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

If you are a chess enthusiast and are looking for some wonderful tournaments to enter or watch in North Carolina, you have hit the jackpot! North Carolina has some of the best chess clubs and institutions in the country, with events for players of all levels and ages. In this guide, we will show you some of the most remarkable chess sites in North Carolina and the tournaments they conduct regularly. Whether you are a beginner or a master, you will find something that matches your interest and skill level.


Chess tournaments in Raleigh

Wake Forest Chess Club

The Wake Forest Chess Club is friendly and active in North Carolina. It meets every Monday night at the Wake Forest Community House, and welcomes players of all levels.


It also hosts and joins various chess tournaments, both online and offline. Here are some of them:

  • Wake Forest Chess Club Championship: An annual tournament for club members, It is usually held in January or February, and it consists of five rounds of Swiss system, with a time control of 90 minutes per player for the whole game. The tournament is open to all club members, and the winner receives a trophy and a cash prize. The winner gets a trophy and a cash prize.

  • Wake Forest Chess Club Scholastic Tournament: A monthly tournament for students in grades K-12. It is usually held on the second Saturday of each month, from 9 AM to 12 PM. The tournament consists of four rounds of the Swiss system, with a time control of 25 minutes per player for the whole game. The tournament has three sections (K-3, 4-6, and 7-12), and the top players qualify for the state championship.

  • Wake Forest Chess Club Online Tournament: A weekly tournament for club members and guests, with five rounds and 10 minutes per game.  It is usually held on Wednesday nights, from 7 to 9 PM, on the chess.com website. The tournament is divided into two sections: Open and Under 1600. The top players get chess.com points and memberships.

  • North Carolina Open: A state-wide tournament for all chess players in North Carolina, with six rounds of Swiss system and variable time controls. The tournament is usually held in August or September, at a hotel or convention center in Raleigh or Durham. It has four sections (Open, Under 2000, Under 1600, and Under 1200), and the top players get cash prizes. The winner of the Open section becomes the  North Carolina State Champion.

  • North Carolina Scholastic Chess Championship: A state-wide tournament for qualified students in grades K-12, with five rounds of Swiss system and 45 minutes per game. The tournament is usually held in March or April, at a hotel or convention center in Raleigh or Durham and has six sections (K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, 9-12), and the top players get trophies. The winner of the Championship section becomes the North Carolina Scholastic Chess Champion.


To join the club or learn more, visit their Facebook page or email them at wakeforestchessclub@yahoo.com.


Raleigh Wine, Beer & Chess

Raleigh Wine, Beer & Chess is a casual chess club located in Raleigh. It offers regular tournaments, classes, and other events for players of all levels. The club meets at various venues around the city, such as bars, restaurants, and breweries, where they enjoy chess, wine, beer, and socializing. The club also has a Facebook page where they post updates, photos, and videos of their events.


Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:

  • Monthly Wine, Beer & Chess Tournament: A monthly unrated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the last Saturday of each month at a different venue each time. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 30 minutes with no increment. The entry fee is $10 and the prizes are gift cards from the venue.

  • Quarterly Wine, Beer & Chess Championship: A quarterly rated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the second Saturday of March, June, September, and December at a different venue each time. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 60 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $20 and the prizes are cash and trophies.

For more information on the Raleigh Wine, Beer & Chess and their tournaments, visit their Facebook page, Instagram or call them at (919) 977-0825.


The Chess Club at North Carolina State University is a chess club located on the campus of NC State University in Raleigh. It offers regular tournaments, classes, and other events for players of all levels. The club is open to all, but is predominantly comprised of NC State students. The club also has a group message of about 90 people on the platform GroupMe, where they discuss chess, share games, and send challenges. Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:

  • Blitz Bash: A monthly blitz tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the first Wednesday of each month at the Talley Student Union. The tournament consists of seven rounds of game in 5 minutes with no increment. The entry fee is $5 and the prizes are based on the number of entries.

  • Rapid Rally: A monthly rapid tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the third Wednesday of each month at the Talley Student Union. The tournament consists of five rounds of game in 15 minutes with a 2-second increment. The entry fee is $5 and the prizes are based on the number of entries.

  • Classic Showdown with Queen’s Gambit: A monthly classical tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the last Wednesday of each month at the Talley Student Union. The tournament consists of three rounds of games in 60 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $10 and the prizes are based on the number of entries.

For more information on the Chess Club at NC State and their tournaments, visit their website or email them at appstatechess@gmail.com.


Chess tournaments in Cary

Kings and Queens Chess Academy is a chess club and academy located in Cary. It offers lessons, camps, and other programs for players of all levels, especially for kids and teens. Kings and Queens Chess Academy also organizes and hosts many tournaments throughout the year, both rated and unrated, for scholastic and adult players. Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:

  • Cary Saturday Rapids: A monthly rated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the last Saturday of each month at the Kings and Queens Chess Academy. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 15 minutes with a 2-second increment. The entry fee is $20 and the prizes are based on the number of entries.

  • Kings and Queens Scholastic Championship: A quarterly rated tournament for scholastic players of all ages and ratings, held on the second Saturday of March, June, September, and December at the Kings and Queens Chess Academy. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 30 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $25 and the prizes are trophies and medals.

  • Kings and Queens Open Championship: A quarterly rated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the third Saturday of March, June, September, and December at the Kings and Queens Chess Academy. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 60 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $30 and the prizes are cash and trophies.

For more information on Kings and Queens Chess Academy and their tournaments, visit their website or call them at (201) 375-3426.


The Gamer’s Armory is a game store and club located in Cary. It offers a variety of games, including board games, card games, and role-playing games. The Gamer’s Armory also hosts a chess club that meets every Thursday from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm. The chess club welcomes players of all ages and skill levels and offers casual play, lessons, and tournaments. Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:

  • Thursday Night Blitz: A monthly blitz tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the first Thursday of each month at the Gamer’s Armory. The tournament consists of seven rounds of game in 5 minutes with no increment. The entry fee is $5 and the prizes are gift cards from the store.

  • Thursday Night Rapid: A monthly rapid tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the third Thursday of each month at the Gamer’s Armory. The tournament consists of five rounds of game in 15 minutes with a 2-second increment. The entry fee is $5 and the prizes are gift cards from the store.

  • Thursday Night Classic: A monthly classical tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the last Thursday of each month at the Gamer’s Armory. The tournament consists of three rounds of games in 60 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $10 and the prizes are gift cards from the store.

For more information on the Gamer’s Armory and their chess club, visit their website or call them at (919) 238-4817.


Chess tournaments in Apex

Apex Montessori Chess Club

Apex Montessori Chess Club is a chess club located at the Apex Montessori School. It offers lessons, casual play, and competitive tournaments for students of the school and their families. The club meets every Friday from 3:15 pm to 4:15 pm at the school library. The club also hosts a monthly tournament on the last Friday of each month, where players can compete for trophies and medals. Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:

  • Apex Montessori Monthly Tournament: A monthly rated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the last Friday of each month at the Apex Montessori School. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 25 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $10 and the prizes are trophies and medals.

  • Apex Montessori Scholastic Championship: A yearly rated tournament for scholastic players of all ages and ratings, held in May at the Apex Montessori School. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 30 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $15 and the prizes are trophies and medals.


For more information on Apex Montessori Chess Club and their tournaments, visit Triangle Chess website or email them at apexmontessorichess@gmail.com.


Chess tournaments in Morrisville

Triangle Chess is a chess school and club located in Morrisville, just outside of Raleigh. It offers classes, camps, and other programs for players of all levels. Triangle Chess also organizes and hosts many tournaments throughout the year, both rated and unrated, for scholastic and adult players. Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:


  • Bearcat DKC USCF Grand Prix: A monthly rated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on Sundays at the Triangle Chess Center. The tournament consists of four rounds of game in 30 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $25 and the prizes are based on the number of entries.

  • Rapid Rally: A monthly rated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on Wednesdays at the Triangle Chess Center. The tournament consists of five rounds of game in 15 minutes with a 2-second increment. The entry fee is $20 and the prizes are based on the number of entries.

  • Classic Showdown with Queen’s Gambit: A monthly rated tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on Saturdays at the Triangle Chess Center. The tournament consists of three rounds of games in 60 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $30 and the prizes are based on the number of entries.

For more information on Triangle Chess and their tournaments, visit their website or call them at (919) 272-8017.


Chess tournaments in Carrboro

Carrboro Chess Club

Carrboro Chess Club is a casual chess club located in Carrboro. It offers regular tournaments, classes, and other events for players of all levels. The club meets every Wednesday from 6 pm to 9 pm at Lanza’s Cafe on W Main Street. Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:


  • Wednesday Night Blitz: A monthly blitz tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the first Wednesday of each month at Lanza’s Cafe. The tournament consists of seven rounds of game in 5 minutes with no increment. The entry fee is $5 and the prizes are gift cards from the cafe.

  • Wednesday Night Rapid: A monthly rapid tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the third Wednesday of each month at Lanza’s Cafe. The tournament consists of five rounds of game in 15 minutes with a 2-second increment. The entry fee is $5 and the prizes are gift cards from the cafe.

  • Wednesday Night Classic: A monthly classical tournament for players of all ages and ratings, held on the last Wednesday of each month at Lanza’s Cafe. The tournament consists of three rounds of games in 60 minutes with a 5-second delay. The entry fee is $10 and the prizes are gift cards from the cafe.


Lanza’s Cafe has a Facebook page where they post updates, photos, and videos of chess events.


Conclusion

As you can see, North Carolina has a lot to offer for chess enthusiasts of all levels. Whether you are looking for a friendly club, a competitive tournament, or a fun camp, you will find it in North Carolina. So, what are you waiting for? Grab your chess board and join the action!


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