Chess leagues provide a remarkable way for players, at any level of skill, to compete against other players. In the break between matches, individuals with shared interest in chess get the opportunity to socialize with other like-minded chess enthusiasts in a competitive environment. For the majority of leagues, anyone can apply and once you sign up, you will undergo a skill test and then you will be placed into the appropriate skill category. Players who are similarly skilled compete on teams; teams face off against each other and they advance based on collective scores.

Chess Leagues

Essentially, chess leagues can be likened to “Friday Night Football.” Events are there in which international players participate and enthusiasts can look on. Nonetheless, they are not as grand as chess tournaments, which could be compared to the Super Bowl. In fact, an increasing number of chess leagues are being inspired by professional sports as it relates to relegation and qualification systems. Currently, they are experiencing growth that has become challenging to organize without a bit of assistance from organizations experienced in handling numerous teams with different levels of skill.

Even if you have no interest in personally playing in a league, you still can enjoy it in the role of a spectator. A number of chess enthusiasts have lots of fun gathering around the chess sets and taking in their favorite players as the players make their way through the rankings. There are some who will even bet on the outcome of the matches. Below are two of the top chess leagues:

• Chess960 World League

• Chess960, is the brainchild of Bobby Fischer, Chess Legend and it is basically a specialized variation of chess. It is also known as Fischer Random Chess and it provides a remarkable way of really expanding your chess skills. Additionally, it enables you to play the game as if it were the very first time. It is intended to retain the classic chess feel but interrupt the classic set of pre-planned and openings moves that became the norm.

Each game starts with the chess pieces not in their usual places but with a set of piece positions that are randomly generated as if the player is coming in during the middle of a game. Players are required to use creative thinking and problem-solving skills to determine the best approach based on how each piece is positioned.

This removes the choice for players to just rely on configurations they already know are effective. They have to react to what is on the chessboard and on the fly, find a good solution. There is no need to sit and attempt to recall a particular defense, the players will need to analyze what is currently happening and react accordingly. This play style makes for a truly interesting and dynamic chess league, for both players and spectators.

• Professional Online Rapid (PRO) Chess League

Known formerly as the USCL or United States Chess League, the PRO Chess League has opened up entry for global teams to join the competition. Since then, there has been an increase in interest and enrollment. In fact, after only 2 years of making the change, the league had to place a restriction on the number of permitted teams. In the initial year, pretty much anyone was permitted to apply; however, the changes were implemented in the second season to put a stop to the chaotic vibe that pervaded the first year. This was done by making qualification requirements a lot higher. From the second season onward, only the most skillful players will be competing to prevent the schedule from being clogged with too many matches.

The very energetic PRO Chess League generates a great deal of interest in the world of professional chess. With the team chants, there are even times when watching a PRO Chess League game is similar to being at a noisy football game. This league is very popular, has quite a number of players and a legion of fans.

These popular leagues have a notable presence in cities around the world. Those who are sufficiently skilled, it is possible to become a part of a team to compete at local branches of these leagues. If your skill level is not apt, you can enjoy your role as a spectator and even acquire some new skills.

Local Leagues

Outside of these two leagues, amateur leagues are consistently forming at the local level. You should keep your ears and eyes open and you could discover a league forming in your local area. Have discussions with other chess enthusiasts to determine whether anything is brewing in your city or town; you may be pleasantly surprised.

If no local chess league is available and you are not up to starting one, there are online options available. Particularly the PRO Chess League is totally based online. If you can satisfy the rigorous qualification and join a team, you could end up competing in a league from the familiarity and comfort of your home. You could actually be in your pajamas and winning league matches.

In addition, you can be a spectator online, in real time, as the matches are played live. You could watch them by yourself on your free time or use the matches as background ‘music’ as you get others things done. Otherwise, you could host a viewing party and make quite an event out of the matches by inviting over a few other chess lovers to enjoy the experience with you.


Chess leagues provide a remarkable method of interacting with the wider chess world, whether you are just a spectator or a notable player. The matches in the top chess league are pretty much always intriguing. Just by watching the players, you will definitely be able to learn a skill or two to enhance your own chess game. Regardless of your preferences, you will find something to suit you. Best of all, you have the option of playing or observing online or in person.

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