OSCF Founding

In March of 2005, a half-dozen families gathered around a dining room table to talk about what we saw as gaps in scholastic chess opportunities for our kids. Other than the once-a-year Chess For Success regionals and — if one qualified — state, there were only 10 to 12 tournaments held each year in the entire state of Oregon, with most of those in Portland and Eugene. The majority of the tournaments were not rated, but, if they were, it was USCF only. This was an expensive option for a novice player. As a result, novice players would show up, get blown away by the more experienced players in their age group, and never show up again. Across the river, in Washington, they had a free-to-players rating system, tournaments every weekend, and a robust qualifying process for the state tournament. Most of us were used to traveling to Vancouver, Olympia and Seattle to provide our children with regular tournament play. The parents gathered that night wanted what Washington had: More Kids. More Chess. More Fun! So, the Oregon Scholastic Chess Federation, a 100% volunteer, parent-led coalition was born around the dining room table that night. The original (and somewhat reluctant!) board members were Sudhakar Kudva, Kate Taylor, and Amy Coughlin. Over the summer, we worked with Kirk Winges, the rating coordinator for the Washington Scholastic Rating System (WSRS) and convinced him to share his toys and expand to the Northwest Scholastic Rating System (NWSRS). The first OSCF Championship was held at the Oregon State Fairgrounds on April 1, 2006, with 176 players. The 2010 Championship will host nearly 100 more, which averages to just over 10% per year — a healthy and sustainable rate of growth. We look forward to bigger numbers every year. But it isn’t about the numbers. It’s about the kids. More Kids. More Chess. More Fun!

-Amy Coughlin

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