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Chantilly Sweeps to Victory in 2023-2024 Metro Area Chess League Playoffs

Chantilly High School dominated the Metro Area Chess League playoffs yesterday. Run as a three-round Swiss System tournament in the beautiful offices of the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC, the playoffs featured the top eight schools from the regular season.

The final standings in tiebreak order were:
1. Chantilly
2. Langley
3. Jackson-Reed
4. Oakton
5. Montgomery Blair
6. Richard Montgomery
7. Magruder
8. McLean
In an event like this, using tiebreaks makes even less sense than in a regular tournament, so it is better to think that Langley, Jackson-Reed, and Oakton tied for second place, with Blair, Richard Montgomery, and Magruder tying for fifth.

Chantilly won all three of its matches without relying on the tiebreak system designed to eliminate drawn matches. Demonstrating how evenly matched the teams were, five of the twelve matches ended with 2-2 scores, with tiebreak employed to determine the winners.
Twenty-seven schools entered the league this year. Plaques acknowledging regular season performance go to Langley as the top Virginia school, Richard Montgomery as the top Maryland school, and Jackson-Reed as the top District of Columbia school. In addition, BASIS DC won the competition for the top DC Public Charter School, with E.L. Haynes finishing as the runner-up in that category.
The regular season competition was a hybrid of online with in-person matches. The large majority of matches were played online, but a few were played in person. Scheduling the matches was a challenge for the coaches and captains, and during the playoffs the coaches had a meeting to discuss methods to improve that process. Those suggestions, which are designed to improve the communication process among the competing schools, will be implemented for the 2024-2025 season.
Registration for next year’s season will begin in September, with the first matches taking place in November. The 2024-25 regular season is scheduled to end in March 2025.  Learn more at:

Potomac Youth Chess League Concludes Its 2024 Season

The revived Potomac Youth Chess League has wrapped up its first season back in action.  A previous iteration of the league ran from 1997 to 2010.  The format and structure were similar to the PCSAA Chess League that we ran for charter schools the past three years; this year, that competition was merged and enlarged to be open to all middle schools in the greater Washington area.

Matches consisted of four-player teams from each participating school, and were played online during Saturday afternoons on  Eight schools took part this year, and matches began on January 6 and concluded on March 23.  Congratulations to league first-timers Capital Village PCS, whose team came out on top of a close race to take the title ahead of DCI.  

Final standings below:

SchoolMatch PointsBoard Points (tiebreaker)
Capital Village533.5
Washington Latin331
Two Rivers2.517
Ingenuity Prep219.5
Capital City PCS00

We hope to continue to grow the league next year.  If you are interested in having your middle school participate, please send an email to

Photos from the Tournament at Burroughs Elementary

This week, the second and third grade students at Burroughs Educational Campus in Northeast DC had what has become an annual Pawn Game tournament.

The students played well, had a wonderful time, and demonstrated the spirit that will serve them well when they start to play full chess in 2023. We hope to have both classes playing chess at a level that we can take some of the students to the National Elementary School Championships in Baltimore in May.

Five students (three from second grade and two from third grade) won all of their games. Most important, they used excellent sportsmanship and worked hard throughout the hour we had the tournament.

A Productive First Year for Chess at Thomas Elementary

This school year we added a new program at Neval Thomas Elementary School in Ward 7 in Washington, D.C.  Thanks in part to the support of the D.C. Housing Finance Agency, we are able to provide this program at no cost to the school or students.

By teaching chess as an elective subject during the school day, we are able to reach those students who are unlikely to sign up for extracurricular activities.  Over 30 fourth-graders are participating in the program thus far this year.  Our goal is not simply to teach the rules, of chess, but to sharpen the students’ problem-solving skills that they can then apply to their other subjects.

One of our instructors, Robert Teachey, helps students develop their understanding of the basic strategy through the Pawn Game.  

In the U.S. Chess Center’s three decades of operation, we’ve successfully provided chess equipment and instruction to thousands of students in Title 1 schools thanks to the help of our contributors.  If you’re looking for a cause to support this year, consider making a charitable donation to our mission.  

The U.S. Chess Center is Proud to Teach Students at Washington Highlands

Our fall program at Washington Highlands is off to a bright start. This past Monday, taking advantage of the nice weather, Coach Alex and his students played the Pawn Game on the lawn in front of the Southern Hills community room.

Understanding pawns is key to understanding the greater strategy of chess

We have set a goal of preparing our students to play in nationally rated tournaments so that when the national championships arrive in the Washington area in less than 15 months our students will be ready to compete and win. 

Coach Alex and the kids break for a selfie

Since 1992, the U.S. Chess Center has taught many thousands of DC elementary schoolchildren the rules, strategy, etiquette, and discipline of tournament chess.  Through hard work and persistence, the students learn the importance of planning ahead, avoiding distractions, and delaying gratification in pursuit of long-term goals.  Please feel free to reach out to us if you are interested in having us create a program at your school.