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Our Mission

The U.S. Chess Center teaches chess to children and teens as a means of improving their academic and social skills.

Since 1992 we have taught more than 30,000 children the rules, strategy, discipline and etiquette of the game. Students from throughout the Washington metropolitan area meet as friends and equals over the chessboard at our weekend classes, tournaments, and special events. Our student programs have hosted World Champion Garry Kasparov, the national champions of Nigeria and Montenegro, and International Grandmasters including Maurice Ashley, the first African-American Grandmaster. Our students have played Internet matches with students from the Czech Republic, China, Norway, and Montenegro.

In 2014:

  • Two students who had been with us from elementary school through middle school and high school are among the 32 Americans to receive Rhodes Scholarships.
  • A student from Ballou High School who worked with us received a Trachtenberg full scholarship to The George Washington University, worth $200,000 or more.

Where we've been teaching chess:

  • District of Columbia Public Schools in every neighborhood of the city
  • A for-credit elective for middle schoolers at BASIS DC charter school
  • Suburban and private schools
  • Public Housing Developments
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
  • The YMCA

In addition, many dozens of schools and youth centers around the country use our lesson plan.

Where we've held special exhibitions:

  • The Smithsonian Institution
  • The Charles Sumner Museum
  • THEARC
  • On the National Mall with the Boy Scouts of America