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

Chess is not just a game, it is an art, a science, and a sport. It is a game that can challenge your mind, inspire your imagination, and reward your efforts. If you are a chess fan living in Tennessee, you have a chance to experience the beauty and thrill of chess in various tournaments. In this guide, we will present you some of the most amazing chess tournaments in Tennessee, and how you can take part in them.


The Tennessee Chess Association (TCA) is the official governing body for chess in Tennessee. The TCA was founded in 1971 and is affiliated with the United States Chess Federation (USCF), the national chess organization in the US. The TCA's mission is to promote and support chess in Tennessee through tournaments, leagues, and other events. The TCA also maintains a directory of chess clubs in Tennessee, including Nashville. Some of the tournaments that the TCA organizes or sponsors are:

  • The Tennessee Open: The annual state championship for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held in September and consists of three sections: Open, Amateur, and Scholastic. The winners of each section receive trophies and cash prizes.

  • The Tennessee Scholastic Championships: These are the official state championships for school-age chess players in Tennessee. The championships are held annually in March and April at different locations in the state. The championships consist of two events: the Regional Team Qualifiers and the State Team Finals. The Regional Team Qualifiers are four-round Swisses with a time control of 30 minutes per player. The State Team Finals are five-round Swisses with a time control of 45 minutes per player. The championships have four divisions: Primary (K-3), Elementary (K-6), Middle School (K-9), and High School (K-12).

  • The Tennessee All-Girls State Championship: The annual state championship for female scholastic chess players in grades K-12. The tournament is usually held in April and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a scholarship.


Chess tournaments in Nashville

The Nashville Chess Center (NCC) is an educational non-profit corporation that aims to educate the public about the game, art, science, sport, and discipline of chess. The NCC was founded in 1995 and is located on Belmont Boulevard, Nashville. The NCC offers chess classes, camps, tournaments, and other activities for chess players and enthusiasts of all ages and levels. Some of the tournaments that the NCC hosts or co-hosts are:

  • The Nashville Open City Championship: The annual city championship for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held in January and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • The Music City Open: The annual open tournament for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held in February and consists of three sections: Open, Under 1800, and Under 1400. The winners of each section receive trophies and cash prizes.

  • The Ron Seaney Memorial Scholastic Chess Tournament: The annual scholastic tournament for chess players in grades K-12. The tournament is usually held in February and consists of four sections: Primary, Elementary, Middle, and High. The winners of each section receive trophies and medals.

  • The President's Day Chess Camp and Tournament: The annual chess camp and tournament for chess players of all ages and levels. The camp is usually held in February and consists of two days of chess instruction and practice. The tournament is held on the third day and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

Outside view of the Nashville Chess Center

Chess tournaments in Memphis

The Memphis Chess Club (MCC) is a non-profit organization that combines great food and Southern hospitality with the royal game of chess. The MCC was founded in 1877 and is located in Madison Avenue, Memphis. The MCC is a one-of-a-kind destination that features a full service cafe, a chess library, a chess shop, and a chess hall. The MCC is the perfect place for people of all ages to enjoy a meal, play, watch, or learn chess. Some of the tournaments that the MCC hosts or co-hosts are:

  • The Crosstown Open: The annual open tournament for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held in February and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • The Germantown Chess Club Founding Tournament: The inaugural tournament for the newly established Germantown Chess Club, a branch of the MCC. The tournament is usually held in January and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • The Memphis City Championship: The annual city championship for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held in June and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • The Memphis Chess Club Scholastic Championship: The annual scholastic tournament for chess players in grades K-12. The tournament is usually held in May and consists of four sections: Primary, Elementary, Middle, and High. The winners of each section receive trophies and medals.



Chess tournaments in Knoxville

The Greater Knoxville Chess Club is a local chess club that meets every Thursday from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Cedar Bluff Library. The club welcomes players of all ages and levels, and organizes the following chess tournaments:

  • Knoxville City Chess Championship and Amateur Championship: A four-week event with two sections (Open and U1800) that starts on the first Thursday of November. The tournament is open to all US Chess members, and the winners receive trophies and qualify for the Tennessee State Championship.

  • USCF Rated Speed-Chess Tournaments: One-day events with two sections (Open and U1800) that are held on the second and third Thursdays of February, April, June, August, and October. The tournaments consist of five rounds of blitz chess (G/5), and the entry fee is $5.


You can find more information about Greater Knoxville Chess Club and their events on their website or Facebook page.


The Knoxville Chess Collective is a new and innovative chess club that aims to grow community through chess and grow chess through community. The club was founded in 2022 and offers weekly matches at various locations in Knoxville and Oak Ridge. The club is open to all people of all skill levels and strives to create and support opportunities for everyone to play and learn chess. The club also organizes some fun and casual tournaments, such as:

  • The Knoxville Chess Collective Founding Tournament: This was the first tournament hosted by the club in January 2022 at the Germantown Chess Club in Memphis. The tournament had four sections: Open, U1800, U1400, and U1000. Each section had four rounds with a time control of 60 minutes per player plus a 5-second increment per move.

  • The Knoxville Chess Collective Monthly Swiss: This is a monthly tournament held on the last Saturday of each month at different venues in Knoxville. The tournament has three sections: Open, U1600, and U1200. Each section has four rounds with a time control of 45 minutes per player plus a 5-second increment per move.


Chess tournaments in Chattanooga

The Chattanooga Chess Club is a local chess club that meets every Wednesday from 6 pm to 9 pm at the downtown YMCA. The club welcomes players of all ages and levels, and organizes the following chess tournaments:

  • Chattanooga City Chess Championship and Amateur Championship: A four-week event with two sections (Open and U1800) that starts on the first Wednesday of November. The tournament is open to all US Chess members, and the winners receive trophies and qualify for the Tennessee State Championship.

  • USCF Rated Speed-Chess Tournaments: One-day events with two sections (Open and U1800) that are held on the second and third Wednesdays of February, April, June, August, and October. The tournaments consist of five rounds of blitz chess (G/5), and the entry fee is $5.


Kingship Chess Academy is a chess school that offers chess classes, camps, tournaments, and private lessons for students of all ages and levels in Chattanooga, TN. Kingship Chess Academy aims to develop chess skills, critical thinking, and character in its students, such as:

  • Kingship Chess Academy Monthly Tournament: A one-day event with three sections (Open, U1400, U800) and trophies for the top three players in each section. The next edition will be held on February 10, 2024 at the Kingship Chess Academy in Chattanooga.

  • Kingship Chess Academy Summer Camp: A week-long camp for students from 5 to 18 years old, with chess instruction, games, puzzles, and fun activities. The camp runs from June 4 to June 8, 2024 at the Kingship Chess Academy in Chattanooga.

  • Kingship Chess Academy Online Classes: A series of online classes for students of different skill levels, from beginner to advanced. The classes are taught by experienced and certified chess coaches, and cover topics such as openings, tactics, strategy, endgames, and more.


You can find more information about Kingship Chess Academy and their events on their website, Facebook page or Instagram account. 


Chess tournaments in Clarksville

The Clarksville Chess Club is a local chess club that meets every Tuesday from 6 pm to 9 pm at the Clarksville-Montgomery County Public Library. The club welcomes players of all ages and levels, and organizes the following chess tournaments:

  • Clarksville City Chess Championship and Amateur Championship: A four-week event with two sections (Open and U1800) that starts on the first Tuesday of November. The tournament is open to all US Chess members, and the winners receive trophies and qualify for the Tennessee State Championship.

  • USCF Rated Speed-Chess Tournaments: One-day events with two sections (Open and U1800) that are held on the second and third Tuesdays of February, April, June, August, and October. The tournaments consist of five rounds of blitz chess (G/5), and the entry fee is $5.


Chess tournaments in Murfreesboro

The Murfreesboro Chess Club (MCC) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 2014. It is dedicated to promoting chess in the community and providing a friendly and welcoming environment for chess players. The MCC meets every Saturday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at the First Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The club offers free chess lessons, casual games, and rated tournaments. The MCC is affiliated with the US Chess Federation and the Tennessee Chess Association. Some of the chess tournaments that the MCC hosts are:

  • 2022 Murfreesboro Open: This is a 5-round Swiss tournament that will take place on Saturday, February 5, 2022. The time control is G/25 d5 for round 1 and G/45 d5 for rounds 2-5. The prize fund is $575 based on 30 entries, with bonus prizes for the top female, junior, and under 12 players. The entry fee is $25 by check if received by 02/03, or $30 cash at site. The first 3 titled players (NM+) play for free, with $25 being deducted from any prize over $75.

  • 2022 Battleground Murfreesboro: This is a 4-round Swiss tournament in 2 sections that will take place on Saturday, August 13, 2022. The time control is G/60 d5. The prize fund is $960 based on 32 entries, with bonus prizes for the best submitted game and the top female player. The entry fee is $30 by check, money order or PayPal if received by 08/10, or $40 cash at site. The first 3 titled players (NM+) play for free, with $30 being deducted from any prize of $100 or more.

  • 2023 Murfreesboro Tal Celebration: This is a 4-round Swiss tournament in 2 sections that will honor the legendary Mikhail Tal, who was born on November 9, 1936. The tournament will take place on Saturday, November 11, 2023. The time control is G/60 d5. The prize fund is $980 based on 32 entries, with bonus prizes for the best submitted game and the top female player. The entry fee is $30 by check, money order or PayPal if received by 11/08, or $40 cash at site. The first 3 titled players (NM+) play for free, with $30 being deducted from any prize of $100 or more.


Chess tournaments in Crossville

The Cumberland County Chess Club is a chess club that meets every Saturday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Art Circle Public Library in Crossville. The club hosts regular US Chess rated tournaments, as well as casual and friendly games, for players of all levels. Some of the chess tournaments offered by the club are:

  • Susan E. Kantor Fall Open National Chess Day Chess Tournament: A one-day event with three sections (Open, U1600, U1200) and a prize fund of $1,000. The tournament is held in October to celebrate National Chess Day, and the entry fee is $25.

  • Cumberland County Chess Club Monthly Tournaments: One-day events with three sections (Open, U1600, U1200) and trophies for the winners. The tournaments are held on the last Saturday of each month, and the entry fee is $10.

You can find more information about the Cumberland County Chess Club and their events on their website or Facebook page.


Other options: 

Chess tournaments in Arlinton

The Arlington Lakeland Chess Club (ALCC) is a club for chess players of all ages and abilities. The ALCC was founded in 2016 and is located in Walker Street, Arlington. The ALCC offers chess lessons, tournaments, and other events for chess players and fans in the Arlington and Lakeland area. Some of the tournaments that the ALCC hosts or co-hosts are:

  • The Arlington Lakeland Chess Club Monthly Tournament: The monthly tournament for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held on the last Saturday of each month and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • The Arlington Lakeland Chess Club Scholastic Tournament: The quarterly tournament for chess players in grades K-12. The tournament is usually held on the second Saturday of March, June, September, and December and consists of four sections: Primary, Elementary, Middle, and High. The winners of each section receive trophies and medals.

  • The Arlington Lakeland Chess Club Blitz Tournament: The bi-monthly tournament for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held on the first Saturday of February, April, June, August, October, and December and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.

  • The Arlington Lakeland Chess Club Rapid Tournament: The bi-monthly tournament for chess players of all ages and ratings. The tournament is usually held on the first Saturday of January, March, May, July, September, and November and consists of one section. The winner receives a trophy and a cash prize.


Conclusion

We hope you liked this guide and learned more about chess tournaments in Tennessee. Chess is a game that can bring you joy, satisfaction, and growth. It is also a game that can connect you with other people who share your interest. There are many chess tournaments in Tennessee that you can attend, regardless of your skill, budget, or schedule. So don’t delay, enroll in a tournament today and have fun!



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