Hoping to find an online game a little more stimulating than Among Us or Roblox for the kids? Chess is having a bit of a moment thanks to Netflix’s hit The Queen’s Gambit, but of course chess classes for kids in NYC have always been a thing. The pandemic has moved chess classes and tournaments online, making the bar for entry lower than ever. We rounded up the best online chess classes for kids in NYC, and where to play in person when it’s safe.

Chess NYC

Although physical classes have been discontinued at Chess NYC, the popular program has a variety of online offerings to choose from. Sign your children up to classes for beginners, intermediate or advanced players — Group lessons are currently only available in the summer (with no dates listed for 2021 at the time of this writing) — or select fully personalized one-on-one instruction.

Private personal instruction is $54 for one lesson, $225 for five, or $360 for 10. Or, you can "study with a buddy" in smaller groups (2-4) for a slight bump up in price to $72, $300 and $540, respectively.

Afterschool classes are also available 2:45 - 5:15 at various levels, starting from the very basics of the game, then advancing on to more involved knowledge, the foundations and tactics of the game, and how to actually apply this knowledge in games. Check out one class for $27, five for $105, and 10 for $180.

Once kids feel confident enough in their skills, Chess NYC offers them the chance to hone their skill in online matches every Sunday for a rolling fee starting at $18.

Online: chessnyc.com


Marshall Chess Club

The Marshall Chess Club has moved its catalogue online with college-style courses. There are many courses to choose from for various skill levels, and classes usually meet once a week for five weeks. To learn more and enroll in the courses as spots open up, contact the club via email.

Weekly meets, games and lessons are also available for a fee of $15 and up ($10 for members), depending on the event.

If you're interested in private lessons, the club has a listing of their world-renowned instructors. To find out if they teach your age range, rates, and availability, contact them individually.

Online: marshallchessclub.org


NYC Chess Kids

Want to give your kids an early start at chess? NYC Chess Kids accepts kids as young as 3.5-4 years old. Older beginners are also welcome, and classes are available for all skill levels and ages beyond that. Classes take an in-depth look at chess through puzzles, demo boards, analysis, and more to get kids involved in every aspect of the game.

Private online classes can be booked for $40 for 30 minutes, $60 for 45 minutes, or $75 for an hour. You can also enroll in after school programs, which typically meet for 45 minutes between 3 and 6 pm and include instruction for different levels of players as well as practice sessions. After school registration is $220 for 11 lessons or $200 for 10. A trial lesson is available for $20.

Online: nychesskids.com

photo: ICN

Impact Coaching Network

A celebrated in-school chess program that works with many schools throughout the city, ICN also holds virtual classes for kids not in their programs. (And players gather with coaches on the weekends for play as well, as shown above.) 

Its Daily Virtual Training Club, with prices starting at $445 for one day a week per semester, incorporates a combination of live lectures, rated match play, social opportunities, contests and much more. Players, grouped according to skill level meet after school from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Spring semester runs February 1 - June 18. 

Online: impactcoachingnetwork.org

Chess at Three

This unique take on chess instruction teaches kids ages three and up using a story-based approach. The chess board and elements of the board are presented as characters and kids learn chess moves and strategies through interactive stories.

An instructor can meet with you on your virtual meet platform of choice, and will even help you sign up on Skype, Zoom or whichever program you'd prefer to use. Students will also be instructed on how to sign up with LiChess, a free online chess server used by many.
Prices are available on request. Not sure if this program is for you? Try a free 30-minute trial lesson.

Online: chessat3.com

photo: Chess Max Academy

Chess Max Academy

Developed by World Chess Champion Grandmaster Maxim Dlugy, classes at the Chess Max Academy are specially-crafted with students in mind. Although they avoid fantasy elements, these classes will enable students to grasp the fundamentals of chess with ease and excitement. Classes cost $320 for a 10-lesson session for beginners through intermediate (ages 5-12), and $500 for a 10-lesson session for more advanced students. (13+).

Private lessons are also available (inquire for price). If you're interested in a more self-guided learning process, Chess Max Academy also has a puzzle-based online "school." In this program, students will complete chess puzzles assigned by an instructor, and receive a monthly evaluation of their progress. Access to this online learning experience costs $19 per month or $180 per year.

Online: chessmaxacademy.com

Brighton Kids Club

The Brighton Kids Club offers three specially-designed programs for children to learn the basics of chess, learn to solve chess puzzles, and study the three parts of a chess game. The "Chess for Beginners" course has a free preview you can check out if you're not sure it's right for your kids, and each of the three available classes is a flat $29.99.

Although this isn't a teacher-led instruction, students can ask questions in the comments to begin a discussion and learn more. This can act as a first step to introduce children to the basics of the game before enrolling them in a class.

Online: brightonkidsclub.us

NYC Public Libraries

Public libraries around the city offer virtual chess meets, lessons and workshops for kids of all ages. Check back often to see what's being offered.

Online: nypl.org, bklynlibrary.org, and queenslibrary.org

—Yuliya Geikhman


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