Metro Area Chess League 2021-22: Round 4 Results

January 25 marked the fourth match of the Metro Area Chess League season.  Leaders Montgomery Blair High School – the only team with a perfect score through the first three rounds – faced Richard Montgomery and were held to their first drawn match, as each team won two games from their four boards.  Woodrow Wilson High School and BASIS DC both won their Round 4 matches to join them on 3.5 match points, although Montgomery Blair still holds the board points tiebreaker.

Round 4 Results

Montgomery Blair High School 2 – 2 Richard Montgomery High School
Wilson High School 2.5 – 1.5 Gonzaga College High School
EL Haynes Public Charter School 1 – 3 BASIS DC
Washington International School 1 – 3 St. Anselms Abbey School
McLean High School 2 – 2 Rochambeau French Intl. School
Georgetown Preparatory School 1 – 3 Thomas J. Wootton High School
James Hubert Blake High School 1 – 3 Rockville High School
Justice High School 1.5 – 2.5 Col. Zadok Magruder High School
West Springfield High School 2 – 2 South Lakes High School
Don Bosco Cristo Rey 0 – 4 Northwest High School
The SEED Public Charter School 0 – 4 St. Albans School

Standings After Round 4
PlaceSchoolTotal Match PointsTotal Board Points
1stMontgomery Blair High School3.514
2ndWoodrow Wilson High School 3.511
3rdBASIS DC 3.510
4th (Tie)Richard Montgomery High School 311
4th (Tie)St. Anselm's Abbey School 311
6th McLean High School 2.510
7thGonzaga College High School 2.59.5
8th (Tie)South Lakes High School 2.59
8th (Tie)Thomas S. Wootton High School 2.59
10thGeorgetown Preparatory School 2.57.5
11th Northwest High School 29
12thWest Springfield High School 28
13th (Tie)Col. Zadok Magruder High School 27
13th (Tie)Rockville High School 27
15thRochambeau, the French International School 26.5
16thSt. Albans School1.56
17th Justice High School 16.5
18th (Tie)James Hubert Blake High School 15
18th (Tie)E.L. Haynes Public Charter School 15
20th Washington International School0.54.5
21st Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School 02
22ndThe SEED Public Charter School 01.5
Round 5 Pairings

Round 5 will be held on February 8, 2022 at 7:15pm ET (7:30 games start) with matches played on https://lichess.org

Pairings for Round 5 will be posted shortly.

Elementary Team League 2021-22: Round 5 Results

Yesterday, January 22, was the fifth matchday of this season’s Elementary Team League.  St. Luke’s Episcopal Church again played host.  With two straight 4-0 victories, Colvin Run Elementary (Vienna, VA) extended their lead at the top of the season standings.

Round 1:
White Oaks 1-3 Greenbriar West
Willow Springs 2.5-1.5 Stratford Landing
Westbriar 0-4 Colvin Run
Spring Hill 2-2 Kent Gardens 
Poplar Tree 1.5-1.5 Ravensworth
 
 
Round 2:
Kent Gardens 2-2 Willow Springs
Colvin Run 4-0 Poplar Tree
Greenbriar West 1-3 Spring Hill
Stratford Landing 1.5-2.5 White Oaks
Ravensworth 2.5-0.5 Westbriar
 
Standings after Matchday 4:
Colvin Run 130
Kent Gardens 113
White Oaks 109
Greenbriar West 107
Poplar Tree 94
Spring Hill 84
Willow Springs 69
Ravensworth 64
Stratford Landing 47
Westbriar 39 
 
If your child is enrolled in an after school chess club of ours and would like to sign up to play in the Elementary Team League, contact their club instructor.  Our next scheduled match day is Saturday, February 5.

Metro Area Chess League 2021-22: Round 3 Results

Following our winter break, the Metro Area Chess League resumed on lichess yesterday evening.  Montgomery Blair High School (Silver Spring, MD) is now in the solo lead after its third consecutive clean sweep of all four boards.  

Round 3 Results

Rockville High School 0-4 Montgomery Blair High School

South Lakes High School 1-3 McLean High School

BASIS DC 2.5-1.5 Georgetown Preparatory School

Thomas S. Wootton High School 1-3 Gonzaga College High School

Rochambeau, the French International School 2.5-1.5 Washington International School

Col. Zadok Magruder High School 0.5-3.5 Woodrow Wilson High School

James Hubert Blake High School 0-4 St. Anselm’s Abbey School

St. Albans School 0-4 West Springfield High School

E.L. Haynes Public Charter School 3-1 Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School

Northwest High School 4-0 The SEED Public Charter School

Richard Montgomery High School 4-0 Justice High School

Standings After Round 3
PlaceSchoolTotal Match PointsTotal Board Points
1stMontgomery Blair High School312
2ndRichard Montgomery High School 2.59
3rdWoodrow Wilson High School 2.58.5
4thBASIS DC 2.57
5th (Tie)McLean High School 28
5th (Tie)St. Anselm's Abbey School 28
7thSouth Lakes High School 27
8thGeorgetown Preparatory School 1.57.5
9th (Tie)West Springfield High School 1.56
9th (Tie)Thomas S. Wootton High School 1.56
11th Gonzaga College High School 1.55
12thRochambeau, the French International School 1.54.5
13th Justice High School 16
14th Northwest High School 15
15th Col. Zadok Magruder High School 14.5
16th (Tie)James Hubert Blake High School 14
16th (Tie)Rockville High School 14
16th (Tie)E.L. Haynes Public Charter School 14
19th (Tie)Washington International School0.53.5
19th (Tie)St. Albans School0.52
21st Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School 02
22ndThe SEED Public Charter School 01.5
Round 4 Pairings

Round 4 will be held on January 25, 2022 at 7:15pm ET (7:30 games start) with matches played on https://lichess.org

Montgomery Blair High School – Richard Montgomery High School
Wilson High School – Gonzaga College High School
EL Haynes Public Charter School – BASIS DC
Washington International School – St. Anselms Abbey School
McLean High School – Rochambeau French Intl. School
Georgetown Preparatory School – Thomas J. Wootton High School
James Hubert Blake High School – Rockville High School
Justice High School – Col. Zadok Magruder High School
West Springfield High School – South Lakes High School
Don Bosco Cristo Rey – Northwest High School
The SEED Public Charter School – St. Albans School

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 https://lichess.org.

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

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!

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.

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!

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 https://www.kingregistration.com/event/dcchamps21

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!

Thursday nights are open play sessions at the U.S. Chess Center headquarters in Silver Spring.  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: 

https://register.chessctr.org/a/thu-blitz-12-02-2021?emci=811598e0-5c45-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&emdi=4ee1506e-3a46-ec11-9820-c896653b26c8&ceid=1350216

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

 

Elementary Team League Kicks Off New Season

The Elementary Team League has returned to in-person match play after being run online last year.  This past Saturday, November 20, saw the first two rounds of the 2021-22 season.  Our thanks go out to St. Luke’s Methodist Church in Falls Church, VA, for providing the venue and tables.  Kent Gardens Elementary (McLean, VA) was the only school to win both of their first two matches and took the early lead.
 
Since the League began over 20 years ago, thousands of elementary schoolchildren have taken part.  Participating provides the students with tournament chess experience and builds the confidence that helps them represent their schools in competitions like the state and national championships.  

Results from Matchday 1 (of 8)

Round 1:
 
Poplar Tree 3-1 Colvin Run
Spring Hill 0.5-3.5 Kent Gardens
White Oaks 3-1 Greenbriar West
 
Round 2:
 
White Oaks 2-2 Spring Hill
Kent Gardens 3-1 Colvin Run
Poplar Tree 2-2 GBW
 
Standings after Matchday 1:
 
Kent Gardens 29
Poplar Tree 22
White Oaks 22
Greenbriar West 16
Spring Hill 15
Colvin Run 12
 
Our scoring system incentivizes showing up with a full team.  As always, the more the students show up ready to play and do their best, the faster they improve.
 
The remaining Saturday match days this season are December 4, December 18, January 8, January 22, February 5, February 19 and March 5.  Participation is free and open to all students enrolled in one of our in-person after school chess clubs.  If your child would like to take part on a future Saturday, please reach out to their chess club instructor.

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 https://lichess.org

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.

WHERE
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!

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.

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 teaching students, especially at-risk youth, to play chess in order to improve their academic and social skills, click here.

Bishops & BBQ

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.

 

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 https://chessctr.org/classes/sunday-chess/

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: admin@chessctr.org.

Support the U.S. Chess Center: In honor of International Chess Day, please donate to help us teach students, especially at-risk youth, to play chess in order to improve their academic and social skills.

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:

Meet the Chess Center Team: Georgina Chin, Teacher

Bam! Bam bam!

As a teenager, the sound of palms slapping analog clocks would reverberate throughout our house for hours at a time. In the living room, a row of chess trophies sat on a shelf, witnessing my two younger brothers battling over a well-worn chessboard for hours at a time. Yet, despite the number of hours devoted to chess in my household, I was relatively removed from this activity — chess was something that girls didn’t really do.

Many years later, my interaction with chess was reignited by a challenge I faced as a teacher at McNair Elementary school in Herndon, Virginia: coming up with creative challenging ways to engage my students. At the time, McNair was a Title I school with many students receiving free and reduced lunches, so I was especially interested in a low-cost mentally engaging activity that might not otherwise have been available to them. Although I had not played for many years, I knew chess was definitely the avenue to pursue.

Luckily, thanks to my brothers’ ongoing interest in chess (both were holding outside jobs as chess coaches), I was able to consult them on how I might get started. With the support of my principal and the PTA I purchased some chess sets, a few books, and a teaching board. McNair’s first chess club was on its way! Much to my surprise and delight, initial interest greatly exceeded my expectations.

Fast forward ten years and the chess club remained hugely popular. With the club being consistently offered throughout the years, many McNair students had become skilled players, and several of them could now play beyond my abilities. Meanwhile, McNair had also changed and was now an Advanced Academics school.

Perhaps inspired by memories of the chess trophies sitting on the living room shelf, I thought it might be time to push the chess club in a more competitive direction. The parents supported this idea, and in 2011 we ventured off to the Virginia Scholastic Chess Championships where we placed ninth and fourteenth in the K-3 and K-5 divisions. The kids, their parents, and the rest of the school were thrilled!

At the urging of some of the parents as well as the PTA, I began organizing monthly USCF (US Chess Federation) rated tournaments at McNair. The only catch for me was that, to become a local Tournament Director, I had to start competing myself — a true eye-opener! My first tournament convinced me that I still had much to learn about the game.

Last year I retired from Fairfax County. During my 20 years at McNair I had the pleasure of working with hundreds of students and organizing more than 80 tournaments. I am happy and proud of all my students accomplished as well as how many of them were introduced to an experience they might never have encountered. My hope is that all of my students will continue to play and enjoy all that chess has to offer. As for myself, I am still learning and competing!

Meet the Chess Center Team: Robert Teachey, Teacher

After observing me tutor students in mathematics at a library, a librarian asked me to start a chess club.  Initially, I believed that it would be easy for me to meet this obligation.  My first step was to read the official rules of chess.  I was surprised to learn that even though I had played chess irregularly since elementary school, I had not been playing by the rules.

Daaim Shabazz, founder of The Chess Drum online magazine

During the first chess club meeting I noticed that the chess club members’ enthusiasm for the game was markedly different from the typical student’s enthusiasm for mathematics.  After the first few chess club meetings, I was surprised to discover that teaching chess is more challenging than teaching mathematics.  Fortuitously, renowned chess educator Fernando Moreno, author of the book Teaching Life Skills Through Chess: A Guide for Educators and Counselors, facilitated a chess club at a community center that was next door to the library.  When he heard about the new library chess club, he kindly introduced himself to me and donated sorely needed resources, including a demonstration board.  After visiting Mr. Moreno’s chess club and losing game after game to his students, I realized that I had much to learn.

GM Timur Gareyev after he defeated me in a blindfold simul

Step by step I became engrossed in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area chess scene by visiting different chess clubs including the U.S. Chess Center.  I played casually for approximately 9 years before entering my first chess tournament.  I should have followed the advice of others who told me “You love the game, go ahead and play in a rated tournament”, however I believed that I was not ready to deal with the chess clock and the process of recording the moves.  After playing in my first tournament, I understood that 10 additional years would not have made any difference because playing tournament chess is like swimming, one must simply dive in.

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: https://lichess.org/simul/zixkDp4j or below (click the board to view that game on Lichess).