12 March 2021

U.S. Chess Cities of the Year

In a recent post, The Philadelphia Connection (March 2021), I noted,

In 2019 we learned, Philadelphia Named 'Chess City of the Year' (uschess.org): 'The city of brotherly love was singled out this year for a number of reasons...'

The award for 'Chess City of the Year' is one of many awards made annually by the U.S. Chess Federation. I covered these a few years back in The USCF Awards (May 2015), where I collected the awards issued up to that time in a database:-

I found a summary of all awards in the 2013 USCF Yearbook, added the awards for 2014 & 2015, loaded the lists into a database, and ran some simple queries.

For this current post I dragged that database out of cold storage, then added the awards made since 2015 (all links USchess.org):-

Although the first awards were made in 1979, the 'Chess City' award was started in 1983. Following is a list of the winners to date:-

1983 Pasadena, California
1984 New York, New York
1985 Foxboro, Massachusetts
1986 Charlotte, North Carolina; Somerset, New Jersey
1987 Pulaski, Virginia; Terre Haute, Indiana
1988 Albuquerque, New Mexico; Memphis, Tennessee; Southfield, Michigan
1989 Knoxville, Tennessee; Peoria, Illinois; Seattle, Washington; Tempe, Arizona; Lexington, Kentucky
1993 Durango, Colorado; Reno, Nevada
1994 Bloomington, Illinois; New York, New York
1995 Chicago, Illinois; Key West, Florida
1996 Tucson, Arizona; New York, New York
1997 Knoxville, Tennessee; Sioux Falls, South Dakota
1998 Peoria, Arizona
1999 San Francisco, California; Gilbert, Arizona
2000 Louisville, Kentucky; Dallas, Texas
2001 Kansas City, Missouri
2002 Miami, Florida; New York City; Seattle, Washington
2003 Nashville, Tennessee
2004 Lindsborg, Kansas
2005 Minneapolis, Minnesota
2006 Crossville, Tennessee; Palm Beach Gardens, Florida
2007 Stillwater, Oklahoma
2008 Tulsa, Oklahoma; Lubbock, Texas
2009 St. Louis, Missouri
2010 Nashville, Tennessee
2011 St. Louis, Missouri
2012 Los Angeles, California
2013 Chicago, Illinois
2014 Brownsville, TX
2015 Sunrise, FL
2016 Louisville, KY
2017 Franklin County, MS
2018 Charlotte, NC
2019 Philadelphia, PA
2020 New York, NY

Of the 38 years that have passed since the first award to Pasadena, only 35 years saw awards. For some reason, 1990 through 1992 are missing. Was this a mistake in the construction of the list, a reaction to the five awards made in 1989, or something else?

New York City heads the list in total number of awards: 1984, 1994, 1996, 2002, 2020. It might be interesting to determine which other cities received multiple awards, but that will have to wait until another time, if ever. It would definitely be interesting to learn the stories behind, e.g. '2015 Sunrise, FL', but that would be far more work than I am accustomed to doing.

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