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

Updated: Jun 29

For chess aficionados seeking to showcase their talents in competitive settings, Illinois offers a plethora of exciting opportunities. This comprehensive guide unveils a diverse range of tournaments, catering to players of all skill levels, from seasoned strategists to aspiring grandmasters.

We strongly encourage our students to actively participate in these tournaments, extending their learning beyond our free monthly online tournaments. As the adage aptly states, practice paves the path to mastery.

Embark on a journey of chess exploration as we delve into the vibrant tournament scene, beginning in Chicago and expanding across the state. Remember, our esteemed Masters are always available to provide invaluable guidance and refine your skills, ensuring you're fully equipped for your next strategic challenge.

Are these chess tournaments for kids?

Absolutely! In fact, many of the tournaments listed below are ideal for beginner and intermediate children looking to test their skills and make some new friends along the way. With age-appropriate divisions and supportive environments, these events provide the perfect platform for young players to develop their chess talents and passion.

However, it's important to note that the tournament landscape also caters to adults, offering competitive challenges for players of all skill levels.

Here are some additional resources specifically designed for young chess enthusiasts: This interactive website offers lessons, puzzles, and online games, making learning chess fun and engaging for children.

US Chess Federation Youth Programs: The US Chess Federation provides a variety of resources and programs to support young chess players, including national tournaments, scholastic clubs, and educational materials. This popular online platform offers a kid-friendly interface, interactive lessons, and a vibrant online community where children can connect with other young chess players.

Don't forget our free monthly online tournaments!

We offer free monthly tournaments for all students and non-students, fostering a supportive and encouraging environment where children can hone their skills and build confidence. All of our tournaments are guided live by our Head Coach. For non-students, a small fee of $5 allows them to participate in this exciting experience.

Chess Tournaments in Chicago

The ICA is the governing body for chess in Illinois and the premier organizer of tournaments in the state. They host a diverse range of events, including:

Open Tournaments: Open to all players, regardless of rating.

Scholastic Tournaments: Designed for players under 19 years of age.

K-12 Championships: State-level tournaments for elementary and high school students.

Simuls: Simultaneous exhibitions where a strong player takes on multiple opponents at once.

Although the ICA hasn’t been very active since the pandemic, you can still hope for great and engaging online tournaments and in-person meet-ups.

This Facebook group is the best resource for chess going on around Chicagoland. You’ll find local opportunities and meet-ups, like the Lincoln Square Weekly Chess Club’s events.

This is a free chess club run by chess coaches Eric Ortega and Josh Flores that now meets twice a week. Make your plans to meet at the next one! 

They meet Sundays at Highpoint Church (1251 Windham Pkwy, Romeoville, IL 60446) from noon to 4pm, and Starbucks (470 N Independence Blvd, Romeoville, IL 60446) on Wednesday. Both locations meet 12 noon to 4 pm. Contact Eric Ortega or the link above for more information.

By far one the most active and vibrant community of chess enthusiasts in Illinois. The CCC offers a wide variety of events for all skill levels and ages, some of them are:

  • Wednesday Quads: A weekly teams tournament for all ratings and ages.

  • Monthly Swiss: Monthly tournaments using the Swiss System, divided into sections (Opne, U1600 and U1000)

  • Weekly Open House: Casual, free plays, open to everyone, from beginner to GM.

  • Saturday Swiss: Rated classical games using the Swiss System, divided into sections (Open, U1600, U1000)

You can learn more about the CCC tournaments by visiting their event calendar. They also offer weekly lessons and other events. We recommend this organization for all kinds of players!

Dedicated to promoting chess education and tournament play in the Chicago area, the CCF offers:

  • Monthly Open and Scholastic Tournaments: Held on various Sundays throughout the year.

  • K-8 Quick Chess Series: Fast-paced tournaments for young players.

  • Chicago Chess Center Events: Regular events for all skill levels at the Chicago Chess Center.

Take a look at their event calendar to know more about upcoming events.

Although this is not officially a chess club, the Hyatt Hotel in Schaumburg hosts a wide variety of chess tournaments across the year, organized by clubs and other chess associations:

  • Annual Tim Just Winter Open: This tournament is part of the US Chess Grand Prix Points and the US Chess Junior Grand Prix! It is divided into 6 sections; Under 2100, Under 1900, Under 1700, Under 1500, and Under 1300). Usually held in January, this tournament offers $10,000 in prizes.

  • Winter Scholastic: A scholastic tournament open to players under the age 18 and divided into six sections. Usually held in January, this tournament offers $10.000 in prizes.

  • US Amateur Team-North: 5 round Swiss, open to 4 player teams with one optional alternate. Usually held in February.

  • Northern Blitz Championship: a 5 round double Swiss (10 total games). G/3; inc. 2.  USCF blitz rated. 

  • Illinois K-8 State Chess Championship: a chess tournament organized by Chess Weekend, Inc. and the Illinois Chess Association divided into 4 sections (K-1 (G/25 d5), Grades 2-3 (G/40 d5), Grades 4-5 (G/55 d5), Grades 6-8 (G/55 d5). 

Located in 800 S. Bartlett Road, Bartlett, the library hosts a wide variety of chess events across the year, many of which are organized by Arts DuPage and target any skill level and age.

This library serves the chess community in DuPage County and beyond. They offer:

  • Monthly Open Tournaments.

  • Quick Chess Events: Short and fast-paced tournaments for experienced players.

  • Chess Lessons

You can contact the organizer to ask for more information about their tournaments at (630) 837 3650 or you can take a look at their event calendar.

New to the chess scene of Lake County, this club was founded in May 2023 as a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting chess in the area.

Since the club doesn’t have an event calendar yet, I would recommend subscribing to their email list and receiving notifications about upcoming meetings and events.

The Springfield Chess Club offers meetings for casual chess play, and USCF-rated tournaments for serious chess play. Meetings are free and open to the public. 

Take a look at their event calendar if you’re interested in joining one of their upcoming events.


There are many opportunities to test your skills over the board! You just have to look in the right places.

Talking about the right places,  are you looking for the right place to improve your skills? Learn from our Masters online either in private lessons or group lessons.

We'd love to hear your ideas on how to make this better! Share them with us and we'll update this post ASAP! And remember to subscribe to our Newsletter so that you will get all of our awesome online monthly tournaments!

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