Guide to a Successful Chess Club Has Been Updated

Thanks to the hard work of the US Chess Clubs Committee and Executive Board liason Ryan Velez, we are pleased to announce the updated Guide to a Successful Chess Club. It can be downloaded by clicking on this link.


Velez says, “The clubs committee worked very hard on this document over a period of a couple of months. The Guide to a Successful Chess Club gives needed insight and a framework for anyone to start a chess club from scratch.”

The US Chess Clubs Committee is chaired by Judit Sztaray, who can be reached at [email protected]. The Executive Board liaisons are Ryan Velez (primary) and Hal Sprechman (alternate), and the staff liaisons are Dan Lucas and Susan Kantor. The committee members are: Paul M. Covington, Steve Immitt, Sean Manross, Steve Morford, Robin Floyd Ramson, Sophia Rohde, Abel Talamantez, Joey Troy, Chuck M. Unruh, Vish Viswanath.

Some recent activity at the Mechanics Chess Club, a successful chess club indeed.





  1. Updating documents and brochures is nice — of course — but the work of the Clubs Committee should be on increasing the number of affiliates and the number of rated games played each year. Given the new focus — I suppose even casual clubs offering non-rated play should be tallied and counted year to year. Anything else is (relatively) a waste of time.

  2. Existing, over the board adult chess clubs do not need this revised guide. Advice on setting up chess clubs has long been available going back at least to Ken Harkness’ 1957 book Official Chess Handbook approved by the US Chess Federation.

    Two years ago I sent to Carol Meyer and the US Chess Executive Board the following list of suggestions for supporting, sustaining and developing over the board clubs which are the backbone of US Chess. To date nothing of substance has been done to help clubs throughout the United States despite being told by Meyer and the then Executive Board President that the suggestions were worth considering. Two years!! A revised guide for setting up a chess club is off the mark.

    1. Provide assistance creating local club banners/flags for promotional purposes. This might be done by cutting a discount deal with a national online banner producer like Build a Sign to produce a basic, standard template design with the local club’s logo and contact information along with the US Chess logo. Our club has used this company for banners. The full retail cost to us has been around $35 for a 3’x 5’ banner with grommets. If, based on potential volume, US Chess could get agreement to produce banners for $20 to $25, this would benefit local clubs and US Chess.

    2. Provide web based chess instructional materials for new players and intermediate players. This could take different forms. Pdf versions of seminal books on general chess, openings, middlegames and endgames come to mind. Dan Heisman has several books that would be appropriate. There are also ebooks published by Everyman Chess and Gambit that might be provided via a deal with the publishers for use by US Chess members or affiliates. The advantage to this format is that variations can be worked through on the computer/tablet screen without having to set and reset an actual chess board. A few basic books like these could be used as a marketing strategy by both US Chess and the publishers with discounts on other materials subsequently purchased.

    3. Work a deal for instructional chess media materials to be provided online to individual members and affiliates. Chessbase, among others, has numerous basic media in the areas mentioned above that could also be used by Chessbase to market their full range of instructional materials at regular pricing.

    4. Many of the folks I meet don’t have a great deal of discretionary income. It would cost nothing for US Chess to list open source material for chess players to use for recording, storing and analyzing their chess games. Arena Chess is an open source chess data and playing interface that is free for download. There are many chess engines like Stockfish that are free, and which can be easily plugged into the Arena GUI.

    5. Work a deal with a domain provider such as GoDaddy to host a basic web site for local chess clubs. Many local clubs have a presence on Facebook, but there is more functionality with a web site. An example of an excellent local club web site can be found with the Knights Chess Club based in Keene, NH. Their web address is

    6. Templates for publicity flyers and a sample press kit with instructions on how to get local shess news in local and regional newspapers and online media. I have had success getting virtually every event I’ve been involved in here in Northern Vermont for the past three years covered by the Caledonian-Record, our regional newspaper. They want a local tie-in which is easy to do once you get the hang of it.

    7. US Chess Sales/House of Staunton might be induced to provide affiliates with a startup “kit” of chess boards, chessmen and basic chess clocks like the dgt 2001 at cost or perhaps 15% over cost. If a club could purchase five such packages every two to three years, this would greatly help new clubs get up and running and help maintain more established clubs.

    8. Allow an affiliate to direct it’s subscriptions to Chess Life and Kids Chess to their local public library as a way of building chess awareness in the community. The copies could be marked as being donated by the local chess club with contact information.

  3. It would also be nice if State and Local/Regional Affiliates helps promote local clubs rather than hiding them in obscure menus then saying their goal is to help promote local chess.

    • It would also be nice if there were more chess clubs in my state (Connecticut
      ) that had constitutions and democraticly elected officals.

      • Our local club (Toms River Chess Club) has thrived, going from a membership of about 15 to well over 75. There are generally 35 to 40 participants each Thursday night.
        I attribute the strength to our club president, who tirelessly sends out a newsletter via email weekly recapping the previous week’s activity. Communication has been the key, as well as member recognition.
        The club has grown and with its growth more opportunities for participation and activities come about. We have had chess celebrities give lectures and simuls, tournaments several times a year, member lectures and frequent parties.
        All the suggestions by others sound great, and will be considered and many adopted. Thanks for the tips! Bob W.

  4. In the area where I live three new USCF affiliates have come into existence. Only one of the organizers left an E-mail address and a telephone number where he could be contacted.

  5. Since my previous comment another of the newcomers has provided more information, and a tournament will be held at the end of March.

Leave a Comment

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • Announcements

  • US Chess Press