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)

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 2
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

U.S. Chess Center students play exhibition match against students from Ukraine


On Sunday, February 21, 2021, the U.S. Chess Center fielded a team of twelve students to play an online exhibition match with students in GM Vassily Ivanchuk‘s Chess Club in Lviv, Ukraine. The match was held in an arena format at a fast time control of seven minutes plus three second increments. The two teams exchanged photographs of the students involved.

While playing online is never as good as playing in person, travel time is greatly reduced and everyone involved had a good time.

“Masterminds: Chess Prodigies” at the World Chess Hall of Fame [Virtual Tour]

Masterminds: Chess Prodigies 
Opening Thursday, February 11, 2021, 5:00 pm CST / 6:00pm EST

Masterminds is an exhibition that tells the stories of notable chess prodigies including Bobby Fischer, World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen, and the Polgar sisters. Through photographs, videos, and mementos of important chess matches and tournaments from the collection of the World Chess Hall of Fame, viewers will learn more about these talented young players as well as their later accomplishments. The exhibition will also highlight the achievements of players who took up the game later in life and still made a mark on the world of chess. 

“Unlike many other fields, in chess, kids can sometimes compete with—and defeat—adults,“ explains Emily Allred, curator at the World Chess Hall of Fame. “Whether we’re exploring the real-life story of Tanitoluwa (Tani) Adewumi, an eight-year-old Nigerian refugee who won the K-3 New York State Championship only a year after beginning to play the game, or fictional chess prodigy Beth Harmon from The Queen’s Gambit, the genius behind these chess prodigies is truly awe-inspiring.”

A virtual tour of the exhibition will be available on WCHOF’s YouTube and Facebook channels.  The exhibition runs through November 7, 2021.

Kamala Harris, vice president of the United States, credits early mentors, chess with her success

The U.S. Chess Center congratulates our newest, history-making and chess-playing Madam Vice President, Kamala D. Harris, who has frequently mentioned learning chess from her “Uncle Sherman” as a formative part of her childhood.

Photo by Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ

“I had a lot of – I mean, there were a lot of people in my life who’ve mentored me along the way – men and women. And, I mean, I told a story recently about my uncle Sherman who was a lawyer who – when I was a kid, he said I’m going to teach you how to play chess because you need to – you need to understand strategy. You need to understand because chess is a metaphor for life in so many ways. It’s a – you know, there’s the board, and there are all these different players that can move differently – right? – and they each have a power, a pretty profound power. And he taught me through teaching me chess how, one, everyone can move differently, each has power – a pawn can take out a king – and also taught me to learn that you have to, you know, try to really think about the 10th step before you take the first step. So that’s early in my life a mentor.”

NPR POLITICS PODCAST, June 12, 2019
A young Kamala Harris at her mother Shyamala’s laboratory at UC Berkeley. (Courtesy of Kamala Harris)

“Other nights, I would go over to Aunt Mary’s house, and Uncle Sherman and I would play chess. He was a great player, and he loved to talk to me about the bigger implications of the game: the idea of being strategic, of having a plan, of thinking things through multiple steps ahead, of predicting your opponent’s actions and adjusting yours to outmaneuver them. Every once in a while, he would let me win.”

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris (Published by Penguin Books)

“Our family consisted of a lot of aunts and uncles who were not born, the brothers and sisters of my mother. But in every way were my aunts and uncles, my Uncle Sherman, at a very young age taught us how to play chess. He said, I want you to learn about that board. I want you to learn to think steps ahead.”

CNN Special Report, Kamala Harris: Making History. Aired January 17, 2021

Kamala Devi Harris is an American politician and attorney who is the vice president of the United States. Harris served as a United States senator from California from 2017 to 2021, and as attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017. Born in Oakland, California, Harris graduated from Howard University and the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. She began her career in the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office, before being recruited to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office and later the City Attorney of San Francisco’s office. In 2003, she was elected district attorney of San Francisco. She was elected Attorney General of California in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Harris served as the junior United States senator from California from 2017 to 2021. Harris defeated Loretta Sanchez in the 2016 Senate election to become the second African American woman and the first South Asian American to serve in the United States Senate. – Wikipedia

“Uncle Sherman” was Sherman L. Williams, an attorney and Harris family friend, who was married to Dr. Mary Agnes Lewis (“Aunt Mary”). Vice President Harris spent many evenings at their home where Uncle Sherman taught her chess and inspired her to pursue a career in the law.

Chris McCleary joins the U.S. Chess Center as Executive Director

Chris McCleary has been appointed the new Executive Director of the U.S. Chess Center.

The U.S. Chess Center is a DC-based non-profit that promotes self-confidence, social skills, and academic success for all.  The U.S. Chess Center provides students throughout the Washington metropolitan area opportunities to meet as friends and equals over the chessboard at our weekend classes, tournaments, and special events. The Center also operates numerous embedded school chess clubs and classes.  Our student programs have hosted World Champion Garry Kasparov, the national champions of Nigeria and Montenegro, and International Grandmasters including Maurice Ashley, the first African American Grandmaster.  Our students have played Internet matches with students from the Czech Republic, China, Norway, and Montenegro.

“I’m excited to be joining the U.S. Chess Center in this leadership role and look forward to continuing and expanding the programs we offer to area students. Chess was a meaningful part of my own academic life and had a positive impact on me. I’m proud that I’ll be doing my part to bring the benefits of chess to more students.”
Chris McCleary
Executive Director, U.S. Chess Center

Chris McCleary’s first official day with the U.S. Chess Center will be Monday, August 17th.  As Executive Director, McCleary will have responsibility for the day-to-day management and administration of the Center as well as resource and program development.  McCleary will be taking over from Robert Teachey, a United States Chess Federation Certified Advanced Chess Coach who was promoted to Executive Director of the Chess Center in 2017 and has served as a Teacher since 2010.  

Prior to joining the U.S. Chess Center, Chris McCleary served as the Vice President of Development for Securing America’s Future Energy (SAFE) and in the same position for SAFE’s sister organization, The Electrification Coalition.  McCleary is also the Chief Operating Officer of McCleary Psychological Services, a mental health practice that provides evidence-based therapy and psychological evaluations.  Chris also previously served as Development Director and chief fundraiser for the National Archives Foundation—the 501(c)(3) nonprofit partner of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)—and before that he held a series of senior management and fundraising roles with several DC-area think tanks and advocacy organizations, including Third Way, the Sunlight Foundation, and NDN & the New Policy Institute.  Before embarking on his non-profit career, McCleary spent over a decade as a political consultant and fundraiser for dozens of campaigns across the country.  McCleary holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Johns Hopkins University. 

The U.S. Chess Center Visits Cuba

The U.S. Chess Center took seven young chess ambassadors to Cuba from December 27, 2018, through January 3, 2019. We played chess with masters in three cities: Havana, Trinidad, and Camaguey, and with students in Havana and Camaguey.

To see even more photos, visit the blog of Reemberto Rodriguez. Mr. Rodreguez joined us on the trip.