As part of its series of special, one-day Grand Prix tournaments, the Roanoke Valley Chess Club held its first Tracy Callis Jr. Memorial on Saturday, August 21 at St. John's Lutheran Church, in Roanoke, Virginia. This USCF rated tournament has a rating of 6 USCF Grand Prix points, with all money guaranteed. The tournament was played in three rounds. The time control was Game in 90 Minutes with a 5 second delay.

One of the Roanoke Valley Chess Club's most beloved members and tournament participants, Tracy Callis, Jr., passed away on the 6th of August, 2009. We knew that we had to have a tournament in his honor, but we were taken aback by the generosity of donors, led by his parents. Tracy's mother, Mrs. Jane Orr, along with friends and relatives, donated and served out an excellent lunch, free to all participants. This was not your typical "free tournament food" fare! At 12:30, a very nice, brief ceremony for Tracy was hosted by his long-time friend and chess mentor, NM Russell Potter. All involved are hoping that we can do this again in 2011.

The tournament itself was advertised as a one-day, 3-round 6 Grand Prix point event... and indeed it was. But Tracy's father, Tracy Callis Sr., came in with a whopping $400 into the prize fund! This brought the actual monetary value of the tournament into the 10-GP range. This extremely generous donation was accompanied by Tracy Sr. himself at the prize ceremony after the event was completed.

It was Tracy's usual rival for 1st place in these tournaments who, perhaps suitably, took the first prize in the Championship Section. Strong Lynchburg A-Player Felix McCain of Lynchburg took the top honors with 2.5, the draw being with Michael Turner, and the victories being over Ed Boyers and Robert Nolan. Felix walked out with a cheque boosted by Mr. Callis Sr.'s donation totalling $250. Not bad for playing 3 games of chess!

Following Felix with a score of 2 were three players: Ed Boyers, Tom Hales from Asheboro, NC, and Richard White.

In the 2nd Section, Jernel Sharp won with a convincing and perfect 3/3, netting himself over 140 rating points in the process! Hot on his heels were Ray Megginson and Hunter Harlow, both with 2.5 each. Sam di Stefano also took the section's Booster prize for scoring 2 / 3.

Congratulations to all the prizewinners, and thanks to everyone who came out to make this fantastic event possible! With donations from several sources, including extremely generous ones by Tracy's parents, and a truly colossal time and effort by Russell Potter, this ended up being a terrific day indeed. A special thanks is given to Ray Megginson, who has several times now graciously assisted with pre-tournament issues. That sort of thing goes largely unnoticed by tournament participants, but without people like Ray pitching in, these events couldn't take place. Last, but certainly not least, further thanks must be given to Mike Huff, who not only played in the tournament and helped set it up, but also stayed behind with Mr. Potter and TD Joshua Lilly to clean up everything, not leaving until everything was finished, everything cleaned and gathered. This is far from the first time Mike has done this, and a simple "thanks" never seems sufficient for this kind of much-needed assistance.

We hope to have another event honoring Tracy next year!

The Roanoke Valley Chess Club sincerely appreciates everyone who participated and made this special event successful.


1st Felix Mc Cain 2.5 points
2nd Ed Boyers 2.0 points
3rd Tom Hales 2.0 points
4th Richard White 2.0 points

1st Jernel Sharp 3.0 points
2nd Ray Megginson 2.5 points
3rd Hunter Harlow 2.5 points

Sam di Stefano 2.0 points

For the complete USCF tournament report of the Tracy Callis Jr. Memorial, please click here.