by Charles Wenger

Are you looking forward to being a member of a great chess club? Even better, do you wish to start your chess club? You just stepped into the right place. We have what it take to choose a chess club as well as build one from scratch.

I know of friendships and partnerships that were forged in chess clubs, never to be broken for lifetimes. When the opposing armies are tearing into each other, it is there where friendships bonds are born.

You simply can’t put value to a well-organized chess club. The experience and people you meet is not anything that can happen in any other place. While in there, you can catch the air of competition as people hatch strategies to bring down a Goliath-like opponent.

It matters less where your skills are in playing chess. For the masters of the game, you will meet equally tough opponents who may make you sweat by your teeth.

If you are beginning, your skills will be sharpened, and very soon you will be waging your battles against the heavyweights. Of course, there is the digital version of chess, but it cannot beat the face-to-face experience where you can literally hear your opponent think aloud.

If you have been searching for the best chess club near you, we have searched and detailed the top list for you. For those unlucky to have no club nearby, we have included the steps and tips for starting a thriving chess club.

And we leave no stone unturned to making sure your decision is easy; we will also tell you what makes a chess club great. In our list, we have covered both informal and formal chess clubs because chess cuts through all social classes and demographics. It knows no age, ethnicity, or skin tone.

For all the ‘Intel’ on chess and its clubs, this is the ultimate read. Small, big, formal, and informal clubs; we will tell you about each one of them.

You can easily find one town. If not, why not take the challenge heads on and start your local chess chapter? So, for those who are looking to join or start their own clubs; this guide has it all.

The World’s Best Chess Clubs by Country

Chess is everywhere. From the winding paths of remote villages to the halls of leafy cities, enthusiasts play in all manner of venues. Who wouldn’t want to play or learn the game of wits in an organized setup? Now you are about to dip your hand into the cookie jar of the best chess club in the world.

The Best Chess Clubs in Australia

Melbourne Chess Club

In the heart of the City of Melbourne is the Melbourne Chess Club. It is located in 62-66 Leicester Street. It takes in players with all range of skills from newbies to pros. There are learning programs for all ages and tournaments in different categories. Are you new to chess and live in the city Melbourne and largely the eastern suburbs? This club will teach you the basics till you become a chess rockstar.

Metropolitan Chess Club

Those in Perth and largely in Western Australia, this is the go-to chess club. It has training programs, tournaments, and an affiliation to the biggest chess bodies in Australia. You can decide to be a member through an annual subscription. The members are in all ranks of skills pooled from both adults and juniors. It is the club for those who are not playing for fun, but want to become chess brand names.

Southern Suburbs Chess Club

For the People of Perth, residents, and visitors, Southern Suburbs Chess Club is the place to learn and play the world’s most renowned game. The club takes in members from all age groups and often organizes tournaments.

Hobson’s Bay Chess Club

In western suburbs of Melbourne, chess enthusiasts can play and learn the game at the prestigious Hobsons Bay Chess Club. The club takes in members as young as 8 years to beyond 60. With a vibrant community boasting of rich chess culture, you do not have to be a master player to fit in here.

The Best Chess Clubs in Belgium


Brussels is Europe’s headquarters. The city houses many professionals and staff for continental institutions. To make the feel at home, Europchess club is there to help them flex their cerebral imaginations. This is a select club for all family and members of those working with European institutions.

The Best Chess Clubs in Canada

Mississauga Chess Club

Canada is not left out of the train of chess. They have Mississauga Chess Club in Ontario, the biggest in the country and with a foothold in the global chess arena. There are segments for each age group. There is no question of your skills in playing chess; everyone is welcome.

Scarborough Chess Club

The community of Scarborough, Toronto, does not have to look far to play chess. In their midst is the Scarborough Chess Club. It is run by volunteers from within the community. There is a seat at the table for adults and kids regardless of their skills level. There are casual games as well as tournaments run by the Chess Federation of Canada.

The Best Chess Clubs in China

The Shanghai Chess Club

The Shanghai Chess Club organizes tournaments every week. It is not only a place to compete but also where you can have fun. Every Thursday a weekly Blitz tournament goes down. You can be a winning challenger, and take home a befitting reward.

The Best Chess Clubs in UAE

Dubai Chess Club

After seeing the wonders of Dubai, what better way to relax than a game of chess? Dubai Chess Club is your gymnasium to flex your brainpower. The club helps nurture local talent and also plays host to global tournaments.

Signature Chess Club

Initiating your kid into chess at an early age is what many parents would want. Thankfully, Signature Chess Club in Dubai is the place your kid can be shaped into a champion. Unfortunately, adults will have to look elsewhere for a game with their equals.

The Best Chess Clubs in India

Alekhine Chess Club

Kolkata, India is a hotbed of chess talent. At the center of the action is Alekhine Chess Club, which has and continues to produce junior champs every year. You can come here to relax, learn, or challenge someone for a game.

The Best Chess Clubs in Germany

Baden-Baden Chess Centre

German is not all about high-end cars; there is also love for chess. Representing the Deutschland to the world of chess is the Baden-Baden Chess Center though it is listed in New Zealand. The center is flying high with success after hosting its first big tournament in 1870. Since then it has hosted mega tournaments that features chess who-is-who names like Karpov, Kasparov, Alekhine, and Anand.

The Best Chess Clubs in New Zealand

Canterbury Chess Club

In New Zealand, the game is on for 2019 and Canterbury Chess Club is where it is going down. If you are in Christchurch or generally south of the island, drop by any time and challenge someone to a game. There is special dedication to junior category, but doesn’t mean you are at the wrong place as a pro. There is a grading system and you get membership/skill badge.

Auckland Chess Center

Are you tired of the fast-moving life of Auckland’s CBD? Auckland Chess Center is just outside the city’s CBD. There you can kick it in with a game of chess. The center organizes a series of tournaments every day of the week and during holidays. The club is the biggest chess venue for all those from north of the island.

The Best Chess Clubs in Russia

World Chess Club Moscow

Who said drinks and chess do not mix? World Chess Club Moscow goes against the grain. As you sip the bar’s cocktails named after global chess champions, you can relax enjoying playing chess the Russia way. Do not leave Moscow without a game of chess because you have no excuse at all.

The Best Chess Clubs in South Africa

African Chess Lounge

The African Chess Lounge is dedicated to spreading the love for chess. Are you in Cape Town and want to play or learn the game of kings? Head to Cape Town City Centre and be part of the action. You will sure get a hell of competition since there are pros in its membership.

The Best Chess Clubs in Thailand

Bangkok Chess Club

The Bangkok Chess Club opens its doors to everyone. Residents, visitors, master chess players, and newbies are welcome. The club is diverse, and the vibrant environment keeps people coming. It is the Bangkok Chess Club Open that places the club’s name on global recognition.

The Best Chess Clubs in the UK

Greater London Chess Club

Central London is home to Greater London Chess Club with a friendly playing environment. It welcomes people in all levels of play. Tournaments are at the city, national and international levels. If you are down to meet equally passionate folks and jog your brain’s muscles; check out GLCC.

Exeter Chess Club

When you are in Devon, and you can’t shake off the itch to play chess, Exeter Chess Club is where you should go. It is a vibrant environment in a chess-loving city. The club has a junior program to help bring up youngsters into playing chess at the highest level.

Metropolitan Chess Club

Metropolitan Chess Club is another reason why London features dominantly in the list of top chess cities. The club nurtures talents as wells as organizing global tournaments. Matches go down at homes and public venues. Newbies can join for free and get training from top coaches.

Battersea Chess Club

London may boast of some of the oldest chess clubs, but it is Battersea Chess Club that cements the city’s spot in the global top chess destinations. For those who love the heat of the game and a drink to put things into perspective; this is the club for you. The club hosts dozens of events and tournament throughout the year.

The Best Chess Clubs in the US

Denver Chess Club

Denver is quite the place to catch fresh air, hike, ski, and climb mountains. That’s great for nature lovers. How about those who prefer exercising- as Blaise Pascal would put it- in their gymnasium of mind? Denver Chess Club is the place for bare-knuckle chess wars. You will meet members in their tender age to those who know the craft like the back of their palms. As you admire the city, so will you nourish your brain muscles.

Louis Chess Club

The US is a chess powerhouse. Leading the charges is the St. Louis Chess Club at the beautiful city of St. Louis and the state of Missouri. It is the best club in the federation and a top contender for the global best chess club medal. The club sponsors a chain of school competitions as well as many national and international tournaments.

San Diego Chess Club

How about a blend of sand, sun, and chess? San Diego Chess Club is the capital of chess on the west coast. Its primary focus is on pro tournaments. Sorry newbies, this is not your club. If you feel that your game is up there with the best, this is the club for you.

Marshall Chess Club

Popularly abbreviated as MCC, Marshall Chess Club is the second oldest in the US. After opening its doors in 1915, it has hosted the high and mighty of the chess world. Nestled in Greenwich Village of New York City, MCC prides itself in hosting what is dubbed as the game of the 20th century in 1956. The game featured Donald Byrne and Bobby Fischer. With such a rich history and passion for chess, this is where you can learn and hone your chess skills.

Chess Club Basics

We have talked about the best chess clubs in the world. But what really constitutes a chess club? How is one club better than the other? What considerations should you make before joining a certain club? If you decide to start your own club, how do you do it? Well, I will be answering all these questions in this section. When we are done here, you will have all you need to tell a good chess club, how to vet each of them, and most importantly the nuts and bolts of starting your club.

A Chess Club: What is it?

I would be lying to tell you we can define a chess club in one way. I will give you the best definition of would-be meanings of a chess club.

If you are a bunch of friends who come together and decide to play chess over the weekend or in the evenings, yours is an informal chess club. Schools also teach kids how to play chess as part of their co-curricular activities.

They form clubs where interested kids can join. On a formal definition, there are those who form membership-driven chess clubs. Such a club would expect prospects to meet certain prerequisites before becoming members. As long as it is a group of individuals who regularly meet for a game, then that qualifies to be a chess club.

How to Choose the Right Chess Club for you

At whatever playing level, you would like to join a chess club that fits into your needs. If you are a newbie, you want an opportunity to learn. If you are a pro, you would like to join a club where you meet your equals. So, what makes a chess club right for you?

Adequate Playtime

You are here to play. A club that gives the opportunity to play is right for you. You want to face your peers, play in domestic games, and tournaments. You want to belong to a family, and playing often is a guarantee for that.

Chance to grow

When you join as a newbie, your expectations are to go up the rating ladder and become a great player. Chess clubs with training programs help you sharpen your tactics, and it is not only good for newbies but also for the pros.

Player Rating

You join a club to play and get better at beating opponents. You need a way to rate your abilities. It motivates you to work hard and possibly get the highest rating. Besides, players can brag being the best.

Diversification of membership

Does all your family play chess? You need a club that can take in you, your kids, wife, and grandparents. A good chess club will draw membership from all genders, age, and all skill levels. Everyone should feel welcome at the tables.

Starting a Club of your own

Do not drop your head when you can’t find a chess club near you. There is always a first for everything. Even the biggest chess clubs were once an idea in someone’s mind. Look how far they have come. The ball is in your court. Start your local club and be part of history. The million-dollar question is: where do you get started with all these?

Talk to like-minded friends

Do your friends share a passion for chess? That is a good starting point. Talk to them about the idea of a chess club. I’m sure they will receive it warmly. If you can get a few of them to buy into the idea, you just beat the first hurdle.

Set and define the rules

Nothing works without rules even among friends. You need a constitution comprising of all the rules, exemptions, and how everything runs. Will you be charging a membership fee? What are the criteria for choosing members? Will you provide all the playing equipment? All the questions and many more should be dealt with before taking any other step forward.

Settle on Venue and Meeting Time

Where will members meet to play? How often will you meet? For starters, games can be played at homes. However, this will not be sustainable as the numbers grow. You can approach your local library or a restaurant for a venue. Schools and bookstores are also potential venues. Go for whatever will be comfortable for most members.

Get the talk out and keep it going

Word is powerful, and you can use it to win members in their droves. Pin posters on public places like bars, libraries, and restaurants. Talk to random people you meet on the way. Tell them about the club and how it is the right place for them to be. You can use social media as well, but it’s the word of mouth that can easily sell your idea.

Keep it lively and entertaining

It is one battle to win members, but totally a different ball game to keep them entertained. Register the club with a relevant chess body to obtain ratings. Organize tournaments as often as possible. Invite big names in chess to motivate your members. Give incentives to those who would like to join. Godspeed, your train to a famous chess club just left the station.


There are loads of benefits for joining a chess club. You meet people as passionate as you. You expand your social circle.

Who knows? You may meet your chess idols and inspire you to become great in your own way. Again, this is a place for the whole family to learn chess basics. To kids, this is an invaluable experience.

 For adults, it is like the adage of iron sharpens iron because you are able to play with people at your level or even better.

Join a club near you and help spread the true gospel of chess. If you have to build a club from square one, we have given you the literary building blocks and tips to be successful.

With an organized club behind your back, your star of becoming a chess master will shine all the way. You can now make a bold step to join or build your own chess club. The ground under you will hold; this article has made sure of that. Go champ, let nothing stop you!

Editor of Level Up Chess and long time chess fanatic. May or may not own more chess sets than one person ever needs (at least that’s what the wife says), but can’t see himself slowing down anytime soon.

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