Cincinnati Scholastic Chess

Inviting you to enjoy the king of games in the Queen City

Other Opportunities for Enjoying Chess

State Chess Championship Tournaments (scholastic)

The Ohio Scholastic Chess Association oversees five championship tournaments every year, two of which (the Middle School Championships and the High School Championship) are played concurrently at the same site. Typically these four events are played at different sites in Ohio from year to year.

Girls Championship

Only girls may play in the Girls Championship tournament, which is normally played between late February and early May. The Championship section (K-12 Open) plays a two-day schedule, two rounds on Saturday and two on Sunday, with a time control of G/90; +30. Non-championship sections play a one-day schedule on Saturday with a time control of G/30; d5. Cincinnati Scholastic Chess will host the 2019 Ohio Girls Championship on February 23 and 24, 2019. See the All Girls page for details.

Elementary Championships

The Elementary Championships include an Elementary Championship for grades K through 6 and a Primary Championship for grade K through 3. The event is a 5-round, 1-day tournament, normally played between late February and early May with a time control of G/30; d5. Sections include a Primary Championship (K-3), an Elementary Championship (K-6), and non-championship sections as determined by the organizer. The 2019 Elementary Championships tournament will be played on March 30 in Solon, OH. Click here for a flyer. Click here to enter online.

High School and Middle School Championships

These two events are usually conducted together as a single tournament, known in shorthand as the “HSMS” and usually played in March or April, with the High School Championship open to players in grades 9 through 12 and the  Middle School Championship open to players in grades K through 8. The tournament is a 6-round, 2-day tournament with a time control for the High School and Middle Schools Championship sections of G/60; d5 for rounds 1-3 and G/90; d5 for rounds 4-6. Non-championship sections for grades K through 8 and for grades 9 through 12 are typically offered as well, with a time control of G/60; d5 for all rounds. The 2019 HSMS Championships tournament will be played on April 6-7 in Cleveland, OH. Click here for a flyer. Click here for a mail-in registration form. Click here to enter online.

Grade Level Championships

The Grade Level Championships event is a 5-round, 1-day tournament, played on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, with each grade (K through 12) as a distinct section (all players must play in the section for their grade). The time control for grades K through 6 is G/30; d5 for all rounds. The time control for grades 7 through 12 is G/45; d5 for all rounds. The 2018 Grade Level Championships was played on Saturday, November 17, 2018, at Rocky River High School, Rocky River, OH. Click here for results.

For more information about these tournaments, visit the Ohio Scholastic Chess Association website.

Open Chess at the Library (non-rated recreational play, all ages)

The Symmes Township branch of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County offers a program of open play on every Tuesday except for the last Tuesday of the month. Play begins at 6:30 and continues until the last player leaves or the library closes at 9:00 pm. The Symmes library is located on Enyart Road just off Montgomery Road. Originated by one of the CSC founders in January 2006, this program has continuously offered the opportunity for people of any age to drop in whenever they want to play games recreationally, get some coaching from more experienced players, or learn the game from scratch in an informal and unstructured setting.

Cincinnati Chess Club (rated play, all ages)

The Cincinnati Chess Club meets regularly on Thursday nights at the Deer Park Community Center, aka Francis R Healey Community Center (Chamberlin Park), 7640 Plainfield Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236 from 6:30 until 11:00 pm. Players of all ages and skill levels are welcome. Grand Prix Quick Chess tournament on the first Thursday of each month. Four rounds at G/20; d5. Round 1 begins at 7:00 pm. $20 entry fee. See the Cincinnati Chess Club website for complete information.

Cincinnati Open Warm-Up Blitz Tournament

The Cincinnati Chess Club is proud to host the Cincinnati Open Warm-Up Blitz Tournament for Cincinnati Scholastic Chess. Win your free entry into the Cincinnati Open!!

  • Thursday, March 28th — Registration 6:30-7:15 — Round 1 starts at 7:30
  • One section — 6 double round Swiss format — 2 games with each opponent
  • Enter at site —  $20 cash or check only
  • Deer Park Community Center, aka Francis R Healey Community Center (Chamberlin Park), 7640 Plainfield Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45236
  • OPEN 1st place: free entry* to the Cincinnati Open, a $120.00 value
  • OPEN 2nd place: $50
  • U1700 1st place: free entry* to the Cincinnati open, a $120.00 value
  • U1700 2nd place: $50
  • U1300 1st place: $50 dollars

*If you’re already pre-entered into the Cincinnati open and you win 1st place, your entry fee for the Cincinnati open will be refunded.  In case of a tie a 5-minute-to-4 minute blitz playoff will be held with black having 4 minutes and draw odds. A coin toss will decide colors.

1st place prizes guaranteed.  Other prizes based on 20 players.

Not rated, but USCF regular ratings will be used for pairing purposes.

Clermont County Chess Club (rated play, all ages)

The Clermont County Chess Club meets regularly on Tuesday nights in Withamsville beginning at 6:00. Players of all ages and skill levels are welcome. See the Clermont County Chess Club website for complete information.

Dayton Chess Club (rated play, all ages)

The Dayton Chess Club (18 West 5th Street, Dayton) hosts play on most Thursday and Friday nights (whenever it isn’t preempted by a major tournament) and typically offers a Pawn Storm tournament on one Saturday each month when there isn’t any other tournament scheduled at the club for that month. See the Dayton Chess Club website for complete information.

Chess Activity in Other Places

Our site is not an official clearinghouse of chess-related information; we provide information only about events that come to our attention. Listed to the left are a number of links to other websites that might be of interest. By exploring these you might find other opportunities to play or study chess, in the Cincinnati area or elsewhere in and around Ohio.

Looking for lessons?

As a service to the community chess players of all ages, Cincinnati Scholastic Chess seeks to connect players at all levels who are seeking individual instruction with suitable teachers/coaches by listing on this page contact information for those chess teachers and coaches who have elected to make their information available through this medium. The presence of a teacher or coach on this page does not indicate an endorsement or recommendation of that teacher or coach by Cincinnati Scholastic Chess.

Jon Applebee, veteran teacher and coach of numerous school chess programs and summer camps, open to teaching individuals as well as small groups. $40/hour for individual lessons; rate negotiable for small groups.

Blake Baumgartner, USCF Expert, 2013 Ohio High School Champion, peak rating: 2196 USCF. 6+ years’ experience coaching children and adults, ranging from complete beginners to 1800 USCF. An experienced chess player and chess coach, I always aims to assess my students’ strengths and weaknesses and guide them along on their path to improvement to maximize their chess potential. $35/hour for in-person private lesson at my house or for Internet lessons; $35/hour + added travel fee for private lessons at your house (depends on distance).

Carl Boor, National Master/FIDE Master. I am a full-time chess coach who works to serve my students in the most flexible and efficient manner possible.  Please visit:

Daniel Cunningham: I’ve been playing chess competitively for over 20 years. My peak USCF rating is 1867. I can help you improve your chess game so that you can become a stronger tournament player or even if it’s just to beat your friends and family. I’m available for online lessons as well as in-person meetings. My rate is $25 per hour.

Noah Keating-Adams, USCF National Master, can coach anyone from beginner to 1800. Resides in West Chester/Liberty Twp. area, but is willing to drive a reasonable distance. $35 per one-hour lesson.