Birmingham, Alabama is perhaps known more for its Civil Rights legacy than for chess. Chess in Alabama has not met a renaissance although the state has produced several strong players. The lack of such a presence may make it difficult to find models to emulate. However, scholastic chess has blossomed in spite of this fact.
In Birmingham, Charles Smith has been able to carve a niche in helping to foster chess development on the scholastic level. One of his pupils is 12-year old Sydney Morris who recently won the Alabama
Birmingham Middle School Championship with 5/5. In doing so, she will represent her state in the Polgar National Invitational July 25-30 at Texas Tech University.