Hampton Roads Chess Association is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to bringing the life benefits of chess to people of all ages and abilities throughout our region.  We like to say we run one of the best chess programs in America… and it’s not actually about the chess.  It’s about changing lives!  Check out what some of our members have to say!


“I served on active duty in the Navy from 2004-2011. Post service, I suffer from migraines, anxiety, depression, and a host of other health issues. These issues sometimes make daily functioning, focus, and deep thought difficult for me.
Despite receiving continual treatment for these conditions, the effects of the Pandemic really exacerbated them. Christina Schweiss, founder of this club, has been a fellow veteran and dear friend for years. When she noticed, she reached out and suggested the adult beginner chess program, which she provides free to all veterans. At first, I was resistant. While I know the basics of setting up a chess board, I did not think I was or could be “good” at it, especially good enough to be in a club. I was reassured I could do it just for the enjoyment of it and I am so glad I did.
I have successfully completed the adult beginner chess initial class and am in my second program moving through chess steps. Through this program, I got to connect with fellow veterans through chess. Coach Brian helped me to learn chess in a way that allowed for focusing in small bites and working through deep, strategic thought patterns but did not exacerbate my conditions. I am, in no way, a “chess whiz”, but I gained so much more than I ever thought I would. Now, not only can I play chess with great thought and enjoy it, but I function better in other areas of life too as a result of regular chess practice. I am even studying to help give back as a Tournament Director! I highly recommend this program to everyone, but especially to veterans who may be struggling. You don’t have to be a “chess whiz” and you don’t have to want to be super competitive. Give it a chance. What have you got to lose?”
— Mary Greenwood-Drumheller


A family who recently moved to the area ran into one of our members in a grocery store.  The new child’s chess t-shirt sparked a conversation that set the wheels in motion to join the HRCA family.

“My son finally found a place to be accepted and not bullied or teased for being who he is created to be. He was welcomed with open arms despite our financial constraints; as we just moved to the area and I had been laid off due to COVID.  Struggling with certain disadvantages in more ways than financially; we were embraced instantly.  We got word that he was accepted for a scholarship, and he was  inspired to continue his craft.  He actually felt he belonged somewhere. He felt he could play chess amongst peers who also desired to gain a skill set to further their  passion for the game.  No longer was he alone in the aspect arriving in the area. His confidence had been boosted to keep trying and keep striving for greatness.  He is learning how to administer focusing capabilities from the game of strategy to his school assignments.  Learning certain strategies in chess has helped him implement applicable reasoning within his life.  Between the coaches and his peers, there has been nothing but a constant uplift.  We are thankful and appreciative of all the players, coaches, and staff within HRCA.  I would recommend this organization and its abilities,  for the way they  treat children and adults one in the same, maintaining dignity and integrity.”
– Mother of Nyeshaun


A mom provided us some background on her son’s struggles with a expressive and receptive language disorder and the impact it had on his self-esteem. 

“Then, he found chess…. getting those awards, recognition and those wins were the self-esteem boost he so badly needed. Not only did he find something he could fully understand, he was good at it and he enjoyed it…. This past weekend, he competed in his first US Junior Chess Congress as a member of the HRCA team after only playing chess formally for less than four months. He competed among (thankfully, not against!) some of the best in his age level, including chess prodigies. He worked so hard and stayed in his room almost all day, analyzing his games after he was done with his matches. Initially, he felt so much pressure that he was almost in tears when he was losing his first match. When the tournament was done, he was more determined to keep playing, learning and competing all the way to grandmaster. He lost all his matches that day. But, he is unbothered.  He has found his people and they speak his language.”

— Mother of Gabe

“The Think Like a King program has meant the world to my 9yo son. His critical thinking skills have expanded and his confidence has gone up. I shared with him about the awards that he earned after completing the lessons and he is giddy with excitement! He has a deep sense of accomplishment since he worked hard to meet the goals …and now with session 2 he is inspired to keep going!”

–Mother of J.C.

“My son absolutely loves the chess classes! It is amazing to see how fast his tactics improved and how he learned to accept defeat. He enjoys the challenge of tournaments and has gained a lot of self confidence. Big thanks to the wonderful team at Hampton Roads Chess Association!”

— Mother of Thierry

“My son has had such a blast with the tournaments and classes. HRCA has made such a difference in his confidence level! Thank you!”

— Mother of Kellan


“My son has loved the virtual programs with HRCA. He has taken a class with them every single session over the last year. He has improved his critical thinking, and it’s amazing how much he has improved his chess skills. He also has met friends that he loves to play chess with, which is wonderful to see.”

— Mother of Wyatt


“My son completed Storytime chess and although he was only 5, the class kept him engaged and entertained. He has solidified the basics of chess and thinks through his moves. He will be continuing with HRCA and taking the next class Parker’s Chess Adventure.”

– Mother of Teddy