For Students and Parents

Welcome students and parents! Kentucky has an active scholastic chess community which welcomes players ranging from those just learning the rules to expert players.

If you are brand new to chess, ChessKid (commercial, not endorsed) has a good beginner’s guide to chess (and another for parents) which can teach you the rules. One of the best ways you can learn is to join your school’s chess club. If your school doesn’t have one (or if you are home-schooled), look for public clubs in your area. Playing online on sites like (free) or (commercial) can also be helpful for beginners, because it will match you up against other beginners at your level.

Once you have the basic rules down, it’s time to play in a scholastic tournament. You can find tournaments in your area using our scholastic tournament calendar. The scholastic chess season in Kentucky tends to run from September to April, and almost all tournaments outside the State Championship are beginner-friendly. For most scholastic tournaments, you don’t need to bring your own board or clock. Almost all scholastic tournaments are run using what is called the Swiss System, meaning that you will always get to play all rounds of the tournament, playing harder opponents if you win and easier opponents if you lose.