A student plays against GM Maurice Ashley in a simultaneous exhibition at the U.S. Chess Center.

Online Classes

The U.S. Chess Center offers online classes for elementary school students in two 15-week sessions each year. The fall session runs through January 29. The spring session of classes start the following week, on February 1.
For information about our classes for students in grades 1 - 6, please click here.

We have been running chess clubs in elementary schools since 1993. For now, all of our clubs and classes are online. For information about having our nationally certified chess coaches direct your clubs and teach your students, please click here.

All U.S. Chess Center online classes are live; we do not use videos.


We also have classes for students in grades 7 - 12 that meet on Sunday afternoons.

All levels, from absolute beginners through strong experienced players, will find appropriate challenges.

Chess Kids

Chess Kids teaches chess to children in kindergarten through sixth grade on Saturday mornings. This class has been at the U.S. Chess Center since 1992 and many adults who now are chess masters got their start in this class.

Chess Kids will start when it is safe to meet in person.

Sunday Chess

For players in grades 7 - 12! Every Sunday from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Registration for Online Sunday Chess is now open. The spring session runs from February through June.

Our teachers provide instruction to beginners and help improve the strategy of experts. Sometimes we play with students from other places or have exhibitions with internationally titled players. We have had Internet matches with students from China, Czech Republic, Iceland, Montenegro, Norway, and Spain and have hosted teams visiting Washington from a variety of states. Groups of our students have played in the World Amateur Team Championship (most of our teams have won prizes) and we took several young people on a great chess trip to Cuba.

Lessons are challenging for all players.


Where We Are

Teaching Kids To Think. Having Them Learn A Skill For Life.

Since 1992 we have taught more than 35,000 children the rules, strategy, discipline and etiquette of the game. Students from throughout the Washington metropolitan area meet as friends and equals over the chessboard at our weekend classes, tournaments, and special events.

We have been responsible for special events at the Smithsonian Institution, the Charles Sumner Museum, THEARC in Anacostia, on the grounds of The Washington Monument, and in several Boys and Girls Clubs and YMCAs in Washington Our student programs have hosted World Champion Garry Kasparov, the national champions of Nigeria and Montenegro, and International Grandmasters including Maurice Ashley, the first African- American Grandmaster. Our students have played Internet matches with students from the Czech Republic, China, Norway, and Montenegro.

We teach more than 1,000 kids each week during the school year in our classes and expose thousands of others to chess through our tournaments and chess curriculum. We have created chess programs in hundreds of locations. Those in Washington, D.C., are listed through this link. We offer free services to schools serving poor children and host activities that bring together students from throughout the Washington metropolitan area and beyond.

Our program produces students who can achieve academic success, who can distinguish good choices from bad, and who enter higher education or the work force with the critical thinking and social skills they need to succeed.

Our successes have been notable. Nearly all of the high school students who learn chess from us graduate on time. Some have stopped dealing drugs and carrying guns. Two of our long-time students received Rhodes Scholarships and many others have received scholarships that allowed them to attend college.

The teaching program developed by the U.S. Chess Center and available for free on this website is in use in chess programs throughout the nation, and Center staff has testified about the value of chess for children before the District of Columbia Council and the School Board.

Covid-19 Notice

In-person lessons and events will resume when it is safe to do so. Until such time, we are offering online lessons.