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

Pennsylvania is a state that has a vibrant and active chess community, with many organizations, schools, and clubs that encourage and sponsor chess events. In this research, we will examine the chess tournaments in Pennsylvania state, their features, participants, and results. We will also assess the challenges and opportunities of chess tournaments.


The Pennsylvania State Chess Federation (PSCF) is the official governing body of chess in Pennsylvania. The PSCF is responsible for organizing and sanctioning state championships, scholastic events, and other chess activities in the state. The PSCF also publishes a quarterly magazine, the Pennsylvania Chess Bulletin, that features news, articles, games, and puzzles related to chess in Pennsylvania. Some of the tournaments that the PSCF organizes are:


  • Pennsylvania State Championship: This is the most prestigious tournament in Pennsylvania, and determines the state champion. It is open to anyone who is a resident of Pennsylvania or a member of the PSCF. The tournament is usually held in September, and consists of six rounds of G/90d5 games. The winner receives a trophy, a cash prize, and the title of Pennsylvania State Champion.

  • Pennsylvania State Scholastic Championship: This is the largest scholastic tournament in Pennsylvania, and determines the state champions in various grade and rating categories. It is open to anyone who is a student in a Pennsylvania school or a member of the PSCF. The tournament is usually held in March, and consists of five rounds of G/40d5 games. The winners receive trophies, cash scholarships, and the titles of Pennsylvania State Scholastic Champions.

  • Pennsylvania State Senior Championship: This is a tournament for players who are 50 years or older. It is open to anyone who is a resident of Pennsylvania or a member of the PSCF. The tournament is usually held in October, and consists of four rounds of G/90d5 games. The winner receives a trophy, a cash prize, and the title of Pennsylvania State Senior Champion.

A big auditorium full of chairs and chess sets in preparation for a chess tournament
Diverse age players playing chess over the board

Images courtesy of: Facebook - Pennsylvania State Chess Federation


For more information about the Pennsylvania State Chess Federation, you can visit their website or their Facebook page.


The Pittsburgh Chess Club is one of the oldest and most active chess clubs in Pennsylvania. It was founded in the mid-1800s and has a rich history of hosting and participating in chess events. The club has a large chess library, a spacious playing hall, and a friendly atmosphere. The club welcomes players of all ages and abilities, from beginners to masters organizing weekly tournaments on Wednesdays and Saturdays, as well as special events throughout the year. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • Pittsburgh Chess Club Championship: This is the club’s most prestigious event, held annually in January and February. It is a 7-round Swiss system tournament with four sections: Open, U2000, U1700, and U1400. The entry fee is $40 for club members and $50 for non-members. The prizes are based on the number of entries, with a minimum of $1000 guaranteed. The winner of the Open section is crowned as the club champion and receives a trophy and a free entry to the next year’s championship.

  • Pittsburgh Chess Club Quads: This is a monthly event, usually held on the first Saturday of each month. It is a 3-round round-robin tournament with four players in each quad. The players are grouped by rating, with a maximum rating difference of 200 points. The entry fee is $20 for club members and $25 for non-members. The prizes are $40 for the winner of each quad, plus a free entry to the next month’s quads for the winner of the top quad.

  • Pittsburgh Chess Club Swiss: This is a bi-monthly event, usually held on the third Saturday of every other month. It is a 4-round Swiss system tournament with two sections: Open and U1800. The entry fee is $25 for club members and $30 for non-members. The prizes are based on the number of entries, with a minimum of $500 guaranteed. The top two finishers in each section qualify for the Pittsburgh Chess Club Invitational, a 6-player round-robin tournament with a $1000 prize fund, held in December.

Images courtesy of: Pittsburgh Chess Club


For more information about the Pittsburgh Chess Club and its tournaments, visit their website or call (412) 421-1881.


Main Line Chess and Games is a cozy gaming shop in Paoli, PA, located just off U.S. Highway 30, 25 miles WNW of Philadelphia. They offer a variety of games and accessories, including chess sets, boards, clocks, books, and software. The shop also hosts weekly chess tournaments on Mondays and Thursdays, as well as occasional special events. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • Main Line Chess and Games Monday Night Swiss: This is a weekly event, held every Monday night from 7 pm to 10 pm. It is a 3-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $10 for all players. The prizes are 50% of the entry fees, distributed as follows: 25% for first place, 15% for second place, and 10% for third place. The tournament is USCF-rated and follows the USCF rules of chess.

  • Main Line Chess and Games Thursday Night Quads: This is a weekly event, held every Thursday night from 7 pm to 10 pm. It is a 3-round round-robin tournament with four players in each quad. The players are grouped by rating, with a maximum rating difference of 200 points. The entry fee is $10 for all players. The prizes are 50% of the entry fees, distributed as follows: $20 for the winner of each quad, plus a free entry to the next week’s quads for the winner of the top quad. The tournament is USCF rated and follows the USCF rules of chess.

For more information about Main Line Chess and Games and its tournaments, visit their website or call 732-685-7460.


The Lehigh Valley Chess Club is a non-profit organization that promotes chess in the Lehigh Valley area. The club has members of all ages and skill levels, from beginners to experts. The club meets every Wednesday night from 7 pm to 10 pm at the Bethlehem Area Public Library, 72 W Laurel St, Bethlehem. The club offers free chess lessons, casual games, and rated tournaments. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • Lehigh Valley Quads: This is a monthly event, usually held on the first Wednesday of each month. It is a 3-round round-robin tournament with four players in each quad. The players are grouped by rating, with a maximum rating difference of 200 points. The entry fee is $10 for all players. The prizes are $30 for the winner of each quad, plus a free entry to the next month’s quads for the winner of the top quad. The tournament is USCF rated and follows the USCF rules of chess.

  • Lehigh Valley Swiss: This is a bi-monthly event, usually held on the third Wednesday of every other month. It is a 4-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $15 for all players. The prizes are 75% of the entry fees, distributed as follows: 30% for first place, 20% for second place, 15% for third place, and 10% for the top U1800, U1600, and U1400. The tournament is USCF rated and follows the USCF rules of chess.

Bethlehem Area Public Library - Dustin Gelegonya - Google Maps


For more information about the Lehigh Valley Chess Club and its tournaments, visit their website or call (484) 866-3045.



Chess tournaments in Philadelphia

A non-profit organization that was founded in 2001 as an outgrowth of a beginner’s & intermediate chess class held at Tech Freire Charter School 2221 N Broad St. The club aims to promote chess education, culture, and community in Philadelphia and beyond welcoming players of all ages and abilities, from beginners to masters. The club organizes weekly tournaments on Saturdays, as well as special events throughout the year. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • Masterminds Chess Club Championship: This is the club’s most prestigious event, held annually in December. It is a 5-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $25 for club members and $35 for non-members. The prizes are based on the number of entries, with a minimum of $500 guaranteed. The winner of the tournament is crowned as the club champion and receives a trophy and a free entry to the next year’s championship.

  • Masterminds Chess Club Quads: This is a monthly event, usually held on the second Saturday of each month. It is a 3-round round-robin tournament with four players in each quad. The players are grouped by rating, with a maximum rating difference of 200 points. The entry fee is $15 for club members and $20 for non-members. The prizes are $40 for the winner of each quad, plus a free entry to the next month’s quads for the winner of the top quad.

  • Masterminds Chess Club Swiss: This is a bi-monthly event, usually held on the fourth Saturday of every other month. It is a 4-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $20 for club members and $25 for non-members. The prizes are based on the number of entries, with a minimum of $400 guaranteed. The top two finishers in the tournament qualify for the Masterminds Chess Club Invitational, a 6-player round-robin tournament with a $1000 prize fund, held in June.


For more information about the Masterminds Chess Club of Philadelphia and its tournaments, visit their website or call (215) 844-3881.


Redcap’s Corner is a gaming shop in Paoli, PA, located just off U.S. Highway 30, 25 miles WNW of Philadelphia. The shop offers a variety of games and accessories, including chess sets, boards, clocks, books, and software. If you're a part of the LGBT community, be welcome to know Redcap's Corner is very committed to inclusivity.


For now, the only info we could get about chess events is their boardgame afternoons, so it might be a good idea to contact them, by visiting their website or calling (610) 240-8900.


Chess tournaments in Lancaster 

Lancaster Red Rose Chess Club

Lancaster Red Rose Chess Club is a prominent community of enthusiasts with a 60-year history. It offers regular classes, tournaments, and other events for players of all levels.


  • Weekly Classes: Every Wednesday night, chess lessons for beginners, intermediate, and advanced players, taught by experienced instructors.

  • Red Rose Open: A two-day, five-round Swiss tournament, held in April, open to players of all ratings.

  • Red Rose Scholastic Championship: A one-day, four-round Swiss tournament, held in May, open to students in grades K-122.

  • Red Rose Blitz Championship: A one-day, double round-robin tournament, held in July, open to players of all ages and ratings.


The LRRCC meets weekly every Wednesday night starting at 6:30pm until 9:00pm at the Lancaster Red Rose Commons Barnes & Noble.


Outside pic of Barnes & Noble bookstore in Lancaster

For more info about their online tournaments you can visit their Lichess group.


Chess Nuts Club is a student chess club located at Lancaster Catholic High School. It holds regular meetings, and organizes workshops and competitive events for students and other players of all levels.


  • Weekly Meetings: Every Friday afternoon, casual games and puzzles for club members and guests.

  • Chess Nuts Open: A one-day, four-round Swiss tournament, held in January, open to players of all ratings.

  • Chess Nuts Scholastic Championship: A one-day, four-round Swiss tournament, held in February, open to students in grades K-122.

  • Chess Nuts Blitz Championship: A one-day, double round-robin tournament, held in March, open to players of all ages and ratings.


Want to know more about this club? Visit this section of the Lancaster Catholic School website.


Chess tournaments in Reading

The Million Youth Chess Club is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting chess among younger players. They meet regularly at Reading Public Library and offer casual play, lessons, and tournaments. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • Million Youth Chess Event: This is a special chess event sponsored by the club, held every Wednesday from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm at the Southeast Branch of the library. The event features tournament play, chess puzzles, food, and awards. The event is free and open to all ages and skill levels.

  • Million Youth Chess Tournament: This is a monthly chess tournament organized by the club, usually held on the last Saturday of each month at the Main Branch of the library. The tournament is divided into three sections: Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced. The entry fee is $5 for club members and $10 for non-members. The prizes are trophies, medals, and certificates for the top three finishers in each section. The tournament is USCF-rated and follows the USCF rules of chess.

For more information about the Million Youth Chess Club and its tournaments, visit their website or call 610-373-3061.


The Chess Club at Reading Public Library is a community-based chess club that gathers every Monday from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at the Main Branch of the library. They welcome players of all levels and offer lessons, casual play, and tournaments. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • Chess Club Championship: This is the club’s most prestigious event, held annually in May. It is a 5-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $10 for all players. The prizes are trophies and books for the top three finishers. The winner of the tournament is crowned as the club champion and receives a plaque and a free entry to the next year’s championship.

  • Chess Club Quads: This is a monthly event, usually held on the second Monday of each month. It is a 3-round round-robin tournament with four players in each quad. The players are grouped by rating, with a maximum rating difference of 200 points. The entry fee is $5 for all players. The prizes are books and chess sets for the winner of each quad, plus a free entry to the next month’s quads for the winner of the top quad.


For more information about the Chess Club at Reading Public Library and its tournaments, visit their website or call 610-655-6350.


Chess tournaments in Harrisburg

The Harrisburg West Shore Chess Club is an affiliate of the US Chess Federation that serves Harrisburg and surrounding areas. The club meets twice a week, on Thursdays from 6 to 9 pm and Saturdays from 9 am to 1 pm, at the Camp Hill Giant Community Center (upstairs). The club welcomes players of all ages and skill levels, and offers friendly games as well as rated tournaments. Some of the tournaments that the club organizes are:


  • Harrisburg West Shore Chess Club Championship: This is an annual tournament that determines the club champion. It is open to club members only and has a $10 entry fee. The tournament is usually held in January and February, and consists of five rounds of G/90d5 games. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • Harrisburg West Shore Chess Club Open: This is a monthly tournament that is open to anyone who wants to play. It has a $20 entry fee for non-members and a $10 entry fee for members. The tournament is usually held on the last Saturday of each month, and consists of four rounds of G/60d5 games. The top three finishers receive cash prizes, and there are also class prizes for lower-rated players.

  • Harrisburg West Shore Chess Club Quick: This is a weekly tournament that is open to anyone who wants to play. It has a $5 entry fee for non-members and a $3 entry fee for members. The tournament is usually held on Thursdays, and consists of three rounds of G/15d5 games. The winner receives a cash prize, and there are also rating prizes for lower-rated players.


For more information about the Harrisburg West Shore Chess Club, you can visit their event calendar or their Facebook page.


The Hershey Chess Club is a chess club that meets at the Hershey Public Library on Wednesdays from 6 to 8 pm. The club is open to players of all ages and skill levels and offers casual games, lessons, and tournaments. Some of the tournaments that the club organizes are:


  • Hershey Chess Club Championship: This is an annual tournament that determines the club champion. It is open to club members only and has a $5 entry fee. The tournament is usually held in December and January, and consists of five rounds of G/90d5 games. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • Hershey Chess Club Open: This is a quarterly tournament that is open to anyone who wants to play. It has a $10 entry fee for non-members and a $5 entry fee for members. The tournament is usually held in March, June, September, and December, and consists of four rounds of G/60d5 games. The top three finishers receive cash prizes, and there are also class prizes for lower-rated players.

  • Hershey Chess Club Quick: This is a monthly tournament that is open to anyone who wants to play. It has a $5 entry fee for non-members and a $3 entry fee for members. The tournament is usually held on the last Wednesday of each month, and consists of three rounds of G/15d5 games. The winner receives a cash prize, and there are also rating prizes for lower-rated players.


For more information about the Hershey Chess Club, you can visit their website or their Facebook page.


Chess tournaments in York

The York Chess Club is a group of chess players working to expand interest in and opportunities to play chess in York County. They are an affiliate of the U.S. Chess Federation and hold regular-rated tournaments and club meetings. They don’t charge dues or have any official membership requirements. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • York Chess Club Championship: This is the club’s most prestigious event, held annually in December. It is a 5-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $25 for club members and $35 for non-members. The prizes are based on the number of entries, with a minimum of $500 guaranteed. The winner of the tournament is crowned as the club champion and receives a trophy and a free entry to the next year’s championship.

  • York Chess Club Quads: This is a monthly event, usually held on the second Saturday of each month. It is a 3-round round-robin tournament with four players in each quad. The players are grouped by rating, with a maximum rating difference of 200 points. The entry fee is $15 for club members and $20 for non-members. The prizes are $40 for the winner of each quad, plus a free entry to the next month’s quads for the winner of the top quad.

  • York Chess Club Swiss: This is a bi-monthly event, usually held on the fourth Saturday of every other month. It is a 4-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $20 for club members and $25 for non-members. The prizes are based on the number of entries, with a minimum of $400 guaranteed. The top two finishers in the tournament qualify for the York Chess Club Invitational, a 6-player round-robin tournament with a $1000 prize fund, held in June.


York County School of Technology Chess Club

The YCST Chess Club is a scholastic chess club that is open to all students from grades 9 to 12. They offer lessons, casual play, and competitive tournaments. Some of the regular tournaments are:


  • YCST Chess Club Championship: This is the club’s most prestigious event, held annually in February. It is a 7-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $5 for club members and $10 for non-members. The prizes are trophies and medals for the top three finishers. The winner of the tournament is crowned as the club champion and receives a trophy and a free entry to the next year’s championship.

  • YCST Chess Club Quads: This is a monthly event, usually held on the second Thursday of each month. It is a 3-round round-robin tournament with four players in each quad. The players are grouped by rating, with a maximum rating difference of 200 points. The entry fee is $3 for club members and $5 for non-members. The prizes are chess books and magazines for the winner of each quad, plus a free entry to the next month’s quads for the winner of the top quad.

  • YCST Chess Club Swiss: This is a bi-monthly event, usually held on the fourth Thursday of every other month. It is a 4-round Swiss system tournament with one section: Open. The entry fee is $3 for club members and $5 for non-members. The prizes are chess sets and clocks for the top three finishers, plus a free entry to next month’s Swiss for the winner of the tournament.


For more information about the YCST Chess Club and its tournaments, visit the York Chess Club website or call (717) 747-2130.


Are you looking for other places to play chess in York? Check out this useful resource from the YCC



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