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Inspiring Academic Excellence Through Chess

The National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) was founded in 1990 to provide the benefits of a chess education to students of all ages. The primary goal of NSCF’s programs is to develop critical thinkers. 

For over 30 years, the NSCF has worked with diverse populations using chess as a tool to help students develop independent study and problem-solving skills, and help educators use chess to attain positive learning outcomes in all core subject areas.


The NSCF offers chess instruction as an enriching extracurricular activity before and after school, as well as during lunchtimes. Beyond the inherent benefits of learning chess, research has shown that consistent participation in high-quality after-school programs correlates with significant improvements in standardized test scores, enhanced student attendance and engagement, and positively impacts behavior in school.

Our instructional approach places less emphasis on winning and more on the decision-making process involved in choosing chess moves. This methodology encourages students to experiment and explore, reducing performance anxiety. We are proud to address every stage in the original version of Bloom’s taxonomy, and uniquely for chess players, we add ‘decision-making’ as the ultimate culmination of the learning process.



The NSCF has been at the forefront of incorporating chess into the school curriculum. By providing chess instruction during regular school hours, we cater to a diverse range of students with varying abilities and interests, with a strong emphasis on keeping everyone actively engaged.


The NSCF runs summer chess programs tailored to offer a more immersive chess experience for players of varying skill levels. Additionally, we collaborate with general interest camps to offer chess instruction as part of a diverse range of activities, providing a holistic learning experience for participants.



The NSCF believes that chess can serve as a powerful tool for fostering community engagement, transcending cultural, gender, age, and socio-economic boundaries. We actively promote this belief by providing community classes in collaboration with esteemed partners, including police departments, the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, and local parks & recreation departments, among others.


Throughout the school year, the NSCF organizes scholastic tournaments for students who are attracted to the competitive aspect of chess. Many NSCF students also participate in state, national, and international tournaments.


The NSCF is dedicated to equipping educators with the necessary tools and skills to seamlessly integrate chess into their school’s curriculum or enrichment activities. Through our professional development programs, we empower teachers to effectively incorporate chess into their classrooms. Our overarching aim is to promote the widespread adoption of chess in education by providing comprehensive instructional resources and teacher training programs aligned with state standards and social-emotional learning competencies.