top of page

Alex Zelner Memorial

29th Space Coast Open Chess Festival

$20,000 prize fund fully guaranteed!

An event created by chess players for chess players!

This page was last updated May 10, 2024.

Note: This event has concluded. Please click here to view the table of contents containing all the posts relating to the event.

Schedule of activities, Please click on the button on the right to download the schedule of activities.

Welcome to Online Registration for the 29th Space Coast Open Chess Festival, a special memorial event dedicated to honoring the life of NM Alex Zelner! You can register here and pay using a Credit Card via the ChessRegister website links below.

Scroll Down to bottom of page for link to the Online Entry.


Dates: May 3-5, 2024 or May 4-5, 2024

See our list of Past Space Coast Open Champions here

A US Chess Heritage Event!

US Chess Grand Prix Points: 120 (Enhanced)

Master/Expert and Class A Sections FIDE Rated (USCF ratings used for pairings and prizes)

5 round Swiss System, G/90+30 second increment for all sections except Class E/U1200, which is G/90 d5 (2-day Rd. 1 for all sections G/60 d5).

Fantastic new playing facility! 1 mile from Melbourne International Airport. 10 minutes from the beach!

Hilton Melbourne at Rialto Place, 200 Rialto Place, Melbourne, FL 32901. Hotel room booking link below. Free parking. No resort fees!

$$20,000 Guaranteed Prize Fund                   
6 Sections:

1. Master/Expert (minimum USCF or FIDE rating of 2000 required). FIDE Rated. $$2000+trophy-1000-600-300, U2400 $1500+trophy-750, U2200 $1400+trophy-700-500.
2. Class A (open to 1600-1999). FIDE Rated. $$1200+trophy-600-300-200.
3. Class B (open to
1400-1799) $$1100+trophy-500-300-200.
4. Class C (open to 1200-1599) $$1000+trophy-500-300-200.
5. Class D (open to 800-1399) $$900+trophy-500-300-200.
6. Class E/U1200 (open to under 1200; unrated only eligible for place prizes) $$800+trophy-450-250.

U1000 $550+trophy-300. 

U800 $400+trophy-200.

Trophies to top scholastic players in grades K-3, K-5, K-8, K-12 (all students eligible).

Master/Expert Section Modified Sofia Rule: No draw offers permitted prior to move 30.

Special Prizes:

Top Upsets: Rds 1-4: Book Prize. Limit one per player.

Wojtkiewicz Brilliancy Prizes: 1st $200, 2nd $100, 3rd $50 (Judge: IM Javad Maharramzade)

Book Prizes to oldest player, youngest player, player who has traveled the longest distance.


All, Fine Print:

Chess set and boards not provided but a chess vendor will be onsite.


Players in Master/Expert and Class A sections are required per FIDE regulations to turn in white copies of completed scoresheets at completion of each round.


Rated players may play in eligible sections as shown in above Section prize details. Unrated may play in any section except Master/Expert but may not win over $300 prize or trophy. Unrated not eligible for U1000 or U800 prizes.

½-point Bye available any round if requested in advance and before round 2 (limit 2). 


No Smoking. No computers. No electronic devices during play. Wheelchair accessible.


No food or outside beverages are allowed in the playing hall or any of the other meeting rooms used for the chess tournament and side activities.


Entry Fee:

Regular Entry Fee: $124 early bird by 3/30, $144 by 4/26, $154 later, $160 onsite.

Special Discounted Entry Fees: 

$20 discount if unrated or under age 18. Use Discount Code: UNR-UND18 (Discount will be shown at checkout). IMPORTANT: Youth players in Class E/U1200 section who wish to compete for the scholastic player trophies must enter their School Grade in the field at the bottom of the registration page.

Special EF for Brevard County students in K-12 playing in any section: $35 by 4/26, $45 later, $50 onsite. Use Discount Code: BREVARD (Discount will be shown at checkout). IMPORTANT: Players using this discount code are required to select or enter the name of their school and their grade in the fields provided at the bottom of the registration page.

GMs and IMs free entry if register by 3/30, else $144 from prize.

Free entry to past Master Section winners listed here. 

GM/IMs and past Champions e-mail your name, playing schedule & Byes requested to

Re-entries $70.

No mailed entries.

$10 service charge for refunds.


Registration ends ½ hour before 1st round (ends 7 p.m. Friday or 9:30 a.m. Saturday; ½ point Bye available for later entries).


Rd. 1 7:30 p.m. Fri (2-day: 10a.m. Sat at G/60, d5),

Rd. 2 1:15 p.m. Sat.

Rd. 3 6:30 p.m. Sat. (except for Class E/U1200 which is at 5:45 p.m.**)

Rd. 4 9:30 a.m. Sunday

Rd. 5 2:30 p.m. Sunday (except for Class E/U1200 which is at 1:45 p.m.**)

** Note: Class E/U1200 players may pause clocks during pre-round announcements for higher sections during rounds 3 and 5.

Hotel Reservations:

APRIL 13 Hotel Update. The Group Block is almost sold out. Hotel may sell out of rooms for Saturday night. See updated info below for latest information including overflow hotel details.

Hilton Hotel Rate: $159, King or 2 Queen beds, $189 Junior Suite. No resort fee. Free parking.

By phone call 800-HILTONS (445-8667), reference “Space Coast Open Chess Festival” or group code SPCF24.

Online reservations can be made using our group link: Melbourne-Hilton-at-Rialto-Space-Coast-Open-Reservations. From the calendar select your desired dates and the available room types, along with our group rate, will display. Our group code, SPCF24, will be pre-assigned when using the above link. Group rate is available for 3 days before and 3 days after the tournament (subject to availability).

VERY IMPORTANT: Reserve early. Group rate available until April 22 (5PM) or until Group rooms are sold out, whichever comes first. The group rate is *unlikely* to be available after the cut-off date. RESERVE EARLY.

Overflow Hotel: A small block of rooms has been reserved for our group at the Suburban Studios Melbourne Airport. This is a limited-service extended stay hotel that is directly adjacent to the Hilton (~2 minute walk to playing hall). Room rates will be discounted 10% for our chess group, ranging from $80-82 per night double occupancy, plus tax. Rate is based on room type (Double or King beds). $10 additional per night per person for 3rd or 4th person. Call hotel for reservations: 321-768-9777. Ask for chess festival rate. Currently this hotel is being renovated and half the rooms and the fitness center are closed. The hotel has advised that the renovation activity will not impact the rooms for our group. Note hotel charges a $100 security deposit at check-in which is refunded at checkout.

Side events:

Space Coast Open Blitz (USCF rated). 4 round Swiss System, 2 games per round (play white and black against each opponent). G/3 d2. Cash prizes based on entries. EF $20, $30 if not playing in main tournament. Blitz online entry is available until midnight Saturday, otherwise $5 more. Blitz starts at 7:30 pm Sunday. The Blitz has a separate registration link – scroll to bottom of this page.

Worldwide Broadcast: the top 6 boards will be broadcast on lichess with live commentary (details to be announced)

Free Master and GM lectures:

- Saturday: 10am: NM Theo Slade
- Saturday: 11am: NM Nick Moore

Books and Equipment by Orlando Chess & Games: Friday – Sunday


Chess on the Beach T-shirts:

A special Zelner Memorial edition of our Chess on the Beach T-shirt is available for advance online purchase at the link below.

Breaking news: Wit-T-shirts will offer a similar T-shirt at the site

chess shirt black_edited.png

General Info: Jon Haskel 561-302-4377 (

Entries: Enter online or at tournament site. No mailed entries.

Payment accepted by Credit Card and PayPal balance via link below. Onsite payments accepted in cash or by Credit Card. No checks accepted.

Early bird entry ends March 30. Enter early for lowest EF. See Entry Fee info above for full details.



Register Now!

Click here to register

Click here for the list of pre-registered players

Click here to register for the Blitz tournament (the Blitz event requires a separate registration via this link)

bottom of page