Queen's Quest - A Tradition in Madison

October 29th, 7:23PM

Queen’s Quest is now the largest tournament in Madison and in North Alabama (except for years when we host the state championship).  It is our signature tournament and for years, it was the only one we ever held in Madison.  At its inception and following years, it was held at Horizon Elementary, the true granddaddy of Madison Chess.  Horizon was the first elementary school in Madison that won a State Scholastic Chess Championship in 2007.  Coach Corbin Holland, who coaches at Horizon today, has a daughter named Elora who is currently in college, and who was on that State championship winning team.  Elora remains one of the highest rated females in Alabama.  

History of the Queen's Quest Tournament

The Huntsville Chess Club conducted chess tournaments at Horizon Elementary dating back to 2004 and at Discovery Middle School in 2007 and 2008. However, the first mention of the name Queen's Quest in USCF tournament reports was in May 2011 when the first Queen's Quest scholastic chess tournament was held at Horizon Elementary and had 52 competitors.  That tournament occurred just after the April tornadoes that devastated North Alabama.  It was a tremendous feat to pull off a Madison chess tournament during that period of time.  The Chief Tournament Director was David Hayes with the Huntsville Chess Club who still plays competitively.  The registration fee was $20.  In May 2012, Caesar Lawrence conducted the Queen's Quest where 71 players competed.

Although some anecdotally have recalled a Queen's Quest tournament occurring before 2011, USCF records do not show a tournament report prior to May 2011.

In the beginning, Queen's Quest was held in late May and run by the Huntsville Chess Club.  In May 2013, after Super Nationals in Nashville, Tennessee (Super Nationals occurs once every 4 years —the next one was in 2017 and then 2021!), Queen's Quest was directed by Dr. Gerald Larson with the Huntsville Chess Club.  In May 2013, 67 students competed for individual and team awards. Here is a Madison Record story about the last Queen's Quest tournament held at Horizon Elementary.

Although May was the traditional month to hold the Queen's Quest, so many end-of-year events occur in May that registration for the chess tournament stagnated.  In the summer of 2013, the Madison City Chess League was formed to grow chess throughout Madison.  With USCF certified tournament director Bill Nash as its President, MCCL was now able to share the load and responsibility of conducting scholastic chess tournaments with the Huntsville Chess Club.

So, the following Fall of 2013, MCCL and Rainbow Elementary hosted the Queen’s Quest, and it became a fall tournament going forward and one of the earlier tournaments of the school year.  Back then it was considered pretty avant garde to host a tournament so early (in November!). Hard to imagine this now with an August Summer Knights and September Fall Scholars tournaments, but that was the way things were back then.  By moving it to the fall, however, enrollment increased from 67 competitors in May 2013 to 93 competitors in November 2013.  So in 2013, Queen's Quest was held twice in the same calendar year, but during two different school calendar years.

In November 2014, Queen's Quest rotated to Columbia Elementary and registration further increased to 157 competitors.  The largest section was the K6 section with 84 competitors!  That was too large (see photo above), so the following year we decided to divide the K6 section into an Under 500 section for 4th-6th grades only, and a K6 section for those rated above 500.

In November 2015, Queen's Quest moved to Mill Creek Elementary and the Chief TD was Bill Nash.  172 competitors registered for that tournament.  Dividing the K6 section helped, but then the K3 section became the largest with 64 players (see below).

Queen's Quest has remained at Mill Creek since 2015. In 2017 we added a K-3 Under 300 section as the K-3 section continues to grow larger and larger. In 2018 when Madison City Schools moved 6th grade to middle school, the sections for QQ changed to reflect the new grade level configuration.

Register Now for the 2019 Queen's Quest

Queen's Quest will be held for the fifth consecutive year at Mill Creek Elementary on Saturday November 16th.  Also for the second consecutive year, Queen's Quest will reflect the new Madison grade level configuration of Elementary (K-5) and middle school (6-8).  We encourage everyone to play in their age-range for this first team tournament and not "play up."

Individual Awards

Primary (K-3 Under 300) - 10 trophies and medals for anyone who ties for 10th & top female medal

Primary (K-3 Championship) - 10 trophies and medals for anyone who ties for 10th & top female medal

Elementary (K-5 Championship) - 10 trophies and medals for all who tie for a 10th place trophy & top female medal

Junior High (K-8) - 10 trophies and medals for all who tie for a 10th place trophy & top female medal

Open (K-12) - 5 trophies and medals for all who tie for a 5th place trophy & top female medal

The Top Female medal will go to the top female who does not otherwise place in each tournament section.  

Team Awards

Top 4 Teams in Primary (K-3 Under 300), Primary (K-3 Championship), and Elementary (K-5)

Top 2 Teams in Junior High (K-8)

Top 2 Teams in Open (K-12)

*Team awards are for school teams only (no club teams).  Public, private and home school teams are welcome.  Top 4 individual scores comprise the team score.

Round Times

9:15 a.m. - Player Meeting in Cafeteria

9:30    11:00    12:30    2:15    3:30    Game 30/d5

The deadline for early registration is Wednesday, November 13th.  After that the registration fee doubles and late registrants must take a first-round half-point bye so that we can start the first round on time.  Register now.  

Standings and pairings will be posted on the MCCL webpage:

Food, Concessions, and Skittles Area

Lunch and concessions will be available for purchase. The cafeteria will serve as the skittles area where students and coaches review games in between rounds and parents hang out. Parents are encouraged to bring folding chairs to sit in either in the cafeteria or the halls. Tables will be reserved for each school that brings teams but be sure to allow the kids and coaches access to those tables first.

 Queen's Quest Shirt

We introduced the Queen’s Quest t-shirt in 2013, and you still see kids wearing that design today.  MCCL will be making the QQ shirt available for purchase again this year, and you can choose to wear it or your team shirt at the QQ tournament.  Pre-Order your Queen's Quest shirt by Nov. 1st at Shirts will also be available at the tournament, but sizes will vary.

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