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
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.
The Emmy-nominated documentary film Brooklyn Castle is being re-released this Friday, March 5, 2021.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 teaches students, especially at-risk youth, to play chess in order to improve their academic and social skills. 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.”
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 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.