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Building a permanent home for chess in Chicago

We’re working to create an open and welcome gathering place, the focus of a vibrant, expanded chess scene. A place where young people can receive high-quality chess teaching in a safe and friendly environment. A place where curious beginners and experience-seekers can discover chess as an enjoyable and beneficial activity that everyone can participate in. A place that restores Chicago’s standing among great American chess cities.

Chicago today is the only urban area among the 10 most populous in the nation which does not have a metropolitan chess organization serving the center city as well as surrounding areas. It’s been 24 years since the last such organization in the city closed its doors—a whole generation of lost opportunities. More than one-third of Chicagoland residents live in the city of Chicago, yet 90 percent of all rated chess competitions in Chicagoland now take place in the suburbs.

A world-class city deserves a full-time chess center . . . in the city.

Donate now to help us open our doors in 2015. Your generosity will help us secure a lease on a site, obtain furniture and equipment, and begin offering classes and events in our own space.

Contribute $250 or more to become a member of our Founders’ Court and receive all the benefits of membership plus free instruction, access to exclusive events and more—or give whatever amount you can afford.

And please feel free to contact us for more information.

 

Our Philosophy

  • Chess is within everyone’s reach. Anyone can learn to play and learn to play well. You can develop as much skill as you’re willing to pursue. Struggles with chess are often the result of having learned the rules without having been shown what threats and opportunities to look for. These are easy to learn with the right teacher or coach.
  • Chess is a gym workout for the mind—part of a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.
  • Chess is one of many skills that one can learn as an adult. A late start in life is no obstacle. Most marathoners begin distance running as adults, not when they’re 8!
  • Chess is cultural capital—the modern continuation of a tradition that goes back centuries, through court and coffeehouse, pub and park.
  • Chess offers a level playing field. Color, language and income have no power to change the rules of the game or to interfere with the choices you make on the board.
  • Chess is a universal language. If you play chess, you’re connected to a community of players around the world as well as in your own neighborhood.

Who We Are

Board of Directors

Keith Ammann (President) is a U.S. Chess Federation–certified Local Tournament Director and District Chess Coach. He holds a master of education degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Illinois Type 03 teaching certification with middle school endorsement.

Bill Brock (Treasurer) specializes in corporate and personal taxation. He has been a CPA since 1987. He also holds a Ph.D. in English (Loyola University Chicago, 1995) and taught in Loyola’s English Department from 1988 to 1997. At the age of 9, Bill played in the 1967 U.S. Junior Open Chess Championship and lost his first seven games before finally winning one. He has previously served as bulletin editor, treasurer, president, and membership secretary of the Illinois Chess Association and currently serves as an at-large board member. Brock writes frequently for national and regional chess publications, edits the Chicago Chess Blog, and teaches students privately.

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Chris Christmas has been playing chess for more than 45 years. He is a chess tutor and coach who has taught more than 1,000 students between the ages of 4 and 75. He teaches before- and after-school chess classes in Evanston and Niles and has conducted chess camps at the North Avenue Beach chess pavilion.

Will Gane is vice president of a global business intelligence firm and has successfully established and developed businesses in Europe, the Asia/Pacific region and the Americas. Originally from the United Kingdom—and a lifelong fan of Liverpool FC—he has been playing chess since age 9 and is passionate about the importance of chess to children and their social/cognitive development. An avid long distance runner and triathlete, Will has competed twice at the ultra-running world championships and completed many endurance events to raise money for charity. Will is dedicated to developing mentoring programs across all walks of life and embracing the spirit of Amelia Earhart: “You should never interrupt someone doing something you said couldn’t be done.”

FM Pieta Garrett is an accountant pursuing certification as a charted financial analyst. He earned his National Master title at age 15 and won the U.S. Cadet Championship in 2002. He served in the U.S. Army from 2008 to 2011, during which time he won the 2009 Interservice Chess Championship at Fort Benning, Ga.

Kamau Murray is a sales representative at Novo Nordisk A/S. He is the founder, president and CEO of XS Tennis and executive director of the XS Tennis and Education Foundation, and he co-coaches professional tennis player Taylor Townsend. He holds an MBA from Florida A&M University.

Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is made up of individuals who have endorsed the Chicago Chess Center and offered their expertise in support of our mission:

GM Mesgen Amanov
Michael Cardinale Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago
FM Albert Chow
Allison Clark John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Zack Fishman Chess Education Partners
Kiran Frey Chess Without Borders
GM Dmitry Gurevich
Alyse B. Hammonds BarraKuda Consulting
Daniel Hart
GM Nikola Mitkov
GM Yury Shulman
 

Join Our Board

Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc. is seeking to enlarge and diversify its board of directors. We’re looking for people who are committed and passionate, who show common sense and good judgment, who respect group process, who are centered and self-aware, and who have a sense of humor. As a startup organization, we need self-starters, risk-takers and freethinkers along with organized and dependable professionals. We need people with experience in fundraising, entrepreneurship, for-profit and/or nonprofit management, curriculum development, and/or marketing or public relations. Also, as an organization seeking to serve the entire city, we want to include members of demographic groups underrepresented in the chess community. For more information, please reply through our contact page.

 

Founders' Court

The Chicago Chess Center thanks its founding members:

$1,000 and up

Bill Brock
Chess Education Partners Inc.
Slalom Consulting LLC

$500 and up

Les Bale
Michael Cardinale
Dave Ducat
Rosetta W. Harris Charitable Lead Trust
Home Run Inn Foundation
Leslie W. Keith
Matt Pullin

$250 and up

James Adkins
Louis T. Ascherman
William & Wendy Choslovsky
Fredric Cohen
Robert Eaman
Victor Feria
Will Gane
Adam Geisler
Robert Grevin
Vince Hart
Julian & Kristin Jackson
Anthony Jasaitis
Dietrich Kappe
Thomas Kochman (in memory of Frank Skoff)
Joseph Larsen
Jenny Rosene
Dan Schmidt
Sam Sibley (from John Benson)
Dante Silguero
J. Eric Smith
Brayden Sterling
Tansel Turgut
Jonathan Weintraub
Patrick, Nathaniel & Joshua Wells