Are you a fan of chess and happen to be living in or around the great Alabama state? While the Yellowhammer state is not as densely populated as other regions of the country, it still has an active chess life. Read on for more on the definitive guide to playing chess in Alabama.
Below, we’ll cover everything you need to know, from where to get chess supplies, possible chess clubs and groups you can join, and tournaments to test and develop your chess-playing skills.
Alabama sits in the 24th position in populous state data. While this may sound generally high on the list, the State has one of the largest land sizes. This translates to a few cities which are densely populated, with most of the other areas used for varying purposes.
The population distribution has had an impact on the state of chess in Alabama. In many cases, you’ll find that most high schools, universities, and other tertiary institutions have a chess team. This means chess players in the Yellowhammer state start developing key skills from a relatively young age.
If you are a parent looking to introduce your young one to the board game, Alabama is a place worth considering. The younger generation’s exposure to chess also helps kids develop critical thinking, analytical, and decision-making skills.
Chess History in Alabama
A few notable chess legends can trace their roots back to Alabama and helped to put it on the map. This, however, is not widely reflected in the state’s history. One of the stories that have shaped the trajectory of chess in Alabama is that of Stuart Rachels.
Rachels was at one point the youngest candidate to hold the U.S chess master title. By the time he was breaking chess records, Stuart was only 11 years old. He would continue with a successful chess career as well as be a philosophy professor at the University of Alabama.
This case points to just how prominent chess is, especially in Alabama learning institutions. The earliest mentions of the board game in this state date as far back as the 1830s. This was around the time when chess clubs like the Huntsville Chess Club were created.
Today, this strong historical background in chess has helped solidify its presence in the Yellowhammer state. You can find a wide diversity of players, most of who are proficient as they have been learning the board game from a young age. Playing against chess enthusiasts in Alabama is a great way to elevate your game quickly.
Chess Grandmasters in Alabama
It is evident that Alabama is a great place to be if you want to develop your chess-playing skills. The state has produced several notable names who’ve gone on to dominate both the local and regional chess scenes.
Stuart Rachels is perhaps the most notable name on the list. And with good reason, this prodigy took over the chess world at a time when kids were playing in different leagues altogether.
Admittedly, Alabama doesn’t have a lot of documented chess heroes, especially compared to other places like Texas or New York. Nonetheless, some of the standout names to emanate from the State include Scott Varagona, FIDE Master Bradley Denton, Krishin Yerabolu, Jack Lyons, and Joshua Lin.
Alabama Chess Tournaments
As established above, most chess clubs and groups are housed under learning institutions. The few clubs outside schools are in the most populated cities in the State. If you are looking for regular game time, you should really consider joining some of the clubs and groups.
If you wish to participate in a tournament then the Alabama State Chess Championship is the pinnacle of competitive playing in the State. The championship takes place over a full weekend, usually during the tail-end of September.
You can also join the Alabama Chess Federation Facebook page to learn about local and regional tournaments. Given the State’s unique population distributions, this Facebook group is arguably the best way to learn more about events and tournaments in the area.
Chess Shops in Alabama
If you make a move to the area, one of the first things to do is make sure you know where the major chess shops are located. These are a great idea if you need to restock, invest in a new chess board, or get someone a unique birthday present.
If you are in Alabama, the House of Staunton is probably the best place to start. The chess shop is located in Huntsville, at 288 Dunlop Boulevard. They have an active social media presence and are very responsive to your queries.
The GamersnGeeks is another ideal hub for all chess lovers in Alabama. This shop has an expansive list of chess boards and other items.
Chess Clubs in Alabama
Most schools and learning institutions have established chess clubs. These clubs often meet up for joint games and tournaments. Joining one of these clubs is a great way to learn more about the age and make new friends.
As the board game gains popularity in the region, more chess clubs and groups are expected to spring up. The aforementioned Facebook group is another helpful resource for anyone in Alabama. Here, you can easily connect with other players and sometimes even arrange tournaments. A popular club is the Huntsville Chess Club which offers something for both the serious or newer player.
Chess is one of the most popular board games played all the area. The small club sizes ensure you have more than enough time to develop your skills and take your playing ability to the next level.
Alabama Chess Guide
If you are contemplating moving to Alabama and wondering about the chess culture, we can put your mind at ease. Despite what many people may think, the chess scene in Alabama is a thriving one. You will definitely find competitive players who’ll give you a run for your money while helping you advance your skills.
The best chance to easily integrate into the chess community in Alabama is by joining one of the many Facebook groups. This will give you an idea of all tournaments and chess events in the region.
In addition, if you can find local clubs in your area, you should join them as well. Check to the Alabama Chess Federation too!
If you are moving with kids, look for a school with a thriving chess culture. This will position your child to learn great skills from some of the best players within and beyond the country.