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
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
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
Thursdays 6:00pm – 9:00pm

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).

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: https://chessctr.org/usedbooks/

Email admin@chessctr.org 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):

USCC - LPCA
LPCA - USCC
USCC - LPCA
LPCA - USCC
USCC - LPCA
LPCA - USCC
USCC - LPCA
LPCA - USCC
USCC - LPCA

Meet the Chess Center Team: Norman Constantine, Teacher

I started to play chess over 60 years ago. I will continue to play as long as I can set up the pieces. I am not a super player for sure, but I can play a solid game. Chess has made a significant difference in my life. I am a better teacher because I play chess.

I started to play when I was about 8 years old. The older kids on my block taught me how to play so that they had someone to beat. They defeated me for quite awhile but I got better each time I played a game. I still remember like it was yesterday the first time I won a game. I ran off Hankey Pauley’s front porch all the way down the street shouting and yelling to tell my mother!! I was so happy!

It made me want to read books about chess. There were a few books in the local library and all the kids on the street fought over them. We all got chess sets to play with, most of them cheap plastic designs with hollow pieces and masonite boards. I filled my pieces with plaster of paris so that they were heavy enough to stay on the boards outside in the wind. I used to read Treasury of Chess Lore under the covers with a flashlight after lights out.

Next my friends and I wanted to learn more so we all signed up at the Buffalo Museum of Science for chess lessons. We all gathered together every Saturday morning and rode the city bus across the city to the museum. In the winter we brought out snow saucers with us and rode them down the  large hill that was being built for the new City Expressway. It was wonderful. Everything was about chess and no one was telling us what to do. We learned to take care of ourselves.

I will always remember my chess teacher from the Museum. He only had three fingers on his move hand (no thumb) and used to throw the pieces – it seemed – across the board but they all landed where they were supposed to be. We played every Friday night at each other’s houses and every Saturday Morning at the museum. We took turns.

After the museum we all wanted to go to the Queen City Chess Club in downtown Buffalo, NY. I didn’t go. My parents didn’t want me to go down there on Friday night so they offered me a new catcher’s glove in lieu of the dues to the club. Baseball was my other love (girls were coming) and I sort of deserted chess for it. I ignored chess for a few years but I never forgot it.

I rediscovered chess in high school and made the school team in senior year. I watched Johnny Bench play his first game in Buffalo and knew I was never going to be a major leaguer. I joined the USCF at 19 and finally became a member of the Queen City Chess Club. I still watch baseball but I play chess!

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: https://dcscholasticchess.org/tournaments

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: https://lichess.org/kl7LM8LG#1

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: https://dcscholasticchess.org/tournaments

Inaugural DC Public Charter High School Chess League – Spring 2021 Results

The inaugural season of the DC Public Charter High School chess league concluded on Tuesday, May 11th, and went well. Among three teams it was close throughout, and Somerset is ready to be competitive in the fall.

In the fall, we will be re-launching the Metro Area Chess League (MACL) for all interested high schools in the DC metropolitan area.  The 2021-2022 MACL season will begin in mid-November 2021 and conclude with play-offs at the end of March 2022.  Schools that want to participate should send us a note at:  hs-league@chessctr.org 

We also welcome high school students to our Sunday Chess class.  Registration for the Fall 2021 session will begin in late August 2021.

Team Standings After Match Day 6 for the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League

Saturday, May 8 was the penultimate Match Day (Rounds 11 & 12) of the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League.  One more Match Day to go!

DC International School maintains their lead in first place and will face Howard University and Imagine Hope in the final two rounds on Match Day 7.  Both schools could present a challenge, but DCI just needs one more match point to insure their overall victory.  Meanwhile, our second place stalwart, BASIS DC, needs strong victories against both of their Round 13 & 14 rivals (Howard University and E.L. Haynes, respectively) and for DCI to endure their first two outright losses.  Anything could happen!  

Yet, the fiercest competition of the Spring 2021 PCSAA League continues in the fight for third place with Imagine Hope and Howard University continuing their rivalry.  Both are still in strong contention, but Howard University has the more challenging schedule to overcome as they face our two current leaders, DCI and BASIS DC, in the final rounds.  

Good luck to all the schools and players!

Results after Round 12 (Saturday, May 8, 2021)

Meet the Chess Center Team: David Mehler, Founder/President/Teacher

David MehlerThe seeds of my love of teaching were planted in college — not because I had inspirational professors, but through my experiences as a founder of the Pail & Shovel Party. (Google it. I was gone by the time the flamingos landed and the Statue of Liberty arrived, but was involved with the conceptual stage.) Pail & Shovel taught me that anything can be turned into entertainment, entertainment holds people’s attention, and through that attention, education takes place.

During the lead-up to the 1972 Fischer-Spassky match I first became a chess teacher. I was a decent player devoid of teaching experience but after a while found ways to impart the rules and strategy of the game to kids who quickly passed me in skill.

After college, I became a high school classroom teacher with classes in social studies and math. I was the fun teacher in a conservative Catholic school, but always had the goal of getting students to think. When struggling students came to me for additional help, I taught them to play chess and watched as their intellectual self-confidence rose. Inner-city teens who had heard throughout their lifetimes that they would not be able to succeed academically learned that was a lie. If they could play chess, they could do math and understand literature.

During my practice of law, I brought chess to underserved schools, working to convince small children that there was magic in the pieces of plastic they moved around the square board. As they assimilated abstract concepts, their smiles of understanding were more satisfying than favorable verdicts in courtrooms.

When then-World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov asked me to teach chess for a couple of weeks to children who lived in public housing, that was the start of something quite wonderful. The Washington Post editorial noting the value of chess garnered the attention of people who helped create what has become the U.S. Chess Center. I stopped taking new legal clients and never looked back.

 

Team Standings after Match Day 5 for the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League

Saturday, May 1 was Match Day 5 (Rounds 9 & 10) of the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League.

First and second place remain the same from last week with DC International School and BASIS DC comfortable in their positions. The intense struggle for third place continues, however, with Howard University Middle School for Mathematics and Science and Imagine Hope Community Charter School separated by only .5 match points (and .5 board points, too).  With two match days (or 4 rounds) still to go anything could happen. 

Good luck to all the teams!

Results after Round 10 (Saturday, May 1, 2021)

Team Standings after Match Day 4 for the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League

Saturday, April 24 was Match Day 4 (Rounds 7 & 8) of the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League.

DC International School held onto their lead and has pulled away from BASIS DC.  Howard University Middle School for Mathematics and Science and Imagine Hope Community Charter School continue their fierce battle for third place.  Meanwhile, Statesmen College Preparatory Academy For Boys made big gains — moving up two places.  We might be seeing the start of a Statesmen surge!

Three more Match Days (or 6 Rounds) to go. 

Good luck to all the teams!

Results after Round 8 (Saturday, April 24, 2021)

Team Standings after Match Day 3 for the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League

Saturday, April 10 was Match Day 3 (Rounds 5 & 6) of the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League.

DC International School moved into the lead with BASIS DC still in contention. Howard University Middle School for Mathematics and Science and Imagine Hope Community Charter School continue to spar for third.

Four more Match Days (or 8 Rounds) to go. 

Good luck to all the teams!

Results after Round 6 (Saturday, April 10, 2021)