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

Updated: Dec 16, 2023

Are you passionate about opportunities to showcase your skills in competitive tournaments? Like you, there are many players in Virginia looking for tournaments they can join and enjoy.


Here is a list of chess tournaments that take place in Virginia weekly/monthly/yearly. We highly recommend our students participate in these tournaments (not just our free monthly tournament) to practice what they’ve learned. As they say, practice makes perfect.


The first half of this post covers tournaments in Richmond, and the second half covers them Statewide. If you’d like to improve your skills before attending any of the tournaments, remember that you can learn from any of our Masters.


Are these chess tournaments for kids?

Of course! Many of the tournaments listed below are PERFECT for beginner and intermediate children looking to put their skills to the test (and maybe make some friends!). However, many of these tournaments are geared toward adults as well.


Remember we also offer free tournaments each month for all of our students! If you’re not one of our students you are also welcome to join for only $5.


Chess Tournaments in Richmond


RCI is all about helping rated tournament chess players find jobs that they’ll love. This concept is a pretty understandable one since chess players can become better at analyzing their own performance and that of others, and then using that analysis to come up with specific plans and procedures that will help them get even better.


  • Saturday Swiss: Held the last Saturday of each month. Time control is G45/d5. Trophies go to 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and upset prizes each round for wins and draw with a spread of more than 150 points!

The Bright Minds RVA Chess Club focuses on helping Richmond inner-city youth develop skills that will help them succeed in life. They teach kids how to think critically and plan for the future, which are skills that can be used in all areas of life.


They offer a free chess summer camp each year if you’re interested


If you’re into outdoor tournaments, RVA is very likely to be a great option for you. They offer a plethora of tournaments held weekly at their facility in Jackson Ward. Not only that, the best thing is that they are committed to building a community around the game.


Discovery Chess, founded by Rhonda Adorno is a small educational business located in Richmond, VA.


Discovery Chess specializes in helping children discover the game of chess in a kid-only environment. They nurture the scholastic chess journey by introducing both the recreational and competitive nature of the game. Their services extend to STEAM programs and other enrichment activities for children.


Though they don’t offer an event calendar, you can always check their social media to be notified of the next tournament at their facility (Midlothian).


Chess Tournaments at Virginia State


The Virginia Chess Federation (VCF) is a non-profit organization that promotes chess in Virginia. They organize several tournaments throughout the year, including the Virginia Scholastic State Championship Chess Tournament and the Virginia Closed State Championships.


  • Charlottesville Open: 5 Rounds, Swiss System typically held in the summer at the Comfort Inn Monticello, Charlottesville. This tournament is divided into 2 sections: U1600 and U2000.

  • Virginia Commonwealth Games: This is an online tournament open to any player who has an active US Chess Federation membership and is a resident of the US. The Swiss system will be used so it’s a no-elimination tournament.

  • Virginia Scholastic & College Championships: Held typically in March in Charlottesville.

  • Northern Virginia Open: This tournament happens every year in January at Norfolk.


Check out all of the tournaments the VCF has to offer by clicking here.


Since 2017, DMV Chess has been providing in-person chess tournaments and instruction for both children and adults. In March 2020, DMV Chess began running online chess tournaments, camps, and classes.


Here are some of the major in-person tournaments they organize:


  • Annual DMV Open: Divided into 9 sections from U2000 to U1000 of a Five-round Swiss; three-day and two-day schedules. This is a USCF-rated in-person tournament held in July of each year.

  • Annual DMV Open Scholastic Tournament: Divided into 4 sections (K-12, K-8, K-5, K-3), this tournament is held in July of each year at the Hampton Inn and Suites.

  • Annual Beltway Open: Divided into 9 sections from U2000 to U1000 of a Five-round Swiss; three-day and two-day schedules. This is a USCF-rated in-person tournament held in August of each year at the Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport Hotel Herndon.

  • Annual Beltway Open Scholastic Championship: Divided into 4 sections (K-12, K-8, K-5, K-3), this tournament is held in August of each year at the Crowne Plaza Dulles Airport Hotel Herndon.


They also offer weekly online tournaments (USCF-rated):

  • Weekly Wednesday Scholastic

  • Weekly Thursday Open Rapid

  • Weekly Saturday Scholastic

  • Weekly Sunday Open Action


The WVCA is one of the oldest and most renowned chess institutions in the area.


These are some of the tournaments that they offer:

  • WV Scholastic Championship: Divided into 4 sections (K-12, K-8, K-5, K-3), this tournament is held in March of each year at the WV State University.

  • WV Scholastic League Individual Championship:

  • Italian Heritage Open and Scholastic: Held every summer/fall at the Harrison County Senior Citizen Center. This is a 4-Round Swiss System tournament divided into 2 sections (K-12 and Open)

  • Harrison County Open and Scholastic: Held in March at the Harrison County Senior Citizen Center. This is a 4-Round Swiss System open and K-12 tournament.

  • YMCA Spring Open: Held in April at the Huntington YMCA. This is a 4-Round Swiss System tournament divided into Open and Scholastic sections (USCF membership required).

  • WV Action Championship: Held in May at the Huntington YMCA. This is a 6-Round Swiss System tournament (USCF membership required).


Although these are not all the tournaments offered by this organization, these are the most prominent and popular ones. I invite you to visit the West Virginia Chess Association event calendar.


Hampton Roads Chess Association (HRCA) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to bringing the life benefits of chess to people of all ages and abilities throughout the region.


They organize plenty of tournaments and events like the Zofchak Memorial and the Coastal Virginia Open and scholastic tournaments almost every month.


Make sure to take a look at their list of upcoming tournaments and events by clicking here.


They have a calendar of events that includes chess tournaments for all levels of players. Some of the tournaments they offer regularly are:


  • Skyline Open: Held at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, this is an open tournament consisting of 5 Sections and 6 Rounds.

  • Cherry Blossom Classic: A more serious and competitive event held at the Washington Dulles Airport Marriott, divided into 6 sections: Open, U2300, U2000, U1700, U1400, and U1100. This is a great place to meet and gather with GMs, IMs, and National Champions!

  • Colonial Open: An open tournament divided into 5 sections (Open, U2100, U1800, U1500, U1200) Open and U2100 are also FIDE Rated and follow FIDE Pairing Rules


Click here to visit their event calendar.


With the great mission to empower female chess players, Chess Girls DC promotes the game all around the capital city and its surrounding states.


Since they help organize many tournaments and events, their calendar is not set and consistent, so I’d recommend checking it out yourself and finding the tournament that best fits you! 🙌.



Where to Play Chess is a resource for finding chess clubs and tournaments in every state. They have a list of clubs and organizations that offer other minor chess tournaments that we didn’t include in this list.



Conclusion

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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