Thompson Middle School Chess Celebration

Chess on the bus line

Chess near the bus line

Pictured are Coach Mike Callaham, William Baker, Daniel Jones, Kwintel Evans, Collette Charles and Principal Hopkins. Story by Mike Callaham
Chess is alive and well at Thompson Middle School. Through the Renaissance Program these 4 children are making moves for their college futures. After just 3 months of preparation, William, Daniel, and Kwintel represented Thompson at the state wide scholastic championships held in March of this year. Daniel earned a trophy in that event as the best performance in k-8 for a 1st tournament! Collette is a newcomer to the team but shares the team’s passion for excellence in competition. The 4 are showing of their 2nd place Team Trophy earned at the Thompson Middle School Chess Celebration held at Thompson Middle School on June 8th. Collette took individual honors by finishing in 1st place with and undefeated score of 3.5 out of a possible 4 points in her section! This tournament sponsored by Thompson Middle School, The Richmond Chess Initiative, and The Virginia Scholastic Chess Association attracted 56 players ranging from beginner to expert from as far away as Virginia Beach and Charlottesville.
Chess is what this writer calls the nations biggest hidden scholarship opportunity! All across the country Chess Scholars are being actively pursued to apply for scholarships. The University of Maryland has been advertising scholarships for chess players in Chess Life Magazine,( The official publication of the United States Chess Federation) for almost 20 years.
A special note of thanks to the US Chess Trust. They provided free sets to the team allowing them to play and train at home. The Richmond Chess Initiative for providing free weekly coaching, literature and study material. The VSCA for providing free USCF memberships, sponsoring entry fees, and providing the weekly training equipment.
To get more information on creating a Chess Team at your school, contact Mike Callaham at or To find out what’s going on state wide contact To reach the national organization and find out what universities are offering scholarships to chess players, go to

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