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SC Scholastics Championship Tournament Results!

2014 Scholastic Championship
SC State Scholastic HS Champion Ben Caiello (top right)

Students from all corners of the state ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade competed in this year’s South Carolina State Scholastic Chess Championship on Saturday, March 22. The event, held at the Heyward School and Technology Center in Columbia SC, featured the largest crowd in recent memory for a Scholastic Championship event with 160 students participating. After hours of tension, the winners emerged. Ben Caiello (right) receives the first place trophy in the High School division after a hard fought fifth round victory over Kevis Tsao. Here are this year’s winners!

2014 Trophy Winners...
HIGH SCHOOL SECTION: (1st) Benjamin Caiello 5.0, (2nd) Kevis Tsao 4.0, (3rd) Forrest Wang 4.0
MIDDLE SCHOOL SECTION: (1st) Aidan Fejzulai 5.0, (2nd) Aditya Dias 4.0, (3rd) Michael Burrell 4.0
ELEMENTARY SECTION 4-5: (1st) Akshat Jindal 5.0, (2nd) Ravitej Guruvelli 5.0, (3rd) Wilson Porcher 4.0
ELEMENTARY SECTION K-3: (1st) Pierson Tran 5.0, (2nd) Whit Suber, Jr. 4.0, (3rd) Toby Cox 4.0


TROPHY WINNERS BY GRADE: (Kindergarten) Nicholas Lagleva 1.0, (1st Grade) Robert Hylton 4.0, (2nd Grade)
Henry Murthy 3.0, (3rd Grade) Joshua Lagleva 4.0, (4th Grade) Connor Liu 4.0, (5th Grade) Kevin Rogers 4.0,
(6th Grade) Gunatej Guruvelli 4.0, (7th Grade) Kristopher Luo 4.0, (8th Grade) Simeon Radev 3.0, (9th Grade)
Brandon Williams 3.0, (10th Grade) Daniel Custer 3.0, (11th Grade) David Stoner 4.0, (12th Grade) Andrew George 4.0


TOP FEMALE TROPHIES BY SECTION: (K-3) Erika Oltmann 3.0, (4-5) Isha Pattanaik 3.0, (Middle 6-8) Akshita Jindal 3.0,
(HS 9-12) Neha Dias 3.0


TEAM WINNERS: Team Winners (K-12) 1st - D.W. Daniel High School, Clemson, SC; 2nd - Richland Northeast,
Columbia, SC; (K-8) 1st - R.C. Edwards Middle School, Clemson, SC; 2nd - Cario Middle School, Mt. Pleasant, SC
(K-5) 1st - Clemson Elementary School, Clemson, SC; 2nd - Charles Pinckney Elementary, Mt. Pleasant, SC;
(K-3) 1st - Beaufort Academy, Beaufort, SC; 2nd - Charles Pinckney Elementary, Mt. Pleasant SC


FLORIDA BOUND!! Congratulations to Daniel Caiello, Aidan Fejzulai, and Neha Dias! These three students will be representing our state in Orlando FL in July.
Daniel Caiello at the Denker Tournament of High School Champions
Aidan Fejzulai at the Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions
Neha Dias at the National Girl's Invitational Tournament

Click here for Photos   2014 Scholastic Crosstables


Tori Whately holds a record of five appearances at the Susan Pulgar Girl's Invitational Tournament

When you hear the "Susan Pulgar Girl's Invitational Chess Tournament" mentioned, there's probably one competitor that comes to mind if you live in South Carolina and that's Tori Whatley. However, this year is going to be different as Tori is deciding not to compete for the title leaving the door open for another girl to represent our state. Read more...

Southern Girls Regional Chess Championship

This all girls tournament is being held in Charlotte on May 3rd. Prizes include Trophies, Medals, and a $500 Scholarship Prize for 1st. Click here for more information
or see calendar of events.

2014 National Scholar-Chessplayer Award

Are you a High School Junior or Senior looking for scholarship money? If you are a current USCF member and have shown outstanding merit in academics, sportsmanship, and chess, you are eligible to apply for a 2014 National Scholar-Chessplayer Award. Click here for more information.
USCF link to full article ***Note: Deadline to apply is March 1st***

SC Senior Championships 2014

April 19-20th at the Embassy Suites Greenville Golf Resort & Conference Center. Click here for flyer.
See also: Chess for Seniors Website

Lake Murray Elementary School Tournament Results!

Lake Murray Elementary School hosted a five round G15 non-rated chess tournament on Saturday, Jan. 25th. This marked the second year in a row that LMES has worked alongside the SCCA in order to generate interest in chess by providing students with both classroom and tournament experience. The event, held in the school cafeteria, was considered a major success by everyone involved with over 60 students from LMES and neighboring schools participating - a threefold increase over last year's attendance. Parents and students were treated to short chess related films in the Dockside Theatre while waiting between rounds. Jessica Jones, AGP Elementary School teacher and LMES Chess Club leader presided over the event while SCCA Vice President Daniel Smith handed out the awards. Diligent Tournament Directors included Greenville Chess Club President Gene Nix, SCCA Vice President Daniel Smith, George Boykin, and David Gongre. Parent volunteer John Swieringa helped as well. Students also had an opportunity to meet two State Champions; Gene Nix Co-State Champion 2012, and reigning State Champion IM Alexander Matros. It's always great to see young happy faces and the school was loaded with them Saturday. I helped provide computer services - greatly aided by Daniel Smith. Thank you Principal Thompson and staff for you steadfast support. Thank you Rachael Ham of ColaDaily.com for your nice very article. Read Rachael's Article here.

Click here for Crosstable   Click here for Photos

Top Individual Trophies:
1. Seth Bailey 5.0 pts
2. Issac Smith 5.0 pts
3. Matthew Ployhart 4.0 pts

Top Grade Winners:
5th Grade: Everett Newbry
4th Grade: Ryan Moser
3rd Grade: Gibson Ward

Chess Set Drawing Winner: Cole Thornsberry

GSSM January Open Results!

Fourteen players competed in the five-round GSSM January Open in Hartsville on January 18. James MacDougall of West Columbia and Ian Morton of Florence shared first place with scores of 4.5, having drawn in a titanic third-round battle. Three players shared third place with three wins: Randy Mosteller of Ellloree, John Sullivan of Florence, and Nicholas Thomas of Central. GSSM junior John McElvenny earned recognition for the biggest upset, upending Brandon Alverson of Clemson despite a ratings difference of 823 points. Click here for Wall Chart

Dr. Clyde Smith,
S.C. Governor's School of Science and Mathematics

Boy Scouts Play for Merit Badges!

Boy Scouts Troop 9 hosted their second annual Chess Merit Badge Tournament January 18 at United Methodist Church in Greenville, following a morning of lessons presented by Scout Masters Chuck Small and Jeff McDermott. Twenty-four Scouts earned their merit badges and took home new sets, with a heavily weighted set awarded as first prize to Ben Wyatt, who went 4-0, followed closely by Manuel Unda with 3.5 points. Both winners, along with Ben's brother Sam Wyatt (3 points) are USCF members who competed in October's Greenville Scholastic Open. Greenville Chess Club President Gene Nix directed the tournament, which progressed smoothly largely due to the enthusiastic assistance of GCC members Joseph and Shannon Rochester, who collected results, reset the tables, and resolved various triple-check situations and answered technical questions. Dr. John McCrary, past USCF President, helped to develop the chess merit badge program. Warmest thanks to the Boy Scouts for including chess in their character-building program, and thereby encouraging the growth of the game with the next generation of leaders, and for inviting the Greenville Chess Club to assist! Click here for Wall Chart

Gene Nix,
President, Greenville Chess Club

SCISA Chess Tournament

Students from the South Carolina Independent School Association member institutions competed against each other November 13th, 2013 at the Sumter County
Civic Center. This unrated tournament is very popular with students and parents alike. Approximately 80 high school students signed up for the event.
Click here for Photos

74th SC Championship Results!


SC State Champion for 2013 - IM Alexander Matros (right)

Sixty-eight players competed in the three-section, five-round, 74th Annual South Carolina State Chess Championship over the weekend, Oct. 18 - 20. Not usually the case, two South Carolina players with 4.0 scores met in the final round to determine the championship. International Master Alexander Matros, an associate professor of economics at the University of South Carolina, defeated rising star and scholastic player, Benjamin Caiello, in the final round to finish with a perfect 5.0 score. South Carolina players won the other sections as well, with Elijah Neuman and Joseph Rochester winning the Amateur (U1800) Section with 4.0 pts., and Harsha Srijay winning the Reserve (U1400) Section with 4.5 pts. The South Carolina Chess Association thanks all that made this tournament a success: all those players that participated, especially those from other cities and states that had to stay overnight away from home; those that came to cheerlead and watch the event; those TDs (Tournament Directors) and organizers that worked tirelessly to see the event was conducted in an orderly and fair fashion. Daniel Smith was the Chief TD, assisted by Jordan Anderson, David Causey, and Drew Plyler. Drew Plyler supervised the online broadcast (DGT boards) to the SCCA (SC Chess Association) website.

2013 Winners...
OPEN SECTION:(1st) IM Alexander Matros (SC) 5.0 pts
 (2nd-3rd) Chris Mabe (NC) 4.0 pts - Benjamin Caiello (SC) 4.0 pts

U2200 SECTION: (1st) Patrick McCartney (NC) 3.5 pts

U2000 SECTION: (1st) Mark Sturman (NC) 3.5 pts

AMATEUR SECTION: (1st-2nd) Elijah Neuman (SC) 4.0 pts ; Joseph Rochester (SC) 4.0 pts

U1600: (1st) John Roberts (SC) 3.5 pts

RESERVE SECTION: (1st) Harsha Srijay (SC) 4.5 pts ; (2nd) Akshita Jindal (SC) 4.0 pts

U1200: (1st) Venkata Guruvelli (SC) 3.5 pts ; (2nd) Zachery Darga (SC) 3.0 pts

U1000: (1st-2nd) Tim Staley (FL) 2.5 pts ; Nathen Ritterson (SC), 2.5 pts

Click here for Photos   Click here for Games   2013 Crosstables

In other news, the annual SCCA meeting was held on Sunday, Oct. 20, between Rounds 4 and 5, with David Grimaud reelected as President, Daniel Smith reelected as Vice President, David Causey reelected as Treasurer, and Gene Nix reelected as Secretary. David Grimaud will continue as the state USCF Delegate, and David Causey as its alternate.

Greenville Scholastic Open Results!


Greenville Scholastic Open Trophy Winners 2013

The Greenville Scholastic Open Chess Tournament held at Eastlan Baptist Church concluded Saturday afternoon and the results are in! Eastlan, a new venue for the GSO, provided a spacious playing area complete with hardwood floors, and upper/lower viewing areas for parents, and a staff member on hand to assist with facilities. A total of 66 budding Grandmasters competed in this years 5-round head-to-head G30 competition. Gene Nix presided over the event, most capably assisted by Drew Plyler, while Daniel Smith presented the stately awards. All participants performed like veterans well beyond their years. This was a fantastic group!

This years top Winners are...
K-12: Aidan Fejzulai (1st); Michael Burrell (2nd); Gunateja Guruvelli (3rd)

K-8: Alexander Moreno (1st); Kristopher Luo (2nd); Austin Setser (3rd)

K-6: Mohnish Behera (1st); John Wang (2nd); Thames Stokes (3rd)

K-4: Connor Liu (1st); Julian Chong (2nd); Joshua Lagleva (3rd)

K-2: Allen Hong (1st); Henri Murthy (2nd); Elisha Venegas (3rd)


Click here for Photos    GSO 2013 Crosstables    Letter of Thanks

GSSM September Open Results!

Twenty players, including a strong three-member delegation from Wilmington, NC, fiercely contested the five-round GSSM September Open chess tourney in Hartsville on Saturday, Sept. 21. Mike Lafer, Jr., of Darlington won clear first place with four wins and one draw for 4.5 points. Jordan Anderson of Columbia, GSSM c/o '08, finished in a tie for second place at 4.0 points with the highest seed, Stephen Morales of Wilmington. Evan Zhang, a remarkable fifth grader from Wilmington, won the Biggest Upset trophy by upending the third seed in the tournament, Russell Thurmond of Sumter, who earned fourth place with 3.5. Hartsville resident Randell Ewing, coach of the Thomas Hart Academy chess team, won the First Unrated trophy on tiebreaks with 2.0 points.

GSSM Crosstable

Dr. Clyde Smith,
S.C. Governor's School of Science and Mathematics

Farewell to Ron Simpson: Carolina Chess Loses a Treasured Player 

The South Carolina Chess Association offers its condolences to the family and friends of NM Ron Simpson of North Carolina. An active member of their association, Ron passed away last week after a recurrence of a cancer he had been battling. His friend, NM Chris Mabe, reports that Ron did not publicize his problem, because he didn't want it to affect the way other chess players viewed him, nor worry his friends about his suffering. He chose, instead, to bravely fight it in silence.

I met Ron for the first time at the 1st Annual Carolinas Challenge held in Ft. Mill, SC, in November 2006. I remember that his son played in the tournament as well. However, it was in 2009 when I developed an appreciation for Ron's professionalism and sportsmanship. That was the year he was the state champion for North Carolina and played our champion, NM Philipp Lamby, in the Border Battle of Carolina Champions. Ron proved friendly and was a pleasure to work with. A strong player, his contribution to chess will be missed. Please view this link for the USCF article about him. Ron Simpson: N.C. Chess Fixture

You may also find out more on the NCCA bulletin boards.

David Grimaud,
President,  S.C. Chess Association

Columbia Open:  Results


NM Jeffrey Haskel receives Top Prize from Daniel Smith
National Master Jeffrey Haskel of Boca Raton, Florida, managed three wins and two draws to take clear first place in this year's Open Section of the Columbia Open Chess Tournament held at the Hilton Garden Inn in the Harbison area of Columbia, SC. There were a total of 77 players playing in four sections, setting a record attendance for this tournament.

Other winners were: Gary Branton, Jr. (NC) with 4.5 points in the U2000 section; Jayashree Sekar (GA) and Andrew Manion (SC) in a two-way tie with 4.0 points each in the U1600 section; and Akshat Jindal (SC) who had a perfect 5.0 score in the U1200 section.

Click here for Photos
Click here for Games

Calvin Smith Wins First Passing Pawn Tournament!

Chess Camp at Crooked Creek concluded Thursday, August 8th with an exciting triple tie-break pawn game between Calvin Smith and Gibson Ward. Calvin was finally able to claim victory after getting one of his pawns to the eighth rank just one square ahead of Gibson. It was an exciting ending to a wonderful camp! All campers displayed sportsmanship throughout.

The camp was capably instructed by International Master (IM) Alexander Matros, who has developed his own teaching system for beginning players. He is excited about training new students and growing the local chess community. IM Matros was the 2011 S.C. Champion.

A hearty thanks to IM Matros, Jennifer Riddle and the folks at Crooked Creek Park for hosting the event.

Upcoming Event:  US Masters/NC Open

The US Masters/NC Open will take place Labor Day weekend (August 29 - September 2) in Greensboro, North Carolina. This Carolinas Chess Festival tournament is going to be an absolutely first rate event with a large unconditionally guaranteed prize fund (along with international title norms in the Masters), low entry fee, and a very comfortable hotel at a discount rate. There will be competition for all comers, from scholastic beginner to Grandmaster!

Scholastic Representation In Madison, Wisconsin


Scholastic Representation

MADISON, WISCONSIN, is the location of a series of chess events centered around the 114th U.S. Open Chess Championship from July 27 - Aug 4. South Carolina sent three scholastic players plus family members to three individual tournaments of six rounds which were held July 27 - 30. All tournament players where designated by their individual states as being their champions.

South Carolina performed as follows:

KEVIS TSAO (Grade 9, 1935) earned 3.0 points in the Denker Tournament of High School State Champions.

AIDAN FEJZULAI (Grade 8, 1326) earned 2.0 points in the Barber Tournament of K-8 State Champions.

NEHA DIAS (Grade 9, 1287) earned 3.0 points in the National Girl's Invitational Tournament of Champions.

In addition, Aidan won a prize for upsetting a player rated 1900, and Neha won a prize for highest score in her class. Neha will also be playing in the US Open.

The USCF Delegates Meeting is also in session this week, and David Grimaud is representing South Carolina by attending workshops during the week. The main meeting will be Saturday - Sunday (Aug 3 - 4). Please send him an email at DWGrimaud@aol.com if you have any questions about or comments related to the meeting.

The SCCA would like to say thank you to its fine, scholastic players and their family members for supporting them. The scholastic level in South Carolina is rising rapidly!

Photo:  From left to right: Weiguo Cao (Kevis's father), Kevis Tsao, Ashok Bhargava (Neha's great-uncle), Neha Dias, Aidan Fejzulai (front), Zamir Fejzulai (Aidan's father), David Grimaud (SCCA President and Delegate).

NC wins 2013 Border Battle


2013 Border Battle Participants

North Carolina defeated South Carolina in this year's Border Battle team event with a convincing final match score of 34-18.  In the feature match, South Carolina Co-State Champion Ben Caiello defeated a strong competitor in North Carolina's Champion Daniel Cremisi by a score of 2.5 to 1.5.  Steve Boshears scored 2.5 in the Class B section by not losing a game and improving his rating to 1751. In the Class C section, Elijah Neumann posted a perfect 4-0 score and increased his rating to an all time high of 1657.

Border Battle Results

SC Open:  Results

This year's SC Open Chess Tournament, sponsored by the Greenville Chess Club and organized by Carolina Chess Initiative, was held over Memorial Day weekend (May 24 - 26) at the beautiful Embassy - Verdae Golf Club. The tournament was held in three sections (Open, U1800, U1400) alongside an individual scholastic tournament (two sections) for a total of 132 participants.

Grandmaster Elshan Moradiabadi (TX) won the open section with 4.5 points out of five rounds to become 2013 S.C. Open Champion. GM Alonso Zapata (GA) and FM Miles Ardaman (NC) were runner-ups at 4.0 points each.

Lloyd Liu (NC) won first in the U1800 Section with 4.5 points. James Qu (SC) won the U1400 Section with a perfect 5.0. Brett Morrison (GA) of won the Kings Section of the scholastic tournament with a perfect 4.0, with Hunter Street (SC) winning the Knights Section, also with a perfect 4.0.

The South Carolina Chess Association would like to thank both the Greenville Chess Club and the Carolina Chess Initiative for hosting and organizing the strongest and best attended SC Open in years. The hotel setting was marvelous, and the weather didn't hurt.

SC Open Crosstables

5th Senior Open:  Results

National Masters Wayne Christensen and Wayne Williams fought to a last-round draw to share first place in the 5th Annual SC Senior Open held at the Hampton Inn in scenic Travelers Rest, where twenty-two venerable chess enthusiasts battled April 20-21. Life Master Klaus Pohl and Expert Mike Anderson shared third and fourth places. Under 1600 prizes were split between Bill Wetzel and Kevin Hyde. Bob Mahan and Catherine Dodson traveled all the way from Virginia, and Ms. Dodson is the first woman to compete in the SC Senior Open. Special thanks to Marcus Benjamin for stepping in as house-player when the tournament had an odd number of players.



Senior Open Crosstables

Senior Open Photo Gallery