There are several major youth tournaments on the annual schedule in Illinois.

Illinois K-8 Championship. This event is normally held in March, and in recent years has attracted from 600 to 800 participants. Kids play in four grade divisions: K-1, 2-3, 4-5, and 6-8. This event is usually upstate one academic year and downstate the next. Trophies are awarded for both individual and school team performances (the top four scorers per team are counted towards the team award). The event is always listed on ICA’s Events page.

Illinois All-Grade Championship. This event is normally held in November and usually attracts 300 to 500 players. It is open to players in Grades K-12, and participants play only against others in their same grade. The All-Grade also alternates between upstate and downstate, usually on a staggered system with the K-8 Championship, so that one of the two is held in each region of the state each year. Like the K-8, awards are given for both individual and school team performances. The event is always listed on ICA’s Events page.

Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Team Championship. This team tournament is normally held the second week of February and marks the culmination of the statewide high school season. In 2010, 130 high schools fielded 8-person teams, and total attendance exceeded 1,100. For more information, see

Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) Championship. This event is new to Illinois, making its debut in February, 2011. It will be open to players in grades 5-8. The event is individually-paired by board position, and there will be both individual and team awards. Tournament organizers expect attendance to exceed 1,000. For more information, see

Denker Qualifier (Illinois High School Individual Invitational Championship). This is a small invitational event held in March or April whose winner goes on to represent Illinois at the national Denker Tournament of High School Champions. All Illinois high school players rated 2000 or higher are invited. Additionally, the top performer at the Illinois Chess Coaches Association individual championship, generally held in February, is also invited.

Illinois Girls Qualifier (for Nationals). In recent years, this has been either an open event or a small invitational round robin, generally held in March or April. The tournament format for 2011 has not yet been decided. The winner of the event goes on to represent Illinois at a national girls’ event.

Other high school events are listed on the website of the Illinois Chess Coaches Association. See