Chess in Maryland – Playing Chess in The Free State

In a world where everyone is glued to their screen, the chess game continues to leave a lasting impression on the masses. Interest in the game worldwide has grown exponentially in the last few years. Chess in Maryland has certainly not been left behind.                

Since its inception centuries ago, chess has played an essential role in societies around the globe. It was used in the war by captains to strategize their war plans. Now it is not used as drastically, but is still a game of wits and planning.

maryland featured image with chess pieces

The Maryland Chess association is the official branch of the United States Chess Federation (USCF) in the Free State. This is a non-profit organization, which has been running for over 67 years. They are responsible for creating and growing awareness of chess in the Old-Line State. It organizes tournaments for adults and children to develop their skills in the game.

The chess organization provides in-depth information about chess activities all over the county. Whether you’re looking for local chess clubs or tournaments, they have all the information you’re looking for. You can reach their website here.

Over the past decade, global chess standards have significantly increased. Therefore, one must train with the best to beat the pros. Maryland is home to some of the best training chess schools in the world that will offer training at an affordable price.

Whatever your level of expertise or age, if you want to learn or play in the State of Maryland, this article is for you.

History of chess in Maryland

Maryland has a rich chess background that dates back to the early 1800s.

Different players have impacted the chess world as we know it and continue to impact the residents of Maryland. Some of those legends include:

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  • Theophilus Thompson is one of the first notable players in Maryland. He was born in 1855 as an enslaved person. His interest in chess grew when he watched his first game in 1872, and from then on, he fell in love with the game. John Hanshew, one of the players in the match, loaned Thompson his set, and from then on, Thomas became an expert and published multiple chess books in later years. He wrote the book “Chess Problems: Either to Play,” among others.
  • Walter Harris, born in September 1941, was the first person of color to earn the USCF title National Master in 1959 after winning the United States Junior Championship. He set precedence for all people of color worldwide and is celebrated as a chess hero at home.
  • Kenneth Clayton, Charles Covington, and Frank Street junior are other important people in Maryland’s Chess history. They each hold the coveted title of national master.

Maryland Chess Association has played a significant organizational role in the Old Line state. Until 2022, it has held 67 chess tournaments since its inception and awarded the winners 67 chess tournament championship awards.

Chess players in Maryland

The State of Maryland has some of the best players in the United States. Maryland is proud to be the home of a grandmaster and other chess players with prestigious chess titles.

Jesse Kraai, a Santa Fe-born Grandmaster who resides in Baltimore, Maryland, was the second American to earn the title after Tal Shaked, and is one of the most influential people in the Maryland chess scene.

Jesse has written a guide on how to play chess and what strategies he used in his matches to beat his opponents. He achieved the International Master title in 2001 and the grandmaster title in 2007.

A Chess grandmaster at a chess board

Kevin Wang achieved a FIDE master’s in 2013, making him the youngest person in Maryland to acquire the title. He later attained the title of International Master in 2018. He is a 24-year-old with a rating of over 2400.

Sahil Sinha is a 22-year-old chess genius who has achieved two coveted titles, FIDE Master in 2016 and International Master in 2019. 

Another notable player is Cahree Myrick, Maryland’s youngest national chess champion at 12. His love for the game had him practicing in barber shops to improve his game.

Other great chess players in the State of Maryland include Foong Yin Wong, William Morrison, Lauren Charles Kaufman, and Shelby D. Getz, among others.

The chess scene in Maryland

Chess refines one’s developmental and learning skills. Being a chess expert is rewarding but can be, demanding. It’s a nice blend of being analytical and creative as you try to beat your opponent.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy a casual game or have some competition action, Maryland sets a great environment to learn and play the game. 

Chess clubs for all ages

Various chess clubs have come up in recent years to support students and adults interested in learning or improving their game strategies. 

Most clubs have embraced virtual meetings due to the recent pandemic, which makes it a great way to interact with other chess players. If your favorite chess club is in a different state, you can still access its online tournaments from the comfort of your home. 

Due to the recent interest in the game and the various advantages of playing it, chess schools such as Magnus Chess Academy have been established to help young minds harness their chess skills.

Various parks, such as Fairview Road Urban Park, create a scenic environment to play chess. Players can enjoy a casual game under the shade or organized chess tournaments at this beautiful park.

Chess clubs in the old line state

Maryland has many chess clubs that help forge chess skills and talents. These clubs create a friendly environment where chess beginners can learn everything there is to know about the game, and experts can polish their skills.

Mixed group of people playing chess

The Charm City Chess Club

This non-profit organization club aims to promote and grow interest in chess among the people in Maryland. They have both physical and online meetings, which favor anyone unable to attend the meetings due to distance. They have free membership for anyone interested in that. The club meets physically every Sunday at THB Baggerly and Deli of Charles Village from 11 am to 2 pm. 

They also hold virtual meetings each Monday at 6 pm, where they hold online tournaments. To register, you can visit their website. 

The club also organizes quarterly USCF-rated tournaments that offer great cash prizes. The last USCF-rated tournament they had was held in September and had three sections, opens, U1400, and U1000 section.                                                     

Fredrick Chess Club

This fun club meets for casual games on Wednesday evenings from 5.00 pm to 8.00 pm. It is run by the owners of Fredrick Social, a café that serves great food and drinks and opens its doors to everyone who wants to play or learn how to play chess. 

Members meet at Fredrick Social, 50 Citizens Way, Fredrick, MD 21701.

Waldorf Chess Club WCC

The Waldorf Chess Club is a chess club that aims to bring joy and other benefits that come with playing chess to the Maryland community. They have a beginner-friendly environment where you can learn about chess. If you’re an expert, they have got you covered too.

WCC provide USCF-rated chess tournaments, which is a great way to boost your rating. They have an annual membership of 55 dollars which is quite affordable for all the benefits you get from the club.

They hold virtual and physical tournaments, a great way to participate in the game of wits. 

Chess tournaments in Maryland

Maryland is home to FIDE-rated events if you’re searching to boost your rating and participate in a competition. The tournaments accommodate all ages. Therefore, kids and adults alike should not miss out. 

Some of the tournaments in the State include

large chess competition

Maryland State Scholastic Championships.

This event is organized by Maryland Chess Association and the Magnum Chess Association and is held at Damascus high school. It is only open to anyone attending school or living in Maryland and has eight sections based on age and skill level.

The registration fee is $45 for all sections, and winners get to participate in National tournaments. 

Annual Maryland opens

The Maryland Opens tournament aims to provide friendly matches for all the participants. This annual event takes place in Linthicum. 

Heights, Maryland. The 67th annual event was held on July 15, 2022, with four sections, U2200, U2000, U1800, and U1600, with a cash prize of over 1,500 dollars in each section.

The annual entrance fee is 114 dollars.

Chess shops in Maryland

If you are looking to get a new chess set or are a beginner and don’t know where to start, many shops are available to help you begin your journey. 

Some of the chess shops include:

Games shop

Titan Games and hobbies.

This shop, conveniently located off I-83 and I-695, is your one-stop shop for anything chess-related. It is your go-to area if you’re in Baltimore to get an excellent chess set. Whether you are a beginner or an expert, they have stocked chess boards of all kinds that way; you’re sure of getting something that matches your aesthetic.

Suppose you are looking for casual or competitive challenges. In that case, the Titan Games and Hobbies game shop often hosts events where people come together to celebrate and compete in their tournaments. Available games include chess matches of different styles. 

Canton Games

Canton Game is a local game store that boasts of creating a friendly environment for all its customers. This store, frequented by collectors, offers competitive prices for chess sets, giving you excellent equipment for less money. If you have a chess set and are looking to replace it with something modern, you can turn it in here, where they will buy it from you; that way, you can get a new one.

Maryland flag
Jenna Ostria
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