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Chess Classes for Elementary School Students


U.S. Chess Center classes are live and interactive with a nationally certified chess coach. We never use videos.

The U.S. Chess Center has found students learn best if challenged appropriately. We stratify students by ability and provide lessons designed to help our students develop confidence without boring them. 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. There is no extra charge to change groups once your child has enrolled.

Below is a brief description of the different levels we offer, with the subjects involved in each. Please e-mail if you need more information or have questions about which piece group in which to enroll your child.

New Groups. Most children – including those who already possess some playing experience – start in this group. We use the Pawn Game to impart not just the rules of chess, including the trickier ones like en passant and castling, but also the vocabulary and elementary strategy of the game, helping the kids understand when to use each piece and where each piece is most powerful. Once kids understand enough of the basic strategy, we advance them into a different group.

Pawns Groups. This group is for children who have learned the elementary strategy of chess but are still grasping the basics of planning ahead. In this group we learn how to find and plan checkmates, and we practice avoiding basic mistakes like moving pieces to squares where they can be captured.

Knights Groups. This group is for children at the lower intermediate level who are starting to integrate strategy into their play. In this group we incorporate common tactics like pins, forks, discovered attacks and skewers. We review basic endgames, such as the king and queen versus king checkmate, and practice following the opening principles at the beginning of a game.

Bishops Groups. This group is for children at the upper intermediate level. The lessons for players at this level still involve tactics like forks and pins, but the exercises here usually involve planning two, three, or more moves ahead to set them up. At this level, we expect the kids to be considering each move carefully and looking for opportunities to take advantage of mistakes.

Rooks Groups. This is our most experienced group and consists mostly of children with substantial experience playing competitively. The tactical and endgame exercises in this group are at a level where even adult tournament players of normal strength would be challenged.

Please e-mail (click here) if you need more information or have questions about which piece group in which to enroll your child.

All classes meet twice per week for 30 minutes each and students registered for any class may join online competitions every weekday at 5:00 pm.

Additional classes are available for students who are in school until 4:00 pm. Please contact us for details.

Our Schedule
Eastern time zone

Registration for the Spring Session, beginning in February, is now open.

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