Recent Events

Chess Magnet School Honor Roll

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Last update: October 21, 2014 - For students with the ambition to work outside of class to make more rapid progress, we offer Chess Magnet School's Internet-based training as an optional supplement to our classroom work. (There's ample evidence that it really works: the students who work at this make noticeably faster progress.) Students create their own online accounts at Chess Magnet School and join a special class for FCA students only. In the Chess Magnet School training students earn titles from 1(Squire) to 21 (Wizard).

The following Honor Roll recognizes students (and instructors) who have attained level 5 or higher titles.

* - Member of FCA's 2014 state co-championhip Elementary Club Team

Alabama State Chess Championship Results

October 2, 2014 - Freedom Chess Academy hosted the 2014 Alabama State Chess Championship at the Ferguson Center on the University of Alabama campus on September 26-28. The main event was accompanied by a one-day scholastic tournament for children K-12.

Click here for pictures and the full story.

2013 Chess Extravaganza

2014 Tuscaloosa Scholastic Chess Championship

April 12, 2014 – Tuscaloosa, AL - 45 students from the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham area competed in the third annual Tuscaloosa Scholastic Chess Championship.

In the K-12 rated section Samson Sands of Mountain Brook, the state K-8 co-champion, took first place. Colin Bamford (Birmingham) was second and Cesar Juarez, Jr. (Hoover) was third. Kodei Payne (pictured) and Jacob Willoughby, both 9th graders at Paul Bryant High School in Tuscaloosa, took first and second place in the K-12 non-rated section.

Three players tied for first in the rated K-6 section: Zachary Issac Snow (Gardendale), Alexander Self, and Freedom Chess Academy’s James Yang.

2014 TSCC K-6 Rated

Skyler Robinson won every game in the K-6 non-rated for first place. April Guo-Yue, also an FCA student, took second. Ja’Diz Simmons, a 4th grader at Central Elementary in Tuscaloosa took third in a tie with Thaddeus Roberts.

2014 TSCC K-6 Rated

The rated K-3 champion was Rishi Yellamaraju (left), a member of the Chess Kid’s Nation chess club. FCA’s Dustin Springfield (right) and Calvin Kim (center) took second and third place.

2014 TSCC K-3 Rated

Young Freedom Chess Academy novice Daniel Zheng scored a win and a draw against older competitors; this was good enough to win first place in the K-3 non-rated section.

2014 TSCC K-6 Rated

Freedom Chess Academy won two of the three team competitions, taking first in the K-3 and K-6 sections. Chess Kids Nation took home the trophy for the K-12 section.

2014 Black Warrior Chess Challenge

2014 Black Warrior Chess Challenge

In the Black Warrior Chess Challenge, Roger Johnson of Helena won the open event. In the photo below his second-round opponent, Pat Alford (front right) considers how to proceed against Johnson's 4 Knights Variation of the Sicilian defense. In the background state scholastic champions Sijing Wu (left) and FCA's Arden Markin (right) compete. Campbell Dobbs won the reserve section. Hudson Lee won the Adult non-rated section.

Freedom Chess Academy Students Win 2 State Scholastic Championship Titles

March 18, 2014 - At the Alabama State Scholastic Team Championship in Montevallo, four FCA player team scored 3.5 out of four match points to tie for the Elementary Club Team Championship. The team consisted of Arden Markin (1st chair), James Yang (2nd chair), Tony Zhang (3rd chair), and Gabriel Feng.

In the individual championship Arden Markin, currently a 5th grade home schooled student who won the Elementary Championship last year, moved up to compete for in the K-8 section. He tied for first after the regulation 5 rounds and won the first place trophy with compelling back-to-back victories in a blitz playoff. This is Arden's third state championship trophy in as many years. In July Arden will represent Alabama at the prestigious Barber Tournament of K-8 Champions.

FCA's primary players also were competitive. Hudson Markin did especially well, raising his rating 132 points to 1004, making him the third highest rated player in the Alabama k-3 age group. With other talented young players in our novice classes, we are looking forward to a having a strong primary (K-3) team next year.

2013 Chess Extravaganza Tournament Results

Black Warrior Chess Challenge

Alabama Quick Chess Championship

Tuscaloosa Scholastic Chess Championship


2013 Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championship

2013 Alabama State Scholastic Chess Championship - 2nd (club team): Freedom Chess Academy

Team Competition: Primary Grades K-3                   ----->

Madison, Ala - March 16-17, 2013 - Freedom Chess Academy entered the state team competition for the first time with great results. Competing against 15 other Grade K-3 teams, FCA's 4-player primary team finished 2nd! Pictured from left to right with chess coach Neil Dietsch are Eddie Yang (alternate), Dustin Springfield, Jr. (4th board), James Yang (2nd Board), Gabriel Feng (3rd board), and Hudson Markin (1st board).

Individual Competition: Elementary (Grades 4-5)

2013 Scholastic Chess Championship Winners - Elementary

Last year's K-3 state champion, Arden Markin (center), had another perfect score this year to become Alabama State Champion for Elementary grades 4-5. This follows a year in which Arden had the highest number of Jr. Grand Prix points of all the scholastic players in Alabama. Junior Grand Prix points are a measure of a scholastic player's success against higher rated opponents.


Tuscaloosa Chess Programs Continue To Grow

Tuscaloosa, Ala - February 4, 2013 - The chess programs in Tuscaloosa City Schools continue to expand. Starting from a pilot program of 3 UA students teaching 12 sixth-grade students in 2009, the Every Move Counts program of UA's Center for Ethics & Social Responsibility has grown. In 2013 there are 48 UA students teaching 230 city school students spanning grades 2-12 at five city schools. In addition Freedom Chess Academy's gives classes in two schools as well as well as the Tuscaloosa Public Library, so that almost 270 students are currently involved in chess programs.

Visit our Partnerships page for more on the Every Move Counts program.

Inter-school Chess Tournament

Tuscaloosa, Ala - November 15, 2012 - The Freedom Chess Academy team won the inter-school competition that took place on November 15 at the Tuscaloosa Magnet School besting chess teams from Holy Spirit, STARS Academy, and the Tuscaloosa Magnet Schools.

The team, pictured above, included Arden Markin, Hudson Markin, James Yang, Tony Zhang, Gabriel Feng, Eddie Yang, Josh Cobia, David Cobia, Dusty Springfield, Steven McCollough and Stephan McCollough.

In addition to the main event, beginning players from Alberta Elementary and University Place Elementary took part in a separate competition.

This tournament, organized by our UA partner, the Every Move Counts program,was featured in a front-page story of the Tuscaloosa News.

ABC 33/40 UA News Story on the TournamentFeature

Tuscaloosa, Ala. - July 19, 2012 - What is Freedom Chess Academy all about? This July 19, 2012 ABC TV News feature says it all! Click here.

Tuscaloosa News Feature Story

Tuscaloosa, Ala. - July 8, 2012 - Freedom Chess Academy and its students were featured in a story in the Today section of the Sunday Tuscaloosa News.