HRCA Virtual Chess Center Programs and Classes

2020-2021 Class and Program Offerings

***IMPORTANT NOTE:  HRCA is a 501(c)(3) non-profit.  Our programs and courses are subsidized by our donors on behalf of the citizens of Hampton Roads (a region in Southeast Virginia) and are offered to our students at rates up to 80% less than you would pay in a for-profit chess program.  We also provide partial and full tuition scholarships for students who cannot pay fees.  For this reason, even though our programs are taking place online for now, they are NOT open to students from outside of our area.  Unknown student registrants may be required to provide proof of Hampton Roads residency to enroll.***


CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR PROGRAMS AND CLASSES.

Contact us if you have questions before you register.

We recommend opening a separate window to reference this page and/or reading all course descriptions first before registering.


2020-2021 Programs and Class Annual Schedule at a Glance

2020-2021 Master Calendar

Important!  Read descriptions, take notes, or open a separate window to refer back and forth to this page while completing your registration form!


Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club:  This is the core youth competition club for HRCA.  Previously, HRSCC included training and competition, as well as other club activities, all on Tuesday nights.  With the growth of and demand for our programs, to improve training methodology, and to meet the demand for non-competitive chess training, 2020-2021 will see the next evolution of HRSCC.  HRSCC will now be defined as competitive chess, with only tournaments, ladder, simuls, and other competitive activities occurring on Tuesday nights (online for now).  This season, the ability groups (Guppies through Candidate Masters) the kids know and love become “titles” rather than training groups.  HRSCC kids will be required to take a minimum of 20 classes of any chess curriculum we offer at some point over the course of the season (September through June) and are encouraged to take more, as well as to look into private coaching.  Students will play in a number of Tuesday night tournaments throughout the season in Rookie and Rated sections using Swiss, Quad, Match, and other formats.  HRSCC will also run a Club Ladder throughout the season and will retain the awards incentive system the kids know and love.

When:  Tuesday nights 5:30-7:30 PM September 15th, 2020 to June 8th, 2021

Where:  Zoom and HRCA Private Chess Server

Who:  This club is by invitation only and is limited to youth in grades Pre-K through 12th who are ready for even rudimentary level (“Rookie”) chess tournaments, all the way through advanced competition.  Generally, this means some formal training is required before joining HRSCC.  HRCA leadership will issue invitations to interested children when we feel they are ready to enter the world of competitive chess!  Public tournaments will be available for kids to try before joining HRSCC, as well.  NO MORE WAIT LIST — now simply an indication of the desire and readiness for competitive chess can get you a spot in HRSCC.  If you are not already a member, you may “register” to be considered for HRSCC on the registration form.

Cost:  $230 annual base cost (includes $25 annual registration fee, $30 annual tech fee, $10 annual HRCA membership, $15 annual ChessKid Gold – required with exceptions, and $15/month dues from September to June); $150 of base cost is applied to your choice of training package for the season.  Minimum additional training cost of $50 for the year, ranging up to an additional $150 a year for some options.  Any optional training beyond mandatory minimum is at public prices.  Monthly payments ranging from $28-38 a month for 10 months.  


Hampton Roads Chess Club:  Often referred to as “The Adult Club,” this is the core competition club for HRCA serving adults and advanced youth who require higher level competition than their scholastic peers may be able to provide.  HRCC will continue to use the same format is has used for decades, with weekly tournaments and other events published in an annual schedule.  $10 annual HRCA membership required (if not paid through another program).  Members will be issued accounts on our online private chess server for competition until we are able to return in person.  There is no training requirement for members, and no training provided by the club.

When:  Tuesday nights 7:30-UTC year-round

Where:  Zoom and HRCA Private Chess Server (for now)

Who:  Adults and Advanced Youth competitive chess players

Cost:  There is no additional cost to join HRCC.  Members pay required entry fees for club events.


HRCA ChessKid Club:  HRCA has been a long-time and avid user of ChessKid.com as a primary training tool for our students.  The site provides structured lessons with videos, tests, and practice; puzzles; live games; positional workouts; articles; videos; and more.  In our experience, most kids will not be motivated to do the work without some sort of goals they can reach for.  HRCA has a long-running package of ChessKid awards for students enrolled in Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club (HRSCC) and Old Donation School (ODS) Chess Team.  However, with the advent of other structured curriculum, while we still strongly encourage ChessKid usage and incentivize it for those programs, we are phasing out the integration of ChessKid as a mandatory component of any given program and making it a separate offering.  Many of our local kids can’t find time in their schedule to take classes, but they purchase ChessKid accounts.  We’d like to add to their excitement for using the tools on the site by bringing our awards package to all kids with accounts who desire a more structured, goal-oriented ChessKid experience.  In 2020-2021, this Club is only open to kids who are NOT currently enrolled in HRSCC (Tuesday night tournament club) or ODS.  Competitions run from 1 September to 31 May, and kids with existing accounts will receive retroactive credit for work already completed before joining the ChessKid Club.  Kids who complete all levels of a particular piece on ChessKid receive a matching colored chess piece keychain.  The kid with the most stars on ChessKid each month will be awarded the Star of the Month plaque (can only be earned once a year).  The kid with the most stars for the year receives the Star of the Year plaque.  Kids completing 250+ activities on ChessKid receive a certificate and keychain at the end of the season.  Kids completing 500+ activities receive an engraved medal.  Kids completing 1000+ activities receive a small trophy, and 1500+ activities for a large trophy.  The winner of the challenge (most activities) will receive the largest trophy with the plate designating them as winner.

When:  1 September to 31 May.  JOIN ANY TIME.

Where:  ChessKid.com

Who:  Any child with a ChessKid account falling under HRCA who is not currently enrolled in HRSCC or ODS Chess for the 2020-2021 season.  Students taking only classes with HRCA and not competing as a member of HRSCC may join this club.

Cost:  $40 for the season includes the ChessKid acount ($50 retail) and all awards to which the student is entitled.  Students already having ChessKid Gold accounts take $15 off.  If not already an HRCA member from another program, an additional $5 for an annual membership will be invoiced.  


Story Time Chess:  HRCA is pleased to partner with Story Time Chess for the first time to bring chess to life for our youngest members!

The demand for preschool chess training in our area is incredibly high, so this program will be offered year-round.  Over the course of 37 classes, each 45 minutes in length, meeting twice a week, our young students will learn piece mechanics, basic strategy, including opening principles, and perhaps most exciting, they will learn valuable life skills, such as sportsmanship and etiquette, how to make a plan, how to win and lose with grace, slowing down and thinking before you move, and perseverance and courage in the face of hardship.  Parents are required to sit with their children in class.  

When:  Session 1 runs from September 14th to January 21st; Session 2 from January 25th to May 17th.  Students from both sessions reconvene from May 20th to June 7th for a bonus session on algebraic notation.  Classes take place on Mondays and Thursdays.  Students may choose from a morning session (10:00-10:45 AM) or an evening session (5:15-6:00 PM).  Students will remain with their class throughout the session and may only switch between morning / evening by exception / for make-ups, as classes may be at slightly different points in the curriculum based on student progress.  SESSION 1 REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Where:  Zoom and Story Time Chess website

Who:  This program is only for children in grades Pre-K through 1st, or ages 4 to 6.  Under 4 by exception only (the program CAN teach children as young as 3 to play — the online format is a challenge for them, however).  Recommended for children who are new to chess, but even our veteran “Guppies” would enjoy this curriculum, learn new chess skills, and get some amazing life skills from it!

Cost:  One session of Story Time Chess is $300.  HRSCC members take $150 credit off this price based on fees paid to the club.  Included in the price is the Story Time Chess physical board game,  a workbook, and a coloring book (we will arrange distribution).  If you have more than one child in the household enrolled in the program, take $50 off for each subsequent child, as children will share the board game (unless each child desires their own game).  If your child desires to take more than one session of Story Time Chess, each subsequent session is $50 off for material.  Payment plans available in 5 or 6 installments of $50-60 each (less any material discounts).


Think Like a KingHRCA is pleased to partner with The Chess School out of New York City for the first time to offer this amazing curriculum!

Think Like A King® has been at the epicenter of the scholastic chess movement for almost 25 years. During that time, it has helped countless children in thousands of schools in the US and around the world learn chess, and for many years was even the Official Scholastic Software of the United States Chess Federation.  Most importantly, the new online version gives our program the tools we need to help your children not only learn chess but to also help improve their Critical Thinking and Executive Functioning skills (including Impulse Control, which research has shown to be the best predictor of success in school and in life). It does this through the unique design of the Chess Workouts curriculum, a unique series of interactive chess ‘books’ specifically designed to do far more than merely teach chess, plus many, many other tools that we are confident will greatly enrich your child’s chess experience.  Written by David Macenulty, the nationally renowned chess coach played by Ted Danson in the movie ’Knights of the South Bronx’, the Chess Workouts offer a unique chess learning experience.   HRCA will assess registrants for placement in the appropriate level of the curriculum, which takes children from their very first moves through a very advanced competitive level.  After first steps, classes include Tactical Thinking, Endgame Thinking, and Checkmate Thinking at progressively challenging levels.

When:  This class runs Wednesday nights from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  Session 1 includes 20 classes and runs September 16th through February 17th.  Session 2 is a “mini” session and includes 15 classes from February 24th to June 9th.  SESSION 1 REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Where:  Zoom and The Chess School Learning Management System

Who:  Recommended for children ages 6 (1st grade) and up, ranging from those who just want to learn to play to those who want a solid competitive foundation in chess.  Strongly recommended for families seeking to supplement education with Critical Thinking skills.  Separate classes for beginners through advanced players.  Not recommended for adult students.

Cost:  Session 1 is $200; Session 2 (mini) is $150.  Payment plans available in five equal installments for the duration of your class.  HRSCC members take $150 credit off this price based on fees paid to the club.  Included in the price is an online account to the Learning Management System for online homework, lesson review, and achievement tracking.


Coach Jay’s Chess Academy:  HRCA is pleased to partner with Coach Jay’s Chess Academy to extend our incredibly popular Summer Academy to year-round offerings!

Jay Stallings has been teaching chess to the children of California for over 25 years.  His personal system of “The Five Disciplines of Chess” (Defense, Strategy, Tactics, Endgame, and Checkmate) builds a solid foundation in the game and has produced countless champions.  Evolving from local classes, to a mobile app, to physical workbooks, and now to an online platform, Jay’s program is now available to children across the country!  Children who register for these classes will be assessed for placement in the appropriate level — White, Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple are planned for the start of the season, but with enough interest, we can also offer Blue and Black.  These classes include material from first piece movements to Expert level across the seven belt levels.  HRCA has taught this curriculum in both physical workbook and online format, and both versions have drawn well over 100 kids to enroll in the summer training.  Kids love it!

When:  This class runs Monday nights from 6:15 to 7:15 PM.  In addition to our summer session, we now offer Fall (September 14th to November 16th), Winter (January 4th to March 8th), and Spring (March 15th to June 24th) sessions.  Each session is 10 classes.  FALL SESSION REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Where:  Zoom, Kahoot, and Coach Jay’s online Learning Management System

Who:  Recommended for children ages 6 (1st grade) and up, ranging from those who just want to learn to play to those who want a solid competitive foundation in chess.  Separate classes for beginners through advanced players.  Recommended especially for families needing shorter, less expensive options.  Not recommended for adult students.

Cost:  Each session of Coach Jay’s Chess Academy is $100.  Payment is requested in full at the start of class, but payment plans are available on request.  HRSCC members may apply their $150 credit toward two sessions (or mix and match curriculum to apply your credits).  Included in the price is an online account to the Learning Management System for online homework, lesson review, and achievement tracking.


Dutch Chess-Steps:  HRCA is pleased to partner with Chess-Steps out of the Netherlands to bring this solid step-by-step curriculum to our students!

“Dutch” Chess-Steps was created in the late 1970s in the Netherlands as a way to systematically teach children to play chess and has since gained tremendous popularity across the US, including in chess powerhouse areas such as New York City and Northern Virginia.  An outstanding curriculum for ensuring a solid foundation and advancement through the most critical concepts in chess, students will take their time to truly master each and every concept, broken down into bite-sized chunks, over the course of the academic year.  The curriculum website contains an outstanding description here.  Containing 6 steps, this curriculum takes new students from learning how to move the pieces all the way to Expert level.  HRCA intends to offer Steps 1 and 2 this year, which serves students up to a rating of 1400.  If enough students above that level register, we may offer Step 3.

When:  This class runs Thursday nights from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  Steps 1 and 2 are shorter, beginning September 17th and ending March 4th and March 11th respectively, while Step 3 is longer, beginning September 17th and ending May 13th.  REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Where:  Zoom

Who:  Recommended for children ages 7 (2nd grade) and up who will thrive with a slow, systematic approach and physical workbooks vs more online homework after class.  Suitable especially for students interested in the European approach of waiting to begin chess competition for up to a year, and entering tournament play for the first time at a more advanced level.  Suitable for already-competitive students of all abilities.  SUITABLE FOR ADULTS — We strongly recommend this curriculum for any beginner adult who wants to learn to play chess.  If enough adults register, there will be separate classes.

Cost:  Steps 1 and 2 are $200 each.  Payment plans available for 5 equal payments of $40 each.  Step 3 is $300.  Payment plan available for 6 equal payments of $50 each.  HRSCC members take $150 credit off this price based on fees paid to the club.


Rising Tides Program:  NEW this season, HRCA presents a program targeted at our area’s rising pool of very young chess talent.  Three-time Virginia State Champion and FIDE Master James Schuyler (2400+) will coach this program using a custom curriculum designed specifically to groom these students to the level of scholastic state champions, to place at Nationals, and even to qualify for the US Chess youth team in international competition.  This program is for students who have a strong desire to reach the level of state champions and beyond, and who have the work ethic to achieve that goal.  There is an expectation for much more daily chess study and practice than students in our structured curriculum programs, and when available again, traveling to play in appropriate over-the-board tournaments.

When:  This class will run Thursday nights from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  It is a single session of 30 classes running from September 17th to April 29th.  A May mini-session will likely be added at the end of the season and may have a small additional cost.  REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Where:  Zoom and online chess servers.

Who:  This class requires Coach approval to join.  Targeted primarily to children in Pre-K through 3rd grade, we will also accept talented 4th and 5th grade students, with an age cut-off of no older than 10 in September.  The target rating range for this group is 700 to 1200.   Students below 700 regular over-the-board rating are unlikely to be accepted unless strongly motivated and showing tremendous improvement since over-the-board play ceased in March.  The coach may request to play a game online against a prospective student, or hold an online interview to determine starting knowledge before approval.  

Cost:  This class costs $300 for the academic year.  HRSCC members take $150 off.   Payment plans available for all students.  


The Nimzowitsch System:  NEW to our lineup this season, HRCA presents a course of instruction taken from what Grandmasters have called one of the greatest chess books ever written.  Based on the 1925 classic “My System” by Aron Nimzowitsch, this class provides a comprehensive chess course covering critical principles from every phase of the game.  A complete list of course contents may be found here.  Taught by National Master Nemanja Milanovic, who studied the system in his native Serbia, this unique class will greatly strengthen your child’s game.

When:  This class runs Thursday nights from 6:00 to 7:00 PM.  It is a single session of 30 classes running from September 17th to April 29th.  A May mini-session will likely be added at the end of the season and may have a small additional cost.  REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Where:  Zoom and online chess servers.

Who:  This class requires Coach approval to join.  Students below 700 regular over-the-board rating are unlikely to be accepted unless strongly motivated and showing tremendous improvement since over-the-board play ceased in March.  Lower rated students may find our other structured curriculum more suitable.  There is no particular age range for this class.  Adults may register for this class but will only be accepted if there are enough adult registrations for a separate class (minimum 5).

Cost:  This class costs $300 for the academic year.  HRSCC members take $150 off.  Payment plans available for all students.


Candidate Masters Program:  The HRCA Candidate Masters program will continue in the 2020-2021 season.  Six-time / reigning Virginia State Champion National Master Daniel Miller (2300+) will continue to coach the program using a custom curriculum designed to take students from no less than 1000 regular over-the-board rating to Master level.  This program is for students who have a strong desire to achieve that title over time and are willing to put the work in to achieve that goal.  There is an expectation for serious daily chess study and practice, and when available again, traveling to play in appropriate over-the-board tournaments.  Students will return to competition against their scholastic peers in HRSCC this season.

When:  This class runs Thursday nights from 5:30 to 6:30 PM.  It is a single session of 30 classes running from September 17th to April 29th.  A May mini-session will likely be added at the end of the season and may have a small additional cost.  If two classes are required based on registrations, the second class will run from 7:00 to 8:00 PM on Thursdays.  REGISTRATION IS CLOSED.

Where:  Zoom and online chess servers.

Who:  This class requires Coach approval to join.  Students below 1000 regular over-the-board rating (1200+ rating is preferred) are unlikely to be accepted unless strongly motivated and showing tremendous improvement since over-the-board play ceased in March.  Younger or lower rated students may want to consider the Rising Tides Program or the Nimzowitsch System class instead.  This class will be targeted primarily to students age 10 (5th grade) and up.  The coach may request to play a game online against a prospective student, or hold an online interview to determine starting knowledge before approval.  THIS CLASS IS OPEN TO ADULTS.  After registration is complete, we will determine whether two separate classes may be required, based on demand and diversity in age and rating.

Cost:  This class costs $300 for the academic year.  HRSCC members take $150 off. Payment plans available for all students.  


Masters Workshops:  NEW this season, our area Masters will rotate through workshops that will be scheduled once or twice a month on Saturdays.  They will not conflict with scheduled HRCA tournaments.  These full-day or weekend workshops are essentially mini-camps with high impact material for your student.  Each workshop will have an announced theme / topic when it opens for registration, along with a targeted rating range.  In general, these workshops will be targeted to students rated 700 and up.  Workshops will be held via Zoom with a seamless flow from instruction time to live play on our chess server while still communicating with peers and coach on Zoom.   Sessions will be six total hours of instruction and supervised practice, with three hours in the morning, a one hour break for lunch, and three hours in the afternoon on a Saturday, or with time divided between Saturday and Sunday.  This model was used in our 2020 summer camp online and was extremely successful in simulating in-person sessions for our students.

The cost of each workshop will be $50.  Minimum of 6 students must register to run a workshop.  On the registration form, please indicate your desire to register for workshops so we can gauge interest.  This does not commit you to attending any given workshop.


HRCA will also be offering special chess classes and programs online for Seniors, Veterans, People with Disabilities, and At-Risk Youth.  HRCA also runs the Tidewater Girls Chess Club and has a Scouts BSA Chess Merit Badge Counselor on staff.  All of these programs are FREE OF CHARGE and made possible by our donors.  While we do not have a set schedule for these classes at this time, please fill out the registration form to indicate your desire to register.  We will schedule classes when we have enough students.


HRCA also offers School Chess Club programs as part of our outreach.   These programs are set up directly with each individual school, and costs vary based on program features, number of students, and number of sessions.  Most schools will use the Think Like a King curriculum described above for this season.  As a club vs strictly a training program, each session will include some dedicated time for live play with classmates on our private chess server.  For more information, see our School Chess page.  

If you are interested in a chess club at your school, please indicate that interest on the registration form, and we will contact you.


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Contact us if you have questions before you register.


A Note on Costs for All Programs:  Multi-child family cap:  First 3 children residing in the same household full price, additional children FREE.  Additionally, we turn no child away for inability to pay.  Scholarships are available for students who cannot pay fees.  Indicate your desire to apply for scholarship on your registration form.  A 5% discount is applied for accounts paid in full up front.  Equal monthly payment plans are available for the duration of your program at no extra cost.  A 5% late fee will accumulate for each month payments fall behind.