New Players

Players of all ages and abilities are welcome. Most of our events are United States Chess Federation (USCF) rated events. USCF membership is required to play in club tournaments. USCF membership includes a subscription to Chess Life magazine and access to rated chess tournaments locally. You will receive a provisional rating after playing in your first tournament. We can sign you up.

Rated events are played with a chess clock. The time for each player varies with the event ranging from 5 minutes to several hours for the whole game. The number of games per event varies from 1-20 games a day. Some events are completed in one day and others go for days or even one game a week for a month. In all events you play every round win, lose or draw. We primarily use two tournament systems: "Round Robin" (everyone plays everyone) and "Swiss" where winners are paired with winners and losers with losers to try to generate a clear winner.

You will catch on to how thing works quickly and we will direct you to resources as needed. The Minnesota State Chess Association (MSCA) holds about six major tournaments a year with up to 250 participants. The MSCA and other organizations hold scholastic events which can draw hundreds of players from all over the state. Your USCF membership also gives you access to tournaments across the nation including large tournaments with prize funds reaching $1,000,000. Large events have an international appeal and chess players from around the world attend. Whatever your skill level or competitive spirit, we will help you find the events that will make chess at the Castle a rewarding experience.

There has never been a better time to be involved in a chess club. Modern chess books are released constantly and are now computer checked for accuracy and many are available in e-book format. Advanced chess engines and databases both paid and free are available which adds to the richness of resources available to the modern player. There are endless YouTube videos and thousands of chess players play online 24 hours a day around the world on mobile devices and computers. You can follow live commentary and games of major chess events around the world online. Coaching is available in person and online. The club can help guide you with recommendations. One thing hasn't changed, there is no substitute for a great chess club to help navigate the modern world of chess.

Ready to start? Tuesday night “casual chess” at the Chess Castle is from 6pm until at least 11pm. People just come and go during the evening, pickup games, and chat about whatever (roughly 98.5% about chess, however). It is free the first time around but $3 per evening after that for non-members of the Chess Castle (annual membership is $120 which gives you a discount, normally $5 in every tournament you play in). If you have played tournament chess before, you will be very familiar with the routine, just check our event schedule. Tuesday evening games are not tournament, rated games… strictly casual. If you have not played tournament chess before, remember, most players start as beginners. You will quickly find out how exciting, challenging and fun the game of chess can be. We hope to see you soon!

If you have questions or want more information, please contact Bill Murray:

More information about tournaments and ratings ...

Parents, see our Scholastic Guide ...


If you are interested in lessons we have several fine coaches in the area. They can get you started or improve your chess. They teach all ages and skill levels. Feel free to e-mail them to get the particulars and prices.

GM Mauricio Flores One of three GMs in town. His book " Chess Structures" is excellent.

IM John Bartholomew Famed YouTube star. Full time coach.

IM Alex Balandin Speaks Russian.

NM Mike Fellman

NM Bill Harrison Full time coach. Post-graduate degree in elementary education, 35+ years of chess teaching experience, 30+ State and National Titles won by students!Owner of West Chess (, a 501(c)(3). Payments for chess lessons are a tax deductible education expense!!

NM Nathan Hoover Runs our Exerciser Quads and some youth enrichment programs.

CM Dane Zagar Full time coach. Chess Expert BS in Mathematics and Computer Science and MSCA Treasurer. Employee of West Chess (, a 501(c)(3). Payments for chess lessons are a tax deductible education expense!!

WFM Sima Tsyganova

NM Tim Lee In the western suburbs. Good with kids. He is not 19 :-)

Email: | Phone: (612)-805-3958
7800 Metro Parkway Bloomington MN
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Club Champions