• 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 over 25 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.

    Enrichment – 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.

    Tournaments – The NSCF organizes scholastic tournaments for those students who are attracted to the competitive aspect of chess. Twenty 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.

    Scholarships – 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.


    (1) Afterschool Alliance 

  • Executive Director


    FM Sunil Weeramantry

    NSCF’s founder and executive director is FIDE Master Sunil Weeramantry, a nationally acclaimed instructor who has over 40 years’ experience teaching and developing award-winning programs.

    Sunil is a pioneer in the field of curricular chess instruction. Starting in 1979, he developed a comprehensive chess program at Manhattan's Hunter College Campus Schools, a leading laboratory school for talented and gifted students. This program evolved to the point where chess is now a required subject for all students in kindergarten through fifth grade and when the school offered pre-Sunil taught chess to those students as well. Over a 10 year period, over 500 4-year-olds were introduced to chess through weekly classes.

    A staunch advocate of the value of chess in education, Sunil has worked closely with many different schools over the past 35+ years. The NSCF program implemented under Sunil’s direction at Jr. High School 45 in the Bronx ran for seven years and is still regarded as a shining example of total community involvement. Curricular chess classes, active parent involvement, support from local businesses, early morning chess games with police officers, visits by the chess team to homes for the elderly, all these were key ingredients in shaping character. Not only did this team win several awards, the majority of its members went on to attend college.

    More recently, Sunil designed a pilot program for Greenwich Academy, an elite all-girls school in Greenwich, CT. The program was so successful that chess is now established as a curricular subject in the Lower School from grades 1-3.

    Another exciting collaboration is with the Speyer Legacy School, a private school in Manhattan designed to meet the needs of advanced learners through an accelerated and enriched curriculum. Sunil teaches and directs a chess program that provides curricular instruction twice a week to all students, kindergarten through fourth grade. Middle school students (grades 5 through 8) can participate in a chess elective that meets three times in each six-day cycle. The school recently designed a state-of-the-art chess room with audio-visual and computer support.

    Sunil served as the first Chairman of the US Chess Federation’s Committee on Chess in Education from 1990 to 2000, and produced Chess in Education workshops across the country. These events featured such distinguished speakers as Dr. Robert Ferguson and Dr. Laszlo Polgar. In 1998 he coordinated a Symposium on Chess in Education in the United States Senate with Senator Carl Levin as the keynote speaker.

    An appointed member of the USCF Scholastic Committee from 1986 to the present, Sunil was elected co-chair of the Scholastic Council from 2012 to 2014 and again in 2017. For his work in scholastic chess, Sunil earned the 1998 USCF Scholastic Service Award and the Meritorious Service Award in 1986 and 2004. In 2005 he was named “Chess Educator of the Year,” a prestigious national recognition by the University of Texas at Dallas. In 2007 he earned the FIDE Trainer certification(1).

    A two-time New York State chess champion, Sunil is also one of the most successful chess coaches in the nation. He has coached over 200 individual and team champions in national and international youth competitions. These include the Hunter Junior High team that won the 2000 World Schools Chess Championship, Hunter’s high school students who won three consecutive National High School team titles from 2010 to 2012 while the 7th grade team won the 2017 Grade Nationals; his Speyer Legacy are the 2015 National K-1 and National K-5 and 2018 National K-6 team champions.

    Sunil has coached US teams at the World Youth Chess Championships on several occasions. Many of his students have medaled at this event, among them John Viloria, who won two consecutive gold medals (1987 and 1988) and Sunil's stepson Hikaru Nakamura, who won a silver medal in 2001. A three-time national scholastic champion, Hikaru has gone on to become the youngest American Grandmaster, a four-time U.S. Chess Champion and one of the top 5 chess players in the world. 

    Sunil is the author, with Ed Eusebi, of the best-selling chess book, Best Lessons of a Chess Coach published by David McKay Company/Random House. He is also co-author of Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History, a new blended learning textbook targeted to middle and high school students that helps the student improve at chess while being exposed to the game's cultural development. The book was released in November 2017 by Mongoose Press. 


    (1) FIDE, Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation, is the international governing body for chess.


  • Greenwich YMCA

    The NSCF offers chess instruction in partnership with the Greenwich YMCA on Friday afternoons from 5:15 to 6:15 pm for Intermediate and Advanced Players and Saturdays from 11:00 am to 12 noon for Beginners. 

    The next 8 Week session begins Friday, April 22, 2016

    Open to students ages 5 – 15 yrs, classes are conducted by ace NSCF instructors.

    Fees for the 9-week program (either Friday or Saturday) are:

                            YMCA Family - $175.00
                            YMCA Youth - $200.00
                            YMCA Non-Member - $275.00

    Registration is on-going so will be pro-rated if you missed some of the classes.

    For registration information, please call 203.869.1630.

    The Greenwich YMCA is located at 50 E Putnam Ave, Greenwich, CT 06830.

  • New York and Connecticut Schools

    New York and Connecticut Schools

    In the 2015-16 school year, NSCF instructors will teach over 150 classes in over 70 schools in 30 different communities. And we are always open to adding more.

    The NSCF specializes in curricular instruction where chess is offered to all students during the school day. Our approach to teaching chess in the curriculum is unique. As all students in a curricular class are required to study chess, there will invariably be a wide spectrum of ability and interest. NSCF instructors make it their responsibility to ensure that everyone is engaged. To this end, we de-emphasize the result and focus on the move selection process. This approach minimizes performance anxiety and encourages experimentation and risk-taking. 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 also provides chess instruction as an enrichment activity for elementary, middle and high school students. Enrichment classes are oriented more towards preparing for tournament play as the majority of students who elect to take them have some interest in competing. Most of these classes run after school but can also be early morning or lunch-time clubs. Several studies have shown that regular participation in high-quality after school programs is linked to significant gains in standardized test scores and improved work habits, increased student attendance and engagement in school as well as a reduction in behavior problems.

    Please contact the NSCF office if your school is interested in offering one of our programs.


  • Scarsdale Chess Club for Children


    Saturday Chess Club for Children
    at the Scarsdale Girl Scout House - Winter 2015

    For the 27th consecutive year, the National Scholastic Chess Foundation is offering its Saturday Chess Club for Children.

    We have taught scores of children at the club over the years and we are very proud that many of the best scholastic players in the area have honed their skills at our club. The club features special lectures, chess problem-solving, fun games and competitive play. Each student will find appropriate challenges at his or her level of play.

    Location: Girl Scout House in Scarsdale, NY
      37 Wayside Lane (just off Route 22)
    Eligibility: All students in K–6th Grade
    Cost: $150 ($100 for Scarsdale residents) for 6 weeks

    Saturdays: from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm
    Dates: January 31; February 7, 28; March 7, 14, 21

    (Revised due to weather cancellation Jan. 24)



    Register Online using the linkor

    Register by Mail:

    Download registration form (PDF)
    Make checks payable to NSCF.
    Please mail the form with your check to:
    NSCF, 171 E. Post Road (Suite 206), White Plains, NY 10601.

    Contact the NSCF office