Chess in Colorado – The Centennial State

Colorado is one of the best places to be if you want to develop your chess-playing skills. The state houses numerous chess clubs, tournaments, and championships at different levels. Read on to better understand the Colorado chess scene.

If you take a keen look at person’s past, you’ll note recreational games have always played a big role in social development. As humanity evolved, so did the complexity of these recreational games.

Chess in Colorado

But chess is more than just a recreational board game. Most studies reveal that people who take up chess earlier in life do better in memory retention, critical thinking, and analytical skills. In fact, chess is one of the few games with clear benefits to players.

If you are a parent, introducing your young one to chess will open up their minds and constructively engage their idle time. However, this does not mean chess is only beneficial if you start early. There are countless stores of people who started playing the board game relatively later and went on to dominate the chess scene.

George Salwe is one of the success stories showing it’s never too late to start playing chess. The Polish international chess player started in his 40s. His success was undeniable, and he was the second-highest-ranked Polish chess player at one point. Other examples include the likes of Oscar Shapiro, Joseph Blake, and Friend Bernard.

History of Chess in Colorado

Whenever you bring up Colorado State, people immediately think about the picturesque mountains, mesas, forests, rivers, canyons, and desert land. This wide variety of scenes, activities, and natural wonders play a big part in the region.

The diversity in Colorado extends beyond its awe-striking features and wonders. The Centennial State is also a great place to start your chess career. Whether you are a beginner, intermediary, or expert at the board game, you’ll find enough people to practice with and compete against.

Old photo of chess players in a tournament

The scene of chess in Colorado is very similar to that of the entire country. Like in most other regions, the board game has been steadily growing in popularity. Initially, this was apparent for the adults and elderly generations.

This, however, is no longer the state of chess in Colorado. Today, you’ll find chess players as young as three years. Admittedly, these young ones are not grandmasters yet. They are, however, developing integral chess skills from a young age.

In the near future, you can expect the Continental State to produce more chess champions, both at the national and worldwide chess platforms. Currently, Colorado is home to a handful of grandmasters and other distinguished chess players. This, however, is likely to change as the State invests in developing the game in schools and throughout the younger generations.

The modern history of chess in Colorado dates back to the 1950s when the first Colorado Open was held. However, there has been a long and undocumented history of the board game in the Continental States. Today, the game is popular in schools and other learning institutions. This ensures continuity as more people are taking up chess in the Continental States.

Colorado Chess Setting

Colorado is the 8th largest State in the country and the 21st in population density. There are more than a few densely populated cities in the Continental States. The general population density in the State is about 52 people per square mile.

From the population stats above, it is clear why chess is such a popular game in the county. You are likely to find chess clubs and outlet shops in major cities like Denver. If you are looking for people to play with, you will more than likely have several options to choose from.

 Colorado map and pin

The average age in Colorado is about 34 years. This generally young population means there’s also a focus on improving chess for younger generations. The Colorado State Chess Association has spearheaded numerous programs in learning institutions.

For instance, there are several junior chess tournaments aimed at attracting high school students to the game. This means the average age for people interested in chess within Colorado is relatively young. However, as mentioned above, there is a buzzing chess scene throughout different generational groups.

To appeal to the younger generations interested in chess, most chess clubs and related groups have an active social media presence. This is especially true for most governing bodies that remain active on major social medial platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Chess Grandmasters in Colorado

As formerly mentioned, Colorado isn’t one of the top places you think of when considering chess grandmasters. However, do not let this mislead you; there are still great champions of the board game to hail from the Continental State.

How To Become A Grandmaster 

Alex Fishbein is arguably one of the top-rated chess players in the Continental State. It is worthwhile to mention that Alex was born in Russia in 1968. It wasn’t until 1979 that Alex moved to the United States as a finance professional.

Alex would curve a name for himself in the chess hall of fame books from the 80s. In 982, he became a chess master before acquiring the coveted international chess master title just two years later. Not feeling quite a content yet, he would go on to become a chess grandmaster in 1992.

He has remained a chess fan and an active participant in the game to date. In 2020, he won the John T. Irwin tournament. He has also taken up a chess coaching role with an impressive student list, most of whom have won chess accolades at different levels.

Dashzegve Sharavdorj is another notable chess player from Colorado. The grandmaster was born in 1974 and has remained active in the board game to date. He has won various championships within and beyond the Continental State.

Other international chess masters in Colorado include Michael Valvo, Michael Mulyar, John Watson, and Hans Berliner. Senior masters include Randy Canney, Renard Anderson, David Gliksman, and James McCarty.

Colorado Chess Tournaments

From the data above regarding prolific chess players, you can easily tell there are opportunities to practice and better your skills. The Continental State hosts a plethora of tournaments and chess competitions at different intervals. Some of the high-ranking chess competitions in Colorado are;

Modern chess tournament
  • Denver Scholastic Chess Series – This event is open to both rated and unrated chess players. However, you do need some experience to participate in several competitions within the series. Moreover, you need to register early, as the competition doesn’t allow on-site registration.
  • Denver Chess Club Championship – This is held in November in Denver city. If you win the competitive tournament, you stand a chance to win various prizes and recognitions.
  • Colorado Springs City Championship – Aside from cash prizes, you could also have your name immortalized in a plaque. This tournament has a small registration fee; you’re advised to book a slot in advance.

Other popular tournaments in the Continental State include;

  • Northern Colorado Chess Club Championship
  • Colorado Scholastic Online Championship
  • Colorado Open Blitz Championship
  • Fort Collins Summer Championship

Regardless of your skill level of chess prowess, you will be sure to find many competitive tournaments in the State. You can also find out about the schedules of this and more events through Colorado chess clubs.

Chess Shops in Colorado

As a result of the growing interest in chess in Colorado, the State has experienced a boom in shops dealing with chess. Regardless of where you are in the Continental State, you will likely find a chess shop near you. Some of the top options include;

Chess shop
  • The Wizard’s Chest – This shop is located at the heart of Denver, on 451 North Broadway. They are open every day from 10 am to 7 pm. If you are looking for anything dealing with chess, this is an ideal place to start.
  • Petries Family Games – Located at 7681 North Union Boulevard, Colorado Springs, this shop is the one-stop shop for every game, including chess. They also have numerous events, most of which you can easily participate in.
  • Night Owl Games – This shop is based at 6750 South Pierce Street, Littleton. It is another great option if you are looking to create a custom set or get a gift for someone.

Colorado Chess Guide

At first glance, Colorado may look like the last place you want to go o develop chess skills. Upon further investigation, however, you’ll soon realize there’s a thriving chess culture throughout the Centennial State.

As an adult, you’ll have numerous tournaments and competitions to develop your skills. At the same time, you can grow your ranking level through these events. As mentioned earlier, the best way to learn about these events is by plugging into a local chess club in your area.

This is the same situation for kids and younger ones in the State. Colorado has heavily invested in developing structures that promote chess in schools and other learning institutions. The sheer number of competitive chess events held at schools is sure to yield fruits in the future.

Chess Clubs in Colorado

Chess clubs are arguably the best way to get involved in chess. Most clubs have training programs to help you grow your playing ability. In Colorado, the top chess clubs include;

Chess clubs for all ages
  • Parker Chess Club
  • CSU Chess Club
  • Apex Aspen Chess Club
  • Fort Collins Chess Club
  • USAF Academy Chess Club
  • Colorado Springs Chess Club

If you are based in Colorado and are wondering where to get started in the world of chess, these resources will help you get the right footing.

Look for opportunities to learn more with State and private resources. If you have an interest in the board game, Colorado is a great place to hone and perfect your skills.

Jenna Ostria
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