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.

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.

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.

Grade Level Championships

The Grade Level Championships event is a 5-round, 1-day tournament, usually 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.

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

Thunder Chess Academy to provide small group instruction

Thunder Chess Academy provides quality chess instruction for beginners, intermediates and advanced-intermediate players. Thunder Chess offers instruction in a small group format no larger than 12 students. Your child will receive instruction that will prepare him/her to participate in organized scholastic tournaments. Sign-up fee provides for: 1) tournament chess board, 2) Thunder Chess t-shirt, and 3) online curriculum.

Coach JW Holes is certified by the United States Chess Federation as a Level II District Coach. Coach Jay has played tournament chess since the 1990s and is currently ranked in the 85th percentile of players in the United States. Coach Jay first started coaching in 2012 when he founded the very successful chess program at the Greater Cincinnati Chinese School. The program grew to 40+ players and won multiple trophies at Cincinnati’s premier scholastic chess tournament, the Queen City Classic. Coach Jay is an oral cancer survivor who is determined to share his love and passion for the game!

Click here for a Thunder Chess flyer. For more information, see the Thunder Chess Academy Facebook page at

Send inquiries to

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

While the Symmes Library remains closed due to the pandemic, the Symmes Chess Club continues to “meet” and play tournaments online. For information, contact Jeff Davis at

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 is from 6:30 until 8:30 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 has announced that it will resume meeting in person with otb chess on Thursday, May 6. Accordingly the the schedule and time controls for last three online tournaments are: April 15 – G15/0, 3 rounds; April 22 – G5/0, 6 rounds; and April 29 – G10/+2, 4 rounds.  All members are eligible again for prizes in this series.

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 Tornado

The series of Cincinnati Tornado tournaments has been suspended due to the Pandemic. It is not known at this time when the Club will resume the Tornadoes, but it very likely will not be sooner than November.

The Cincinnati Chess Club has initiated a new series of the popular Cincinnati Tornado tournament. This is a one-day, four-round tournament with a time control of G/60;d5 in two sections: Open and U1600. The tournaments are currently being played at the Game Swap, 1065 Reading Road in Mason. The Club intends to have a Tornado approximately every two months. For details see the current flyer linked on this page, which we will post when it is available.

Clermont County Chess Club (rated play, all ages)

The Clermont County Chess Club website is currently inactive and presumably the club is not meeting at this time.

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 will be closed until further notice.

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.