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 and 2020, Texas Tech University received the honor of Chess College of the Year from the U.S. Chess Federation.
In 2015, the Texas Tech Chess Team won the Pan-American Intercollegiate Chess Championship for the first time in program history, repeating the win in 2019 with a perfect score (6-0). In the past ten years, the Texas Tech Chess Team qualified for The Final Four nine times.