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

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