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Chess tournaments in South Dakota: Where to find the best ones

South Dakota offers a vibrant chess scene with several organizations hosting tournaments throughout the year. Here's a breakdown of some key institutions and the events they hold:

South Dakota Chess Association (SDCA)

The SDCA is the official governing body for chess in South Dakota. They organize various tournaments, including:

  • Sioux Falls Open (April): Held at the Hy-Vee Grocery Store in Sioux Falls. This is a US Chess Federation (USCF) rated event spread over two days. 

  • Teams in Pierre (July): A team event held in Pierre, South Dakota. Details on format and participation are usually announced closer to the date.

  • SD Closed/Championship (October): Held in Rapid City, this USCF rated tournament is open to South Dakota residents only.

  • Governor's Cup (October): The premier chess event in South Dakota, this USCF rated tournament attracts players from all over the region. Held in Rapid City.

Cadillac Jack's Gaming Resort

Cadillac Jack’s Gaming Resort, located in the historic Deadwood, South Dakota, is a vibrant full-service casino and hotel. It offers a variety of gaming options, including table games and slot machines, and is surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Black Hills. The resort is a hub for entertainment and also hosts regular chess tournaments for enthusiasts of the game.

  • Deadwood Chess Championship: a competitive chess event held at the resort. Check their website for specific dates.

  • Black Hills Chess Open: an open tournament welcoming players of all levels. Annually (specific dates vary).

  • Rapid Rooks Blitz Tournament: a fast-paced blitz chess tournament. Monthly, check their events calendar..

  • Mount Rushmore Chess Classic: a prestigious tournament drawing top players. Biennial (next edition in 2025). Held in Deadwood Convention Center.Rating: USCF-rated event.

Rapid City Scholastic Chess is a vibrant community that celebrates the strategic game of chess. Inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s view of chess as a tool for developing valuable life skills, the club provides a platform for players to engage in the game, improve their strategies, and compete in various tournaments.

Regularly Offered Tournaments:

  • Rapid City Area Scholastic Chess Club Tournaments: Tournaments are held throughout the year, including specific events on October 7th, and December 2nd.  Events are hosted at the Bible Fellowship Church, 1212 E. Fairmont Blvd.Rapid City.

  • South Dakota Scholastic State Championship: The most recent event was on Saturday, March 25.Location: Holiday Inn Downtown, Rapid City, SD 57701. The tournament featured sections K-3, K-5, K-8, and K-12 with a time control of G/40 D 3.

Dakota Chess is known for organizing regular United States Chess Federation (USCF) rated events in Rapid City. The club is dedicated to promoting chess as a sport and a cognitive tool, offering players of all ages and skill levels the opportunity to participate in competitive chess tournaments.

Regularly Offered Tournaments:

  • USCF Rated Events (Rapid City):

  • Dates: Upcoming events are scheduled for April 20, 2024, May 25, 2024, and June 29, 20241.

  • Location: All events are held at the Holiday Inn – Montana Room (2nd floor) in Rapid City1.

  • Format: Each tournament consists of 3 rounds with a time control of G/60 with a 5-second delay1.

  • Entry Fee: There is no entry fee for these events.

  • Round Times: Rounds are strictly scheduled for 8:00 AM, 10:00 AM, and 12:00 PM1.


Chess enthusiasts in South Dakota have a variety of options to test their skills and compete against others. From weekend events to prestigious championships, there's a tournament for everyone.

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