The New York State Chess Association (NYSCA) is the oldest continuously-run chess organization in the United States, having been formed in Auburn, New York in 1878, as the "Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania Chess Association." The NYSCA name has been used since 1886. It is the official New York State affiliate of the United States Chess Federation, and its history pre-dates USCF. It organizes a variety of State-sanctioned championship tournaments across the Empire State, including the annual New York State Chess Championship, which has been held in Albany on Labor Day weekend since 2006.
While the State Championship and State Scholastic Championship has been held in every major city in the state, in recent years the State Championship and State Scholastic Championship has been most successful in the Albany-Saratoga region. The State Scholastic, the oldest of its kind in the US, will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Saratoga Springs in February-March 2017.
New York State champions have included Bobby Fischer, Joel Benjamin, José Capablanca, and Frank Marshall. The current champion is GM Gata Kamsky. The current Scholastic champion is Westchester County playerJoshua Colas . The article "Hamilton 1941" by Bill Townsend, describing the games of a week-long championship held at Colgate University, won a Chess Journalists of America award for Best Historical Article.
NYSCA currently has about 750 members. Its president is Bill Goichberg of Salisbury Mills in Orange County. Its vice-president is Westchester County chess teacher Polly Wright. Its secretary is Phyllis Benjamin of Brooklyn, mother of New Jersey Grandmaster and former U.S. Chess Champion Joel Benjamin. Its Treasurer is Karl Heck of East Durham, in Greene County.
Heck is also the editor of Empire Chess, the quarterly periodical of NYSCA.
Other major events sponsored by NYSCA include the New York State Open, which has been held in Lake George the past few years. There are also Quick and Action Chess Championships, which have been held in Albany in recent years.
Membership in NYSCA is $20 for one year, and $57 for three years for four printed issues of Empire Chess
NYSCA also provides funding for its champions to attend the Denker Tournament of High School Champions, the Barber K-8 Cha.