The U.S. Chess Center offers a variety of programs to learn chess:
Summer 2021 Online Classes (Grades 1-8) & In-Person Camps (Rising Grades 2-9)
Fall 2021 Online Classes (Grades 1-6)
During-School Classes (for Title I Schools in DC)
Saturday Chess Kids (Grades K-6)
Sunday Chess (Grades 7-12)
Adult Beginner Classes
Registration for Online Summer 2021 Classes is now open.
For Students in Grades 1-8. The U.S. Chess Center’s online summer classes consist of two classes of 60 minutes on two different days (i.e. Monday/Wednesday or Tuesday/Thursday) each week. Each class has 20 minutes of instruction with a nationally certified chess coach (no videos) plus 40 minutes of supervised play. Students are stratified by ability so that everyone is challenged but nobody is mystified.
There are eight weeks available (starting June 21 through August 13) and you may register for as many weeks as you wish. Each camp is independent of the others to give families flexibility in choosing the specific weeks that work best for their needs and to accommodate vacations or other activities/camps. Curriculum will be challenging and interesting regardless of whether your student attends one, all, or just a few camp weeks.
Registration for In-Person Summer Chess Day Camp, August 9-13, 2021 in Oakton, VA is now open.
For Students rising into Grades 2-9. In-Person Chess Day Camp consists of chess instruction and play, as well as recreational activities. Our student:teacher ratio is approximately 10:1 and enrollment is capped at 32 campers total. Our nationally certified chess teachers are experienced with all levels of ability. Camp will be challenging and fun for all. Thousands of students have participated in our camps, with many enjoying camp so much that they return year after year and dozens continue to play at a master level. Camp runs from 9:00am – 3:00pm, with aftercare available for an additional fee. Students rising into grades 2-9 are welcome at day camp. Space is limited.
More In-Person Summer Chess Day Camps?
We really want to hold more in-person summer day camps like we did pre-COVID (when we had nine weeks of camp in seven different locations across the greater Washington area). However, our usual venues are not available to outside groups for summer booking and the pandemic has limited the availability of alternative, acceptable, and affordable venues. Nonetheless, we are continuing to look for venues and are doing our best to offer additional in-person summer day camps this year. Sign up to be notified if we open registration for other chess day camps.
Fall 2021 registration will begin in late August.
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.
Since 1993, the U.S. Chess Center has been running chess clubs in elementary schools throughout the national capital region.
After-school clubs are online until schools return to in-person instruction and it is safe to meet without social distancing.
Membership in an after-school club includes (until we return to in-person clubs post-pandemic):
- 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 on eight Saturdays at 2:00 pm. Students in our online clubs represent their schools in friendly matches with students from other schools.
As part of our charitable mission, 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.
Chess Kids is a Saturday morning class for children in kindergarten through sixth grade taught near 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.
Registration for the Spring 2021 Session is now closed. Fall 2021 registration will begin in late August.
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, Ukraine, and Zambia. 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 three years in a row) and we took several students on a great chess trip to Cuba.
Registration for Online Adult Classes is now open.
Classes begin on a rolling basis as soon as there are sufficient students.
For Adults Only. Our experienced chess teachers help adults in the beginner ranges advance to play a confident game of chess. Classes meet online for 60 minutes once each week for four weeks. Lessons are live and interactive with one of our experienced and nationally certified chess coaches; we do not use videos.
This class is especially great for parents or teachers who wish to develop a solid foundation in the basic strategy of chess and/or improve their ability to play competitively with their children or students; but it’s also open to any adult who wishes to learn how to play chess properly. Our goal is to put you on the path toward a lifelong love of the game. New classes begin on a rolling basis as soon as we have a minimum of four students registered.