Rockford Chess Challenge - Home Page

The Rockford Scholastic Chess Challenge is a local chess tournament designed especially for clubs and players new to competitive play. The emphasis is always on fun and participation. It is open to all K-8 students in Winnebago and nearby counties including Boone, Stephenson, Ogle, Dekalb, Rock, McHenry, and Green.  

Fun format

The format of the tournament is a proven favorite for scholastic chess tournaments called "Swiss Pairings".  Every player plays each round. No player is eliminated. For each round, players are paired with a student with a similar win/loss record. If a player loses a game, the next round will probably be a little easier. Similarly, if a player wins, the next round will probably be a little tougher. This method tends to ensure challenging and fun chess action for everyone regardless of skill levels. In addition, we've divided the sections so students will play with others within the same age bracket. 

Awards galore!

Part of the fun of being in a tournament is getting an award and we planned *lots* of prizes. At a typical tournament, almost half of the players received either a trophy or medal and the rest received place ribbons.  No child will go home empty-handed.

 We will also have plenty of team trophies. A team score is the sum of the top four scorers from a school within a section. Many schools have received their first chess trophy through the Rockford Chess Challenge.


The Rockford Chess Challenge started in 1998 with 30 students and 3 schools. Cooperation among the scholastic chess clubs has always been marvelous. From the beginning, the vision of the Chess Challenge was to create a tournament that would be a joint celebration of all the school chess clubs and would be fun for all the participants, whether seasoned or just starting out.

Since that modest beginning, Chess Challenge has set new attendance records every year, reflecting the steady growth in our local school chess clubs. The Rockford Chess Challenge is now one of the largest "Locals Only" tournament in the United States.


How your chess club can host the Rockford Chess Challenge

How your chess club can raise money at the Rockford Chess Challenge

Results from past Rockford Chess Challenges

Rockford Chess Challenge Planning