National Scholastic Chess Foundation

Inspiring Academic Excellence Through Chess

The National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization founded in 1990 to provide the benefits of a chess education to students of all ages.

The primary focus of the NSCF’s programs is to develop critical thinkers. The cornerstone of the critical thinking process is considering and evaluating options. This process requires discipline, deliberation and decision.

For over 30 years, the NSCF has worked with diverse populations in private and public schools including children in gifted programs as well as those with special needs. The NSCF has shown that chess is a tool that helps students develop independent study and problem-solving skills and helps educators attain positive learning outcomes in all core subject areas.

In the Curriculum

The NSCF specializes in curricular instruction where chess is offered to students during the school day. In dealing with a wide spectrum of ability and interest, keeping everyone engaged is a priority. The instruction de-emphasizes winning and focuses on the process of move selection. This approach encourages experimentation and minimizes performance anxiety. Every stage in the original version of Bloom’s taxonomy is addressed here. To Bloom’s list, a chess player would add ‘decision’ as that is the culminating stage of the process.


The NSCF provides chess instruction as an enrichment activity. Studies have shown that regular participation in high-quality after-school programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores, increased student attendance and engagement in school, as well as improved behavior. (1)


The NSCF operates summer chess programs designed to provide a more intensive exposure to chess for players of all abilities. The NSCF also partners with general interest camps to provide chess instruction as part of a broader array of activities.


Throughout the school year, the NSCF organizes scholastic tournaments for students who are attracted to the competitive aspect of chess. Several events are organized into a Grand Prix series with special recognition for students performing at a high level on a consistent basis. Many NSCF students also participate in state, national,  and international tournaments.


The NSCF awards scholarships to its programs on the basis of need. The NSCF also recognizes excellence in chess and education by co-sponsoring the National Scholar Chessplayer Awards.


The NSCF provides professional development, so teachers are equipped to add chess as a curricular or enrichment activity in their schools. The NSCF’s goal is to increase the use of chess in education by offering instructional resources and teacher training tied to state standards and social-emotional learning competencies.

Community Programs

The NSCF contends that chess can be an excellent tool for community engagement with an appeal across cultures, genders, ages and socio-economic groups. The NSCF offers community classes with partners, such as police departments, the YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, and local parks & recreation departments, among others.