at the St Andrews Regional Library. James Price (1111), Drew Plyler (1043) and Anthony Young (UNR) are all tied at the top with 2 points each after three rounds.

In the late tournament with eight players competing, Drew Plyler (1043) continues to lead with 2.5 points after Andrew Manion (1023) pulled a Houdini and miraculously saved the half point to stay in second place, 1 point behind.

The Penultimate Round will be Monday, July 23. Early round at 6:30, late round starts at 7:45. If you missed the first 3 rounds you can still join the tournament and get a couple rated games!

Round 2 of Ashland XXVIII is this Thursday, July 19 at the church. This is your last chance to get ready or knock the rust off before the Columbia Open Aug 17-19!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Ashland XXVIII and other news

Ashland XXVIII began with a bang on Thursday with white claiming the victory in every game.  Adam ShawMike Mayfield and James Price jumped to early leads in the tournament with a crowd of others striving for the lead.  As rated games finished, post game analysis and chaos blitz chess fun was a-plenty in the skittles room.  If you weren't at the Columbia Chess Club for round 1 you missed out on a ton of fun.
Round 2 is July 19th, Call, email or text your entry before 7:15pm.

A few of our players are deserving of some overdue recognition, Christian Dunlap has reached his highest rating ever of 1104(currently unpublished), Lendel Robinson is playing great chess and up to his highest rating as well and knocking on the 1800 door.   Adam Shaw has pushed his rating to a new high of 1860 and also runs the CRSA club in the Augusta Aiken area.  Ben Caiello has reached a new high of 1928 and continues to improve.  Daniel Caiello is a new rating high of 1635 and is preparing to start college in August.  We will definitely miss Daniel once he heads to University life.  Congratulations to Gil Holmes on the birth of his new baby. He is dangerously close to a 1900 rating.   

Some notes to add to your schedule are:
Beginner's Tournament at St. Andrews Regional Library runs through July 30th.
Ashland XXVIII will run through August 9th
August 16th will be a casual night and a presentation and either a simul or IM vs IM consultation game will occur.

Columbia Open August 17-19th  in Columbia at the Hilton Garden Inn Harbison.  
Ashland Rapid September 15th at Ashland United Methodist Church.

Many of our regulars know of the recent passing of our beloved friend Paul Lowry.  He was a fierce chess warrior, firefighter, poet and great friend.  He loved chess and all of his friends at the chess club.  I only knew Paul for three years but he has left a lasting impression on myself and countless others.
A few days before his passing I had the opportunity to have one of our wonderful eclectic talks.  He was very sick, bedridden, in pain but very much in high spirits and as brilliant as ever.  We discussed authors, writing, life, death and among other things chess.

The last piece of advice Paul shared with me was

"In life and in chess, dont create barriers for yourself, others will do that for you. Play your own game."  
Paul Michael Lowry

 I will miss our conversations.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

After two rounds in the Beginner's Tournaments....

In the early Beginner's Tournament at the St Andrews Regional library, Four players are tied with 1 point, Drew Plyler (1043), Andrew Manion (1023), Rod Franco (UNR) and Anthony Young (UNR).

Drew Plyler (1043) has grabbed the lead in the late tournament standing alone at the top with 2 points!

You can still enter the tournament beginning in round 3 if you want! First prize is FREE entry into the Columbia Open!

Round 3 will be Monday, July 16. Full details are HERE.

Casual play is available for those not wanting to play in the tournament. Come out and play!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

St. Andrews Regional Library Beginner's Open Underway!

The Beginner's Open started this week for new players and USCF rated under 1200.

Rod Franco (UNR) took the full point and the early lead in the 6:30 tournament scoring a first round win in his first rated game.

In the late round, Drew Plyler (1043) and Anthony Young (UNR) scored wins to take the early lead.

If you missed the first round you can still register to play the remaining rounds. Current USCF members recieve free entry into this tournament! New players can join on site with memberships starting at $15 for Adults, lower for scholastic players.

First prize in each tournament is a FREE entry into the Columbia Open.

Full details are HERE

Round 2 will be Monday, July 9. Early round starts at 6:30, late round begins at 7:45. Come out and play!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

In Passing - Paul Lowry

Paul Lowry
Paul Lowry COLUMBIA - Paul Lowry, a former Charleston firefighter and published author and poet, died yesterday. The son of Mable and Jack Lowry, Paul attended Shorter College in Rome, Georgia where he majored in History. An avid chess player and chess historian, Paul was a member of the Columbia Chess Club. An avid Clemson Tiger fan, Paul was a member of IPTAY in the early days. He is survived by his brother and sister, Jay and Jan and fiance‚ Carla Marks of Lindenwold, New Jersey. Paul was a member of St John Nuemann Catholic Church in Columbia.
Published in The State from June 18 to June 19, 2012 
Funeral Mass

A funeral mass will be held for Paul Lowry at Noon on Friday at St. John Neumann Church on 100 Polo Road. There will not be a procession or graveside service. 

Read more here:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Ashland XXVII round 3

Round 3 of Ashland XXVII included 12 players playing rated and a handful of others popping out blitz moves in the skittles room.

On board 1, Adam Shaw(1796) defeated Gil Holmes'(1886) pet dragon. Mike Mayfield(1378) claimed a upset win against Ron Hinds(1671) as well as simultaneous blitz wins in the skittles wins.
Shaun McCoy(1338) fought well against Ben Caiello(1917) but succumbed to the higher rated opponent. Similarly, Richard Watts(1308) was defeated by Daniel Caiello(1603).
In the night's two most hardest fought games, George Morton(1625) won a very interesting kings and pawns endgame over Christian Dunlap(977) and Birney Blind(1202) and Ralph Buske(1479) agreed to a draw after a tough opposite colored Bishop endgame.

 Round 4 is set for June 21st. Call or text your entries before 7:15 pm.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rated Tournament for Beginner's in July!

In July the St Andrews Regional Library and the Columbia Chess Club will hold a Rated Tournament for Beginner's! This tournament will be open to players with a rating of Under 1200 so it will be the perfect opportunity for new players to jump in and try out rated play.

There will be an early schedule and a late schedule to give everyone a chance to play, and you can play in both if you want! The winner in each tournament will receive free entry into the Columbia Open!

If you've ever wanted to play in a rated chess tournament here's your chance! If you still think you're not good enough to play rated chess check out this article by The Weak Square

Here are the details:

St. Andrews Regional Library
Beginner’s Rated Chess Tournament
Open to players USCF rated 1200 and under.

New players can earn an official USCF rating!
One section, five rounds over five weeks beginning on July 2 continuing with one round each Monday through July 30.

You are not required to play every week. There will be two tournaments, an early one starting at 6:30 and a late one starting at 7:45. Register by 6:15 for the early round each week and by 7:30 for the late round. Players can compete in both if they want and play two rated games each week!

Time control is 30 minutes for each player with a 5 second delay. Each game can last 1 hour. Sets and clocks provided but please bring your tournament set and clock if you have one.

United States Chess Federation (USCF) membership required which can be purchased on site. Scholastic (under 13) memberships start at $8 and Adult memberships start at $15.

No entry fee! Top finisher in each tournament will receive free entry into The Columbia Open tournament which will be held Aug 17-19 at the Hilton Garden Inn on Harbison, a $59 value.

Tournament Schedule:
July 2 – Round 1A 6:30
Round 1B 7:45

July 9 – Round 2A 6:30
Round 2B 7:45

July 16 – Round 3A 6:30
Round 3B 7:45

July 23 – Round 4A 6:30
Round 4B 7:45

July 30 – Round 5A 6:30
Round 5B 7:45

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Ashland Quick XXXI recap

Ten players came out to compete in Ashland Quick XXXI.  The quick ratings balanced nicely allowing a top quad and a swiss section for the other 6.  We had a strong player visiting from California in the name of Scott Manson but in the first round Ethan Winter snagged the upset from Scott.  In round two Gil Holmes took one from Winter.  After the smoke had cleared Scott Mason(1964) and Ethan Winter(1696) split first with two points each.

In the Swiss section, there were more upsets with no one taking full control.  Julie Sheil had upset wins from Mike Mayfield and Daniel Smith, Riku Koivusalo took points from Daniel Smith and Julie Shiel.  Shaun McCoy snagged wins from Christian Dunlap and a rd 3 win from Riku Koivusalo.  Mike Mayfield claimed victories against Sheil and winning the R and p endgame against Dunlap.  This battle royale ended with a four way tie for first with Mike Mayfield(1422), Riku Koivusalo(1237P5), Shaun McCoy(1210P16) and Julie Sheil(1112P25) each having two points.

There will be no club meeting this Thursday May 24th.  The SC Open is this Memorial Day weekend at the Hilton Garden Inn in Greenville, SC.  Information can be found at

The next club meeting with be Thursday May 31st and Ashland XXVII run from May 31st to June 28th .  Call or email your entries before 7:15pm.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ashland XXVI goes to Caiello and McCoy

Ashland XXVI came to a close with Ben Caiello winning the Open section with 4 points and Shaun McCoy taking 4.5 in the Amateur section.  In total 27 players competed over the 5 week event, of those a handful of new faces joined the club and started the towards chess mastery .

Ben Caiello(1897) defeated Gil Holmes(1820) to solidify first and brother Dan Caiello(1625) pulled the upset of Adam Shaw(1790).  Chris Labrecque(1405) claimed the victory over Ralph Buske(1482) and Ethan Winter(1771) took the point against Ron Hinds(1772) to round out the open section.

In the Amateur section, Shaun McCoy(1346) took his time to lock down first place by defeating George Boykin(1042).
Riku Koivusalo took the point from newcomer Andrew Manion and Christian Dunlap(950) posted his second victory in a row by defeating newcomer Kory Adam.
Check full results here.

The next Ashland Quick  will be on May 17.  Call or text your entries before 7:15 pm.

The SC Open will be help Memorial Day weekend.  More information can be found here.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ashland XXVI rd 4 MacDougall and McCoy in the lead

Despite only having 12 rated players, the air was ripe with intensity for rd 4.  There was no less action and drama for the six or so playing casually in the skittles room. 

The top two games both came down to seconds with James MacDougall(2014) and Adam Shaw(1790) playing to a draw in a fascinating game and Gil Holmes(1820) out lasting David Boyd(1485) to claim the point.  In contrast, Ron Hinds quickly succumbed to Ralph "Buccaneer" Buske's(1482) charge. 

In the U1505 section,  Shaun McCoy(1360) and Andrew Minion(815) agreed to disagree, drawing the game.  "The Patriot" Christian Dunlap(950) claimed the point against Vincent Mahoney in a very interesting endgame and Mike Mayfield(1346) and Riku Koivusalo agreed to a draw in a opposite colored bishop endgame.

The round 5 showdown will be James MacDougall with 3.5 points vs Ben Caiello with 3 points in the Open.  Shaun McCoy is atop the U1505 with 3.5 points with Manion and Mayfield not far behind.

Text or call for your entry for round 5.  Registration ends at 7:15pm.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ashland XXVI Rd 3

In the third installment of Ashland XXVI, James MacDougall(2014) received a point due to forfeit.  Ben Caiello(1897) ground out the win vs Chris Labrecque(1405).  Lendel Robinson(1665) took the point from Daniel Caiello(1625).  Newcomer to the club, John Zeimetz(1707) took the point from Ron Hinds(1772) and Mike Mayfield(1346) snatched the point from Ralph Buske(1482) to round out the Open section.

In the U1505 section, Shaun McCoy(1360) continued his winning ways against newcomer Riku Koivusalo.  Mike Meekins(922) claimed the point vs George Boykin.  Andrew Manion(815) took the point from Jaime Sanyer and Drew Plyler(1031) earned the point against Solomon Hill.

Round 4 will be May 3rd.  Call or text your entries before 7:15pm.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ashland XXVI Rd 1 and 2

Round 2 of Ashland XXVI included 14 players battling it out on the checkered squares.  James MacDougall(2014) used a bit of trickery to trap Gil Homes'(1820) Queen, quickly ending the battle.  Ben Caiello(1897) won vs Ron Hines(1772) in an interesting game in which Ben used a late kingside castle on move 40 to secure the win.  In arguably the night's most interesting battle, Ethan Winter(1771) and Lendel Robinson(1665) agreed to a draw when Lendel's queen moved into position for a perpetual checking sequence.  Daniel Caiello(1625) defeated Ralph Buske(1482) to round out the Open Section.

In the U1505 section, Shaun McCoy(1360) converted the win over the improving Julie Sheil(1047).  Mike Mayfield(1346) took his time to win a R and pawn endgame over Christian Dunlap(950).  In the new to the club game, Riku Koivusalo(UNR) defeated Solomon Hill(UNR).

Last week in Round 1, James MacDougall, Adam Shaw, Gil Holmes, all claimed the point and Ben Caiello and Lendel Robinson agreed to a draw.  In the U1505 section, Shaun McCoy, Andrew Manion, and James Brandmair scored wins and Riku Koivusalo and Jaime Sanyer played down to a bishop and kings, drawing the game.

Ashland XXVI continues with round 3 on April 26th.  Registration ends at 7:15pm.

The SC Open will be held in Greenvlle, SC on May 25-27.  Details can be found here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Eubanks wins third Championship!!

Keith Eubanks (2134) won his second straight club championship and third overall by defeating leader and eventual Runner Up Ben Caiello (1917) in the final round of the 2012 Columbia Chess Club Championship!! After taking a first round bye Keith battled back through the field scoring four straight wins running his club championship win streak to nine straight games!

Chris Labrecque (1530) took the Top U1600 prize with a win over Top Jr Player Dan Caiello (1603). Bill Taylor (1809) scored the win over Joey Dean (1423) who took home the Top U1200 trophy by scoring three upsets and boosting his rating from 1153 to 1423 gaining a whopping 270 points in this event!

In other final round action, Adam Shaw (1796) settled peacefully with Gil Holmes (1819), Paul Farb (1903) scored a final round win over Cody Kyzer (1476), Klaus Johnson (1822) picked up the point from Richard Watts (1309), who gained 106 points in this tournament! Darell Hunt (1518) finished in the win column outlasting Shaun McCoy (1338), David Boyd (1471) picked up the point over Mike Meekins (998), Lendel Robinson (1632) won over Christian Dunlap (944) and Andrew Manion (873) took the last round point from Ron Labrecque (1051).

Congratulations to the winners! Twenty nine players competed, the final crosstable is HERE.

Ashland Quick XXX is Thursday, March 29. Game 20 Quads. Quick Rated only. Entry fee $10 for club members, $15 for non-members. First place each quad $20, Second $15. Quad may become a Swiss based on the number of entries. Register by 7:15. Round 1 starts at 7:30.

Check the SC Chess Calendar and the NC Chess Calendar for upcoming weekend events.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ben Cailleo leads going into the final round!

Twenty two players competed in the Penultimate Round of the 2012 Club Championship.

Ben Caiello (1882) outlasted Adam Shaw (1837) on Board 1 to move into clear first heading into the final round. Keith Eubanks (2116) took advantage of an opening miscue, then finally broke the stubborn defense of Chris Labrecque (1366) to set up a final round showdown to defend his title.

Joey Dean (1153) bounced back to take the point from Cody Kyzer (1480) and score his THIRD upset of this tournament! Gil Holmes (1834) picked up the point over Shaun McCoy (1389). Dan Caiello (1601) won over Josh Lewer (1187) as Ralph Buske (1501) settled peacefully with Richard Watts (1243). Paul Farb (1941) got back in the win column over Lendel Robinson (1624). Klaus Johnson (1835) saved the .5 point in a sharp battle with Mike Mayfield (1300). Mike Meekins (986) broke into the win column with a victory over Andrew Manion (UNR), Ron Hinds (1817) split the point with Darell Hunt (1346) and Birney Blind (1177) took the point from Ron Labrecque (1063).

Next week, March 22 is the final round of the Championship.

Casual play is available every Monday evening at the St Andrews Regional Library on Broad River Rd from 6:00 - 8:30. Around a dozen players have been coming out for some Stress Free Chess.

SC Sr. Open Mar 24-25 - Travelers Rest. Hey you kids!! Stay off my pawn!!! ages 50+: must have been born before 3/24/1962

The Big Enchilada II will be held Mar 30 - Apr 1 in Raleigh. This is a new tournament that got off to a good start last year.

The SC Open will be in Greenville May 25-27. Full details coming soon.

The Columbia Open is scheduled for August 17-19. Full details coming soon.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

B Caiello & Shaw tied for Championship after round 3!

Twenty four players competed in Round 3 of the Club Championship. Ben Caiello (1882) kept his hold on Board 1 taking the win over Cody Kyzer (1480) as Adam Shaw (1837) won over Joey Dean (1153). Ben and Adam will face off in Round 4.

Keith Eubanks (2116) stayed a .5 point off the leaders with a win over Gil Holmes (1834) and Chris Labrecque (1366) scored an upset win over Paul Farb (1941). Keith and Chris will battle on Board 2 and the winner will get a final round chance to snatch the big trophy. Chris has one win over Keith in a thrilling game at Ashland IX so another upset is possible.

Bill Taylor (1820) leads the pack of 2 pointers after outlasting Darell Hunt (1346). Ralph Buske (1501) finally wore down the stubborn defense of Mike Meekins (986) and Richard Watts (1243) finished the mission scoring the upset over Ron Hinds (1817) after letting the upset win slip away last week.

Dan Caiello (1601) took the point from new member Andrew Manion (UNR), David Boyd (1461) won over Christian Dunlap (984), Shaun McCoy (1389) scored the win over James Doyle (1195), Mike Mayfield (1300) got in the win column with a victory over Ron Labrecque (1063) and Lendel Robinson (1624) won over Birney Blind (1177).

After three rounds the 2012 championship has been a bloody one with no draws yet! A "Make them prove it" attitude has led to some long games in drawn positions leading to one side finally cracking. The final two rounds should be just as exciting as no less than 10 players are still in the trophy hunt.

The Penultimate Round is Thursday, March 15.

Casual play is now available on Monday nights from 6:00 - 8:30 at the St Andrews Regional Library on Broad River Road. No membership required. This is good chance for new players to come out play!

March 17 is the Augusta Spring Rapids . If you are interested in going check at the club for car pooling opportunities.

The Checkmate Hunger charity tournament in Lexington is being rescheduled. Check back for the new date.

SC Sr. Open Mar 24-25 - Travelers Rest. Hey you kids!! Stay off my pawn!!! ages 50+: must have been born before 3/24/1962

The Big Enchilada II will be held Mar 30 - Apr 1 in Raleigh. This is a new tournament that got off to a good start last year.

Mark your calendars! The Columbia Open is scheduled for August 17-19. Full details coming soon.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Four tied for the lead after two rounds!

Eighteen players battled in the second round of the Club Championship with four players moving to the top of the standings with 2 points.

Ben Caiello (1882) defended Board 1 from Klaus Johnson (1835) as Adam Shaw (1837) outlasted Bill Taylor (1820) on Board 2. Two unexpected challengers have risen to the top of the standings! Cody Kyzer (1480) upset last week's board 1 winner Ron Hinds (1817) and Joey Dean (1153) scored his second upset with a win over Lendel Robinson (1624). Ben and Cody are expected to square off on Board 1 and Joey will battle Adam on Board 2. Will the upsets continue or will order be restored?

Keith Eubanks (2116) began his title defense with a win over Darell Hunt (1346) and Chris Labrecque (1366) took the point from Birney Blind (1177) to move into the 1.5 point score group.

Eleven players are sitting on one point and looking to get back in the title hunt. This group is led by Paul Farb (1941) who bounced back from a round 1 loss finally beating a determined Richard Watts (1243). Erik Murrah (1691) found the win over a stubborn Josh Lewer (1187) and Ralph Buske (1501) scored the quick point over Christian Dunlap (984).

Next weekMarch 8, is Round 3 of the Club Championship.

The first Award Standings for 2012 have been posted.

Casual play is now available on Monday nights from 6:00 - 8:30 at the St Andrews Regional Library on Broad River Road.

March 17 is the Augusta Spring Rapids . If you are interested in going check at the club for car pooling opportunities.

The Checkmate Hunger charity tournament in Lexington is being rescheduled. Check back for the new date.

SC Sr. Open Mar 24-25 - Travelers Rest. Hey you kids!! Stay off my pawn!!! ages 50+: must have been born before 3/24/1962

The Big Enchilada II will be held Mar 30 - Apr 1 in Raleigh. This is a new tournament that got off to a good start last year.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Club Championship is Underway!

Round one of the 2012 Club Championship was very intense as twenty two players competed in hard fought battles with bloodshed all through the field.

Ron Hinds (1817) set the tone for round 1 scoring the upset win on Board 1 over Paul Farb (1941) to get things off to an exciting start! Ben Caiello (1882) successfully defended Board 2 from Erik Murrah (1691) as Adam Shaw (1837) escaped with the point from Lendel Robinson (1624). Klaus Johnson (1835) claimed the win over Dan Caiello (1601). Gil Holmes (1834) took almost the entire 90 minutes to finally grind out the win over Daniel Smith (1505) in a same color Bishop endgame. Clocks read 8 s for Gil and 2 s for Daniel when the game was finally decided! Bill Taylor (1820) secured the point from Ralph Buske (1501) to finish out the top half of the field and create a six way tie among the 1800 players after round 1.

The bottom half of the field was just as hard fought with Cody Kyzer (1480) finally prevailing over Birney Blind (1177), Darell Hunt (1349) outlasting Julie Sheil (1090), Richard Watts (1243) securing the point over Ron Labrecque (1063) and Josh Lewer (1187) scoring a first round win over Mike Meekins (986). New club member Joey Dean (1153) scored the upset win over Shaun McCoy (1389) showing a fine endgame technique to win a Queen vs. Pawn on the 7th endgame.

Twelve players stand on 1 point heading into round 2. With number 3 seed Paul Farb getting upset in the first round, defending champ Keith Eubanks and number 2 seed James MacDougall taking first round byes the battle for the big trophy looks wide open!

Round 2 is Thursday, March 1. If you missed the first round you can still enter and play!

Casual play is now available on Monday nights from 6:00 - 8:30 at the St Andrews Regional Library on Broad River Road. If there is enough interest we may offer quick rated chess.

The Chess Players of Augusta are very active now and are just down the road. Be sure to check out their schedule for some quick and/or dual rated play. Their next Sat tournament is the Augusta Spring Rapids on March 17. Their first Sat tournament drew 22 players and was well run. If you are interested in going check at the club for car pooling opportunities.

March 17 is the Checkmate Hunger charity tournament in Lexington. This is a game 75, four round swiss.

SC Sr. Open Mar 24-25 - Travelers Rest. Hey you kids!! Stay off my pawn!!! ages 50+: must have been born before 3/24/1962

The Big Enchilada II will be held Mar 30 - Apr 1 in Raleigh. This is a new tournament that got off to a good start last year.

A nice mix of tournaments coming up with something for everyone! Get out and play!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Club Championship begins Feb 23!

The Fifth Columbia Chess Club Championship will be held from Feb 23 - Mar 22. Last year was our largest field with thirty four players. Keith Eubanks claimed his second title and only Keith and Philipp Lamby have won the club championship to date. Philipp has moved to Texas leaving Keith the clear favorite to win the 2012 Title. It looks wide open behind Keith with a surging Ben Caiello, steady Paul Farb and always improving Adam Shaw. And let's not forget two time runner up James MacDougall who could mount a serious challenge for the big trophy.

In addition to the Champion and Runner Up trophies hardware is also awarded to the Top U1600, Top U1200 and Top Jr Player, so everyone has a chance at a trophy! Unrateds will be based on performance after four rounds.

Here are the details:
Five round Swiss. One round a week for five weeks. Club members only, can join on site.

Entry fee $10 ($2/rd). One bye allowed, No last round byes. Rounds start at 7:30.

Open Section only, Game 90/d5. Accelerated Pairings will be used. Trophies to 1st, 2nd, Top U1600, Top U1200 and Top Jr. Trophy winners also receive 1yr club membership.

Casual play is now available on Monday nights from 6:00 - 8:30 at the St Andrews Regional Library on Broad River Road. If there is enough interest we may offer quick rated chess.

The Chess Players of Augusta are very active now and are just down the road. Be sure to check out their schedule for some quick and/or dual rated play. Their next Sat tournament is the Augusta Spring Rapids on March 17. Their first Sat tournament drew 22 players and was well run. If you are interested in going check at the club for car pooling opportunities.

March 17 is the Checkmate Hunger charity tournament in Lexington.

Reverse Angle 26
is coming up on Feb 25 in Charlotte. RA25 drew 62 players so if you're looking for a big tournament with a one day schedule here it is!

SC Sr. Open Mar 24-25 - Travelers Rest. Hey you kids!! Stay off my pawn!!! ages 50+: must have been born before 3/24/1962

The Big Enchilada II will be held Mar 30 - Apr 1 in Raleigh. This is a new tournament that got off to a good start last year.

A nice mix of tournaments coming up with something for everyone! Get out and play!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

State Scholastics - Feb 25 Here in Columbia!

More South Carolina Kids Are Enjoying Chess

Columbia, S.C. – The world has become a more competitive place. Our children need every advantage one can grasp in order to succeed in a fast-paced, result-driven society. Some South Carolina students and parents are turning to the age-old game of chess to help sharpen their logic and critical thinking skills. A number of well-researched studies seem to indicate that the benefits of chess do just that, and more. Acknowledging their desire to have these analytical minds of their campuses, a growing list of U.S. colleges and universities offer chess scholarships.

The South Carolina Chess Association (SCCA) stands ready to help guide those that wish to participate in casual or tournament play. The SCCA was originally founded in 1926 and serves the players from our state by furthering the enjoyment of chess. They maintain a website at which contains noteworthy state chess news, links to local club activity, and information about adult and scholastic tournaments.

One of the SCCA’s premier events, the South Carolina Scholastic Championships, will be held on February 25th at the Samuel A. Heyward Career & Technology Center. The center is located at 3560 Lynhaven Drive in Columbia. Any K-12 student that wants to play is encouraged to come to the tournament. All levels of experience are welcome and equipment is provided. Over the last several years, the event has annually attracted about 90 contestants from all across the state. Last year’s banner attendance of 137 players shows that the game’s popularity is on the rise in South Carolina. This year’s tournament features a new format, which splits the old K-5 elementary section into a K-3 (primary division) and a 4-5 (elementary division). “This change was made to make our younger players more comfortable by playing someone closer to their age”, said Mr. David Whatley, the State Scholastic Coordinator. Also new this year is a top-female trophy for each of the four sections. “It is my hope that these new changes will make for a more enjoyable tournament experience for all of South Carolina’s scholastic players”, he added.

Columbia Chess club members have claimed the right to represent S.C. at the Denker Tournament of High School Champions twice in the past three years with Daniel Dodds in 2009 and Dan Caiello in 2011. Ben Caiello claimed the Middle School title in 2010 and now has sights set on the big prize.

There are some nominal fees associated with participation. A regular 1-year U.S. Chess Federation membership runs between $17 and $26, depending on age (the USCF membership can be purchased online at ). The 1-year SCCA membership of $5, and the tournament entry fee of $15 can be paid on site, or in advance (see SCCA website for details concerning advance payment, registration, and match times) or email