Online Classes

Registration for the Spring 2021 Session is now open.

The U.S. Chess Center offers online classes for elementary school students (grades 1-6) in two 15-week sessions each year. The fall session of chess classes runs from October through January and the spring session of classes runs from February through May.

Our online classes are live and interactive with a nationally certified chess coach; we do not use videos. We stratify students by ability so that everyone is challenged but nobody is mystified.  Lessons are designed to help students develop confidence without boring them, and students are encouraged to share their ideas and questions with their group. Our teachers observe and listen to the students to ensure that nobody is left behind.

Weekday online playing sessions at 5:10 pm ET are structured so that children get to play with others at their skill level on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and with students from their school on Tuesday and Thursday. We use a proprietary rating system to track their progress. Students may play every weekday or less frequently, but we encourage them to compete at least once per week.

The U.S. Chess Center has found that students learn best if challenged appropriately. If we discover that a child is finding things too difficult, or not difficult enough, we’ll speak to the student and parents about changing to a more appropriate group. Once a student is enrolled in our program, there is no charge for moving from class to class.

After-School Clubs

Since 1993, the U.S. Chess Center has been running chess clubs in elementary schools throughout the national capital region.

 Membership in an after-school club includes:

  • Two 30-minute online classes each week
  • Supervised online play available every weekday
  • A short informational club meeting every week with the teacher for both students and parents
  • Option to participate in our Elementary Team League


Elementary Team League:
This fun online competition takes place every other Saturday at 2:00 pm. Students in our online clubs represent their schools in friendly matches with students from other schools.

After-school clubs are online until schools return to in-person instruction and it is safe to meet without social distancing.

During-School Classes

We work with Title I schools in the District of Columbia to teach chess during school hours as a compulsory class.  In this way, we are better able to reach students who can benefit the most from chess instruction—those students least likely to volunteer for an after-school chess club.

Saturday Chess Kids

Chess Kids is a Saturday morning class for children in kindergarten through sixth grade taught at our Silver Spring headquarters. Many adults who now are chess masters got their start in this class.

Chess Kids will resume when it is safe to meet in person.
In the meantime, sign up and we’ll notify you when we open registration for Chess Kids.

Sunday Chess

Registration for the Spring 2021 Session is now open.  Classes begin on February 7, 2021.

For Students in Grades 7 – 12.  Sunday Chess is a weekly online class from 1:30pm – 5:00pm ET.

Our teachers provide instruction to beginners and help more advanced players improve their strategy.  Lessons are challenging and informative for all students. 

Sometimes we play with other students from across the country and around the world. We have had online matches with students from China, Czech Republic, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, Spain, and Ukraine.  We have hosted teams visiting Washington from a variety of states. Some of our students have played in the World Amateur Team Championships (winning prizes for each of the past three years) and we took several students on a great chess trip to Cuba