Playing Chess in New Mexico – The Ultimate Guide

In this guide, we’ll look at playing chess in New Mexico. Highlighting the resources, clubs and shops that residents and visitors alike can enjoy here.

The game of chess was first thought up in ancient Persia. Since then it has steadily grown to become one of the world’s most popular games of skill and strategy.

Chess in New Mexico state map and chess pieces

Chess has many advantages that make it so widely appealing. Not least because of its accessibility and minimal outlay.

All you need to get started in your chess career is a simple checked board and the required pieces. In recent times the game has seen a resurgence in popularity as people increasingly realize the various benefits of taking up the game.

Whoever and wherever you are, chess can positively influence your life.

Chess in New Mexico

New Mexico, also known as the Land of Enchantment, is a southern state right next to Texas. It sits on the United States border with Mexico. Since European settlers came into the area in the late 16th century, the game of chess has been a firm fixture in the state, with thousands of people playing the game here every day. 

Red chess piece in a New Mexico map

Today, the game remains one of the most popular in the state. And it seems to be gaining new converts with each passing day. In New Mexico, the game is seeing a resurgence in popularity.

Chess Masters in New Mexico

New Mexico is blessed with an active chess scene comprising some of the best chess players in the country. No matter your skill level, you can be sure of finding someone to practice with. Learn from, compete against, or play a casual game of chess with. With each passing day, new players are taking up the game for the first time, which means that we can expect New Mexico to be a strong chess state for a long time.

Plenty of top-flight players in New Mexico offer stiff competition to players within and outside the state itself. The New Mexico Chess Organization provides a comprehensive listing of all the rated players in the county.

If you check out the website, you’ll find a flourishing forum where chess enthusiasts can chat and discuss the game with one another, sharing tips and helpful advice. In this way, the site and forum play a major role in promoting the game of chess among the state’s population. 

Chess master in play

Some of the most notable chess players in New Mexico include such notable figures as Jesse Kraai. Who is arguably the state’s most famous player. While he now resides in Maryland, he is a native of New Mexico and established himself as a world-class chess Grandmaster player while still a resident here. 

Aside from Jesse, other notable chess pros in New Mexico are rated National Masters and include such names as Benjamin Coraretti and Robert W. Haines.

You’ll also find a plethora of Candidate Masters that include Matthew M. Grinberg, Corbin Gustafson, Matthew M. Grinberg, and more.

According to the United States Chess Federation, more than 118 chess players in New Mexico are qualified for official ratings.

Chess Clubs in New Mexico

New Mexico has a wealth of chess clubs and communities you can participate with. Including some of the most well-established and accomplished in the country.

Despite their high profiles, not all chess clubs require membership or registration for you to participate. Since the overriding objective for most of these organizations is to try and spread the game of chess in their communities. More often than not, you’ll find that their doors are open to anyone curious about the game.

Some notable chess clubs in New Mexico include:

Mixed group of people playing chess

The Santa Fe Rooks

This club has been a fixture of the Santa Fe region as a focus of the vibrant chess community here, and it continues to be a great proponent of the game in New Mexico. Every month, you’ll find regular tournaments being held at the club, where players and enthusiasts of all skill levels and demographics can come together to enjoy their passion.

Hub City Chess

The Belen Public Library regularly hosts meetings of the Hub City Chess Club. A well-established chess club in Belen, New Mexico. This club was set up to provide an avenue for chess enthusiasts to come together in a welcoming environment and explore their love and passion for the game of chess.

As part of their efforts, they make it a special point to reach out to schools and social clubs where younger generations can be introduced to and shown what chess is all about, hoping that they’ll develop an interest in the game. 

The Alamogordo Chess Club

Every Monday from 4 pm to 7 pm, the Plateau Espresso located in Alamogordo hosts chess meetings of this club.

The club welcomes chess enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels to participate in casual and competitive gameplay. Where you can participate in the proceedings or observe the game of chess being played.

Chess Tournaments and Events in New Mexico

If you have a passion for chess, you’ll definitely want to attend or participate in chess events while in New Mexico.

You won’t have anything to worry about because New Mexico has a vibrant chess scene where there’s always something going on. You’ll find events taking place on a weekly, monthly, annual, or seasonal basis. They are constantly being organized by chess clubs, societies, social clubs, and so on. 

Modern chess tournament

It’s important to note that tournament schedules largely depend on their organizers, meaning that they sometimes shift in dates. The best way to figure out when and where an event will take place is to visit the organizing entity or their site online. Even so, some prominent events and tournaments on the New Mexico calendar include:

  • The Empire Chess Open: Every year in September, the Ramada Hotel in Alberquerque plays host to the Empire Chess Open. Which is a chess event that opens up its doors to players of all skill levels or rankings to participate. As long as you wish to test your skill against fellow players. You’re welcome to register your name or the tournament.
  • John Michael Baca Memorial and Senior Championship: The Meadowlark Senior Center, located in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, is the site of the annual John Michael Baca Memorial and Senior Championship. The tournament is set up in remembrance of John Baca. Who was a keen chess enthusiast and patron of the game in his time. It is open to senior players with high ratings or skill levels. Making it one of the most competitive tournaments held in New Mexico each year. If you’re in the mood to participate in or witness high-level chess being played in New Mexico. This event will definitely be a treat. 

Chess Shops in New Mexico

Before you get into the chess world, you’ll need to have the proper chess equipment.

While the chess game does not require much in terms of supplies (a simple board and pieces are all you need). There is a vast array of different designs, materials, and qualities for you to choose from. 

Whether you’re in the market for a simple set to get you started on your chess journey. Or an ornamental set to symbolize your love for the game. There are plenty of outlets in New Mexico that will take care of your needs. Some of the best chess shops in New Mexico include:

New Mexico Chess Shops

Old Town Hobbies and Games

This outlet has made a name for itself as being the go-to place for people hoping to find a place where they can enjoy the company of fellow enthusiasts in a welcoming environment. Their inventory is remarkably well-stocked. Carrying games ranging all the way from obscure games such as backgammon and Go to newer releases such as the latest RPGs.

Moon Rabbit Toys LLC

With its location in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Moon Rabbit LLC is one of the leading sports and hobbies outlets in the state. It boasts having one of the widest selections of sports and gaming equipment.

Ettin Games ABQ

If you’re ever in Albuquerque, you’ll definitely want to visit Ettin Games ABQ for all your gaming needs. Aside from their selection of various gaming types. They have established a reputation for keeping relatively rare and hard-to-find games in stock. Making it a great place to shop for specialty items and novelty games that you won’t find anywhere else.

Borderlands Gaming LLC

New Mexico’s La Cruces community has not been left behind in the state’s vibrant chess scene. Borderlands gaming has dedicated itself to providing all the gaming needs the community might require. And it does its job admirably well. With well-stocked shelves, friendly staff, and a welcoming community of customers and enthusiasts.

Final Thoughts on Chess in New Mexico

As the internet continues to bring people closer together. It allows people from different corners of the world to connect with one another instantly. Due to this, chess looks set to keep growing in popularity. 

Chess in New Mexico Road sign

Wherever you are in New Mexico. You can be sure to find somewhere you can play the game of chess and someone to play it with.

It doesn’t matter what skill level you’re playing at, how old you are, or where you’re from. Wherever you are and whoever you are, you’ll find a warm welcome in New Mexico’s chess scene.

Jenna Ostria
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