Elementary School

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 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.