About The Founder

Scholarship Chess logo  King PhilidorThe Founder of the Scholarship Chess Business Center is Michael (Mike) Anthony Callaham.  Mr. Callaham learned how to play chess from a friend of his mother’s husband at the age of 14.  Having to work after school to pay his tuition and help support his family, made it impossible to participate at his high school chess club.  After leaving school Mr Callaham picked up chess again at the age of 17 during down time while working at a car wash.  He has never put it down again.

Mr. Callaham’s chess career spans 30 years, on 2 continents.  Mr. Callaham is a total chess package.  The has meaningful contributions to chess as a player, coach, referee, theoretician, analyst, columnist, and organizer. Mike has been elected to serve the Virginia Scholastic Chess Association and the Virginia Chess Federation!

As a player, he is ranked within the top 10% of all the active players in the country. While stationed in Germany he played on the  Deitzenbach City and Offenbach City teams.  He has scored tournament wins against the state champions and/or former state champions of VA, West VA, and SC.  His most rapid period of growth saw his rating go from 1628 to 1903 in just 48 games!!  This created the basis for his exponential learning system!  In the 2019 World Open he opened with 5.5 out of his 1st 6 games and in 2020 finished #2 of 61 players in the George Washington Open with a score of 3-2-0 in the under 1800!

Director:  While stationed in Germany he was the chief tournament director for the European Chess District. He was the Chief Tournament Director for the 7th Corp and Army Europe Championships.  He served as the Chief Tournament Director for the Capitol City Chess Club in Columbia SC, The Chief Tournament Director for The Richmond Middle School Chess League, and has been an assistant director at VSCA and VCF events.

Coaching:  Coach “Mike” does all types of coaching for pupils of all ages and groups of all sizes.  Our training teaches you how to protect points and win games based on desire!  Since 2012, Coach Mikes teams have participated in over 49 Scholastic team events averaging 1.5 teams per appearance.  Coach Mikes private students have made over 175 event appearances!!  Coach Mike incorporates a full working knowledge of the rules and rating system to help players understand that chess is the only sport where a tie still has winners and losers.  The goal is always to get individual players onto the top 100 list for their age group.  Coach Mike’s unique training system and tournament methodologies, have helped his private students average 10-18 points per game played.  That’s 500% – 600% better than kids that are showing up in the top 100.  In 13 months he helped an 8 year old go from 103 – 1151 in just 64 games!  100% of our training comes from the understanding of grandmaster advice, post round analysis at scholastic tournaments, Coach Mike’s own games, game analysis, and inaccurate chess puzzles!!  Our new, Prodigy Training System is designed to prevent losses to players under 1800 USCF!!

Columnist and Analyst.  Mike has distinguished himself as a writer and columnist. Mike was the staff analyst  for the European Chess District for over 18 months.  He created and wrote a column for the Dover Post of Dover DE, has submitted analysis for the VSCA’s newsletter column, “It’s Your Move”, and is author of SCBC’s “Knight Moves”!

Theoretician.  His analysis was 1st published in August and then September of 1986 in Chess Life Magazine.  In 2010 Mike blew the lid off Philidor Defense opening theory!  In his 6 page article, he reviewed the available books on the Philidor’s Defense and  destroyed the Pickett line that had been the standard in the opening for over 50 years!  His insights lead to the discovery of an entirely off the grid gambit attack that he’s used successfully against experts and masters!  Mike has also documented theoretical novelties in the Pirc, King Gambit Declined, Benko Gambit, Budapest Defense, and The Philidor in Reverse!

Chess Statistician:  “The numbers may misdirect, but they don’t lie”, he always says!  Mr Callaham has enjoyed his obsession with the rating system and observing the performance of the top 100 kids in the country for ages 7-15.  As a result of his research we focus on, “Category” performances until it’s appropriate to play in the prize section.  This actually doubles, triples, and quadruples the number of rating points that can be earned in an event.  Why would you play 100 games to get 250 rating points when the statistics show playing smarter and in the right kind of tournaments could get you 250 rating points in just 30-40 games?  “Chess is cheap, but it’s not free!”.  Statistical analysis will save top 100 parents $75,000 to $100,000 over the course of their child’s scholastic career.  If you are an adult, it’s even more important to get the most out of every game you play!  Statistics show that ratings actual mean very little when it comes to actual playing strength.  Go to the top 100 list of ages 7 and up and look up their history. You will find that more than 90% of the people on the list have a category 2 and even 3 levels below their rating.  Most have no category at all!  They don’t have their ratings because of how hard they work!?! They have their rating because of how often they play. Some of them are playing 150, 175, even 200 games a year. They are coming away with less than 1 or 2 points per game on average!?!(sad)  Just looking at the histories would eliminate a fear of ratings, improve the players confidence and save a ton of money!?!

Philanthropist;  Over the last 8 years Coach Callaham has donated and used his own money to increase and/or improve chess activities throughout central Virginia. Coach Callaham has performed volunteer services for Richmond Public Schools, The Richmond Public Library, The Virginia Scholastic Chess Association, The Virginia Chess Federation, Henrico County Schools, Chesterfield County Schools, Nandua, Smithfield, Fork Union, Newport News, Va Beach, Williamsburg, Hopewell, Norfolk etc.

Virginia Scholastic Chess Association-Secretary  Mike Callaham is the Secretary of the VSCA.  The VSCA is non-profit group of volunteers that oversees, directs, and encourages children’s chess.  In addition to his other duties as secretary, Coach Callaham provides free analysis at VSCA tournaments, free analysis of any games sent to him by the members, free simultaneous exhibitions to school clubs, free coach training, and free classes to school clubs throughout central VA.!

VCF Board Member, VCF Vice President, and VCF Schoalastic Director. The VCF is a non-profit group of volunteers that for more than 80 years has been helping to educate and promote chess across VA.  Mr Callaham has served in several positions and is know throughout the Commonwealth.

If you want the real deal about chess, you’ve come to the right place!!!

7 thoughts on “About The Founder

  1. Can’t say enough wonderful things about Mike Callaham. My son recently submitted a game for review while at the National Elementary Championships in Nashville. Mr. Callaham completed a thorough review with suggested variations and commentary within a matter of a couple of hours. The review came back so fast that my son was actually able to read it and take some of the insights into his next round!

    This is a guy that pours his heart and soul into scholastic chess. He cares about the game, and about the kids, and it shows!

    Thanks so much for all you do for scholastic chess Mike!

    …Mike Rousseau, Forest, VA

  2. I have recently gotten to know Mike and observed him patiently teaching kids. “In this position, how many ways can the king be checked? If you mone there as white, what are the next moves-black, white, black, white, black. Be patient. Listen to me.” Yes, he is definitely a coach that cares. He’s authentic.

  3. Mr. Callaham is certainly very knowledge about how to play chess and how to train kids playing chess. I was very impressed to watch him teaching my son how to think, visualize and analyze each move in the game. As my son said to me:”Coach Mike didn’t just teach me what to do, he showed me how to think.”

  4. Mike is a Wonderful Chess Teacher, Theoretician, Player and Coach his unwavering dedication to the Game of chess is only second to his love of sharing it with the World!!!

  5. Thanks so much for your kind words. Club night is Tuesdays at 6 pm. If you are local, I hope to see you there soon. Call me anytime. 804-426-6058 Let’s catch up!

  6. Hello there Mr. Callaham
    I am looking for you once again. Lol. I need you to help me teach my son, who is now 5, chess please. I really hope you see this message. There’s no one I would love more, than you, to teach my boy what u know? I expect to hear back from you Mr. Callaham.
    Thank you kindly in advance

    S. Mimi Robinson

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