Chess in Ohio | Board Games in the Buckeye State

Ohio is a particularly welcoming state for chess players. Whether you’re a permanent resident of the state or a visitor just passing through. You’ll find plenty of opportunities to indulge in your passion for the game.

To help guide you through the chess landscape here. This piece will outline some of the resources available to all chess enthusiasts. 

Ohio state map and chess pieces

These include some of the chess clubs and chess shops in the state. Also some of the tournaments and events you can hope to attend here.

Chess ranks among the world’s most loved and widely played board games. With millions of enthusiasts all over the world. In every country you can think of, you will find chess players. Making it a game that promotes sociability and community as you can always find someone to play a game with, wherever you are. Since the game’s origins in ancient Persia, chess has grown in leaps and bounds. And it is particularly well-established in the United States.

The world we live in has greatly contributed to the resurgence of the game on a global scale. Especially among younger generations that might otherwise have not taken up the game. It’s now possible to make an instant connection with fellow players from opposite ends of the earth and enjoy a game of chess with them.

While this piece may not be able to cover a hundred percent of all things chess-related in the Buckeye State. It should serve as a useful starting point for anyone hoping to enjoy the game here.

Chess in Ohio

Ohio, The Heart of It All, has a lot more going for it other than its Pro-football and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Since the French settled in the land back in the early 18th century, chess has been a fixture here. The Buckeye State. Nicknamed so in honor of its ubiquitous Ohio buckeye trees. Also has a strong chess tradition that is the envy of the country.

Chess in Ohio Road Sign

The chess scene in Ohio has been growing rapidly over the past five to ten years. And this trend is a reflection of what’s been happening across the United States and beyond.

Wherever you go, you will find new chess players of all ages, backgrounds, races, and genders picking up the game for the first time or rekindling their passion for it. There are plenty of chess clubs, associations, teaching centers, and community facilities that organize various tournaments, exhibitions, and events throughout the year. These occasions allow locals and visitors to learn, play, and compete against one another. 

The state also has a vibrant academic chess scene specifically geared towards younger potential chess players. Especially those in high school and below. By focusing on younger players. The bodies organizing chess activities on a scholastic level hope that they will imbue these generations with an abiding love for the game. 

For this reason, we can expect the chess scene in Ohio to continue on its upward trend as new players are minted with each passing day.  

Chess Masters in Ohio

Ohio is blessed with plenty of high-level chess talent that manages to be competitive on a national and global scale.

distinguished man playing chess

Regardless of your skill level, you will find players that are able to challenge you and help you grow as a player.

At the very top of the list of notable chess players here, you will find names such as FM Jason Wand. FM Christoper Shen, Dr Pratik Shriwas, FM Arvind Jayaraman, IM Calvin Blocker, MR. Will Sedlar, and more.  

Chess Clubs in Ohio

Just as it is with any other passion, hobby, or profession. The best way to hone your skills is through practice. As a chess player, the most effective way to do this is to play against other players of similar, if not superior, capabilities.

Discovering where suitable chess clubs and facilities are, however, can be a challenge. Especially if you’re new to the state’s chess scene. 

large group of people playing chess

The good news here is that Ohio has a wealth of such institutions. Meaning that wherever in the state you might find yourself. You’ll never be too far from a place that will accommodate your chess needs.

Here are a few resource centers and clubs you can check out:

Central Chess Club

Every Monday, the Central Chess Club meets up to share their passion for chess. Starting from six thirty in the evening until about ten o’clock.  Their meetings take place at the Hey Hey Bar and Grill. According to their site, this club is dedicated to providing the local communities with the chance to learn, study, and observe the game of chess in a welcoming, encouraging environment. 

They are especially well-known for organizing high-level tournaments that attract some of the best players in the state. Making it a great club to join if you hope to compete against strong competition or learn from watching and interacting with them. 

Discovery Chess Club

This club was founded in 2007 with the aim of providing children with high-level chess training.

The Discovery Chess Club is a non-profit organization They conduct their operations across multiple mediums. Including online classes, group academy classes, individual private lessons, and physical academy classes.

It is operated by a world-class team of talented chess experts, including Kalanithi Bagley (Vice president of the Ohio Chess Association), Grand Master Alexander Shabalov, Grand Master Elshan Moradiabadi, and a vast array of tutors. 

The Cincinnati Chess Club

The CCC is one of Ohio’s most prominent chess clubs and has operated for many years as a vital chess resource for the state’s population.

As an affiliate of the United States Chess Federation. They put their efforts towards giving the Cincinnati community a place to learn and play chess. As well as organizing tournaments and exhibitions. The club hosts meetings each week, with the dates, times, and locations being determined by the club’s officials. 

The Ohio State University Chess Club

As part of its student life, the Ohio State University has instituted a chess club that serves as a place for people to not only learn the game of chess. But also to interact, socialize, and build friendships and connections that will serve them well in their lives.

The club holds weekly meetings and organizes regular tournaments and chess events on various yearly dates. A recent example of the club’s activities was their ‘Challenge a Champion’ event. Which featured Calvin Blocker, an international chess master in Ohio.

He gave a chess lecture via Zoom and invited chess enthusiasts to challenge him over 5-minute games of chess. He would explain his chess strategies and philosophies over the course of the game. Which was of immense value to all who were tuned in.

chess in Ohio - Ohio state flag
Ohio State Flag

Because such resource centers will typically be hosted in residential or commercial centers. You may discover that the nearest such center is a considerable distance away from where you are. If you find yourself at a distance that makes it inconvenient for you to visit such clubs, there are other options you should explore. 

Some of the best places to locate chess programs and clubs anywhere in America are at learning institutions such as colleges and universities.

You can also rely on church groups, libraries, community centers, and other social clubs to involve themselves in the Ohio chess scene, so these are also excellent facilities to check on if you’re hoping to find an active chess society.

Chess Tournaments and Events in Ohio

Whether you hope to find people to teach you the game, practice with, or compete against. Ohio will have plenty of opportunities for you to hone your chess skills. There is always something chess-related happening somewhere in Ohio at any time.

large chess tournament

Leaving aside the seasonal events that may only take place once a year. There are plenty of exhibitions, championships, tournaments, and gatherings that you can rely on to get your chess fix. 

Due to the fact that different organizations will schedule their event according to their own timetable. The best way to figure out when and where you can attend a live chess event is to check the organizing body’s online site. Most associations and clubs will have a social media presence at the very least. 

There are websites that seek to compile comprehensive listings of chess events in Ohio that you can check. These include The Ohio Chess,, Chess24, and more. 

Chess Shops in Ohio

Before you play a chess game, you’ll need the proper equipment. You’ll need little more than a good board and the appropriate pieces.

chess shop

Luckily enough for you, there are plenty of places in Ohio where you can find everything you need, such as the ones listed below:

Ravenstone Games

This sports and hobby store has been a central fixture in the Ohio chess scene. For many years, it has provided chess enthusiasts and gaming fans of all types with a place where they can meet up and share their passion for various board games.

One of the qualities that make them so popular is that they allow visitors to try out the games before making any purchases. Thus attracting players of all types who’re looking for people to play against. If you’re looking for a welcoming, affordable source of all things chess and beyond, this should definitely be your first stop. 

Beyond the Board

This outlet offers fans of chess and other classic board games a ready place to purchase classic and antique board games.

You will find everything you could think of here. From Backgammon to Go and all the accessories that go with them. Beyond the Board will be an especially useful place for people hoping to find something special.

If you’re looking for an ornamental board, a gift set, or something special to show your love for the game, this will be your best bet to find it. 

Trial and Treasures

The name of this center will give you an idea of what to expect once you walk through their doors. They boast a massive inventory of games and boards of all kinds offered up at affordable prices.

Whatever you can think of, the helpful and knowledgeable staff here can be trusted to help take care of you.

Final Thoughts on Chess in Ohio

As people become more and more aware of the benefits that taking up chess comes with. We can expect its popularity to continue rising.

Old Ohio stamp

No matter what age you are, chess play will help boost your cognitive abilities. Increase your problem-solving skills, develop your social skills, encourage teamwork, expand your attention span, and enhance your ability to think strategically.

These skills, while being useful to everyone as we navigate our day-to-day lives. Are particularly advantageous to younger players with their lives ahead of them.

For this reason, you’ll find that educational institutions are at the forefront of various initiatives aimed at inculcating chess habits among younger generations.

The state of Ohio has many positive qualities, and its chess scene ranks as one of them. There are plenty of clubs, shops, centers, events, and other resources here.

Whether you are experienced or not, young or old, you will find everything you need here to develop, advance, and sharpen your chess skills. Should you ever find yourself in Ohio, be sure to check out the resources we’ve outlined here. At the end of the day, be sure to enjoy yourself because that’s the whole point of the game.

Jenna Ostria
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