Chess Center

Elementary Team League 2021-22: Round 4 Results

Ten school teams braved the frigid winter weather yesterday to come out for the fourth match day of this season’s Elementary Team League at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church.  With the season half finished, we have a new leader in the overall standings, as Colvin Run Elementary (Vienna, VA) won both of their matches to overtake Kent Gardens.

Round 1:
Ravensworth 2.5-1.5 Kent Gardens
White Oaks 3-0 Westbriar
Greenbriar West 1-3 Colvin Run
Spring Hill 2-1 Willow Springs
Poplar Tree 2.5-1.5 Stratford Landing
Round 2:
Kent Gardens 2.5-1.5 Poplar Tree
Colvin Run 2.5-1.5 Ravensworth
Stratford Landing 2-2 Spring Hill
Willow Springs 3-1 White Oaks
Westbriar 0-4 Greenbriar West
Standings after Matchday 4:
Colvin Run 98
Kent Gardens 93
White Oaks 90
Greenbriar West 87
Poplar Tree 87
Spring Hill 60
Ravensworth 46
Willow Springs 46
Westbriar 34
Stratford Landing 33 
Any student enrolled in an after school chess club of ours can sign up to play in the League.  Participating is a great opportunity to practice and gain experience for important tournaments like the state and national championships this spring.  If your child is interested in taking part, contact their club instructor.  Saturday, January 22 is the next scheduled match day.

Chess Helps Bridge Generational Gaps

A piece from the Parenting section of last week’s Washington Post highlights the value of chess not just as a tool for sharpening children’s intellect, but also for improving their social skills.  In particular, Paul Rogers notes the ease with which chess can help children connect with people from older generations.  Whether bonding with parents and grandparents or playing with adults outside of the family, chess instills in kids the belief in kids that win or lose, they are part of something that everyone enjoys.  And for children who struggle in ordinary social situations, the game can provide a special value.

Rogers’ observations are in line with what we at the Chess Center have seen throughout our history of organizing events for young people. Few other pursuits can match the universal accessibility of chess to players of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and physical capabilities.  And unlike with an electronic game franchise that has new editions or sequels coming out every year, parents who take up the hobby of chess alongside their children don’t have to worry about the game being replaced.  Chess is an activity that has stood the test of time.  The rules have not changed in half a millennium, but the strategic complexity of the game keeps us all interested.

All of our instructors who were fortunate enough to learn chess in our childhoods now look back on those years with great fondness; we remember the first time we sat across from an adult at a chess board, playing or discussing a game, and were treated as equals.

Happy New Year From the U.S. Chess Center! Upcoming Major Competitions in 2022

We hope everyone is enjoying their holiday season and getting to spend time with loved ones.  Remember, whether you’re visiting in person or catching up through a video screen, a game of chess is a great way to connect.

Since chess players plan ahead, we’re posting some of the major competition dates for 2022 right here for folks who wish to mark their calendars.

The Virginia Scholastic Chess Championship is scheduled for the weekend of March 26-27 in Fredericksburg, VA.  State championship tournaments are exciting for children no matter their playing strength, and we hope many of our Virginia-based students will decide to attend this year’s event.  The Virginia Chess Federation has more information and online registration here.

Further ahead are the national championships.  The National High School Championship for 2022, open to all students in grades K-12, is happening in Memphis the weekend of April 8-10 at the Renasant Convention Center.  Online registration is available here.

 Three weeks later, from April 29-May 1, is the National Middle School Championship for grades K-8.  The venue is the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas (Dallas-Fort Worth area).  An entry form and additional details can be found here

Two weeks after that, from May 13-15, is the National Elementary School Championship for grades K-6, slated for Columbus at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.  Online registration for the elementary school Nationals is not available yet, but we believe it will be soon.  You can visit the USCF’s calendar of national events for more information, and the Chess Center will also be updating our tournament calendar as more details become open.

The Nationals - students from around the country united by a shared passion for chess.

Regardless of how many games they win, participating in these state and national championship competitions tends to be an experience that children never forget.  If you’re interested in forming a school group to travel to a tournament and you’d like to connect with other families who want the same, we encourage you to speak with your chess club instructor.

We wish you all a safe, healthy and happy New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2022!

Elementary Team League 2021-22: Round 3 Results

Nearly 40 students from ten schools showed up for this past Saturday’s Elementary Team League competition.  Last Saturday was the third matchday of the eight scheduled for the season.  Once again, we thank St. Luke’s Episcopal Church for providing the venue and tables.

We enter the holiday break with Kent Gardens Elementary still leading the overall standings.  The remaining matchdays are January 8, January 22, February 5, February 19 and March 5.

Results from Matchday 3 (of 8)

Round 1:

Poplar Tree 4-0 Willow Springs
Colvin Run 3-1 Spring Hill
Westbriar 0-4 Kent Gardens
White Oaks 4-0 Ravensworth
Greenbriar West 4-0 Stratford Landing
Round 2:
Kent Gardens 2-2 White Oaks
Stratford Landing 0-4 Colvin Run
Willow Springs 1.5 -1.5 Westbriar
Spring Hill 1-3 Poplar Tree
Ravensworth 2-2 Greenbriar West
Standings after Matchday 3:
Kent Gardens 76
Colvin Run 71
White Oaks 69
Greenbriar West 65
Poplar Tree 64
Spring Hill 42
Westbriar 32
Ravensworth 26
Willow Springs 22
Stratford Landing 16 
Playing in the League is free and open to every student enrolled in one of our after school chess clubs.  We especially encourage students who’ve never played tournament chess outside of their school to reach out to their club instructor and sign up to play.

Metro Area Chess League 2021-22: Round 2 Results

Tuesday evening was Round 2 of the Metro Area Chess League.  Students from 22 high school teams from the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia and Maryland showed up on lichess to compete.

In a closely matched field, Montgomery Blair High School (Silver Spring, MD) and South Lakes High School (Reston, VA) are the only schools to win both of their matches so far and sit atop the standings with 2 match points each.  Last night Montgomery Blair swept all four boards for the second round in a row and so holds the board points tiebreaker with 8 points out of a possible 8, with South Lakes in second with 6.  Just behind them, Georgetown Preparatory School (North Bethesda, MD) leads a group of six schools tied with 1.5 match points.

Round 2 Results & League Standings

PlaceSchoolRound 2 Board PointsRound 2 Match PointsTotal Board PointsTotal Match Points
1stMontgomery Blair High School4182
2ndSouth Lakes High School 3162
3rdGeorgetown Preparatory School 4161.5
4th (Tie)Gonzaga College High School 2.551.5
4th (Tie)Thomas S. Wootton High School 2.551.5
4th (Tie)Richard Montgomery High School 3151.5
4th (Tie)Woodrow Wilson High School 3151.5
8thBASIS DC 2.514.51.5
9th (Tie)Justice High School 1051
9th (Tie)McLean High School 4151
11th (Tie)James Hubert Blake High School 1041
11th (Tie)Rockville High School 2.541
11th (Tie)St. Anselm's Abbey School 2.541
11th (Tie)Col. Zadok Magruder High School 3141
15th (Tie)Rochambeau, the French International School 002.5
15th (Tie)West Springfield High School 002.5
15th (Tie)St. Albans School2.52.5
15th (Tie)Washington International School2.52.5
19thThe SEED Public Charter School 1.501.50
20th (Tie)Northwest High School 0010
20th (Tie)Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School 1010
20th (Tie)E.L. Haynes Public Charter School 1010

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

Round 2 Highlights

Board 1: Justice vs. South Lakes

Board 1: Richard Montgomery vs. Blake

Board 1: SEED vs. BASIS DC

Round 3 Pairings

Round 3 will be held on January 11, 2022 at 7:15pm ET (7:30 games start)
with matches played on

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

Congratulations to the 2021 DC Championship Winners

Congratulations to Sal Rosario and David Sherman, two of the Center’s former teachers, for splitting the championship honors as 2021 District of Columbia Champion and Senior Champions.

Eighteen players competed over the weekend in this year’s DC Championship, where Dennis Norman went 4-0 to capture first place overall and Bijan Tahmassebi took clear second with 3½. The top two finishers are from Maryland, so were ineligible for the DC titles. Rosario and Sherman each went 3-1.

Special congratulations to the students who played.  Two of our young champions, Ben Nemelka and Amanda Lossef both did well against the adult competition, and we are very pleased to see Anna Miller and newcomer Samson Neuberger playing.

All photos provided courtesy of Mr. Bill Simmons, used with permission.

DC Championship is Next Weekend

The District of Columbia Championship for 2021 is December 11-12 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Washington. The 2020 champion, IM David Recuero, is out of town for the next couple of months so the field is wide open. 

The highest-scoring DC player earns the title of District of Columbia Chess Champion, but any player with an up-to-date USCF membership is eligible to participate, not just DC residents.  For more information and registration, go to

Elementary Team League Matchday 2: Results and Standings

On December 4, ten school teams showed up at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church to compete in the second Saturday of matches for this season’s Elementary Team League.  Early leaders Kent Gardens continued their strong run by winning their first match of the day, before Greenbriar West edged them in the second match giving the rest of the field the chance to catch up a little.

Results from Matchday 2 (of 8)​
Round 1:
Westbriar 2-2 Poplar Tree
Greenbriar West 2-2 Spring Hill
Stratford Landing 1-3 Kent Gardens
White Oaks 1.5-2.5 Colvin Run
Willow Springs 2-1 Ravensworth
Round 2:
Kent Gardens 1.5-2.5 Greenbriar West
Colvin Run 4-0 Willow Springs
Poplar Tree 1-3 White Oaks
Spring Hill 1.5-2.5 Westbriar
Ravensworth 2-1 Stratford Landing
Standings after Matchday 2:
Kent Gardens 50
White Oaks 43
Colvin Run 41
Greenbriar West 39
Poplar Tree 34
Spring Hill 32
Westbriar 23
Ravensworth 14
Willow Springs 13
Stratford Landing 8
Our scoring system is weighted to reward those schools that show up with a full team, since the main goal, as always, is improving the students’ skills.
The remaining Saturday league days this season are December 18, January 8, January 22, February 5, February 19 and March 5.  Participation is free and available to all students enrolled in one of our in-person after school chess clubs.  Please reach out to your chess instructor if your child would like to play for their school on a future Saturday.

Chess at John Burroughs Elementary

With schools open once again, the Chess Center is thrilled to return to in-person teaching in Washington, DC.  This past Thursday afternoon we resumed our classes at John Burroughs Elementary School.

Before the chess pieces are passed out to start play, here is Mr. Constantine reviewing every teacher’s favorite rule: players must always remain silent during the games.

As always, we hope our students will be able to apply the critical thinking and problem solving skills they learn from chess to help them in the classroom.  Of our previous programs at John Burroughs, teacher Vicki Bullock has said, Chess has made a positive impact on these students’ ability to be THOUGHTFUL and THOROUGH in their work!”  

Interested in bringing the U.S. Chess Center to your school?  Contact us!

Join Us Tomorrow for Free Blitz!

Tomorrow, Dec. 2, there will be a free blitz tournament open to all members of the public.  Come play and engage with other members of the local chess community!

Space will be limited to the first 16 players to sign up, and an official U.S. Chess Center tournament set will be awarded to the winner.  Time control will be game/5, no delay or increment.  Registration is open here:

In compliance with local COVID safety and health protocols, participants are required to wear masks at all times during our in-person events.

The U.S. Chess Center is Proud to Teach Students at Washington Highlands

Our fall program at Washington Highlands is off to a bright start. This past Monday, taking advantage of the nice weather, Coach Alex and his students played the Pawn Game on the lawn in front of the Southern Hills community room.

Understanding pawns is key to understanding the greater strategy of chess

We have set a goal of preparing our students to play in nationally rated tournaments so that when the national championships arrive in the Washington area in less than 15 months our students will be ready to compete and win. 

Coach Alex and the kids break for a selfie

Since 1992, the U.S. Chess Center has taught many thousands of DC elementary schoolchildren the rules, strategy, etiquette, and discipline of tournament chess.  Through hard work and persistence, the students learn the importance of planning ahead, avoiding distractions, and delaying gratification in pursuit of long-term goals.  Please feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in having us create a program at your school.

Join Us For Sunday Chess!

Open to students in grades 7-12.  All ability levels are welcome.

Sunday Chess is revving up for this year. This year we have a hybrid, with many students joining us via Zoom, like last year, but even more coming in person to our McLean location (view on map).

We expect to have our normal range of activities on Sundays for the teens, including visits from distinguished strong players and Internet matches with young players from other countries.  Lessons are designed to help the students have fun and improve, and it’s not too late to sign up.  Learn more here.

Fall Chess Clubs & Classes – Registration Now Open!

After-School Chess Clubs
Start Next Week!

FOR STUDENTS IN GRADES 2-6.  Since 1993, the U.S. Chess Center has been running after-school chess clubs in elementary schools in partnership with PTOs/PTAs throughout the national capital region. We are pleased to resume in-person clubs at many of our locations this autumn.  Registration for the following school clubs is now open:

Colvin Run ES Chess Club (Vienna, VA)
Greenbriar West ES Chess Club (Fairfax, VA)

Poplar Tree ES Chess Club (Chantilly, VA)

Ravensworth ES Chess Club (Springfield, VA)

Spring Hill ES Chess Club (McLean, VA)

Stratford Landing ES Chess Club (Alexandria, VA)

Westbriar ES Chess Club (Vienna, VA)

White Oaks ES Chess Club (Burke, VA)

Willow Springs ES Chess Club (Fairfax, VA)

Our in-person clubs welcome students of all ability levels, from complete beginners to accomplished tournament players.  We teach the rules of chess to students who do not know them and the strategy of the game to everyone.   For both lessons and gameplay, students are grouped by playing strength to ensure that each child is appropriately challenged.  
The fall session of our clubs commences the final week of September, and runs all the way to the end of the first half of the school year, in late January or early February.  The spring sessions begin shortly after.

Some of our clubs have decided to be virtual-only this school year.  For these clubs, classes will be online with students also grouped by skill; however, our online clubs are designed for students that already know the rules, basic vocabulary, and basic strategy of chess.  If your student is completely new to chess then they are not eligible to participate in an online club but we are creating classes for them

Churchill Road ES Chess Club (McLean, VA) – ONLINE ONLY
McNair ES Chess Club (Herndon, VA) – ONLINE ONLY  

In addition to one after-school meeting each week at the school with instruction and supervised play, membership in our clubs (in-person or online) includes the opportunity to participate in the Elementary Team League, a fun competition that takes place from 1:30-3:00 PM on various Saturdays throughout the school year. This local team event has been a tradition for over 20 years, bringing together students from all over the greater Washington area to represent their chess clubs in friendly matches against other elementary schools.  Students of all levels of tournament experience are welcome.

After-school fun
Online Chess Classes

FOR STUDENTS IN GRADES 2-6 who know the rules of chess but are unable to participate in one of our in-person after-school programs, the U.S. Chess Center offers classes online.

Our online classes are live and interactive with a nationally certified chess coach; we do not use videos.  We stratify the lesson groups by ability so that everyone is challenged but nobody is overwhelmed.   Lessons are designed to help students develop confidence without boring them, and students are encouraged to share their ideas and questions with the class.  Our teachers listen to each student to ensure that nobody is left behind, and we observe the games the students play with one another to determine points to emphasize in future lessons.

Online classes are 60 minutes, once each week from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm ET (UTC -5).  Each class has 20-30 minutes of instruction and 30-40 minutes of supervised play.  Space is limited.

The fall semester of online chess classes starts next week and runs through January 2022.  The spring semester of online classes runs from February 2022 through early June 2022.

If you wish to register your child but have questions about which class level to enroll in, you can read the descriptions of each level on the registration page.