Due to changes in our family circumstances and season in life, it is with a heavy heart that we announce The Knights of the Square Table LLC competitive chess team will be closing its doors for the 2019-2020 year. In future, we hope we’ll be in a position to run a chess team again, but we will have to take this decision year by year. We will try to keep an ear to the ground in the chess community and continue to post new and exciting chess opportunities as we hear of them--including new kids chess clubs and chess tournaments. Feel free to contact us via our webpage or Facebook page with scholastic chess inquiries and we’ll do our best to connect you to others that can help.


Competitive Chess Team

At Knights of the Square Table, we’re all about fun, friendship and competition. Our experienced coaches train our teams of K-12th grade players, in sections 1 through 5, from beginner to advanced competitor, to reach their highest potential, and we always have a great time whenever we play! We are one of the few competitive club chess teams, meaning we accept members from all over--not just from a particular school. Our team hails from the Oklahoma City Metro area. This team is designed for students who love gameplay and who will find their time at meetings and tournaments enjoyable, exciting, and leave them wanting more!  The main prerequisite for joining our team is a zeal to play! Our coaches can teach strategy and tactics, but we cannot teach passion. Team members should know how the basic chess pieces move before the start of competitive chess season; however, if you're unsure your child mastered these basics, we can set up your child's online chess curriculum over the summer so they are armed and ready to flourish from the get-go.  See how you can become part of our family and join us as we share our love of the game and compete together in chess tournaments with schools from around the state!



Chess is everything: art, science, and sport.   --Anatoly Karpov

One of the best experiences a child can have is to be part of a strong, enthusiastic school team.  The advantages of joining a chess team is that, unlike most other endeavors, kids don’t have to wait until middle or high school to participate. Many top chess teams represent elementary schools with players as young as kindergarten. Kids fall hard for the thrill of chess competition once they realize chess kids bring home many more trophies or medals during a school year than their sports counterparts, who usually only receive a prize at the end of the sports season.

For many students around the world, chess has brought real life skills and benefits to areas of their life beyond the chess board. Chess' educational benefits are widely accepted and vast! To learn more about the documented effects of chess practice, visit Youth Chess League of Central Oklahoma's web page: Chess and Academics and Chess on the Brain . Chess is a great way to improve concentration, problem-solving skills, critical thinking skills, teamwork and patience. All of these are essential to a successful education and a successful life. What could be better than the union between an enjoyable game and an educationally enriching experience?!


Don’t Miss Out


Chess is not always about winning. Sometimes it's simply about learning. And so is life.

Our coach, Joe Veal, has 27 years of tournament experience in chess, a USCF expert rating of 2031, and is within the top 15 chess players in the state of Oklahoma; Veal’s accomplishments as a coach include four Individual State Grade Championships, an Under 700 Oklahoma State Blitz Championship, a State Grade Team Championship, and a State Team K-3 Scholastic Championship. We are excited to have Coach Veal working to unlock our potential!

"Chess, like love, is infectious at any age."   --Salo Flohr

Coach Ernest Maldonado Jr. started playing chess during his sophomore year at Carl Albert High School in Oklahoma City. During a lunch hour one day, his friend, Shane, challenged him to a game of chess in the library. Though Ernest had learned the rules, he had never played through an entire game before. Naturally, he lost, but that first game was only the beginning. In the next few weeks, Ernest checked out and read a library chess book, challenged Shane to a rematch and won!  Hearing of Ernest, Robert Epperly, the head of the high school chess team at that time, invited Ernest to join their school's competitive chess team.  Within a few years, Ernest became the highest rated chess player at Carl Albert High School! Ernest's record stood for many years until, only recently, when his rating was surpassed by Advait Patel, currently the number one player in the state of Oklahoma. Maldonado has continued to play chess throughout his college years, earning a rating of 1826. Even now, he still plays chess online and does tactics training every day, not so much for the competition, but for the for the love of the game. As a coach of the Knights, Ernest looks forward to introducing others to the joy he has found in chess.

Ernest’s coaching experience includes training the Carl Albert High School chess team whose accolades include an ongoing Oklahoma State Championship winning streak three years in a row, from 2014-2017. When asked about his teaching philosophy, Ernest stated, “I do my best to teach kids, not so much how to play the game, but how to evaluate and anticipate the moves that will be played in the game. Playing chess helps kids to develop critical thinking skills, such as long-term planning, patience, as well as seeing how far the rewards of dedication can help you improve over time.” Ernest ended our interview by saying he “hoped [he] can offer some guidance to each player’s chess development and have fun teaching the many aspects of this wonderful game to the kids of the future.” The Knights are excited to learn from this inspiring man!


Team Excellence: What's Involved

Strong, competitive chess teams do more than just show up to a tournament! We kick off the season at the beginning of September. The Knights meet weekly from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursdays at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church & School in southern Edmond.  Chess season runs from the he beginning of September through the end of March.  Knights commit to the weekly meetings, daily practice, and monthly chess competitions.  Tournaments are all day events that are held one Saturday a month.  

  Lessons are $10 a week whether the student is present or absent; payment for entire month is due at the first meeting of the calendar month. Late payment will result in a $20 penalty fee. Additionally, there is a one-time $55 registration fee for chess equipment, curriculum and the cost of your custom team t-shirt due upon enrollment for team related expenses.

Common interest and team pride are powerful bonding agents for kids, even if the age range spans many years. We've found one of the easiest steps to building a solid team identity and spirit is to create a (REALLY AWESOME!!!) team t-shirt. This expense is included within your registration fee. See our team t-shirt design here!

 Did you know, we've seen first graders who could easily win when matched against a sixth grade team member and a third grader who could triumph over a ninth grade competitor?! Chess is one of the few sports where skill level rarely correlates to age.  We are the only scholastic competitive team in Oklahoma that welcomes all ages of chess players, from kindergarten through 12th grade, to our roster.  However, since our younger team members are still growing in self possession, we do ask that a parent of team members in 2nd grade and below stay with their children during our meetings.  Parents of older children are welcome to stay or go after the first 10 minutes of each meeting when we do a quick weekly parent orientation.  The expectation is that our team members play and interact with humility and grace toward each other regardless of age differences as they always have in the past.    

Do you have a goal of making sure every child has a great experience, strengthens social skills, and learns something new?  Do you possess qualities such as patience, organizational or child management skills?  What about a fun-loving attitude? We need you! As our team has grown in size we need parent volunteers. Could this be you? In an effort to keep our chess team affordable and accessible, the only people compensated for their time are the coaches; we depend on parent volunteers to administrate and run the team.  The qualities mentioned above are more important than chess expertise as our coaches have the teaching covered!  Your primary job would be to ensure every kid on the team feels safe, has an opportunity to make friends and fall in love with chess.  There's a small window of time to make a positive impact on children and to shape who they may become as adults. Lifelong memories are cemented as together you help your children discover the joy of mastering a new hobby, relish inclusion as part of a team, and rise to the occasion at a tournament! 


"Talent is nothing without the dedication to match it." --unknown

Like anything else worth learning, chess requires practice beyond our meetings. Each Knight purchases a gold membership, which we get at a group discount, on www.chesskid.com that enables ongoing growth between practices... this usually runs us $15 for a year-long membership. For our advanced students with a chesskid.com puzzle rating of over 1400. we recommend a chess.com membership; be aware this site is not designed with children in mind and parents should change settings for their kid's protection—such as turning off the chat settings, etc. We expect team members to commit to practicing a minimum of 20 minutes daily outside each meeting.  Spending this small amount of time daily doing two or three puzzles online, brushing up on key chess strategies, or reviewing a game sharpens skills and adds up big, come tournament time!

Though not a requirement of the team, another great way to improve, is to play often with different people at equivalent or greater skill levels than oneself. There are a number of different chess meet-ups available in the area as well as clinics, and holiday chess camps offered outside our club. Kids love to “take on” kids from rival schools in the community, and oftentimes friendships will develop between chess kids who otherwise would have never met.


The expert in anything was once a beginner

Anyone who has ever attended an OSCO chess tournament would be awed by the sight of hundreds of kids coming to play chess from all parts of the state. Wearing their chess team shirts, these kids seem to march (OK, sometimes run) in step as they proudly enter the tournament hall to win state-wide recognition for themselves and for their team. Competitive chess season lasts from September through March. During this time, we compete as a team monthly against the other public and private school chess teams in tournaments around Oklahoma state. Tournaments are Saturday-only events and last all day.  To compete as a team, we need each Knight to attend most, if not all, these tournaments as the team cannot compete if we do not have the minimum number of players participating in each section. During tournaments, we do require kids in section 1 to notate 1 game, Section 2 -2 games, section 3-3 games, and by section 4 and 5 - all games; this way the games can be gone over with a coach and the player.  The full tournament schedule is posted on www.okschess.orgTournament Entry fees are the student's responsibility--meets run approximately $20.

For your convenience, I've listed the OSCO tournament schedule below. Please be aware that these dates are subject to change. Please double check these dates against the OSCO site before making plans.

2018-2019 Tournament Schedule:


  • Sept. 15 - Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics (Oklahoma City)

  • Oct. 13 -Sequoyah High School (Tahlequah)

  • Nov. 17 - State Grade Tournament:  Will Rogers High School (Tulsa)

  • Dec. 8 - Cheyenne Middle School (Edmond)

  • Jan. 19th - Moore High School - Blitz Tournament (Moore)

  • Feb. 16 - Jenks High School (Jenks, OK)

  • Mar. 9 - State Championship: Carl Albert High School (Midwest City)

  • April 6  -  Invitational Tiebreaker (TBA)


Think you have a budding Chess Master on your hands? It’s your move!

Have Questions? Contact us below.

Ready to become a Knight? Register online here.

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Holy Trinity Lutheran Church & School, 308 NW 164th St, Edmond, OK 73013

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