The Knight Raiders Chess Club was founded in 2003 by Hal Karlsson, Associate Professor of Geosciences, with the goal to promote chess at Texas Tech University as well as in the community. The Texas Tech Chess Program, housed under the Division of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, was developed in 2007 and since then has captured more than ten national titles, as well as regional and state championships. In both 2011 and 2012, The Texas Tech University Chess Team has brought home the National Collegiate Team Championship. In 2014, Tech made history by receiving a double honor from the U.S. Chess Federation; Texas Tech University was named Chess College of the Year while Head Coach and Director Alex Onischuk was recognized as Grandmaster of the Year.
In December of 2015 the Texas Tech Chess Team won the 2015 Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championship for the first time in program history, repeating the win in 2019 with a perfect score (6-0). The Texas Tech Chess Team qualified for The Final Four for the years 2010-2012, 2014-2018 and 2020.