More than 1,000 K-12 students expected to compete

  Wednesday, March 13, 2024
  Community, Events and Exhibits, Around Campus

By News and Internal Communications

EDINBURG, TEXAS – MARCH 13, 2024 – This weekend, more than 1,000 K-12 students from 117 school districts across the region will converge onto The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley to showcase their chess skills at the 2024 South Texas State Scholastic Championships.

Hosted by the UTRGV Chess Program, three-time national collegiate champions, the competition will begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 16, and Sunday, March 17, on the UTRGV Edinburg Campus – Fieldhouse and Health and Physical Education II Building. An awards ceremony will be held on Sunday at 3 p.m. for kindergarten, first and primary school categories and at 4:30 p.m. for elementary, middle and high school divisions. 

“The game has become generationally rooted in RGV culture as hundreds of students participate in scholastic tournaments across the Valley nearly every weekend,” said Colt Smith-Munoz, UTRGV Chess program manager and deputy chief tournament organizer. “These tournaments serve to fuel the students’ desire for competition and improvement, and the annual South Texas Scholastic Championship is the ultimate high-stakes test to see who is ‘the best of the best’ in the state.”

Smith-Munoz said the UTRGV Chess team is looking forward to witnessing the young chess players in action and sharing their expertise with them. More than 700 chess boards and 350 clocks, and a small army of U.S. Chess Federation (USCF) certified tournament directors will be on hand to ensure a great weekend of chess in the Valley. 

“Our three-time collegiate national championship winning team will be there to direct and facilitate the event, as well as provide game reviews of the top participants,” Smith-Munoz said. 

The state tournament will crown winners in the elementary, middle and high school championship categories qualifying them for a play-off with the winners of the same sections of the 2024 North Texas State Scholastic Championships to determine the Texas representatives for the 2024 National Tournaments of State Champions in Norfolk, Virginia, July 27-30.

The national tournaments include: GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions; Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions; and the John D. Rockefeller III National Tournament of Elementary School State Champions.

In addition, the top female in the elementary, middle and high school sections will qualify for a play-off against the top females in the same sections of the 2024 North Texas State Scholastic Championships and the winners of the 2023 Texas Girls Championship to determine the Texas representative for the 2024 WIM Ruth Haring National Tournament of Girls State Champions.

There is still time to register for the tournament. Entries will be accepted until 9 a.m. on Saturday, March 16. To be eligible to compete, the following is required: K-12 students must reside or attend school in Texas and are current USCF and Texas Chess Association (TCA) members.

To register, call 956-882-5761 or fill out this online form and send to

To learn more about the 2024 South Texas State Scholastic Championships at UTRGV, visit


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.