Chess in Tennessee

In Tennessee, the popularity of chess has increased significantly over the last three years. The state has several chess organizations and clubs that help promote the game, including the Tennessee Chess Association(TCA). 

The Tennessee Chess Association (TCA) is a non-profit organization that promotes and supports chess in Tennessee. The TCA was founded in 1971 and is governed by the United States Chess Federation (USCF), the national chess organization in the United States.

Tennessee chess map

The TCA works to promote chess in Tennessee through a variety of programs and initiatives, including:

  • Organizing and sanctioning chess tournaments and other chess-related events
  • Providing resources and support to local chess clubs and organizations
  • Offering chess lessons and instruction for players of all ages and skill levels
  • Providing information about chess in Tennessee, including news, updates, and resources

Clearly the TCA is an important resource for chess players in Tennessee and is a key organization for those interested in the game in the state. 

History of Chess in Tennessee

Chess has a long and storied history in Tennessee, with the game being played in the state since the early 19th century. The first chess club in Tennessee was established in Nashville in 1845, and it quickly became a popular pastime among the city’s intellectuals and elite. In the late 1800s, Tennessee began hosting state chess championships, and the state’s chess scene continued to grow and thrive over the following decades.

Old Tennessee stamp

Throughout the 20th century, Tennessee became a hub for chess activity, with many clubs, tournaments, and organizations dedicated to the game. In the 1950s and 1960s, the state was home to several strong players, including International Master Max Dlugy, who was born in Nashville and later became one of the top players in the world. More recently, chess has continued to thrive in Tennessee. With many local clubs and tournaments being held throughout the state.

In addition to its strong chess culture, Tennessee is also home to a number of chess-related institutions and resources. For example, the World Chess Hall of Fame is located in Memphis, and the state is home to vast chess libraries and collections. To date, chess remains an important and beloved pastime for many in the state.

Tennessee Chess Hall of fame

The World Chess Hall of Fame (WCHOF) chess museum is located in Memphis, Tennessee.

Old photo of chess players in a tournament

The WCHOF was established in 1986 and has since been dedicated to preserving and promoting the history of chess and honoring the achievements of the world’s greatest chess players.

The museum is home to exhibits and collections related to chess, including historical artifacts, chess sets, and artwork.

The WCHOF also hosts events and programs throughout the year, including exhibitions, lectures, and tournaments. In addition, the museum offers educational resources and classes for chess players of all ages and skill levels.

folding antique chess board and set

The WCHOF is an important resource for the chess community in Tennessee and beyond, and it is a popular destination for chess enthusiasts worldwide.

Chess players in the State

There have been many notable chess players from Tennessee over the years. Some of the most famous include:

mysterious chess coach
  • Max Dlugy: Born in Nashville, Dlugy is a former International Master and one of the top chess players in the world. He has won numerous tournaments and has represented the United States in international competitions.
  • Yasser Seirawan: Seirawan is a grandmaster who was born in Damascus, Syria, but grew up in Tennessee. He is a four-time U.S. champion and has won many international tournaments.
  • Curt Collyer: Collyer is a grandmaster and former U.S. Open champion. He was born in Nashville and has been a top player in the state for many years.
  • Ben Finegold: Finegold is a grandmaster and former U.S. Open champion. He grew up in Tennessee and, like Max Dlugy, has represented the United States in international competitions.
  • John Donaldson: Donaldson is a grandmaster and former U.S. Open champion. He grew up in Tennessee and has been a top player in the state for many years.

These are just a few examples of Tennessee’s many talented chess players. The state has a strong chess culture and has produced many talented players over the years.

Where to Learn Chess in Tennessee

There are many options for learning chess in Tennessee. Some options include:

evaluating a chess game
  1. Local chess clubs: Many cities and towns in Tennessee have local chess clubs that offer lessons and instruction for players of all ages and skill levels. You can find a list of chess clubs in Tennessee on the Tennessee Chess Association website (https://www.tchess.org/clubs/).
  2. Online chess courses: There are many online chess courses and resources available that allow you to learn at a comfortable pace from the comfort of your home. Some popular options include Chess.com, the Internet Chess Club, and the Chess Academy.
  3. Private chess coaches: You can also hire a private chess coach to provide personalized instruction and guidance. You can find coaches in your area through online directories or by contacting local chess clubs.
  4. Chess camps and classes: Some schools and community centers in Tennessee offer chess camps and classes for players of all ages. These can be a great way to learn the game in a structured, supportive environment.
  5. Books and videos: Many books and videos can teach you the fundamentals of chess. You can find these resources at your local library, bookstore or online through sites like Amazon.

There are many options for learning chess in Tennessee, and you can choose the one that best fits your needs and goals.

Online Chess Classes

There are many online chess courses and resources available if you’re in Tennessee. Some popular options include:

The 5 Best Online Chess Classes
  1. Chess.com: This comprehensive chess website offers various courses and lessons for players of all ages and skill levels.
  2. The Internet Chess Club: This is an online chess community that offers a variety of lessons and training programs, as well as live games and tournaments.
  3. The Chess Academy: This website offers a range of chess courses and training programs, including beginner’s courses, tactical training, and endgame lessons.
  4. ChessKid: This is a website specifically designed for young chess players, and it offers a range of lessons, puzzles, and games to help kids learn and improve their skills.

In addition to these resources, you can find many individual chess coaches and trainers who offer online lessons. You can find these coaches through online directories or by contacting local chess clubs.

The Chess Community in Tennessee

Many chess clubs in Tennessee cater to players of all ages and skill levels. Some examples include:

A large community chess club

1. Nashville Chess Center 

Located in Nashville, this club offers a variety of chess activities and events, including lessons, tournaments, and casual play.

2.Memphis Chess Club 

Based in Memphis, this club hosts regular meetings and tournaments and offers lessons and other chess-related activities.

3. East Tennessee Chess Club 

Based in Knoxville, this club hosts meetings and tournaments for Knoxville players. It is also one of the reputable clubs offering lessons and hosting chess-related activities in the area.

4. Chattanooga Chess Club 

The Chattanooga Chess Club hosts regular meetings and tournaments. You can contact them to find out if lessons are available as the club offers other chess-related activities.

5. Johnson City Chess Club 

Based in Johnson City, this chess club is a regular hotspot for chess meetings and tournaments. Players can get lessons from other players or club organizers at request. 

Chess Tournaments in Tennessee

Many chess tournaments are held in Tennessee throughout the year, catering to players of all ages and skill levels. Some examples of tournaments in the state include:

Chess tournament in play

1. Tennessee Open

This is an annual state championship tournament held in Nashville. It is open to all players and features both individual and team competitions.

2. Tennessee Chess Association Scholastic Championship 

This is an annual tournament held in Nashville that is open to all students in Tennessee. It features individual and team competitions for various age groups.

3. Memphis Open 

This is an annual tournament held in Memphis that is open to players of all skill levels. It features individual and team competitions, side events, and activities.

4. Nashville Scholastic Championship 

This annual tournament held in Nashville is open to all students in the Nashville area. It features individual and team competitions for various age groups.

5. Knoxville Open 

This annual tournament in Knoxville is open to players of all ages and skill levels. Here, you can participate in individual and team competitions or win prizes in the many side events and activities.

Chess Shops in Tennessee

Tennessee is the home of exclusive chess stores that provide affordable and unique chess items. Whether you are looking to decorate your house with chess items or are looking to get a chess set, they have got you.

Chess Shop graphic

These shops include:

The Chess House

Located in Knoxville, the chess house is an exclusive chess store that offers a variety of chess materials. Whether you are looking for chess books, chess sets, DVDs, or even chess collections, their shelves are stocked with them. 

In addition to being a chess shop, they organize chess-related events such as meetups and tournaments for individuals that would like to interact with other chess players. 

The Chess Store

This store located in Nashville is your go-to place for all your chess needs. Whether you are looking for a wooden chess set, plastic or metal, they have them in stock. They also have chess clocks and chess software to help you improve your game.

The store also has a website where you can order your products without visiting the physical store.

It opens on Monday through Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

The House of Chess

This shop is located in Nashville and sells a wide range of chess sets, books, and other chess-related items. It also offers lessons and other chess-related activities.

Chess USA

This online chess shop sells a wide range of chess sets, books, and other chess-related items. It has a physical location in Nashville.

Chess in Tennessee Conclusion

Tennessee has a strong chess culture and is generally considered a good state for chess lovers. The state has a long history of chess activity, with the first chess club being established in Nashville in 1845. Over the years, Tennessee has become a hub for chess activity, with a number of clubs, tournaments, and organizations dedicated to the game.

Chess in Tennessee graphic

There are many resources available for chess players in Tennessee, including local chess clubs, online chess courses and resources, private chess coaches, chess camps and classes, and books and videos. The state is also home to the World Chess Hall of Fame in Memphis and a number of chess libraries and collections.

Overall, Tennessee is a good state for chess lovers, with a strong chess culture and many resources and opportunities available for players of all ages and skill levels.

Jenna Ostria
Latest posts by Jenna Ostria (see all)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *