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Welcome to the Sparta NJ Chess Club Website

Join the Club for Games - Learning - Fun and Friends

We invite you to discover the Game of Chess. Learn the game and improve your skills through casual play and team tournaments. Chess Club meetings run from September through April in Sparta schools. We have also provided fun summer activities.
All levels of experience are welcome.

Why join the Sparta Chess Club?

Whether you join the club to play chess for fun at the Club Level (almost all of our team players started out that way), or take it to the next level and join the Team to participate in competitions, there are many benefits of playing chess. Members of our club have enjoyed making new friends, increased their self confidence, and developed invaluable abilities to focus, think creatively, and problem solve. They’ve demonstrated self reliance, personal pride, good sportsmanship, endurance, and improved their academic skills. Coach Murray provides individual and group instruction.

Achievements To gain experience playing against strong competition, the club participates in state, regional and national competitions. We’ve traveled to 16 states, won 24 NJ Grade Level state titles, and 9 Regional Chess championships in the last 4 years. We are the 2 time defending public school Elementary and Middle School Champions, and the 2015 10th Grade public school National Champions. There are many individual and team success stories.

Fun The club holds local tournaments in the Spring and Fall, celebrates with a giant chess set on National Chess Day, and has matched wits with a chess grand master. While traveling for competitions, the players and their families have the opportunity to experience the diversity of this country. We’ve gone to many museums, attractions and important cultural and historic places in cities all across our nation including Orlando, Atlanta, Hershey, Nashville, Minneapolis, Baltimore, San Diego, Louisville, Dallas, Pittsburgh and more. We’ve played chess with the kids from NYC IS 318, as you may have seen in the movie Brooklyn Castle (recommended if you haven’t seen it!).

Parents, come and learn with the kids… our parent players group grows every year!

The adjoining pages will tell you more about us, our program and our activities. Club members will receive emails regarding the details of upcoming events. If you would like more information, please ObscureMyEmail to
contact Club Supervisor/Coach Thomas Murray.

Some of our Club Activities

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For the past several years, every 2nd Saturday of October has been declared National Chess Day by the U.S. Congress. President Gerald Ford set the day aside as a day "To give special recognition to a game that generates challenge, intellectual stimulation, and enjoyment for citizens of all ages."

We celebrate at the Lake Mohawk Boardwalk with chess matches between our schools. The giant chess set is also enjoyed.

2022- Sparta Chess Club to Kick Off 21st Year with Chess on the Boardwalk for National Chess Day
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Sparta Tournaments are held the last Saturday in March and October, directed by Tom Murray. These tournaments are a chance for our members to compete, have fun and win prizes without having to travel far.
The Northwest NJ Scholastic Tournament, held in late May, gives schools in the county without a dedicated chess program a chance to send teams to compete. With over 200 students participating, it’s the largest outdoor tournament in NJ.
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Held in November, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, at Brookdale College, Lincroft, NJ
2017- Congratulations are in order! Read more
Sparta Chess Teams have earned 24 NJ Grade Level titles as of
2016. Read more
Thank you Coach Tom, and all of our volunteers who have worked hard to offer the best public school chess program in the state of New Jersey!
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Greater Mid-Atlantic Scholastic Championships are held in Baltimore, and sponsored by the Maryland Chess Association.
2017 - The Sparta Chess Team won two more regional championships, bringing their total to nine in the last four years. In addition, four Sparta players placed first in their events. Read more
2016 - The Sparta Chess Team was awarded the Most Valuable Team Award in the recent Greater Philadelphia Scholastic Chess Championships… Read more
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The dates and locations of the Nationals vary every year. The details will be on our club calendar and posted on the website.

2017 - Championships for K-8 are held in Atlanta, Georgia, and the High School, in Columbus, Ohio. In addition, the 6th and 12 grade students will be going to Orlando, Florida for the National Grade Level Tournament. Many of these seniors have been with the club since 1st Grade!

Read more about more stories on the Past Events pages.
National U900 Division - 3rd Place
National U900 Division - 3rd Place
National U900 Division - 3rd Place
2013 Sparta Chess Club SuperNationals Team
Coach Murray discussing game strategy
Team excited over Blitz trophies
Coach Murray round table with first place team
Mango Power
Climb the Mountain warm up
Varsity players between rounds
National U1600 Division - 16th Place
National U1200 Division - 8th Place
National U1250 - 14th Place
National U750 Division - 12th Place
National U750 Division - Team and Individual Awards
National U900 Division - 3rd Place
This event which is held once every 4 years in Nashville, Tennessee, combines the High School, Middle School, Elementary and Primary Teams. With over 5000 participants from around the country, it is the largest rated chess competition in history.
May, 2017, we achieved our highest honors yet! The Helen Morgan Team was the 2nd Place Elementary Team (K-6 under 1000) in this championship. Griffin Brawer earned 1st place Individual in the same group.
Many thanks to the parents, Coach Murray, and the Chess Club Board for helping us get to the Supernationals.
Read more
April, 2013 We returned with a total of eight team awards, ten players receiving individual recognition, … Read more
Surprises at the
2009 Supernationals! Read more

Sept., 2022 - Sparta Chess Club to Kick Off 21st Year
with Chess on the Boardwalk for National Chess Day
Read article

March, 2017 - Chess is the smart move in Sparta
… I can tell you I coach the best kids in the world,” said Coach Thomas Murray…
Read article