Chat tab has no option to close, so i don’t know if there is another way to close it.
You can close some channels (right click on label and select close iirc), but I don’t think there’s any way to close local, corp, and alliance. Only thing you can do is minimize them.
BTW, Local chat should ALWAYS be open.
Get used to check who’s around.
except in tidi fights with several thousands people on local, both blue and red. Closing the local will prevent your eyes from bleeding
(but new players should not find themselves in such fights, i know)
Aaaand in Jita
I’m usually sitting in Wormholes, there local is very calm. But in Lowsec and Nullsec, it’s a great tool.