TACO, not the food.
(In my latest attempt to create a blog, I am no longer primarily focusing on myself. I have instead decided to focus on the many different local and state-level tournaments that I play in. I start off with perhaps the biggest regular tournament in eastern North Carolina, the TACO!)
The TACO, or Triangle Area Chess Open for those of you who dislike Mexican food, is a fairly large 3-round swiss system tournament that's held once a month in Raleigh. The tournament has four sections, an open section, a under 1800 section, a under 1400 section, and a extra section so that when someone is forced to take a bye they can play someone else in a rated game. Games in all sections are game/90 or game/85 with a five second delay. Generally, anywhere between two dozen to five dozen players may show up, depending on *insert joke about gas prices here.* The three non-extra sections each have a 1st, 2nd and 3rd cash prize, with the three prizes being about $150, $75, and $50. $That's not bad considering the entry fee is only about $20 dollars.
One thing any potential TACO player must be warned about, however, is the lack of space. I know you're probably saying to yourselves, "Bah, all chess tournaments are cramped." But believe me, the in the TACO, you really don't have any room. The games are played in a small activity center, and the game area takes up so much space that after your games, should you finish earlier than your ride, you'll probably have to wait an hour or two outside.
If you live in North Carolina, and aren't claustrophobic, than I recommend giving the TACO a try!