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Elementary School

Summer 2024 Chess Day Camps – Registration Now Open

REGISTER NOW for Summer 2024 Chess Day Camps

Since 1992, we have been providing challenging instruction and making chess fun for students.  Our nationally certified chess teachers are experienced with all levels of ability.  Camp will be challenging and interesting for all and our focus is on improving chess skills through practice and lessons.  The teachers place more emphasis on learning than on winning.  Good sportsmanship is the key to having fun.

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.  Our students have won more than a dozen national championships, hundreds have earned academic college scholarships, and more than 20 have become national masters. 

Our summer chess day camps consist of chess instruction and play, as well as recreational activities.  Camps start at 9:00 am ET and end at 3:00 pm ET.  Aftercare (until 5:00 pm ET) is available for an added fee.  Campers need to bring/pack a bag lunch each day. 

There will be about one teacher per ten students and enrollment is usually capped at 32 campers total for each week. Depending on the week and camp location (see below) students rising into grades 2-7 or rising into grades 3-9 are welcome.  

Camp Week #1:  June 24-28, 2024
     White Oaks Elementary School in Burke, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #1 

Camp Week #2:  July 1-5, 2024 [No Camp on July 4th]
     Location TBD (in Montgomery County, MD)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     More details and registration available the first week of May 2024.

Camp Week #3:  July 8-12, 2024
     Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #3

Camp Week #4:  July 15-19, 2024
     Churchill Road Elementary School in McLean, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 3-9 (Intermediate to Advanced)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #4

Camp Week #5:  July 22-26, 2024
     Colvin Run Elementary School in Vienna, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 2-7 (Beginners to Intermediate)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #5

Camp Week #6:  July 29-August 2, 2024
     Colvin Run Elementary School in Vienna, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 3-9 (Intermediate to Advanced)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #6

Camp Week #7:  August 5-9, 2024
     Alpha STEM for the Gifted in Oakton, VA (Map)
     Rising Grades 3-9 (Intermediate to Advanced)
     REGISTER HERE for Camp Week #7

For more information about our summer chess day camps, call us at 202-857-4922 or email admin@chessctr.org.

Photos from Whittier Elementary’s March Chess Tournament

Whittier Elementary School in northwest DC recently completed their March school chess tournament! Thanks to the generosity of Mr. Eddie Koen, 22 students attended, with nine winning trophies. The U.S. Chess Center assisted Mr. Koen in directing the event.

The Saturday morning event was held in the school gymnasium, using the cafeteria for parents and overflow. Mr. Koen welcomed the competitors, he and I discussed the value of chess in encouraging healthy competition and good sportsmanship, and play began.

The tournament had students play the Pawn Game at the beginning, the way we teach students the basics of chess, then proceed to the full game of chess. Prizes were awarded for both overall winners in the full chess and Pawn Game sections, as well as the top performing student 2nd grade and below in both groups. Not all the students were in the school’s chess club; however, the chess club almost swept the trophy winners. Excellent performance by all students who showed up!

Trophy Winners

Pawns Tournament, Top Finishers 2nd Grade and Under:
1st Place: Kennedy
2nd Place: Joaquin
3rd Place: Maxwell

Pawns Tournament, Overall Winners:
1st Place: Markan
2nd Place: Tanoor
3rd Place: Jake

Full Game Tournament, Top Finishers 2nd Grade and Under:
1st Place: Kennedy
2nd Place: Maxwell
3rd Place: Triston

Full Game Tournament, Overall Winners:
1st Place: Grayson
2nd Place: Heran
3rd Place: Jake

Spring is the Season for Tournaments

Spring is the season for major scholastic tournaments. In the District of Columbia, the K-5 Championships were held this past Saturday and the Grades 6-8, and 9-12 Championships will be held this weekend. In Virginia, all of the scholastic championships were held this past weekend.

We were very glad to see so many U.S. Chess Center students participating in both. Kids from Burroughs Elementary, our Capitol Hill Children’s Chess Club, and our group at Cleveland Park Public Library all came (with JoJo from the library group winning with a 4-0 score and earning the right to represent the District of Columbia at the Rockefeller Tournament of Champions).

The Virginia State Championships were held in Roanoke this year – not an easy drive for our northern Virginia students. Dozens of students made the trek anyway and were rewarded with great competition.

The students renewed friendships and had a wonderful time, despite the cold and windy conditions outside. Playing chess is a wonderful way to make and keep friendships.

The U.S. Chess Center congratulates the students and thanks the parents from Churchill Road, Colvin Run, Greenbriar West, Kent Gardens, Poplar Tree, and Spring Hill for going. While we believe that playing is more important than winning, we should note that students from every school where we run the club brought home at least one trophy.

U.S. Chess Center students recently played in the World Amateur Team Chess Championship in New Jersey

Two teams associated with the U.S. Chess Center played in the World Amateur Team Chess Championship in New Jersey over the weekend, and both returned with impressive awards. The Spring Hill Elementary team was the top elementary school team, and our team from the Theophilus Thompson Club was the top team with an average rating of under 1900. Congratulations to our students!

The World Amateur Team Championship, which was the US Amateur Team Championship when I was competing, was one of my two favorite tournaments (along with the U.S. Open) each year. Instead of scoring wins and losses as individuals, scores are based on the team results. Each team is four players, and they line up against the four players of another team. If a team scores more than two points (one point per win, a half-point for a draw) they score a win. With two points, a team draws that match.

Teams often decide on clever names, and the tournament offers special prizes for creative names. My favorite came from a group of women from the DC area about forty years ago. They dressed in nuns’ habits and called themselves Our Lady of Perpetual Check.

The team format relieves a lot of the pressure ordinarily experienced in chess tournaments, making the event more relaxed and fun. As a player in a team competition, if I lost my game but the team won, I could be happy. If I won my game and the team lost, I could still be satisfied that I did the best I could for the team. If I won and the team won, that was best of all. When I lost and the team also lost, we could accept that our team was out-matched and we would move on to the next round. In short, the result of each game and match was tempered and every round was a fun experience.

Both the Spring Hill Elementary and the Theophilus Thompson teams consisted of players who had experience in big tournaments, so being in a ballroom with more than 1,000 players was not daunting. The teenagers went 4.5/6; the elementary team scored 3.5 points in the six rounds.

Elementary Team League 2023-24 Matchday 6 Results

We began the holiday weekend at St. Luke’s for the penultimate round of this season’s Elementary Team League.  In spite of the inclement weather that as forecast for the morning, we still had a good turnout on Saturday afternoon.

The top of the leaderboard remains mostly unchanged.  Spring Hill and Churchill Road remain in the top two positions and look set to fight it out for the season title on the final match day on March 16.  White Oaks, Poplar Tree, and Kent Gardens are all still in with a mathematical chance of first place but they would need the leaders to slip up in four weeks.




Round 11:
Kent Gardens 4-0 Ravensworth
Spring Hill 2-2 Churchill Road
Greenbriar West 1-2 Poplar Tree
Oakton 0.5-1.5 Lorton Station
Orange Hunt 1-3 White Oaks
Colvin Run 2-1 Willow Springs
 
Round 12:
Churchill Road 3-1 Kent Gardens
Willow Springs 2.5-0.5 Oakton
White Oaks 3-0 Greenbriar West
Lorton Station 0-3 Spring Hill
Poplar Tree 0-3 Colvin Run
Ravensworth 2-1 Orange Hunt
 
Standings after Matchday 6 of 7:
 
Spring Hill 152
Churchill Road 148
White Oaks 138
Poplar Tree 127
Kent Gardens 126
Willow Springs 111
Colvin Run 103
Greenbriar West 99
Orange Hunt 79 
Oakton 48
Ravensworth 40
Lorton Station 22

Elementary Team League 2023-24 Matchday 5 Results

Just two rounds remain after the latest Saturday of matches in the Elementary Team League.  Churchill Road and Spring Hill are still at the top of the leaderboard.  Poplar Tree, with a perfect eight wins from eight games, remained in fourth but made some big gains on the schools in front.

The next League match is on February 17, and then the season finishes up on March 3.  Any student from one of our after-school clubs who knows the rules of chess is welcome to sign up to play in the League, and we especially encourage those kids who have never played competitively outside of their school.  

Round 9:
Willow Springs 0-4 Poplar Tree
Churchill Road 3-1 Greenbriar West
Spring Hill 3-1 Poplar Tree
Oakton 1-2 White Oaks
Lorton Station 0-4 Kent Gardens
Ravensworth 0-2 Orange Hunt
 
Round 10:
Kent Gardens 3-1 Willow Springs
Spring Hill 4-0 Ravensworth
Orange Hunt 1-3 Churchill Road
White Oaks 3-0 Lorton Station
Poplar Tree 4-0 Colvin Run
Greenbriar West 1-1 Oakton
 
Standings after Matchday 5 of 7:
 
Spring Hill 130
Churchill Road 124
White Oaks 115
Poplar Tree 111
Kent Gardens 104
Greenbriar West 85
Colvin Run 81
Willow Springs 77
Orange Hunt 65 
Oakton 42
Ravensworth 32
Lorton Station 15

Fall Semester of Clubs Winding Down, Spring Session Starting Soon

The fall semester of our after-school clubs has drawn to a close.  At Greenbriar West Elementary this past Monday, we commemorated the last day of the session with a chess and pizza party.  Mr. Mehler, as he always does, took on six students at a time in a simultaneous exhibition, as did Mr. Carr.  Below are some photos from the simul and party.

The spring semester starts this week, and registration for the spring semester is still open.

Elementary Team League 2023-24 Matchday 4 Results

The snowy weather impacted this weekend’s Elementary Team League somewhat, as several of the participating teams were missing players.  Those who did come join us yesterday at St. Luke’s enjoyed some exciting games of chess.

With the absences this week, schools who fielded full teams had an opportunity to move up in the overall standings.  Spring Hill was one of the schools who did exactly that, winning both their matches to assume the top spot in the overall standings.  Churchill Road was another to take advantage, picking up two match victories to advance to second place.  With the season now more than half finished, lots of schools are still in contention.

Round 7:
Orange Hunt 1.5-0.5 Willow Springs 
Kent Gardens 0-4 Greenbriar West
Spring Hill 3-1 Poplar Tree
White Oaks 2-1 Colvin Run
Lorton Station 0-4 Churchill Road 
Ravensworth 1-0 Oakton
 
Round 8:
Greenbriar West 3.5-0.5 Orange Hunt
Churchill Road 4-0 Ravensworth
Oakton 0-3 Kent Gardens
Colvin Run 2-0 Lorton Station
Poplar Tree 2.5 – 1.5 White Oaks
Willow Springs 0-4 Spring Hill
 
Standings after Matchday 4 of 7:
 
Spring Hill 104
Churchill Road 96
White Oaks 93
Poplar Tree 79
Greenbriar West 77
Willow Springs 74
Kent Gardens 74
Colvin Run 67
Orange Hunt 53 
Oakton 34
Ravensworth 30
Lorton Station 15

Chess Kids Enters New Session at Eastern Middle School

Chess Kids (then known as Little Players) started in 1992. Bringing together children from DC, Maryland, and Virginia, we believe it to be the most valuable class we run. Children from different backgrounds become friends and learn that what they have in common greatly outweighs their differences.

Terrific friendships are created over the chess board.

This year, Chess Kids has moved to Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, just a block from the Beltway. Players ranging from kindergarten through sixth grade gather to learn the rules, strategy, and etiquette of the game. Some of the students are learning the rules for the first time, others are nationally rated tournament players, and most are somewhere in between.

The class meets for 90 minutes starting at 10:00 am. Students register for four-week sessions at https://chessctr.org/chesskids/ We are in the middle of the fourth of six monthly sessions for the school year, and there are openings for the final two sessions.

Elementary Team League 2023-24 Round 3 Results

Back from the holiday break, we were pleased to resume the Elementary Team League yesterday at St. Luke’s.  The rain and cold that we experienced in the morning eventually gave way to clear skies and some good chess games.  The first board game in the White Oaks-Willow Springs match, in particular, was one of the more exciting games we’ve seen in the league this year.

Partially as a result of winning the aforementioned match against Willow Springs, White Oaks moved past them into the lead of the overall standings, with Spring Hill now close behind in second position.  With more than half the season to go, there’s still plenty of time for anyone to make a run.  The next match is next Saturday, January 20.

Round 5:
White Oaks 2.5 – 1.5 Willow Springs 
Poplar Tree 2-2 Kent Gardens
Spring Hill 3-1 Orange Hunt
Lorton Station 1.5-1.5 Ravensworth
Churchill Road 3-0 Oakton
Colvin Run 3.5 – 0.5 Greenbriar West
 
Round 6:
Greenbriar West 1.5-1.5 Lorton Station
Willow Springs 0.5 – 2.5 Churchill Road
Oakton 0-4 Poplar Tree
Orange Hunt 3-1 Colvin Run
Kent Gardens 0.5 – 3.5 White Oaks
Ravensworth 1-3 Spring Hill
 
Standings after Matchday 3 of 8:
 
White Oaks 78
Spring Hill 74
Willow Springs 71
Churchill Road 64
Poplar Tree 60
Kent Gardens 58
Colvin Run 55
Greenbriar West 46
Orange Hunt 45 
Oakton 34
Ravensworth 26
Lorton Station 15

Elementary Team League 2023-24 Round 2 Results

Twelve school teams came out to St. Luke’s Methodist Church yesterday for matchday 2 of this season’s Elementary Team League.  Among the players who turned up, we were especially happy to see so many students representing their schools for the first time.  Our biggest goal is always practicing and building confidence for future tournaments.

Willow Springs continued their winning streak with two more match victories to extend their lead at the top of the standings.  As is the custom each season, the League now enters its holiday break with the matches resuming on January 13 of the new year.

Round 3:
Spring Hill 1.5-2.5 White Oaks
Poplar Tree 1-3 Churchill Road
Orange Hunt 1-3 Kent Gardens
Greenbriar West 4-0 Ravensworth
Colvin Run 1-3 Oakton
Willow Springs 4-0 Lorton Station
 
Round 4:
Kent Gardens 0.5 – 3.5 Willow Springs
White Oaks 2-2 Greenbriar West
Churchill Road 3-1 Colvin Run
Oakton 1-3 Spring Hill
Lorton Station 0-4 Orange Hunt
Ravensworth 0-3 Poplar Tree
 
Standings after Matchday 2 of 8:
 
Willow Springs 61
White Oaks 50
Spring Hill 47
Kent Gardens 43
Churchill Road 39
Greenbriar West 36
Colvin Run 34
Poplar Tree 34
Oakton 32
Orange Hunt 25
Ravensworth 15
Lorton Station 4
 

Elementary Team League 2023-24 Round 1 Results

The U.S. Chess Center’s Elementary Team League is back for a brand-new season of action.  The first day of matches took place this past weekend at St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Tyson’s Corner.

Teams consist of four players from each school, and every team plays two matches on each of the eight match days.  Willow Springs is off to an early lead after recording 4-0 and 3-1 scores in their first two matches on Saturday, with White Oaks in second place as the only other team to have won both matches.

Round 1:
Ravensworth 1-3 White Oaks
Kent Gardens 3-1 Colvin Run
Greenbriar West 0-4 Spring Hill 
Churchill Road 0-4 Willow Springs
Poplar Tree 2-0 Orange Hunt
Oakton 1-0 Lorton Station
 
Round 2:
Spring Hill 2-2 Kent Gardens
White Oaks 2.5 – 1.5 Churchill Road
Willow Springs 3-1 Greenbriar West
Lorton Station 0-2 Poplar Tree
Colvin Run 4-0 Ravensworth
Orange Hunt 0-2 Oakton
 
Standings after Matchday 1 of 8:

Willow Springs 30
White Oaks 27
Spring Hill 26
Kent Gardens 24
Colvin Run 22
Poplar Tree 16
Oakton 12
Churchill Road 11
Greenbriar West 10
Ravensworth 10
Lorton Station 2
Orange Hunt 2

Any student in our after school chess clubs can sign up to play in the ETL, and we especially like to encourage participaton among those students who have never played in competitions outside of their schools.   With a total of eight match days in the season, there are plenty of opportunities for everyone, so if your child is interested in playing, reach out to their chess club instructor.