About The NSCF

The National Scholastic Chess Foundation

Inspiring 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 30 years, the NSCF has  worked with diverse populations in private and public schools, with 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.

The NSCF operates a variety of programs in 60 schools in 30 different communities in New York and Connecticut, and implements teacher training programs and community-focused chess programs in cities across the USA.

In the Curriculum

The NSCF specializes in curricular instruction where chess is offered to all 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)

Community Programs

The NSCF offers community classes with partners, such as YMCA, Boys & Girls Clubs, and local parks & recreation departments, among others.

Summer Learning

The NSCF also operates summer chess programs designed to provide a more intensive exposure to chess for players of all abilities.


The NSCF organizes scholastic tournaments for students who are attracted to the competitive aspect of chess. Tournaments are offered during the school year with special recognition for students performing at a high level on a consistent basis throughout the season. Many NSCF students also participate in state, national and international tournaments.

Teacher Training 

The NSCF provides professional development so teachers are equipped to add chess as a curricular or enrichment activity in their schools. Working with school districts and community partners, the NSCF’s goal is to increase the use of chess in education by offering instructional resources and teacher training tied to state standards. The NSCF also promotes activities that increase public awareness of the benefits of chess in education, and in society as a whole.


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.

In-person or Online

As a result of this year’s COVID-19 pandemic, we have adapted so that all of our instructional programs are available online. Even when the virus is vanquished, we anticipate this model will continue and look forward to serving our students and partner agencies with small group and personalized instruction delivered through our virtual classrooms.

(1) Afterschool Alliance