Posted on April 6, 2017 by Wesley Surber

Registration Open for Rackspace Chess 2017!

Updated 0740 CST: Fixed incorrect tournament date in blog entry. Correct date is 29-Apr-2017.

What better place to host fanatics of chess than the home of fanatical support itself, Rackspace! Each year, Rackspace hosts a massive chess tournament at its Headquarters (known as The Castle) just off Interstate 35 (Google Map) in Windcrest. 

As a leader in the technology industry, Rackspace wants to build a culture around chess as a scholastic mind sport, so that our young adults enter the workforce with the technical thinking skills that matter to us. –Rackspace

The Rackspace Chess Tournament will take place on April 29th at The Castle, with registration details available on the official Rackspace Chess website. The tournament is heavily focused on children, so if your child is a scholastic chess player or someone who simply loves the game and wants to come be part of the growing chess movement in America, then visit the Rackspace Chess website and register them for the tournament! There are two sections to this tournament spanning a wide range of ages and playing ability:


  • K-12 Championship
  • K-8 Championship
  • K-5 Championship
  • K-3 Championship
  • K-12 U1000/UNR
  • K-8 U800/UNR
  • K-5 U600/UNR
  • K-3 U400/UNR
  • K-1 U400/UNR


  • 4-12 Not Rated
  • 4-8 Not Rated
  • 4-5 Not Rated

The time control for all games is G/30 d5 (5-second delay). 

It is my hope that Campfire Chess will find the time that day to spend some time at Rackspace and provide coverage and some photos from the event. As with anything else, that depends on work and family.

Also, be sure to check out San Antonio legend NM Jesse James Lozano’s website for the most up-to-date information on scholastic chess tournaments being held in the city.

Posted on January 6, 2016 by Wesley Surber

Texas Tech Dethrones Webster Dynasty

As a fan of Major League Baseball I share the frustrations of countless fans resigned to watching teams like the New York Yankees dominate the sports landscape and establish consecutive winning streaks called dynasties. In chess, Texas Tech University dominated for years when GM Susan Polgar became the school’s coach. In her time at Tech, GM Polgar led her team to victory in the Chess Final Four for the first time in Tech’s chess program history. That was 2007 and the chess program in Lubbock would grow much faster than the university was prepared to deal with. She left the program in 2012 to start a new program at Webster University and took most of Texas Tech’s chess talent with her. Texas Tech faded somewhat into chess obscurity as the SPICE program at Webster University dominated the college chess landscape and established a powerful dynasty that turned out to be more like the Death Star. Texas Tech made chess headlines by defeating Webster at the Pan Am Intercollege Chess Nationals in the home of my beloved Indians: Cleveland, Ohio!

This win was impressive not only for Tech’s redemption victory over Polgar’s Webster team, but also the level at which Webster’s teams suffered in the tournament. FM Mike Klein has an excellent tournament report over at Surely expectations will be high for both colleges in next year’s competition and Tech recently added the lovely and talented WCM Claudia Muñoz to their lineup. It will be exciting to see what happens in the weeks and months to come as both schools regroup and head into the new year.

Play through all games from the tournament below:

Posted on September 19, 2015 by Wesley Surber

Chess America Looking for Teachers

One of my favorite parts of running Campfire Chess is the fact that I get to choose what I write about. Sometimes I like to write about my own games and sometimes I like to write about tournaments, movies, or books. On occasion I have had the opportunity to participate in activities or have purchased a product that was a defining moment in my chess life and was able to write glowing reviews and provide publicity for those designers and manufacturers. Among those are my absolute obsession with my Chessmate Ultima and my Plycounter. Quite often I wish I had the chance to do more publicity for scholastic chess because it is without a doubt in my mind that I believe scholastics represent the future of chess in America. With the increasing prevalence of chess programs in American schools it is likely that some of the next American champions are being formed in libraries, on playgrounds, and in gymnasium tournaments across the country at this very moment.

Recently I received a bright yellow flyer in the mail advertising an organization called Chess America. Founded in 2007, Chess America is a family run business dedicated to teaching chess in schools, camps, libraries, and park districts. These classes are taught by chess professionals and it is this kind of instruction that is pivotal to the future of competitive American chess. Because I believe so strongly in scholastics and this organization (somehow) was able to reach out to me through old school USPS mail, I would like to present their request here for any readers who might be interested in helping them out.

Chess Teachers needed throughout Austin, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City

Chess America sponsors many after-school chess clubs. We are in need of teachers for these classes. Minimum pay is $40 per one hour class. Classes are starting in September 2015.

If you are interested in teaching chess, please apply online at

Questions? Please contact:
Heather Horner, Managing Director
Chess America
Phone: 972-697-9989

Chess America
5706 E. Mockingbird Lane #115
Dallas, Texas 75206