A student plays against GM Maurice Ashley in a simultaneous exhibition at the U.S. Chess Center.

Upcoming Events

Check DC Scholastic Chess page for upcoming events in DC.

Chess Kids

Chess Kids will start September 29, and runs every Saturday morning from 10:00am-11:30am from the end of September through the end of April at the Elizabeth House:

Register for Chess Kids

1400 Fenwick Lane
Silver Spring, Maryland
Three blocks from Silver Spring Metro (red line)
Free parking at the Cameron Street Municipal Lot

Chess Kids is a structured program to learn and play chess for children in kindergarten through 6th grade. All children from absolute beginners to advanced players are welcome! Click here for the schedule.

The Center invites children K-6 to the Center for fun-filled mornings of chess. Our program divides the children by age and ability to keep the children engaged and so that none are intimidated. Our teacher to student ratio is typically about 1:10. Those who know the rules play games and receive lessons about the strategy of chess. Those who are learning the rules receive even more attention. Unlike our school-based programs, children have the opportunity to play with others from all the schools in the region, not just their own, gaining a wider pool of competitors and friends.

Students register for 4-week sessions. The fees for each four-week session are $30 for members of the U.S. Chess Center, $50 for non-members. Center membership dues are $60 per year. Scholarships are available for all who need them.

Players may register on the first Saturday of each four-week session.

Sunday Chess

Lots of fun for all levels of players in grades 7 - 12! Every Sunday from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at:

1340 Old Chain Bridge Road
McLean, Virginia

8560 Second Avenue
Suite 118
Silver Spring, Maryland

Register for Sunday Chess

Players may register any time.

The McLean group is led by David Mehler, one of five certified Professional Chess Coaches in the United States, with visits from his master and Grandmaster friends. The Silver Spring group is led by Mr. Jones, the reigning District of Columbia Champion. Both Sunday Chess programs welcomes all levels of players for afternoons of practice, lessons, and competition.

Our teachers provide instruction to beginners and help improve the strategy of local experts. Sometimes we play with students from other places! We have had Internet matches with students from China, Czech Republic, Iceland, Montenegro and Norway. We have hosted teams visiting Washington from a variety of states and we have sent teams to national championships including the World Amateur Team and the Super Nationals. We expect to chaperone teams in 2018 to the National High School Championships.

Lessons will be challenging for all players. Students receive instruction in the large group, small groups and individually.

Chess Day Camps

The U.S. Chess Center has been running summer day camps for children since 1992. Organized by David Mehler, the camps provide high-level chess instruction in a fun environment. Our instructors are adults and nationally certified chess coaches.

In addition to teaching chess, we engage in a variety of recreational activities in each camp. We supply snacks each day and organize games like Capture the Flag. Some full-day camps have the availability of an after-care problem-solving enrichment program until 5:00 p.m. for an additional fee. Partial scholarships usually are available for those who need them. Summer campers receive a T-shirt.

We take about 30 students in each camp, sometimes more in the full-day camps, always on a first-come basis. Many camps fill, so we recommend registering on-line or by mail as soon as the camp locations have been confirmed.

Camps are tentative until on-line registration is available. When camps fill we will note that on this page. Camps in red are full. Camps in McLean and Vienna usually fill first.

For more information, please contact us.

The spring break camp will be held at Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean Monday - Thursday, March 26 - 29.

The spring break camp is open to students in grades 2 - 8 who are comfortable with all of the rules of chess. This is not a camp for those who need to learn the rules.

Camp runs from 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. with aftercare available until 5:00 p.m.

Students are divided by chess ability for lessons, and generally by age for other camp activities.

Camp fees: $210 per week for the camp, an extra $50 for aftercare.

June Chess Camps

June 25 - 29

Half-day camps at Willow Springs Elementary School in Fairfax, Virginia.

Mornings (9:00 a.m. - noon) for beginner-to-intermediate players entering grades 2 - 7. $110 per week.    On-line registration

Afternoons (1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.) for intermediate players entering grades 2 - 8. $110 per week.    On-line registration

July Chess Camps

July 2 - 6

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Tifereth Israel synagogue, 7701 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC (walking distance from the Silver Spring Metro. For players who already know the rules of chess rising into grades 2 - 8. $200 per week. No camp July 4. Aftercare available for an additional $60.

July 9 - 13

Half-day camps at Colvin Run Elementary School in Vienna, Virginia.

Mornings (9:00 a.m. - noon) for beginner-to-intermediate players entering grades 2 - 7. $110 per week.

Afternoons (1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.) for intermediate players entering grades 3 - 9. $110 per week.    On-line registration

July 16 - 20

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Colvin Run Elementary School in Vienna, Virginia, for players rising into grades 3 - 9 comfortable with tournament rules. $200 per week. Aftercare available until 5:00 p.m. for an additional $60.   On-line registration


July 23 - 27

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, for beginner and intermediate students entering grades 2 - 7. $200 per week. Aftercare available until 5:00 p.m. for an additional $60.   On-line registration


August Chess Camps

July 30 - August 3

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. at Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, Virginia, for intermediate-to-advanced students entering grades 2 - 9. $200 per week. Aftercare available until 5:00 p.m. for an additional $60. (Rising second and third graders must have prior permission before registering for this camp.) On-line registration

August 13 - 17

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. in the Alpha STEM offices at 14088 Sullyfield Circle, Suite P, in Chantilly, Virginia, for intermediate students entering grades 1 - 8. $210 per week.    On-line registration


Cancellation policy:
Camp registration fees are refundable until one week before the start of camp with a $10 administrative fee. Between one week and the start of camp, 50% of camp fees will be refunded. After the start of the camp there will be no refund.

2018 Summer Champions

Dhruv Pardikar
Willow Springs Morning
Kyle Zhuang
Willow Springs Afternoon
David Ge
Colvin Run Half-Day
William Sutton
Colvin Run Full-Day
Amy Key
Churchill Road
Miles Stewart
Churchill Road
Hanchi Yao
Sahana Bradley

Washington, D.C.

Where We Are

Teaching Kids To Think. Having Them Learn A Skill For Life.

Since 1992 we have taught more than 35,000 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.

We have been responsible for special events at the Smithsonian Institution, the Charles Sumner Museum, THEARC in Anacostia, on the grounds of The Washington Monument, and in several Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs in Washington 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.

We teach more than 1,000 kids each week during the school year in our classes and expose thousands of others to chess through our tournaments and chess curriculum. We have created chess programs in hundreds of locations. Those in Washington, D.C., are listed through this link. We offer free services to schools serving poor children and host activities that bring together students from throughout the Washington metropolitan area and beyond.

Our program produces students who can achieve academic success, who can distinguish good choices from bad, and who enter higher education or the work force with the critical thinking and social skills they need to succeed.

Our successes have been notable. Nearly all of the high school students who learn chess from us graduate on time. Some have stopped dealing drugs and carrying guns. Two of our long-time students received Rhodes Scholarships and many others have received scholarships that allowed them to attend college.

The teaching program developed by the U.S. Chess Center and available for free on this website is in use in chess programs throughout the nation, and Center staff has testified about the value of chess for children before the District of Columbia Council and the School Board.