Chess in Texas | Ultimate Guide

Are you a chess enthusiast living in Texas? The lone star state is one of the best places to be, regardless of your chess prowess.

Read on to learn more about the chess scene in Texas, the tournaments you can participate in, and where to go when you want to get started in the chess world.

Texas Map and chess pieces

For a start, it’s important to mention the diverse nature of chess in Texas. Depending on where you are in the State, there’s likely a chess club or even group near you. These groups comprise both the older and younger generations as well.

This unique dynamic means you can practice your chess-playing skills against players with different approaches. Ultimately, this will help you build your playing ability while also exposing you to numerous strategies and techniques.

Chess History in Texas

Texas currently holds the bragging rights to having the most local chess members in any state. According to official records, the game was introduced in the State more than 80 years ago. It wasn’t until the turn of the century, however, that Texas became the chess hub.

Old photo of chess players in a tournament

As a strategy to recruit more students into regional tertiary schools, universities started scouting for young talented players. These universities would then grant scholarships to elite chess players from all around the world.

This simple yet insightful practice skyrocketed Texas in the college chess championships. Afterward, these same players could dominate the world of chess, with more than a few getting global acclaim and accompanying accolades.

Chess Grandmasters from Texas

From the information above, it’s easy to deduce why Texas is the home of chess to many. The State not only has some of the best resources and clubs, but it has also etched its name on the most lucrative chess achievement in the world.

Chess Grandmaster Alejandro Ramirez is arguably one of the best-decorated chess players from Texas. As the name suggests, Alejandro is a world-renown chess player with experience from the premier chess body.

With rich roots in Costa Rica, Alejandro settled down in Richardson, Texas. He currently holds the penultimate position for the youngest players to become Grandmasters. In addition, he is the first to do so from a Central American heritage.

Alejandro Ramirez is one of many well-recognized players of the board game to hail from Texas. Some of the other prolific chess players from the State include Aleksander Mista, Alexander Onischuk, Jeffery Xiong, Ruifeng Li, and many others.  

It is noteworthy to mention that all the above-listed Texan chess players have the National Masters title. Moreover, these names paint the diversity in Texas chess as they represent the overall picture and scene of the board game in the entire State.

Chess Tournaments in Texas

The thriving State of Texan chess translates to numerous playing opportunities. Despite your age or skill level, there’s a high likelihood you’ll find the right competition for you. Below are but a few competitive avenues for playing chess.

Boards set up for a chess club or chess competition

If you wish to learn about more opportunities in the same space, the Texas Chess Association is an excellent resource center. That said, here are the top chess tournaments in Texas;

  • US Class Championships – This annual tournament is usually held in Houston between the 23rd and 25th of July. All Grandmasters and International Masters can enroll in the championship for free.
  • Texas State Scholastic Chess Championships – This academic chess event normally happens in early April every year. However, it is worth mentioning that it is only open to Texas residents.
  • Texas State and Amateur Championships – Arguably one of the largest chess tournaments in the State, this event happens every year from May 28 to 31.

Texan Chess Shops

Knowing where to get everything you need is a vital first step if you’re new to chess. Luckily y for you, Texas has several chess shops. These shops are ideal whether you’re looking to purchase or invest in a new chess board, upgrade an old one, or even get select chess pieces and paraphernalia as well.

Older man in a chess shop

The leading chess shops in Texas are;

  • Ettin Games – This Houston-based chess shop is a great place to check if you want a great first chess set. The flocking number of returning customers paints a picture of reliance and keen knowledge of the board game.
  • Knight Watch Games – This chess shop is based in the San Antonio area. It is one of the best local spots to get a new chessboard or replace missing pieces from your set.
  • Common Ground Games – This shop is based in Dallas and has been consistently ranked as a premier chess shop in Texas. Whether you want a unique and personalized chess set or a gifting idea, this is the right place to start.
  • Game Vault: Game Store & Café – This modern shop is based in El Paso, and their experiences and knowledge about chess are simply unmatched.

Texas Chess Guide

If you are living in or relocating to Texas and new to the game of chess, you couldn’t have a better State to develop and grow your playing skills. As noted severally, Texas has one of the most diverse chess platforms in the country and possibly further.

Texas chess collage of images

With a quick search, you’ll know all about the different clubs and numerous playing opportunities. The State has put a keen watch on the board game. You’ll find someone to teach you, practice with, and compete against regardless of your playing level.

Major Chess Clubs in Texas

Finding a chess club is arguably the quickest and most effective way of learning the board game. Are you on the search for the perfect chess club? These options should do the trick;

Mixed group of people playing chess
  • The Dallas Chess Club – This famous chess club is one of the best places to start, as they have everything you need to excel in chess. The club is no stranger to some of the world’s top chess players, like Alejandro Ramirez.
  • The Texas A&M Chess Club – This group is based at Texas A&M University. It also has an active social media presence catering to members who can’t physically attend the club.
  • The Texas Chess Center – If you are new to chess, this is the right place to upscale your skills. The chess academy is focused on training players and helping them develop key playing skills.
  • The Irving Chess Meetup Group – This group is based in Irving is accepts players of all ranks and skills.
  • The San Antonio Chess Club – If you are in the San Antonio area and its environs, this club is a treasure trove full of chess resources.

As a chess player, you want to live in the heart of the game. In this case, that is Texas. While the State is huge, the chess clubs and playing opportunities are numerous and well-spread throughout the local areas.

Build your chess-playing skills today by trying out some of the Texan resources mentioned above.

Jenna Ostria
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