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

Covid-19 Notice

All in-person programs are suspended until it is safe. Lessons are online.

Chess Day Camps

U.S. Chess Center staff have been running summer chess day camps for children since 1989. Organized by David Mehler and taught by him or other qualified instructors, the camps provide high-level chess instruction in a fun environment. Our instructors are adults and nationally certified chess coaches.

In 2020, because of the pandemic, we have moved our programs online.

On-line registration

Students may register for real time interactive chess lessons that meet either once per week or twice per week. Each lesson lasts 30 minutes. Students are encouraged to share their ideas and questions with the group each lesson. Students of all levels, from absolute beginners through high-level experienced tournament players, are welcome. Students are divided by ability so all levels will be challenged.

Different time slots are designed for different levels of play. So far, we have seven groups, and others are being added as groups fill. When you register, fill in the number of the group that interests you.

Students may also register for supervised online play with us at either 10:45 am or 2:45 pm each day. Each online session will last about one hour and students may play once per day. Students register for as many one-hour sessions as they choose and may join either of the competitions each day. We keep track of the number of sessions each student plays and let the parent know when the student has two playing sessions left.

On-line registration

We have canceled all our in-person camps and clubs for the summer of 2020. There does not seem to be any realistic prospect of being able to have such activities safely. We are in the process of refunding all camp fees that were paid.

Cancellation policy:
Camp registration fees are refundable until one week before the start of camp with a $10 administrative fee. Between one week and the start of camp, 50% of camp fees will be refunded. After the start of the camp there will be no refund.

2019 Summer Champions

Grayson Adams
Orange Hunt
Elsie Park
Willow Springs Morning
Shirel Harrus
Willow Springs Afternoon
Teo Patterson-Castelli
Silver Spring
Mateo Rosser-Castro
Churchill Road
Ben Doan
Colvin Run
James Wright
Colvin Run
Justin Yuan
Churchill Road
Oliver Yu


Upcoming Events

All in-person programs are suspended until it is safe. Lessons are online.

Play in Silver Spring at 8560 Second Avenue, across the street from the Cameron Street Municipal Parking lot and two blocks from the Silver Spring Metro Station.

Saturday drop-in play from 2:00 pm - 7:00 pm; Friday daytime drop-in play from 11:00 am - 1:30 pm.

Tuesday After School Action Rated Tournaments
Register 3:30 pm - 3:45 pm; Games start at 4:00 pm
EF: $15, Trophy prizes
Players must be members of US Chess

All evening activities begin at 7:00 pm

Monday Ladder: Play a rated game each Monday evening at G/90 +10 (each player has 90 minutes at the start of the game and adds 10 seconds with each move.) Players must be members of the US Chess Federation. Free for Center members, $5 for the public.

Silver Spring Tuesday Action: Play three rated games each Tuesday evening at G/25; d5 (each player has 25 minutes for the game, and has 5 free seconds before the clock starts counting down the time.) Players must be members of the US Chess Federation. $5 for Center members, $10 for the public.

New: Thursdays

  • First Thursday of the month: Blitz! Five-minute games with no delay or increment.
  • Second Thursdays of the month: Fischer Random! 3 Games at G/25;d5
  • Third Thursdays of the month: Lightning Chess! Make a move every ten seconds
  • Fourth Thursdays of the month: Theme Tournament! 3 Double Swiss Rounds, G/12;d5
  • Thursday activities are not rated. $5 Center members, $10 public

    Membership dues for the US Chess Center are $60 annually and may be purchased at any time.

    Check DC Scholastic Chess page for upcoming youth events in DC.

    Chess Kids

    Chess Kids starts in 2019 on September 28, and runs every Saturday morning from 10:00 am-11:30 am through the end of April at the Elizabeth House:

    Register for Chess Kids

    1400 Fenwick Lane
    Silver Spring, Maryland
    Three blocks from Silver Spring Metro (red line)
    Free parking at the Cameron Street Municipal Lot

    Chess Kids is a structured program to learn and play chess for children in kindergarten through 6th grade. All children from absolute beginners to advanced players are welcome! Click here for the schedule.

    The Center invites children K-6 to the Center for fun-filled mornings of chess. Our program divides the children by age and ability to keep the children engaged and so that none are intimidated. Our teacher to student ratio is typically about 1:10. Those who know the rules play games and receive lessons about the strategy of chess. Those who are learning the rules receive even more attention. Unlike our school-based programs, children have the opportunity to play with others from all the schools in the region, not just their own, gaining a wider pool of competitors and friends.

    Students register for 4-week sessions. The fees for each four-week session are $30 for members of the U.S. Chess Center, $50 for non-members. Center membership dues are $60 per year. Scholarships are available for all who need them.

    Players may register on the first Saturday of each four-week session.

    Sunday Chess

    Lots of fun for all levels of players in grades 7 - 12! Every Sunday from 1:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at:

    1340 Old Chain Bridge Road
    McLean, Virginia

    8560 Second Avenue
    Suite 118
    Silver Spring, Maryland

    Register for Sunday Chess

    Players may register any time.

    Classes for 2019 - 2020 have started. The McLean group is led by David Mehler, one of the first certified Professional Chess Coaches in the United States, with visits from his master and Grandmaster friends. Both Sunday Chess programs welcomes all levels of players for afternoons of practice, lessons, and competition.

    Our teachers provide instruction to beginners and help improve the strategy of local experts. Sometimes we play with students from other places! We have had Internet matches with students from China, Czech Republic, Iceland, Montenegro and Norway and have hosted teams visiting Washington from a variety of states. Groups of our students have played in the World Amateur Team Championship (winning prizes for each of the past three years) and we took several young people on a great chess trip to Cuba.

    Lessons will be challenging for all players. Students receive instruction in the large group, small groups and individually.

    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.