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).  Statesmen College Preparatory Academy For Boys racked up another match point, but couldn’t narrow the gap with our third place contenders.  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)

WATCH LIVE: IM David Recuero plays blitz chess with US Chess Center students on Twitch – Sunday, April 18, 2021 at ~1:30pm ET

International Master David Recuero will play blitz games with students in the US Chess Center’s Sunday Chess class, broadcasting his commentary on Twitch of the games as he plays them. The games begin at about 1:30 pm ET on Sunday, April 18, 2021.

International Master Recuero, of Oviedo, Spain, lived in Washington, DC, until recently and is the 2020 District of Columbia Chess Champion. He is temporarily located in Lima, Peru.

US Chess Center provides chess sets to classes and students who need them

We are very happy to have provided chess sets to three schools in the past few months so that teachers and students have physical chess sets with which to learn and play.

In fact, some of the chess sets we recently distributed were used by Grand Master Lubomir Kavalek, one of the best players in the world.  GM Kavalek’s widow donated them to us after he passed away in January

Please consider supporting our mission with a charitable donation online (via credit or debit card), or by making an in-kind contribution of new or gently used (preferably tournament-style) chess sets.

Mrs. Bullock displays the chess book and sets she received for her 4th grade class.

Team Standings after Match Day 2 for the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League

Saturday, March 27 was Match Day 2 (Rounds 3 & 4) of the Spring 2021 PCSAA Middle School Chess League.

DC International School and BASIS DC continue their fierce battle for the lead with Howard University Middle School for Mathematics and Science and Imagine Hope Community Charter School close at their heels.

We still have five Match Days (or 10 Rounds) to go. Good luck to all the teams!

School Match Points Board Points
(Tiebreaker Only)
DC International School 4 16
BASIS DC 4 15
Howard University Middle School of Mathematics & Science 3 11
Imagine Hope Community Charter School 3 10
E.L. Haynes Public Charter School 1 5.5
Meridian Public Charter School .5 3
Statesmen College Preparatory Academy for Boys 0 2
The Children’s Guild DC Public Charter School 0 .5
Results after Round 4 (Saturday, March 27, 2021)

Welcoming New Schools to the Spring Season of the PCSAA Middle School Chess League

The new Spring 2021 Season of the PCSAA Middle School Chess League kicked-off this past Saturday, March 20th, and we’re pleased to welcome three new schools/teams to the league: Children’s Guild, E.L. Haynes, and Meridian Public Charter Schools.

 

In the Fall 2020 Season, BASIS DC narrowly edged out DCI to win, but with eight teams in the league now the competition has increased.  Good luck to all the teams! 

Standings after Match Day 1

School
BASIS DC
DCI
E.L. Haynes
HU(MS)2
Imagine HOPE
Meridian
Children’s Guild
Statesmen

Match Points
2
2
1
1
1
0.5
0
0

 

Re-match against GM Vassily Ivanchuk‘s Chess Club in Lviv, Ukraine

This past Saturday, March 13, 2021, elementary school students of the U.S. Chess Center played a friendly re-match with students from GM Vassily Ivanchuk’s Chess Club in Lviv, Ukraine. 

This is the third international match U.S. Chess Center students have played this year.

Fifteen students represented each team, playing for 90 minutes using the lichess.org Arena Chess platform.

These international matches are one of the great benefits of chess, as people from different cultures meet over the chessboard. Chess is the only language the students had in common and they had a wonderful time with their new friends.

The U.S. Chess Center welcomes friendly challenges from clubs around the world with the expectation that chess will continue to be a force for peace and goodwill among nations.

U.S. Chess Center
Students

GM Vassily Ivanchuk's
Students

Brooklyn Castle re-release on March 5th, Panel discussion following with Soledad O’Brien at 8pm ET

The Emmy-nominated documentary film Brooklyn Castle is being re-released this Friday, March 5, 2021.

BK_newPoster_crowns_01

BROOKLYN CASTLE tells the stories of five members of the chess team at a Title 1 – below-the-poverty-line – inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country.

To celebrate, Soledad O’Brien will host a panel discussion with Rochelle Ballantyne and Pobo Efekoro (students in the film), as well as Elizabeth Spiegel and John Galvin (teachers from the film) on March 5th at 8pm ET following the nationwide re-release. Soledad will discuss the power of chess, teaching, and defying the odds.  Visit http://brooklyncastle.com/ for theater listings, streaming options, and more information.

Or rent the film right now for $1.99 (and up) from:
Amazon Prime Video: https://www.amazon.com/Brooklyn-Castle…/dp/B00BB1VDLC
YouTube Movies: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wYA98pBGqZA

Or stream online for FREE with participating Library Cards or University IDs at Kanopy: https://www.kanopy.com/product/brooklyn-castle