One of our signature major events is the Bienville Chess Classic which is held in April at Alfreda-Harris Lodge at Roosevelt State Park. For GPS purposes, the address is 2149 Mississippi Highway 13, Morton Miss. Take Exit 77 from Interstate 20 east of Jackson. The park entrance is just north of the Interstate. Park signs will show the way.
If Easter weekend falls on our tournament date, it will move to the another available Saturday according to the venue's schedule.
The 3rd annual Bienville Chess Classic is set for April 20, 2024.
For details about the most recent tournament in this series, click on Tournament History.
For results of the most recent tournament, click HERE.
This tournament features individuals only whereas players compete for prizes and strengthen their ratings. Registration opens December 1 prior to this tournament. Click HERE for registration information.
The Bienville Classic includes four rounds using the Swiss pairing system with game control time of 45 minutes with five second increments.
Individuals compete in three sections including Open, U1200, and U800. All games in these sections are rated and players must use a clock and notation. All players in these sections must have active membership in the U.S. Chess Federation.
An unrated section is offered where players new to the game or tournaments may gain experience in tournament action without the pressure of ratings.
Membership in the Federation is not required for this section only. The rules of the U.S. Chess Federation will apply. Players are strongly encouraged to use notation, but must use a clock.
Prizes include cash for first, second, and third place in the Open only. Winners in the Open also receive a plaque for first place and medals go to second and third places respectively.
* The plaque awarded to the grand champion in the Open section is named the Beverly Jo Rhodes Memorial Award in recognition of a former gifted teacher in Scott County who taught chess in local schools. Click HERE for more information.
The U1200 and U800 first place winners receive trophies; medals to second and third place.
The unrated section first, second, and third place winners receive trophies.
SwissSys computer program settles ties in each round.
Players receive 1.0 point due to inability to pair and 0.5 point for requested byes.
Requested byes must be submitted before the start of desired round.
Requested byes are not allowed for the final round.
The tournament follows the following schedule:
Registration and Check-in 8 - 9 a.m.
Welcome and Rules Briefing 9:15 a.m.
Round 1 9:30 a.m.
Round 2 11:30 a.m.
Round 3 2 p.m.
Round 4 3:30 p.m.
Awards presented after all games are completed.
Skittles rooms are provided for casual play between rounds.
Everyone is encouraged to bring chairs for lounging as there is limited seating in the lobby area.
Lunch is on your own at local restaurants. There is a McDonalds across from the park entrance and a Subway at a local gas station/convenience store near the interstate exit.
** Extra games - Players who may have a bye in a particular round, or may finish a round early and want to improve their rating may request an extra game. This game would be rated but would not count in the current tournament they are playing.
This tournament is named for the Bienville National Forest which includes the state park where the tournament is held and covers most of Scott County.
The first-place winner in the Open section receives a plaque commemorating the Beverly Jo Rhodes Memorial Award, named for a former gifted teacher who started the WINGS program at Forest High School and supported chess among class activities.
Beverly Jo Bracken Rhodes, 80, of Forest, died Wednesday, November 27, 2019 at Lackey Memorial Hospital. She was a native of Newton. As a young child, she was taught to read by her grandfather, Mr. A.L. Myers, and read constantly throughout her life.
She was a Cum Laude graduate of Millsaps College in Jackson where she attended classes from 8 to 12 and worked at the Jackson YWCA from 1 to 9, riding a street bus to and from campus. She was on the Dean’s and President’s List and was a member of the Purple and White Staff, Eta Sigma (scholastic honorary) and Eta Sigma Phi (classical languages honorary).
She met her husband, Dusty, in 1956 when they worked at the Town and Palace Theaters in Forest. He proposed on the first day they met and they married four years later on June 4, 1960. Dusty was the sun in her sky and preceded her in death.
In 1981 she initiated the WINGS Class for gifted students at Forest high School. Her students excelled in numerous activities including Creative Writing, Quiz Bowl, Art Competitions, Chess, Future Problem Solving, Odyssey of the Mind, Stock Market Competition and Mississippi Economics Counsel Competitions. They won state and national awards, and many received college scholarships in part due to their WINGS class activities. She named the class WINGS and often said, “I hope to give them wings, and let them fly.”
She always had words of encouragement for her students, urging them to be creative, to attempt new and different activities and to excel in all things but especially in creative writing. She was sympathetic when they were sad or disappointed. Beverly was an active member of the East Central Talented and Gifted Association and the Mississippi Association for the Talented and Gifted where she served as state treasurer.
In 1991, she was chosen Mississippi Gifted Teacher of the Year and received the MS Award for Excellence in Gifted Education. She was chosen STAR Teacher four times, twice in Morton and twice in Forest. Beverly taught English in Morton and Forest where in 1982-1983 she was selected as Classroom Teacher of the Year.
Although Dusty and Beverly had no children of their own, they were both dedicated to her students and will live on in the memory of those students. Beverly was selected as Star Teacher four times.
For many years she was a member of MENSA and was Gifted Children’s Coordinator for the Mississippi group. She was President of Friends of the Library, President of Lackey Hospital Auxiliary, member of MS Professional Educators and President of the Novel Lunch Bunch Book Club. She served in many offices in all these organizations. In the past, she had been a member of the Lions Club, Classroom Teachers, MEA, Kappa Kappa Iota and Fortnightly Club.
The Beverly Rhodes Scholarship is a $1,000 award given in her honor by the Forest Friends of the Library. An avid reader who never lost her sense of curiosity, she was a life-long learner who maintained a great interest in the world and current events. In her later years she developed an interest in science and renewed an interest in cosmology, ancient civilization and geology which began while she was at Millsaps. Her favorite subject as a student was Latin and her email address was carpelibrum5813. The Latin words mean “seize the book” and the numbers are from the Fibonacci sequence. Friends treasured a birthday card from Beverly as she wrote a poem for the recipient on many cards.
After Hurricane Katrina she collected hundreds of books and sent them to the coast libraries with the help of friends, Pat and Martha Cleveland.
At her exercise class she was known for always being ready to amuse the group with a joke. Friends knew of her love for the Baltimore and later Indianapolis Colts. Often asked why she loved the Colts, she explained that the first thing she saw when her family got a TV in 1958 was the Colts-Giants game known as the greatest game ever played. She enjoyed watching football and other sports on TV while she read. She loved working cryptograms.
Beverly Jo Bracken Rhodes
Registration will open December 1 and will continue until 9 a.m. on the day of the tournament
The early bird fee is $30 for individuals. This rate remains in effect up to one week before the tournament.
After 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, 2024, the registration rate increases to $40 for individuals.
Players must provide their NAME, ACTIVE Chess Federation ID#, desired SECTION, and desired METHOD OF PAYMENT. Membership in the U.S. Chess Federation MUST BE CURRENT to play in the rated sections and will be checked upon receipt of registration information.
To join or renew membership, visit /click new.uschess.org
Please send the required information to email@example.com first, or use the form below. An email response will be sent back within 24 to 48 hours after first contact.
Payments for pre-registrations should be made in advance as registrations will not be complete until payment is received. Please contact us via email PRIOR to making any payment.
Method of payments STRONGLY PREFERRED include PayPal, Venmo, and CashApp - but cash will be accepted on site if necessary.
Checks are accepted if necessary and may be presented on site. Make checks payable to Scott County Chess Club.
As the tournament approaches, registered players will receive an email a few days before the event providing final detail information. Please look for this information sent from the email address listed above and read for important information.
Check spam folders if necessary so you don't miss anything. Information will also be available on our Facebook page and Twitter feed.
A post-event email will be sent to registered players within a few days after the tournament tying up any loose ends. Some players may receive individual email if there are any issues.
As time passes beyond the most intensive period of the COVID 19 pandemic, fewer restrictions are in place regarding many events. In most cases now, individuals are trusted more with their own discretion and comfort levels regarding precautions to avoid COVID and flu infections.
The Scott County Chess Club acknowledges the continuing threat of COVID, but recognizes the balance between public safety and personal liberties.
It is our hope and expectation that everyone who registers for our tournaments will follow through and participate. However, we know situations arise that may prevent participation. We established a policy regarding refunds, withdrawals, and related issues to be fair to players and to the club’s ability to host its tournaments. We observe U.S. Chess Federation rules and recommendations where applicable.
Although other forms as listed above are accepted, we provided this link for players who wish to use this method of payment.
When using PayPal, you MUST send the funds selecting FRIENDS AND FAMILY option for the transaction.
Otherwise PayPal will charge a service fee and hold the money for a period of time.
*We are a non-profit organization, not a business.
2149 Mississippi Highway 13, Morton, Mississippi 39117, United States
This tournament would not be possible without the generous support of local business that have invested in our mission. The 2023 Sponsors so far include:
Community Bank - Forest
Bank of Forest - Forest (New Sponsor)
Fountain ACE Hardware - Forest
Priority One Bank - Morton
We welcome other businesses and individuals who believe in our efforts to promote Chess and wish to make a donation. Click the button at right for more information.
MORTON – Clear blue skies covered a beautiful venue in Scott County when the second champion won in the final minutes of the tournament on April 1, 2023, at Roosevelt State Park.
This Bienville Chess Classic was the fourth tournament at Alfreda-Harris Lodge organized and hosted by the Scott County Chess Club. The one-day tournament initially attracted 57 registrations and eventually 45 players from across Central and Southwestern Mississippi and the coastal counties gathered to play.
Chris Allen Baker, founder and coordinator of the chess club, presided as the chief tournament director. Beth Thrasher served as senior chief tournament director.
“It was a beautiful day for chess and we are so grateful for all the people who came to spend their Saturday with us and play great chess,” Baker said. “Each round was competitive and I believe everyone had a great time.”
Most of the players were visitors but one player, Cody Batte, has ties to Scott County. Batte won third place in the U1200 section.
The Open section is the most competitive and includes the highest rated players participating. Clayton Thrasher won first place and Vaidyan Sivaraman won second place with third place going to Robert Curran.
In the U1200 section, Jaylen Marshall won first place and Beth Thrasher took second place.
In the U800 section, Earl Duhon won first place and Canaan Smitherman took second and Miles Hansen won third place.
In the unrated section, Tiger Haung won first place while Aadhu took second and Brody Letchworth won third place.
Click HERE for more details about tournament results.
Baker said the interest in chess in Mississippi is growing each year as more people learn and start playing, particularly children.
"We initially had more people registered going into the tournament and if everyone who signed up, plus the on-site registrations, had participated, we would have had 57 players," Baker said. "We just lost some to last minute unavoidable conflicts that arose for the players who could not attend. We hope to see them next time around."
MORTON – A new chess tournament introduced to Scott County went down to the wire to crown its first champion on May 14, 2022, in a thrilling winner-take-all tie breaker at Roosevelt State Park.
The Bienville Chess Classic was the second tournament at Alfreda-Harris Lodge organized and hosted by the Scott County Chess Club. The one-day tournament attracted 32 players from across Mississippi, one player from Florida, and a couple players from Louisiana. Other players within the state came from across Central Mississippi and the coastal counties.
The chess club plans to make this tournament, named for the national forest that covers much of the county, an annual spring event. It will join the Roosevelt Chess Classic held in the fall, established in November 2021.
Chris Allen Baker, founder and coordinator of the chess club, served his first stint as a certified tournament director.
“We had a great day of chess where our players blessed us with their participation and provided some great competition. We had players with strong ratings battle to the very end,” Baker said. “Each of the rounds went deep as the last remaining players finished just minutes before the next round was to begin.”
The tournament included four 45-minute rounds with three sections. Players are grouped into the sections according to their skill level as determined by ratings issued by the U.S. Chess Federation. First place in two of the sections received a trophy while second and third places in all sections received medals.
Most of the players were visitors but one player, Cody Batte, has ties to Scott County. Batte won three of the four rounds to play his way into a tie for second place in the U1000 section. A two-game tie breaker did not end in his favor, giving Batte a third-place finish.
The U500 section also had a two-way tie for second place which was settled when one of the players agreed to forfeit the tie breaker game and accepted third place.
More excitement came in a two-way tie for first place in the Open division, which is the most competitive and includes the highest rated players participating. Winners in this section received cash prizes and medals for second and third places. The first-place winner also received a plaque commemorating the Beverly Jo Rhodes Memorial Championship, named for a former gifted teacher who started the WINGS program at Forest High School and supported
chess among class activities.
Ryan Wu and Andrew Rea, who drove 17 hours from Florida to participate, finished regulation tied with 3.5 points. Their first two tiebreaker games ended in draws sending the action to an “Armageddon” round. Rea claimed the win as the sudden death game was decided in the final seconds.
“We really appreciate the support from the community and the businesses who have helped make these tournaments possible,” Baker said. “We are getting noticed around the state with strong showings of players visiting Scott County to play this great game. There is so much potential to make our community a chess destination in Mississippi.”