American Chess Weekend: Labor Day Madness Kicks Off
September 2, 2011
GM Varuzhan Akobian will be participating in the Southern California Open, Photo Jennifer Shahade 2008
Labor Day weekend is host to dozens of Grand Prix chess tournaments and State Championships across the United States resulting in what the late Jerry Hanken coined "Labor Day Madness." Each year, CLO posts Labor Day round-ups to offer insight into some of America's most vibrant chess communities. See last year's Labor Round-up Part I, Part II and Part III.

Browse below some of the biggest tournaments taking place this weekend. If you are a player, an organizer or just a kibitzer, send your Labor Day chess tale or favorite game to [email protected] for possible CLO publication. Or reach out to our facebook fan page, or twitter,

IM Irina Krush, Photo Suzy Gorman for CCSCSL
North Carolina
The North Carolina Open takes place from September 2-4th in Charlotte. Award winning writer FM Mike Klein will be covering this event for CLO. He will also contribute a piece to Chess Life Magazine inspired by the North Carolina Open on organizing and growing State Championships. Klein's most recent CLO contribution was on the Charlotte US Chess School

Organizer Gary Newsom told CLO, "Right now we have 6 GM's and 5 IM's committed to play: GMs Shabalov, Kekelidze, Kachieshvilli, Ftacnik, Zapata and Kudrin and IMs Schroer, Matros, Krush, Esserman and Battaglini. We expect 250 or so in a great venue."

Southern California

The 33rd Annual Southern California Open takes off on Saturday Seoptember 3rd at the Crowne Plaze Hotel in San Diego. The $20,000 guaranteed prize fund has attracted 143 pre-registrants including GM and Olympian Varuzhan Akobian and GM Melikset Khachiyan. Local IM Cyrus Lakdawala will also be conducting free post-game analysis for participants.

Ostroslide.jpgNew York
The 133rd New York State Championship kicks off Friday September 2nd in Albany, New York. The event is organized by the Continental Chess Association. Find more details on the CCA page including a list of pre-entrants, which includes IM Jay Bonin and defending New York State Champ Aleksandr Ostrovskiy.

The Arnold Denker Florida State Championship will take place in Naples, Florida from September 3rd-5th. See details on, including a list of preregistered players. Melinda J. Matthews, who most recently wrote an article about the Denker in Orlando , will be contributing thoughts on the event for one of CLO's event round-ups.

The 7th Annual Okie Chess Festival features three sections, a FIDE Open, FIDE Reserve and Booster. There will also be a Fischer-Random Blitz Pizza Party. (See CLO editor Jennifer Shahade's new piece on Fischer Random).  Find complete info on and look for thoughts on this event from Tom Braunlich. Tom has written several popular CLO articles previously including Playoff Theory.

merit-badge-button-badge.jpgNo rest for the weary! While the Saint Louis Chess Club gears up for the opening of the World Chess Hall of Fame, the K v.Q Battle of the Sexes event and the Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge unveiling, they will also host a Labor Day chess weekend chess tournament. Find details on the Saint Louis District Championship on


The 2011 Michigan Open will be held at the McGuires resort in Cadillac, Michigan. Find details on  

New England Open

The 71st New England Open will be held in Leominster, MA from September 3-5th. Look for details on

North California

The 2011 Labor Day Chess Festival goes down at the Golden Gateway Holiday Inn in San Francisco. Look for full details on the TLA.


The 77th Southwest Open is set for Dallas, Texas from Sept. 2-5th. See full details on the Dallas chess club website.


The Illionis Open championship will kick off on Sept. 3 in Oakbrook. GMs Mesgen Amanov and IM Angelo Young are scheduled to participate. Find more detials on
New Jersey

The 65th New Jersey Open Championship stretches from September 3rd to 5th and will be held in Somerset, New Jersey. See full details on the official website  

The 62nd  Colorado Open will be contested from September 3-4 in Greewood Village, Colorado. Find more details on the TLA.


The 67th Ohio Chess Congress takes place from Sept 3-5 in Worthington, Ohio. See full details on the TLA.


The 2011 Louisiana State Championship will be held from Sept 3-5 at the Hilton New Orleans Airport. For more info, see the TLA.

Portland hosts the 60th Oregon Open from Sept 3-5, featuring a guaranteed $3000 prize fund. Find full details on the Portland Chess Club homepage.