Chess in New York | Ultimate Guide to Chess in the Big Apple

Let’s explore what it means to learn and play chess in New York, one of the world’s most iconic cities. 

Chess has undergone a resurgence of popularity in the United States. Especially since the explosion of online matches made it possible for people to play against opponents from all over the country, if not the whole world.

Chess in New York - Chess area New York Map

More people are realizing the advantages that the game of chess brings with it. Concerning intellectual development, strategic thinking, attention span development, and overall fun. 

New York, in particular, is at the epicenter of this trend. With countless chess clubs, initiatives, programs, classes, tournaments, and centers dedicated to providing people with the opportunity to learn, practice, and compete in the game.

Playing Chess in New York State

While chess has a long history of being an intellectual, genteel pursuit. New York has the well-earned reputation of being a highly competitive and challenging place to live, work and play.

 Chess Table in New York park

This is most evident in the street chess scene found in and around the numerous parks in the state. Including Washington Square Park, Union Square Park, Bryant Park, and the world-famous Central Park. 

If you don’t mind the mildly aggressive trash-talk of the street hustlers playing the game outdoors. In which case, you can pay a visit to any of the thousands of public libraries, chess centers, and other public and private facilities that offer their facilities for free or at a nominal cost.

Whatever your skill level, budget, or location. New York is a State where you’ll never be too far away from a chess board you can use.

Chess in the park

Chess Grandmasters in New York

As you might imagine, a state as heavily populated as New York is home to thousands of ranked chess players.

While it’s not easy to quantify how many world-class players were born here. The reality of immigration and relocation today means that this metric is more or less irrelevant.

You can find Grandmasters of the game playing chess on random street corners. Or at the most prestigious tournaments in the world while in the Big Apple.

There are some notable Grandmasters. Such as Tani Adewumi, a chess prodigy who achieved the rank at the tender age of ten through hard work and consistency.

Chess in New York Grand masters

Another notable chess personage from New York is Maurice Ashley. A US Chess Hall of Fame inductee who is most noted for being the first Jamaican-American chess player to attain the title of Grandmaster. 

Whatever your skill level, you can be sure that there will be opponents to challenge you and help you grow.

Chess Tournaments Taking Place in New York

You’ll find that New York has a vibrant, competitive chess scene with multiple tournaments, events, and championships.

This makes it a great place for players looking for opportunities to sharpen and grow their skills. Competing against talented opponents, is often the best way to improve and grow your game.

Different organizations and associations, such as The United States Chess Federation, conduct different functions at the local, state, and national levels. Events scheduled to take place in the coming months and into the next year are numerous and include the following:

New York Chess tournament

Sunday Chess Tournament

This is a Heritage event held every weekend on Sunday evening. And this rated chess event allows players to measure themselves against their peers and build up their skills and strategies.

Sunday Rapid All-Ages Tournament

This regional tournament is held in West Hampstead by Chess Father LLC. It provides another great opportunity for mid to low-level players looking for opportunities to hone their skills.

Annual New York State Women’s Championship

This State Championship event is part of the US Chess Junior Grand Prix. And is organized by the Chess Center of New York.

The tournament allows talented players to make their mark on the statewide and national scene by matching up against FIDE-rated players.

Annual State Scholastic Championship

This State Championship Event is part of the Junior Grand, Heritage, and American Classic series.

The tournament is hosted in Saratoga Springs every year by the Continental Chess Association.

It is unique because it allows the presence of out-of-state competitors, even though this is a somewhat scholastic event.

Chess Clubs and Shops Based in New York

Chess calls for the right equipment and optimal practice and learning facilities like any other skilled pursuit.

This means finding places where you can get the best quality chess sets and learning materials. As well as locations where you can meet fellow learners and players who can help you practice and learn. 

The good news for chess enthusiasts in New York is that there are multiple places dotted around the state where you can find both.

Chess shop

These are locations where all levels of learners and players are welcome. Here they can find the tools and people they need to succeed as chess players.

Whether you are a seasoned expert or an absolute beginner. You should be sure to check out any one of these places whenever you get the chance:

Washington Square Park Chess

This is considered one of New York’s most popular chess hotspots. Attracting hundreds of people each day who wish to learn, practice, or simply watch excellent chase being played.

The chess center is located in the southwest corner of the park. Here you can find experts willing to give you cheap lessons or play a game with you for as little as $5 per session.

The Chess Forum

According to the proprietors of The Chess Forum, this is the ‘Last Great Chess Store’ in New York.

Whether their assertion is true may be subjective but their online reviews are excellent. There’s no doubt that this is one of the State’s best and most well-established chess centers. It’s been in operation for many decades and still maintains a historic feel.

The Chess Forum in New York

You’ll find various board games besides chess for you to play or purchase here. All the way from Mahjong to Backgammon. At The Chess Forum, you can hop in for a quick pickup game of chess for $5. It’s just $1 for senior citizens, and at no cost for children!  

The Marshall Chess Club

Chess has been a popular pastime in New York since the first settlers arrived. And you’ll find plenty of places where chess has been played for decades, if not centuries. 

The Marshall Chess Club was first opened up in 1915. Making it one of the oldest chess clubs in the United States.

This is one of the best places to attend major tournaments, championships, and exhibitions. But they also offer an assortment of classes and workshops for players of all levels.

You can choose from their GM School, Saturday Junior Chess Class, Adult Classes, or Private Instructions at their Greenwich Village location, depending on what you’re looking for.  

Chess NYC 

New York doesn’t leave the children behind when it comes to chess. Chess NYC is specifically geared towards generating and cultivating a chess-playing culture among the younger generations. It does a good job of this by providing an environment that makes the game interesting and exciting for them. 

They have numerous locations across the state offering evening, afterschool, and summer programs. Even if you don’t consider yourself on the young side anymore, you needn’t worry, as Chess NYC also offers private tutoring and classes for adults.

Chess at New York Public Library

Far from being a game for the elite. Chess is a pursuit that should be open to anyone and everyone interested in learning about it.

While this might not have been the reality in olden times, it certainly is today’s attitude. Exemplified by facilities such as the New York Public Library.

The library system has taken it upon itself to provide a cost-free, accessible, and effective place for people of all ages and walks of life to learn and improve their chess skills. 

The New York Public Library system has locations all over the state and holds various classes, events, and programs available to the public for free.

Visitors of all ages can walk into any library and sign up for the classes or events being held there. You only need to consult the New York Public Library’s calendar for the information you need to find out when and where the next events will be taking place.

Final Thoughts on Chess in New York

The United States of today is a wonderful place to learn the game of chess and develop your skills further.

New York has endless resources, locations, and events for those interested in the game. And it’s a welcoming environment for young and old chess enthusiasts alike.

If you have a passion or a budding interest in chess. Either as a hobby or as a potentially professional pursuit. You’re sure to find everything you need to achieve your dreams by playing chess in New York.

If you enjoyed this article then you may also like our guide on playing chess in Washington D.C.

Jenna Ostria
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