Young Chess Champion from Roanoke -- Nalin Jha

EVENT: Va. State Amateur Championship

WHERE : Richmond Va. Hilton Garden Hotel

WHEN: Labor Day Weekend – Sept. 2-4.

HIS SCORE: 5/6 ( 83% ).



He is the first person from the Roanoke Valley to win the State Amateur since the 1980’s !

He is a Junior at North Cross School.

He takes chess lessons from National Master Russell Potter.

His new U.S. Chess Federation rating is ( 1740 ). This places him in the top ten rated players of ANY age in the Roanoke Valley.



On the evening of Saturday, September 6, 2017, the Roanoke Valley Chess Club held its annual re-organizational business meeting. The meeting was convened by President Mike Huff at Chess Club headquarters: Raleigh Court Public Library, 2112 Grandin Road, SW. Attendees enjoyed snacks and soft drinks from Allsports Cafe, due to the efforts of Mike Huff and Ray Megginson. Those present included NM Russell Potter, President Mike Huff, Treasurer Ray Megginson, and a number of general members.

I. General Membership Meeting.
  1. President's Report for the FY 2016-17. Traditionally, the President's Report reviews activities of the past year, and largely coincides with a summary of events. For the complete list of these past events, see the RVCC PAST EVENTS section of our web page. A brief summary of each event was given by the club officers present who organized or directed them. All present agreed that it has been a very busy and satisfying club year! We all felt that all of our activities were well worth the time and effort.
  2. Treasurer's Report. The Treasurer's Report, presented by Ray Megginson, discussed the profit-loss aspect of last year’s events.
  3. Web Page. Our current Web Master is Mr. Martin Cooperson. The club is very pleased with the continuous excellence, creativity and promptness of his work. We are very grateful for Martin's help!
  4. IRS Reminder. The RVCC is a tax-exempt, charitable organization with designated I.R.S. 501 (c3) status. This means that individuals and organizations can donate monies and items of value to the Club, and have such donations written off as tax deductions. Accordingly, all members are enthusiastically encouraged to solicit donations for the Club!
  5. Other Old Business. The club membership recognized and commended the volunteer team that has worked together in order to make the club successful this year. A partial list includes the following officers, Board members, and general members: Mike Huff, Ray Megginson, Rusty Potter, Lee Hadden, and Courtney Barnes.
  6. Election of Officers. Mike Huff was re-elected as President of the RVCC. Lee Hadden was elected as Vice-Presidents. Ray Megginson was re-elected as Treasurer.
  7. New Business.
  8. Dues. Membership dues were then collected for FY 2017-18.
  9. Adjournment. The general membership meeting adjourned at approximately 8:00 p.m.
II. Board of Directors Meeting.

The meeting of those members with 5 or more years of dues-paid membership then convened at approx. 8:00 p.m. and elected the following members to the following positions on the Board of Directors:
  1. Election of Board Members.
    1. EVEN YEAR 'A' SPOT: 2016-2018: Rusty Potter.
    2. EVEN YEAR 'B' SPOT: 2016-2018: Ray Megginson.
    3. ODD YEAR 'A' SPOT: 2017-2019: vacant.
    4. ODD YEAR 'B' SPOT: 2017-2019: Mike Huff.

    Things to know about the Board:
    1. In order to serve on the Board of Directors of the RVCC, a member must have 5 consecutive, dues-paid years of membership in the RVCC.
    2. Josh Lilly resigned from the Board in 2015, leaving his odd-year “A” spot vacant.
    3. As club Treasurer, Ray Megginson automatically remains a member of the Board of Directors, with full voting rights on the board, as long as he holds the Treasurer's position.
    4. Russell Potter and Ray Megginson were not up for election for their current even-year “A” and “B” spots, respectively. Mike Huff was elected for the 2017-19 “B” spot.

  2. Activities Calendar. The Board of Directors met and drew up a tentative tournament schedule and Calendar of Events for the upcoming club year. This schedule will include both our USCF-rated Grand Prix tournaments, our very popular casual chess events, as well as our community outreach events. Once all the details have been finalized for our Grand Prix and other events, they will be posted on our Web page.
  3. Adjournment. The meeting of the Board of Directors was then adjourned at approx. 9:00 p.m.

(Report submitted by Mike Huff.)


President’s Report on 2016-2017 Events
  1. Beat the Master & Game Improvement Lecture, October 26: The Grand Opening Celebration of our wonderful new meeting place (Raleigh Court Library) featured Rusty Potter’s popular simultaneous exhibition and game improvement lecture as the highlights of the evening! Twenty-one people (with 15 active participants) turned out for this festive event. Everyone enjoyed chess and pizza. The lecture included a ChessBase presentation on the Community Room’s large computerized projector screen.

    We will definitely want to have similar events again!

  2. Autumn Quick Championship, November 30: This was the first tournament at our new headquarters at Raleigh Court Library-Community Room. A milestone!
  3. Land of the Sky Warm-Up, January 21: Ray Megginson directed this tournament, with a good turnout.
  4. Winter Quick Championship (G/15), March 15: Our second Quick tournament at the Library.
  5. Spring Quick Championship (G/15), April 26: Yet another tournament at the Library, and a modest success, thanks to Ray Megginson’s invaluable assistance! Overall, our Quick events seem popular and worthwhile.
  6. Festival in the Park (“Chess-tival”), May 27: This is our main off-site outreach event, which gives us plenty of publicity in Elmwood Park. Downtown’s biggest party attracts many thousands of people for fun, food, and chess!
  7. RVCC Championship, June 24-25: We had a good turnout, and a great tournament, thanks to Rusty and Ray directing this event.
  8. Summer Quick Championship (G/15), July 26: Cancelled
  9. Walter Muir Memorial, August 19: We had a turnout of 18 players, with a mix of RVCC members and out-of-towners— a moderate success, by our standards.
  10. Our new headquarters, over the past year: On June 22, 2016—about 14 months ago-- the RVCC began meeting weekly at Raleigh Court Library. During this time, library staff have shown us nothing but cordial and gracious hospitality. Our relationship with them has been very positive!

    The library has played a major role in the RVCC’s continuing success.

  11. The RVCC’s 70th Birthday: Sometime during the summer—no one knows the exact date—the RVCC became a septuagenarian. I just want to say “Happy Birthday,” and wish the RVCC another successful 70 years!


    Walter Muir Memorial Grand Prix Tournament

    As part of its series of special, one-day rated tournaments, the Roanoke Valley Chess Club recently held the 2017 Walter Muir Grand Prix Tournament. This annual 3-round event took place on Saturday, August 19th at Westhampton Christian Church in Roanoke, Virginia.

    The format was G/75 with a 25-sec. increment. There was one section with a top prize of $400.00. Eighteen players, including two with USCF ratings in excess of 2100, slugged it out over the chessboards in the sumptuously appointed Fireside Room.

    At the end of three hard-fought rounds, in which no player earned a perfect score, we had a 3-way split for the top prize among Andrew Tichenor, Dexter Wright, and Felix McCain. Mark Stephens, Darreion “Chase” Bailey, and Ray Megginson shared 2nd through 4th place prizes. Ben Dubuque and Aiden Taylor shared the Top U1600 prize, and Top U1200 went to young Leo Chang Dotson. Congratulations to all of our prize winners!

    The tournament was directed most capably by USCF Expert Courtney Barnes. No significant problems of any kind occurred, and everyone appeared to enjoy the chess competition!

    The Roanoke Valley Chess Club sincerely appreciates everyone who participated and made this Saturday Special event yet another successful one in our series.

    We also express our deep appreciation to the Pastor and staff of Westhampton Christian Church, who have gone out of their way to make us feel especially welcome.

    Finally, we pause to remember Walter Muir (1905-1999), a great friend, benefactor, and former president of the Roanoke Valley Chess Club. Walter was also very instrumental in developing postal chess in the U.S., and was a top postal competitor both nationally and internationally for several decades. Walter, an International Correspondence Chess Master, was known as “The Dean” and “The Grand Old Man” of American Correspondence Chess.

    The RVCC conducts this event every year in Walter Muir’s honor, with his annual endowment, which makes our largest chess tournament possible!

    Roanoke Valley Chess Club Championship

    1st Place - Chase Bailey :
    The new club champion is rising chess star 21 year old Chase Bailey.
      2nd Place - Courtney Barnes :
    Our Silver Medal winner is U.S.C.F. Expert Courtney Barnes.
      3rd Place - Felix McCain :
    Our Bronze Medal winner is veteran Lynchburg Champ. Felix Mc Cain.
      Our tournament staff :
    Venerable Chess Master & Chairman of the Board - Russell Potter.
    Our tireless and steadfast club President is - Mike Huff.
    Our dependable Club Treasurer and cheerful volunteer is - Ray Megginson.


    Roanoke Vally Chess Personalities...

    Chase Bailey Wins Roanoke Valley Chess Club Championship
    21 year-old aspiring chess master !

    Chase learned to play chess from his father at the age of 7, and was a part of Northside High School's chess team here in Roanoke. Eventually, he discovered the game of chess was his calling in life. Casually playing online, going to chess clubs, looking over books, and enjoying the beauty of history's finest chess games all combined to ignite a passion in him for the Royal game. After tirelessly practicing for months, he prepared himself for his first major test of strength.

    Hard work pays off, and he won over $7,000.00 at the 2016 Millionaire Chess tournament in Atlantic City. Chase felt with growing confidence, that he could turn the game into a career for himself.

    His willingness to succeed would triumph again on June 24 and 25, 2017 at the Roanoke Valley Chess Club Championship, where, despite being listed as only the 3rd seed at the outset of the event, Chase placed 1st, and earned himself the top spot on the RVCC Championship Plaque.

    Outside of chess, Chase is an aspiring astrophysicist working at a convenience store to pay for chess tournaments and college tuition. Chase also dabbles in writing, having had a poem published in an online newsletter. He also is a jewelry maker. As a part-time amateur chess instructor, Chase offers cheap private lessons online or in person at:

    National Expert Courtney Barnes of Roanoke won 2nd Place. Felix Mc Cain, one of Lynchburg’s strongest players, placed 3rd.

    Celebrating Chess at the 2017 Festival in the Park

    The Roanoke Valley Chess Club brought its popular “Chess-tival” event once again to the annual Festival in the Park in downtown Roanoke. This major celebration takes place every Memorial Day weekend in Elmwood Park, and attracts many thousands of participants. The Chess Club convened on Saturday, May 27th, at its customary area along Elm Avenue.

    We found the weather at Festival very pleasant, as usual. Just a gorgeous late spring afternoon-- partly sunny, not too hot, with strong breezes at times. Our trees had been cut down, but we had a large canopy-type structure, furnished at no extra cost, to protect us from the sun and rain. (The forecast mentioned thunderstorms, but they missed us!)

    We had plenty of avid chess lovers among our visitors, some of whom played very well. The games were intense (and in tents). The RVCC, represented by Rusty, Club President Mike Huff, Treasurer Ray Megginson, former President Richard White, Ben DuBuque, and Ansel Steele, offered games and information to Festival-goers, and collected a total of eight e-mail addresses for our recruitment drive.

    We want to thank all of the volunteers who helped make Festival 2017 a success. A SPECIAL shout-out goes to Ed Gig, Pat King, and all the other fine folks of Roanoke Festival, Inc. who helped us have a great event.

    We all enjoyed the food, the music, and the scenery-- especially all the lovely ladies. Of course, we also really liked the all-day, non-stop CHESS!

    This event is part of the Roanoke Valley Chess Club's ongoing commitment to promote the great game of chess in the region, and-- as always-- is 100% FREE to the general public.

    ( Submitted by Mike Huff )