Northern Schools Chess League

Click here for results for the 2017-2018 season so far, including the teams admitted into the championship rounds.

The Northern Schools Chess League holds a series of meets between any school in northern New Mexico which wants to participate.  We then declare champions in the high school, middle school and elementary school categories.  The meets are well attended with up to 160 students showing up at each one.  The events have a fun festival atmosphere, with students really enjoying meeting and playing against other kids from schools all over the state.

Please send email to

Mark Galassi        and Jim Johnston

if you wish to participate.

We are about to start the 2017/2018 season!
Meets will be:
  • Monday October 9th, 2017 (a school holiday): Los Alamos, NM, at Barranca Elementary
  • Friday November 17th, 2017: Wagon Mound, NM, at Wagon Mound High School.  This will start later: show up at 10am and first game starts at 10:30am.
  • Monday January 15th, 2017 (a school holiday): Santa Fe, NM, at Santa Fe Prep, show up 9:30am, first game 10am.
More information will come soon, but here is the announcement email with details:

NSCL 2017/2018 info

Dear Coaches,
This email is to invite you to bring your school's chess teams to the Northern Schools Chess League this year

League format
We hold 3 league meets per year.  Teams are: 
 High School  12th  grade and under
Mid school        9th and under
Elem school      6th and under
4 players to a team.  At the first 2 meets we run an 8 round swiss system tournament for ALL.  At the 3rd meet the top 6 finishers in each section  play a round robin  with trophies awarded to the top 4.  The remaining players in each section play a tournament among themselves with trophies given to 1st and 2nd in each reserve section.

This year we have meets scheduled for:
Meet 1     at Barranca Elementary in Los Alamos      on Monday October 9th  (Columbus Day)   
Meet 2     at Wagon Mound H S                                  on Friday  November 17th
Meet 3     at Santa Fe Prep                                         on Monday 15th January 2018   (MLK day)
We will email you with directions and info about each meet about 10 days before each one.

Check in by 9:30   We will certainly make this later for Wagon Mound.
Round 1 starts at 10  Round 2 at 11:20
Round 3    at   12:40   Round 4  at   2
You and your players can leave when all your players have finished their games ....probably before 3
Everybody plays 4 games.  If clocks are used each player gets 35 minutes with a 5 second delay.
We don't stop for a lunch break.  The next round starts a few minutes after the last game in the previous round finishes. There is usually a concession stand at each meet.  Players should use this when they finish their own game

We follow all rules of chess.  Please explain to your teams such things as touch move, no talking to players in a game, agreeing a draw and winning/losing on time.  Players are expected to write down the moves.  If they are in their 1st ever tournament we allow them to avoid notation for the first 2 games and try to do it in rounds 3 and 4.  Those who find their opponents are not following any chess rules need to raise a hand when a director will come to their board and sort out any dispute.

How to enter
Send us an email telling us how many teams will be coming from your school AND whether  they are H S   M S   or Elem S.  Please send this by Friday October 6th.  If you ony have 3 players then bring them and we will find an extra to make up your team.  Likewise bring extras and we will get them games.  Then on the day come to check in and confirm or modify your numbers. Fees are $25  per team.  This covers all 3 meets.  Please bring to the 1st meet your cash h or a check made out to Santa Fe Rooks.

Please email if you need further information.  Send your questions and (soon) your team info to:
Mark Galassi        and Jim Johnston

You can see the results-2016-2017 Quick summary is:
  • 2016/2017 High School co-champions: Academy for Technology and the Classics and Los Alamos High School
  • 2016/2017 Middle School champions: Mandela International Magnet School
  • 2016/2017 Elementary School champions: Carlos Gilbert Elementary

You can look at the  2015-2016 results and standings.  Quick summary is:
  • 2015/2016 High School champion: Santa Fe Prep
  • 2015/2016 Middle School champions: Taos Middle School
  • 2015/2016 Elementary School champions: Carlos Gilbert Elementary, Santa Fe
You can view the 2014-2015 results and standings
You can also view the 2013-2014 season

We have dates for the 2015/2016 season!  Dates are Columbus Day (Monday 2015-10-12), Saturday 2015-12-05 and Friday 2016-01-15.  You can search for NSCL in the scholastic chess events calendar:

New Mexico Scholastic Chess Events - major

The Northern Schools Chess League is a series of meets between schools (and sometimes clubs) in northern New Mexico.  The league has divisions for middle school and high school teams, although elementary school teams can also play.

In the 2015/2016 season we will be using the following format:
  • There will be three meets:
    • Monday 2015-10-12 at West Las Vegas High School, Las Vegas, NM
    • Saturday 2015-12-05 at Santa Fe Prep School, Santa Fe (the Saturday after Thanksgiving)
    • Friday 2016-01-15 at Northern New Mexico College, Española
  • Teams will consist of 4 players.  A school can present many teams.
  • We want you to participate and bring as many people as you can, so:
    • If you have only 3 players, bring them along!  We will add a house player to complete the team.
    • If you have more than 4 but less than 8 (or more than 12 but less than 16...), bring them all along: everyone will get a chance to play games.
  • Each team of 4 players will have a registration of $25 to offset organizational costs.
  • Please send email to Jim Johnston <> and Mark Galassi <> to ask questions or let us know that you will be coming along.  You may also phone us at (505) 629-0759 if you have questions.

We hope you will be able to join us and make this a strong event and a fun trip for your students.

When you contact us please send the following information:

Number of teams...  HS or Mid
Sponsor's  Name    email and phone #

More detail on the tournament format:

  • Each team has players for board 1, board 2, board 3, board 4, in approximate order of strength.
  • In a round two teams are paired and their players will play by board number.
  • The first two meets will be an 8-round (4 rounds/meet) Swiss System tournament ( with all teams participating in one big section.
  • The final meet will award a final winner: the teams will be sorted into groups of 6 high school and 6 middle school teams and each group will have a 4-round Swiss tournament.  Overall winners will be determined in the top groups of six.
  • Time controls will be "Game in 35 minutes with 5 second delay".
  • We do not require that players be USCF members.
  • But if in a game both players are USCF members we will rate that game.