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Chris McCleary

Executive Director of the U.S. Chess Center

Another great day of Chess in the Park at Eastern Market Metro Plaza

On Saturday, June 1, 2024, we held another great day of Chess in the Park at Eastern Market Metro Plaza.  49 students in grades 2 – 8 enjoyed the pleasant late spring weather and friendly chess competition.  This style of tournament reduces the wait time between games allowing some kids to play as many as 10 games (while most played 6 – 8 games) that morning.

We awarded trophies to the top players, top girl, and the top two D.C. school teams to compete.  Congratulations to the Washington Latin PCS team for winning their fourth consecutive Chess in the Park and to the BASIS Washington, DC team for their strong second place showing.  Both schools had also competed in the most recent season of our Potomac Youth Chess League.

We will hold another Chess in the Park FREE Tournament at Eastern Market Metro Plaza on Saturday, June 22, 2024 from 10:30 am until 1:00 pm.  Any students in grades 2 – 8 who know the real rules of chess and understand tournament etiquette are welcome!  For more information and/or to pre-register visit:

Thank you to Barracks Row Main Street for their continued partnership and support of Chess in the Park!

Summer 2024 Chess Day Camps – Registration Now Open

REGISTER NOW for Summer 2024 Chess Day Camps

Since 1992, we have been providing challenging instruction and making chess fun for students.  Our nationally certified chess teachers are experienced with all levels of ability.  Camp will be challenging and interesting for all and our focus is on improving chess skills through practice and lessons.  The teachers place more emphasis on learning than on winning.  Good sportsmanship is the key to having fun.

Thousands of students have participated in our camps, with many enjoying camp so much that they return year after year and dozens continue to play at a master level.  Our students have won more than a dozen national championships, hundreds have earned academic college scholarships, and more than 20 have become national masters. 

Our summer chess day camps consist of chess instruction and play, as well as recreational activities.  Camps start at 9:00 am ET and end at 3:00 pm ET.  Aftercare (until 5:00 pm ET) is available for an added fee.  Campers need to bring/pack a bag lunch each day. 

There will be about one teacher per ten students and enrollment is usually capped at 32 campers total for each week. Depending on the week and camp location (see below) students rising into grades 2-7 or rising into grades 3-9 are welcome.  

Camp Week #1:  June 24-28, 2024
     White Oaks Elementary School in Burke, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #1 

Camp Week #2:  July 1-5, 2024 [No Camp on July 4th]
     Location TBD (in Montgomery County, MD)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     More details and registration available the first week of May 2024.

Camp Week #3:  July 8-12, 2024
     Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #3

Camp Week #4:  July 15-19, 2024
     Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 3-9 (Intermediate to Advanced)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #4

Camp Week #5:  July 22-26, 2024
     Colvin Run Elementary School in Vienna, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #5

Camp Week #6:  July 29-August 2, 2024
     Colvin Run Elementary School in Vienna, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 3-9 (Intermediate to Advanced)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #6

Camp Week #7:  August 5-9, 2024
     Alpha STEM for the Gifted in Oakton, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 3-9 (Intermediate to Advanced)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #7

For more information about our summer chess day camps, call us at 202-857-4922 or email

Thank you to Marc Rotenberg for years of service to the Chess Center

The U.S. Chess Center acknowledged Marc Rotenberg’s years of service to our organization with Executive Director Chris McCleary presenting him a token of our appreciation. Mr. Rotenberg first became involved with the Center as an active participant in the tournaments and other activities at our original location, where he won the District of Columbia Chess Championship three times.

Mr. Rotenberg (pictured on left) joined our board of directors as we transitioned from 1501 M Street, where we began, first to collocate with BASIS DC public charter school, then to our current office in Silver Spring. He became the chairman of the board in 2015, a position he retained until he retired from our board last year.

He has been generous with his time and resources, hosting events at his beautiful home that included Queen of Katwe star Phiona Mutesi, and several political figures. The Center benefitted in myriad ways from his help.

Metro Area Chess League 2023-24: Round 2 Results & Round 3 Pairings

Round 2 Results

White on Boards 1 & 3 – White on Boards 2 & 4

Magruder 1-3 Poolesville
DeMatha 1-3 McNamara
E.L. Haynes 4-0 Girls Global Academy
Richard Montgomery 3-1 Gonzaga
Rockville 2.5-1.5 Arlington Career Center
Oakton 4-0 West Springfield
St. Albans 0-4 Don Bosco Cristo Rey
BASIS DC 0-0 Marshall
Montgomery Blair 0.5-3.5 Chantilly
St. Anselm’s 2-2 Jackson-Reed
Hayfield 0-0 McLean
Rochambeau 4-0 BYE
St. John’s 0-4 Langley
McKinley Tech 0-3 Georgetown Prep

Round 3 Pairings

Below are the pairings for the third round to be played by January 12

White on Boards 1 & 3 – White on Boards 2 & 4

Poolesville – Chantilly
Bishop McNamara – Richard Montgomery
Langley – Rockville
St. Anselm’s – Oakton
Rochambeau – Magruder
Jackson-Reed – EL Haynes
Georgetown Prep – McLean
BASIS DC – Blair
West Springfield – Marshall
Gonzaga – McKinley Tech
Girls Global Academy – St. John’s
Hayfield – DeMatha
Don Bosco Cristo Rey – Arlington Career

League Standings

Teams are ranked by Match Points, then by Board Points.

PlaceSchoolTotal Match PointsTotal Board Points
2nd (Tie)Chantilly27.5
2nd (Tie)Langley27.5
4th (Tie)Poolesville27
4th (Tie)Richard Montgomery27
7th (Tie)St. Anselm's1.56
7th (Tie)Bishop McNamara1.55
9thDon Bosco Cristo Rey15
11th (Tie)E.L. Haynes14
11th (Tie)Magruder14
11th (Tie)McLean14
14thMontgomery Blair13.5
15thGeorgetown Prep13
17th (Tie)BASIS DC0.52
17th (Tie)Jackson-Reed0.52
17th (Tie)McKinely Tech0.52
17th (Tie)St. Albans0.52
17th (Tie)West Springfield0.52
22ndArlington Career Center02.5
24th (Tie)Girls Global Academy00
24th (Tie)Hayfield00
24th (Tie)Marshall00
24th (Tie)St. John's00

Metro Area Chess League 2023-24 – Round 1 Results & Round 2 Pairings

The Metro Area Chess League has returned for a new season.  27 schools from around Washington, D.C., Maryland and Northern Virginia comprise this year’s field of participants.
This year the round-by-round organization protocol has changed a bit: rather than gathering everyone to play all the games for one round in a single online meeting, the students and staff sponsors can coordinate amongst themselves to play the matches when it works for them.  In addition to allowing greater flexibility in student participation, we also hope that this format change will allow for some individual matches to be played in person this season.
Round 1 is nearly finished, and McLean, Poolesville, Richard Montgomery and Rockville share the early lead after recording 4-0 sweeps in their opening matches.
Round 1 Results

White on Boards 1 & 3 – White on Boards 2 & 4

Don Bosco Cristo Rey 1-3 Magruder
McLean 4-0 DeMatha
Poolesville 4-0 Hayfield
West Springfield 2-2 McKinley Tech
Girls Global Academy 0-4 Rockville
Bishop McNamara 2-2 St. Albans
Langley 3.5-0.5 Rochambeau
E.L. Haynes 0-4 St. Anselm’s
Georgetown Prep 0-4 Richard Montgomery
Gonzaga 2-2 BASIS DC
Arlington Career Center 1-3 Montgomery Blair
Chantilly 4-0 St. John’s 
Marshall 0-0 Jackson-Reed
Oakton 4-0 BYE

Round 2 Pairings

White on Boards 1 & 3 – White on Boards 2 & 4
DeMatha – Bishop McNamara
McKinley Tech – Georgetown Prep
E.L. Haynes – Girls Global Academy
Richard Montgomery – Gonzaga
Rockville – Arlington Career Center
Oakton – West Springfield
St. Albans – Don Bosco Cristo Rey
BASIS DC – Marshall
Magruder – Poolesville
Blair – Chantilly
St. Anselm’s – Jackson-Reed
St. John’s – Langley
Hayfield – McLean
Rochambeau – BYE

We have 27 teams registered for the league as of today. We are trying to find a 28th team. If another school registers this week, that school will replace the bye.

Following this round, the pairings will be based on a modified Swiss system, so that the teams that are doing well will play others that are having success while still allowing us to have category champions, such as the top team from each jurisdiction and the top charter school.

Results from the first Bishops+Beers Blitz Tournament, Nov 7th

Nearly every Tuesday over the past year, the U.S. Chess Center has hosted Bishops and Beers at Silver Branch Brewery, an evening event for our grown-up clientele to gather in downtown Silver Spring for some good food, good company, good potations and good chess.

The first week this month, we added a competitive element, with the first Bishops + Beers Blitz Tournament kicking off at 6:30 p.m. on November 7. Our instructor Riley Dosh was on hand to make up the pairings, tally the results, and generally help facilitate the fun.

The tournament was well-attended with 16 total players, and the excitement also hooked in a few spectators. Don McLean (pictured below, right) won convincingly with 7.5/9, Christian (pictured middle) came in second place with 6/9, and Jason (pictured left) came in third, losing on tiebreaks to Christian.

Given the general success of the tournament, we’re looking into running more blitz events at future Bishops & Beers outings. If you haven’t come to downtown Silver Spring on Tuesday night (and you’re at least 21), come join the fun!

2023-24 season of the Metro Area Chess League starts this week

We have 26 high schools competing so far this year.  Visit Metro Area Chess League (MACL) – Overview for more information.

Round 1 Pairings

McLean – DeMatha
Poolesville – Hayfield
West Springfield – McKinley Tech
Girls Global Academy – Rockville
Bishop McNamara – St. Albans
Marshall – Jackson-Reed
Don Bosco Cristo Rey – Magruder
Chantilly – St. John’s
Langley – Rochambeau
E.L. Haynes – St. Anselm’s
Georgetown Prep – Richard Montgomery
Gonzaga – BASIS DC
Arlington Career Center – Montgomery Blair

Great day of Chess at DC Public Library’s Battle of the Branches

On Saturday, June 10th, the DC Public Library System held it’s first “Battle of the Branches” chess tournament at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.  The Chess Center’s own, Ms. Riley Dosh, served as Tournament Director and students from our Friends of Cleveland Park Library Chess Club were among the 57 competitors (of which 26 were children and 31 were adults).  Chess players were divided into two leagues by self-declaration – a Beginner League with 16 players and an Intermediate League with 41 players.  

Congratulations to Richard Wu (10 years old), representing MLK Library, who won the Beginner League with an undefeated 7 of 7 wins!  Meanwhile, Jesse Webb took second place and Elbert deGuzman, representing Bellevue Library, was third.

The Intermediate League was won by Jarock Davis, representing Cleveland Park Library (one of our students!).  Larry Jefferson, representing Benning Road Library, took second place; Nathan Pho, representing Southwest Library, was third; and Richard Aiken, representing Tenley-Friendship Neighborhood Library, took fourth place.

In the “Battle of the Branches” overall competition where the scores of the top three players from each branch were compared, Benning Road Library emerged victorious with 13 of their 17 games won.

DCPL Battle of the Branches 2023-06-10

Thank you to Dubian Ade, Carol Auerbach, and the rest of the DCPL staff and librarians for organizing the tournament.  Thank you to NM David Bennett for assisting Ms. Dosh in running the tournament, and thank you to Robin Ramson of ChessGirlsDC, for providing chess sets and other logistical support.

Congratulations to all the winners and players!

Photos from the final class of Chess Kids 2021-22

This past Saturday, March 26, 2022 was the final class of our Chess Kids program for 2021-2022.  Stay tuned this fall when we open registration again for the 2022-2023 sessions.  In the meantime, here are some photos from Chess Kids this spring.

Big Nate and a Chess Question

A curious reader of our website sent in the following question:

“In the Big Nate comic strips, there is a recurring theme: Nate is put into check, and Nate responds by making one move to checkmate his opponent. This led me to wonder about actual plausible board configurations that could result in this outcome. Has anyone come up with such configurations?”

It doesn’t happen often, but here is a silly example:

This specific position would not likely arise in a game, but the concept of answering a check with a winning discovered attack is known in chess. Thanks for your question!

Thank you to Eugene Meyer for 29 years of service to the Chess Center

Eugene Meyer accepted an award for his 29 years of service on the Center’s Board of Directors.

One of the co-founders of the U.S. Chess Center in 1991, International Chess Master Eugene Meyer was instrumental in the success of the Center in establishing chess classes in hundreds of local schools.

IM Meyer was among the twenty highest-rated players in the country for a couple of decades and was an active participant in local and national tournaments and leagues, winning many championships. For many years, until he emigrated to Virginia, he was the District of Columbia’s highest-rated player.

In honor of his 29 years of service and generosity to the U.S. Chess Center, Executive Director Christopher McCleary presented IM Meyer with an award last week.  Thank you, IM Meyer!

Metro Area Chess League 2021-2022: Round 1 Results

The U.S. Chess Center is pleased to bring back the Metro Area Chess League (MACL), the high school chess league we ran from 1985 through 2012. A previous incarnation of the league ran from 1950 through 1975. 

The 2021-2022 season began last night with Round 1 and will continue over the next few months, concluding with play-offs at the end of March 2022.   We have 20 teams competing.

Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD and Justice High School in Falls Church, VA won their matches and led the round with four board victories each—a clean sweep—tying them for first place. 

James Hubert Blake High School (Silver Spring, MD), Gonzaga College High School (Washington, DC), and Thomas S. Wootton High School (Rockville, MD) also won their matches last night, but scored three board wins each and are tied for third place.

11/24 update: South Lakes High School (Reston, VA) won 3-0 in their postponed match against SEED Public Charter School (Washington, DC), joining the third place tie.

Good luck to all the teams!  Full results and Round 2 pairings below…

Round 1 Results
PlaceSchoolMatch PointsBoard Points
1st (Tie)Justice High School 14
1st (Tie)Montgomery Blair High School14
3rd (Tie)Gonzaga College High School 13
3rd (Tie)James Hubert Blake High School 13
3rd (Tie)South Lakes High School 13
3rd (Tie)Thomas S. Wootton High School 13
7th (Tie)BASIS DC .52
7th (Tie)Georgetown Preparatory School .52
7th (Tie)Richard Montgomery High School .52
7th (Tie)Rochambeau, the French International School .52
7th (Tie)Rockville High School .52
7th (Tie)St. Anselm's Abbey School .52
7th (Tie)West Springfield High School .52
7th (Tie)Woodrow Wilson High School .52
16th (Tie)Col. Zadok Magruder High School 01
16th (Tie)McLean High School 01
16th (Tie)Northwest High School 01
18th (Tie)Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School 00
18th (Tie)E.L. Haynes Public Charter School 00
18th (Tie)The SEED Public Charter School 00
N/ASt. Albans SchoolN/AN/A
N/AWashington International SchoolN/AN/A
A few games from Round 1
First board, Wootton vs. McLean
First board, Richard Montgomery vs. Georgetown Prep
First board, Rochambeau vs. Wilson
Round 2 Pairings

Round 2 will be held on December 14, 2021 at 7:15pm ET (7:30 games start) with matches played on

Rockville High School vs. Thomas S. Wootton High School
Washington International School vs. St. Albans School
Woodrow Wilson High School vs. E.L. Haynes Public Charter School
James Hubert Blake High School vs. Richard Montgomery High School
Georgetown Preparatory School vs. Rochambeau, the French International School
Justice High School vs. South Lakes High School
West Springfield High School vs. Montgomery Blair High School
Gonzaga College High School vs. St. Anselm’s Abbey School
The SEED Public Charter School vs. BASIS DC
Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School vs. Col. Zadok Magruder High School
McLean High School vs. Northwest High School  

Upcoming Schedule of Rounds

Round 2: December 14th
Round 3: January 11th
Round 4: January 25th
Round 5: February 8th
Round 6: TBD (February 22nd or March 1st)
Round 7: March 8th
Round 8: March 22nd
Playoffs: Saturday, March 26th with top 4 teams in-person

Photos from Saturday Chess Kids on October 23, 2021

Our Saturday Chess Kids program resumed again this past Saturday, October 23, 2021 at the DC Housing Finance Agency auditorium in the Shaw / U Street neighborhood of Washington, DC. 

Chess Kids, which has been operating since the U.S. Chess Center’s founding, is an individualized, highly structured program for students in Grades K – 6 that meets on Saturdays from 10:00 am – 11:30 am.  Chess Kids students are placed in groups based on their ability and everyone plays games each week and receives lessons. Through Chess Kids, we make learning chess fun!

To register your student for Chess Kids, click here.  Chess Kids operates in four-week sessions, and students are welcome to register for multiple sessions.  Session 2 begins November 20th.

Thank you to DC HFA for providing a great venue and support for this program.

Photos from “Bishops & BBQ” on October 14, 2021

Thank you to Money Muscle BBQ and everyone who came out on Thursday, October 14, 2021, to spend the evening with us playing chess, eating barbecue, making new friends, and enjoying beautiful fall weather under Piggy Smalls’ tent. 

Want to play more chess? Our offices are finally re-opening for limited hours and open play starting this Saturday, October 16th from 1:00-5:00pm.

U.S. Chess Center
8560 Second Avenue, Suite 118
Silver Spring, Maryland  20910

WHEN (New Hours)
Saturdays 1:00pm – 5:00pm

For the rest of October, play chess for free.  Starting in November table fees are $5/day, but Chess Center Members always play for free, so Become a Chess Center Member!

Bishops & BBQ: Thursday, October 14th 5:30-7:30pm at Money Muscle BBQ in Silver Spring, MD

Please join the U.S. Chess Center team and our friends at Money Muscle BBQ for an evening of “Bishops & BBQ.”  Come play chess and enjoy delicious barbecue at this family-friendly event while helping support the U.S. Chess Center.

WHAT: Bishops & BBQ
WHEN: Thursday, October 14, 2021 from 5:30 – 7:30pm ET
WHERE: Money Muscle BBQ Tent: 8620 Fenton Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910
                (If raining, find us at All Set Restaurant)

Door prizes for lucky guests and Money Muscle BBQ will donate a percentage of event sales to the U.S. Chess Center, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit.  Chess play and conversation is free! 

To make a donation in support of our mission to promote self-confidence, social skills, and academic success for all, click here.

Bishops & BBQ

Congratulations to Sunday Chess student, James, for his “Outstanding Performance”

Every year we recognize one or two kids who were particularly good students in our Sunday Chess program.  Our second award, for Outstanding Performance, was presented to James.

He earned the trophy both for being the most improved player during the year and for his leadership in the group. Despite his relative youth (being in middle school) other students respected his opinions and enjoyed their games with him.

When asked what he likes about chess, James said, “Whether you are a master or a beginner, chess is an incredible way to unleash your creativity and experience the joy of learning and competing.”

He and others are returning to Sunday Chess this coming week.  Sunday Chess will be a hybrid this year with many students coming to McLean in-person while others will be joining us online.

Students in grades 7 – 12 are welcome to register for Sunday Chess classes (either in-person or online) at

Congratulations to Sunday Chess student, Ryan, for his “Outstanding Performance”

Every year we recognize one or two kids who were particularly good students in our Sunday Chess program.  Our first award, for Outstanding Performance, was presented today to Ryan.

“Chess is cool,” Ryan said accepting the trophy recognizing his hard work and dedication during Sunday Chess this past year.  Ryan got excited about chess this year as he developed an appreciation for learning the strategy of the game and he looks forward to competing in person this year, including the tournament coming up next month for high school students at Eastern High School.

International Chess Day: July 20th

July 20th is International Chess Day, the day the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded, in 1924. First proposed by UNESCO in 1966, International Chess Day has been celebrated annually ever since, and on December 12, 2019, the UN General Assembly unanimously approved a resolution also recognizing the day.

How are you celebrating International Chess Day?  Send us a picture of you and/or your student(s) playing chess; or share an anecdote about learning or playing chess; or how it has made an impact in your life; and we’ll feature your pictures/stories right here on our blog, Notate.  Email your photo or story to:

Support the U.S. Chess Center: In honor of International Chess Day, please donate to help us teach students to play chess in order to promote self-confidence, social skills, and academic success.

The U.S. Chess Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and charitable donations, which are tax-deductible to the maximum extent allowed by law, enable us to:

► Keep our fees exceptionally low;
► Provide scholarships/discounts to financially challenged families;
► Offer free or low-cost chess instruction to Title I public schools.

Thank you!

Some Fun Facts About Chess

► Mathematically there are more possible games of chess than there are atoms in the Observable Universe.
► 605 million adults play chess regularly.
► Chess comes from the 6th century Sanskrit game chaturaṅga, which translates to “four arms.” The arms refer to the elephants, horses, chariots, and foot soldiers of the Indian army, which evolved into the modern bishops, knights, rooks, and pawns.
► Although the rule allowing pawns to move two squares on their first move was first proposed in the late 13th century, it was not generally accepted until 1492 when a large group of chess players in Paris also adopted the en passant rule.

Celebrating #InternationalChessDay

Kendrick Smith:  I didn’t come to the game of chess until 2012, when I was thirty-six years old.  I picked up a book by John Nunn entitled, Learn Chess.  My first attempts to play were against friends, whom had been playing since their childhood.  It is inevitable to say that they annihilated me causing me to take an early hiatus. Fast forward to April 2020, the pandemic. To implement social distancing in our office, they broke our team up into a day and a night shift. To keep people engaged and morale up, someone had a bright idea to bring in a chess board, where the night shift would play a move against the day shift. I thought to myself, it would take forever to finish the game. So I brought in a board of my own, and set it up at my desk. When work was slow, my coworkers would stop by to play. I got beat often, but I began to learn. I had read that five was a good age to introduce a child to chess, which was the exact age that my son was. Each day that I came home from work, I showed him a piece and how it moved. I next showed him pawn promotion, En passant, and castling.  Then the following week I showed him how to set up the board. We immediately began playing games. The beautiful thing was that on the days I was teaching Manny about chess, my wife would be at the island in the kitchen, listening and watching. She quickly picked up the game just from our sessions. We would each then take turns playing one another. it was it at this point that I began to enjoy the game of chess. I began watching several movies about chess, i.e., Fresh, The Queen’s Gambit, Critical Thinking, Brooklyn Castle, The Knight’s of the South Bronx, End Game, and Searching for Bobby Fischer. We now play every chance we get. Win, lose, or draw, we love the royal game. As matter of fact, when we’re eating at restaurant’s outdoors, we’ll play games, while waiting on our food. Attached is a picture of my son Manny and I playing at our favorite Ethiopian restaurant, Cher Cher. We plan on having Manny join the chess center this fall.

Ashwin, a Chess Center student, playing chess:

GM Alex Sherzer: Q&A and Simul with our Sunday Chess Class on June 20, 2021

On Sunday, June 20, 2021, friend of the U.S. Chess Center and Grandmaster, Dr. Alexander Sherzer, joined our Sunday Chess class to answer questions and play a simultaneous exhibition (simul) against the students.  Dr. Sherzer talked about his chess experiences, including his friendship with the Polgár sisters and meeting Bobby Fischer.

View the 10 games played in the simul on Lichess at: or below (click the board to view that game on Lichess).

Used Chess Books For Sale

The U.S. Chess Center has over a thousand used chess books for sale, starting at $1.00 and up.  We have been working to inventory our collection and enable online perusal.  Check out the list of books we’ve cataloged for sale so far in this Google Sheet or on our Libib Bookshelf2021-07-16 UPDATE: Peruse and purchase books here:

Email with inquiries or to purchase any books.  Buyer pays shipping or local pick-up is available.  Your purchase helps support the charitable mission of the Chess Center.  Thank you!

Photos & Games from an International Exhibition Match with Lusaka Province Chess Association of Zambia, Saturday, June 12, 2021

The US Chess Center played a match with a team from the Lusaka Province Chess Association (LPCA) in Lusaka, Zambia, on Saturday afternoon (evening in Africa), June 12th.  Each team was supposed to field 12 students, but the Zambian team had a few technical difficulties and only nine were able to participate.  The games were hard-fought, with every player having plenty of opportunities.

Before and after the match, the students went to break-out rooms to meet and learn about each other.  In addition to having common interests in sports and music, the kids from both locations like to play video games and have parents who restrict how much time they may spend online.

The coaches discussed the challenges of attracting and keeping girls involved with chess.  In Zambia, much competition is played among teams and the leagues require that at least one player per six-person team be female.  The coaches have succeeded in educating parents about the long-term value, both cultural and educational, of chess so that their attrition rate is low.

An excellent relationship was established and more matches between the two groups are expected to occur starting this summer. 

Here are some of the games played (Click the board to view the game at Lichess):


Photos & Results from the DC All Girls K-12 Spring Tournament on Saturday, June 5, 2021

Congratulations to Robin Ramson and Chess Girls DC for another successful All Girls Tournament!  It was our pleasure to help with another wonderful event.

Catholic University again hosted the outdoor event, which attracted 13 players.  Anna Miller, among the most active members of Chess Girls DC, swept the four-round event.

Directing the tournament was US Chess Center President David Mehler, assisted by Robert Teachey.  DC Girls Champion Amanda Lossef also helped, analyzing games and teaching first-timers how to record their moves.

Game between Anna (Black) and Shiloh (White), who finished in first and second places, respectively. Click the board to view the game at Lichess.

Photos from Chess for Kids with the Friends of Oxon Run Park on June 2, 2021

On Wednesday, June 2, we partnered with the Friends of Oxon Run Park to offer the first of several free introductory chess lessons for children (and play opportunities for adults) to be held over the summer at the amphitheater in this Washington, D.C. park.  Everyone who participated (and endured the cacophony of cicadas) also received a US Chess Center chess set courtesy of the Friends of Oxon Run Park.  

Keep an eye out for more chess in Oxon Run Park later this summer.

Thank you to Brenda Richardson and the Friends of Oxon Run for hosting this event!  

DC Scholastic All Girls (K-12) Spring Tournament: Saturday, June 5th at 9:30am

This Saturday, June 5, 2021 at 9:30 am ET, the All Girls K-12 Spring Tournament will be held outdoors at Catholic University’s Edward J. Pryzbyla Center (on the patio), weather permitting.  

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED (walk-ups will not be permitted).  The Fee is $15.00.

Masks will be required at all times during the tournament or you will be asked to leave and will be disqualified. No exceptions. 

For more information, or to register, please visit:

2021 Tournament of Champions: DC Representative Invitational Qualifier Series (Denker & Barber) Results

Congratulations to Benjamin Nemelka and Benjamin Tyrrell for earning the right to represent the District of Columbia in the GM Arnold Denker National Tournament of High School State Champions (Denker) and the Dewain Barber National Tournament of Middle School State Champions (Barber).

The qualifying tournaments were held this past Saturday, May 22nd, outdoors on the Catholic University campus. Organized by DC Chess League Scholastic Coordinator Robin Ramson and directed by David Mehler, ten players braved the sunshine and cicadas for a morning of excellent competition.

Mrs. Ramson announced the DC All-Girls tournament will be held at the same location on June 5, and that Amanda Lossef will represent the District in the WIM Ruth Haring National Tournament of Girls State Champions (formerly the National Girls Invitational Tournament).

These are a few of the games played (click the board to view the game at Lichess):

Ben N - Amanda
Amanda - Zach
Shirel - Shiloh

Time forfeit.

Zach - Ben N

Zach was in time trouble and in the scramble lost.

Ben T - Shirel
Ben T - Donovan

Final Team Standings for the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League

Congratulations to DC International School for their victory in the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League.  Saturday, May 15 was the final Match Day (Rounds 13 & 14) and DCI dominated yet again, maintaining the lead they established at the start of the season, and securing victory with 13.5 match points.  DCI almost achieved a perfect record, but BASIS DC, our second place team with 11 match points, fought DCI to a draw in Round 12 last week.

Imagine Hope edged out Howard University for third place, despite both teams having 8 match points.  The decision came down to the tie-breaker of board points (Imagine Hope had 31 to HU-MS²’s 28 board points).

Thank you to all the teams, students, and coaches!  We hope to see all the teams return in the Fall for a new season.

Results after Round 14 (Saturday, May 15, 2021)

WGM Jennifer Yu answers students’ questions and plays a consultation game against our Sunday Chess group

Woman Grandmaster (WGM) Jennifer Yu, the 2019 US Women’s Champion, spent time with our Sunday Chess group on May 16, answering students’ questions and playing a consultation game with them. Jennifer spoke about her training for tournaments, her expectations of playing chess indefinitely but not making it her career, and her passion for doing the best she can.  Watch some of the Q&A here:

After chatting with the students, WGM Yu played a consultation game with them.  In a consultation game, a group (in this case the US Chess Center’s Sunday Chess students) plays collectively, discussing and determining each move together as a team.  

USCC Sunday Chess (White) - WGM Yu (Black)

Nearly three hours later, the match resulted in a draw.  Watch each move in the match on Lichess here:

Thank you to WGM Yu for spending a Sunday afternoon with our students!

2021 Tournament of Champions: DC Representative Invitational Qualifier Series – Saturday, May 22nd

This Saturday, May 22, 2021 at 9:30 am ET, the qualifiers for the Denker (grades 9-12) and Barber (grades 6-8) Tournaments of Champions will be held outdoors at Catholic University’s Edward J. Pryzbyla Center (on the patio), weather permitting.  

PRE-REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED (walk-ups will not be permitted).

All competitors must also be members of the US Chess Federation to play, and due to COVID-19 and space restrictions, each category (students in grades 6-8 for the Barber, grades 9-12 for the Denker) is limited to a maximum of 16 players. Masks will be required at all times during the tournament or you will be asked to leave and will be disqualified. No exceptions. 

For more information, or to register, please visit: