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Chess tournaments in Arizona: Where to look for the best ones?

Unity Chess Club LLC is a chess academy founded by Pedram Atoufi, a World Chess Federation FIDE Master. The club aims to cultivate extraordinary players capable of excelling on both the national and international stages. The club offers chess lessons, camps, tournaments, and online services for students and adults. Some of the tournaments that Unity Chess Club LLC organizes or participates in are:

Check their event calendar here
  • Unity Chess Club Monthly Tournaments: These are USCF-rated tournaments held every month at the club’s location in Chandler, AZ. They have sections for different rating levels and age groups and offer cash prizes and trophies for the winners. The entry fee is $35 per player, and the registration deadline is one day before the event. This event is usually held in October.

  • Unity Chess Club Online Tournaments: These are online tournaments hosted by the club on chess.com. They are open to all players who have a chess.com account and a USCF ID. They have different time controls and formats, such as blitz, rapid, and swiss. The entry fee is $10 per player, and the registration deadline is one hour before the event. The next online tournament is on October 24, 2023 at 7:00 PM MST. You can register online at their website.

  • Arizona State Scholastic Chess Championships: These are annual state championships for scholastic players in Arizona. They are organized by the Arizona Chess Federation and sponsored by Unity Chess Club LLC. They have sections for different grade levels and rating categories and offer trophies, medals, plaques, and scholarships for the winners. The entry fee is $50 per player, and the registration deadline is one week before the event. The next state championships are on March 4-5, 2023 at the Phoenix Convention Center. You can register online at [the Arizona Chess Federation website].



Chess Emporium is a chess store and learning center that manufactures a plethora of chess items. The center also provides chess instruction and activities for scholastic and adult players in Phoenix and Scottsdale. The center has a team of experienced coaches and instructors who teach chess classes, camps, workshops, and private lessons. Some of the tournaments that Chess Emporium hosts or supports are:


  • Friday Night Tournaments: This is a great three-hour chess training event for players of all levels. Students are grouped into groups of four based on their skill level, and the top scorer in each round-robin receives a trophy. This is a great event for parents to enjoy a well-deserved night out, as late pick-up is available until 9:00 p.m. All first-time attendees receive a prize, and complimentary Wi-Fi and coffee are provided.

Check their event calendar here

ASU Chess Club is a student-run organization that promotes chess on campus and in the community. The club welcomes students, faculty, staff, alumni, and chess enthusiasts of all levels and backgrounds. The club offers chess lessons, practice sessions, social events, and outreach programs. The club also hosts and participates in various chess tournaments throughout the year. Some of the tournaments that ASU Chess Club organizes or joins are:


  • ASU Chess Club Monthly Tournaments: These are USCF-rated tournaments held every month at the ASU Tempe campus. They have sections for different rating levels and age groups and offer cash prizes and trophies for the winners. The entry fee is $20 per player for ASU students, and $25 per player for non-students. The registration deadline is one day before the event. You can register online at their website.

  • ASU Chess Club Rapid & Blitz Tournaments: These are USCF-rated tournaments held every other month at the ASU Tempe campus. They have sections for different rating levels and age groups and offer cash prizes and trophies for the winners. The entry fee is $15 per player for ASU students, and $20 per player for non-students. Register online at their website.

  • ASU Chess Club Classical Championship: This is an annual USCF-rated tournament held at the end of the year at the ASU Tempe campus. It is open to all players who have a USCF ID and a FIDE ID. It has one section with a classical time control of 90 minutes plus 30 30-second increments per move. It offers cash prizes, trophies, medals, and FIDE rating points for the winners. The entry fee is $50 per player for ASU students and $60 per player for non-students. Register online at their website.

Visit their event calendar here

Banner Chess is an organization that specializes in FIDE-rated chess tournaments in Arizona. Banner Chess offers classical and blitz tournaments for players who want to challenge themselves and improve their FIDE ratings. Some of their most popular tournaments are:

  • February FIDE Classic and Blitz at Mesa

  • April FIDE Classic and Blitz at Tempe

  • July FIDE Classic and Blitz at Mesa

  • October FIDE Classic and Blitz at Mesa

  • December FIDE Classic and Blitz at Mesa

Visit their event calendar here

The Southern Arizona Chess Association (SACA) is an active non-profit organization that promotes chess and chess events in southern Arizona and beyond. SACA hosts several tournaments throughout the year, both for scholastic and open players. Some of their regular events are:


  • SACA Monthly Swiss: A four-round Swiss system tournament that is held on a Saturday or Sunday every month at the Tucson Woman’s Club. The tournament has four sections: Open, U1800, U1400, and U1000. The entry fee is $25 for SACA members and $30 for non-members. The prizes are based on entries.

  • SACA Blitz: A double-round robin blitz tournament that is held on a Friday evening every month at different locations. The tournament has two sections: Open and U1600. The entry fee is $10 for SACA members and $15 for non-members. The prizes are based on entries.

  • Arizona Scholastic State Chess Championships: A prestigious annual event that determines the state champions for different grade levels. The tournament is usually held in May at the La Posada Lodge & Casitas in Tucson. The tournament has six sections: K-1, 2-3, 4-6, 7-9, 10-12, and Championship. The entry fee is $40 for early registration and $50 for late registration. The prizes include trophies, medals, scholarships, and invitations to national events.


Take a look at their event calendar here

Arizona Chess Central is a 501 organization that offers chess instruction and activities in the Greater Phoenix area. Their mission is to deliver the best chess opportunities for all scholastic chess players by providing high-quality low-cost tournaments, camps, instruction, and activities. They hold monthly tournaments for players of all ages (Kindergarten through Adult) and offer free game reviews at every tournament by their top-level coaching staff. They also have sections available at every tournament for adult play as well as to strengthen the playing abilities of some of the stronger scholastic players. Some of their upcoming tournaments are:


  • Queens Knightmare Sectional 2023: Oct 28, 2023 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College

  • Pawn Storm Sectional 2023: Nov 18, 2023 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College

  • Bishop’s Bash 2023: Dec 9, 2023 at Chandler-Gilbert Community College

You can register online for their tournaments. Check their event calendar for more details.


The Northern Arizona Chess Center is a non-profit organization that promotes chess education and competition in Northern Arizona. They host chess USCF tournaments year-round in Flagstaff, AZ. The tournaments are rotated around different schools with 3 divisions.


  1. K-3 division

  2. K-5 division

  3. Open division

The tournaments are open to any USCF member and have various prizes and trophies for the winners.


Visit their website to find upcoming tournaments


Don't forget to remind us if we missed your favorite clubs and tournaments!


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