Join a Chess Club

Playing online is very popular, but there is still something different about playing in-person or OTB (over-the-board). To improve at chess, and participate in tournaments, you need to develop OTB play, and joining a chess club is your best option. You also have the opportunity to represent your club in inter-club matches.

School Chess Clubs

If your school runs a chess club, you should join if you can. You may be able to attend a chess club at a neighbouring school if there is a before- or after-school chess club. Some schools with a shared relationship may allow you to attend a chess club at their school during school time. Some school care programmes and holiday programmes like SKIDS may run a chess club. And some GATE programmes like MindPlus may offer chess. Investigate your options.

University Chess Clubs

If you are a university student you should attend your local university chess club. Students who are serious about developing their chess willalso often join an adult chess club.

University chess clubs are often open to former, and intending students, or to anyone interested in chess.

Adult Chess Clubs

While we say adult, these clubs are open to all-ages. If you are a student, the club may offer a Junior session at an earlier time, or on a different day. Large clubs may restrict students to the Junior sessions until they reach a sufficient level of skill to play with the adults. You can often pay for junior sessions without joining the club.

If you are in Auckland then you have a choice from a wide range of chess clubs. All are very fine clubs. You would normally choose the closest club, that meets on a day of the week that you are free to attend. Some very keen chess players, including students, will join more than one chess club.

In Auckland students (and some adults) tend to go the chess club with the strongest players. Which club this is changes from year to year. Currently this is the Auckland Chess Centre. This is a mistake. Unless you are one of the top 10 (student) players in the country, you will receieve excellent training and strong opposition at any Auckland chess club. Indeed, by crowding into one chess club you have less chance of playing strong players and less chance to get personal attention and coaching. Instead choose a local chess club. If the Auckland Chess Centre is your local club consider joining the Waitakere Chess Club instead, which is close by.

Outside of Auckland you are usually limited to a single local chess club for OTB play.


Chess clubs have not been meeting in person unless at Covid Alert Level 1 but this has now changed. With the new Covid Traffic Light system chess clubs are choosing to open. Each chess club chooses its own conditions for opening for OTB play. You can expect to be required to have a vaccine pass unless you can show you are less than 12 years 3 months old.

You should check with each club, on their website if they have one, as to whether they are meeting and what restrictions are imposed.

Auckland Chess Clubs

ChessPower List | NZCF List

Chess Clubs Outside Auckland

ChessPower List | NZCF List

University chess clubs

School Chess Clubs with Open Entry

Schools are not opening their chess clubs to outside students while covid restrictions are in place. Check here each term for updates.