About Chess For Kids

CHESS FOR KIDS inc. is a United States Chess Federation Affiliate, carries liability insurance, was featured in the Press Democrat in December 2007, and has applied and was recently awarded 501(3)c non-profit status.

Mission Statement

CHESS FOR KIDS is dedicated to bringing the benefits of chess to as many young people as possible in Sonoma County.

Our Story

CHESS FOR KIDS began in 2005 when my son and I were seeking venues to play chess with other children. After weeks with no luck, we decided to start our own club though the Cub Scouts in our school library. Although we started out with plastic sets, no funding, nor any support, the club grew rapidly. Insurance requirements through the school prevented children outside of the Cub Scouts to be involved. We searched out another location to serve all the children who wanted to participate. We wanted everyone to have a place to play chess.

CHESS FOR KIDS met at several different coffee shops for the next few months, outgrowing each of them. We spent the summer at the Wednesday Night Market and various other fairs and festivals meeting new children and teachers. Many local business owners supported us and we continued to grow.

The club needed more structure and guidance. Elizabeth Shaughnessy, founder of 26 year old Berkeley Chess School, gave us the motivation and support to embark on the biggest dream of all; bringing the age old game of chess to the children of Sonoma County through quality chess instruction and tournament play.

Over 2,000 children have participated in CHESS FOR KIDS instructional chess classes in 60 schools and summer programs throughout Sonoma County and on Friday evenings. We have run many rated chess tournaments, a countywide chess tournament including children from over 35 schools, and participated in team matches with Berkeley Chess School.

– Jolie Cook, Founder