Winter Programs

We are pleased to announce our lineup of classes and clubs for Winter 2021!


HRCA membership ($10/year) is required to participate in any HRCA program or event.  US Chess membership is required for certain clubs as indicated in descriptions.

HRCA is a 501(c)(3) serving the Hampton Roads area of Southeast Virginia.  Our Hybrid (Zoom into live class) and Virtual-Only classes are open to students from out of area, whether or not you are an HRCA alumni who once resided in the area.  See Registration section at the bottom of this page — non-local / non-alumni student seats are based on space available as of November 29th.  Out-of-area students will be billed for postage to mail any awards earned in class.

Winter 2021 Locations

Mid-Atlantic Chess Center:  Pembroke Office Park Building 4, 291 Independence Blvd, Suite 515, Virginia Beach

Peninsula Satellite Club:  Ivy Memorial Baptist Church, 2200 Coliseum Drive, Hampton

-or- Zoom

Winter 2021 Schedule

The Winter session begins December 13th and runs through March 17th.  There are no classes or clubs between December 20th and January 2nd (Winter Holiday break).

Students are guaranteed a minimum of ten face-to-face / live (in-person or via Zoom) classes with their coach, and an additional two weeks of material that may be live or recorded.

Winter 2021 Prices

CLICK HERE FOR OUR PAYMENT AND REFUND POLICY (your acknowledgement is required on the registration form)

Pay in full at the start of the session -or- Monthly payment plans available at no additional charge

Limited needs-based scholarships are available — Deadline to apply is November 29th!!!

See the below matrix for prices.

Multi-family discount:  50% off 3rd and 4th child or adult in the same household, 5th+ free

ChessKid Gold accounts (if not already specified as included in a program) are optional $15 good through mid-September 2022.


Program Name (Click for more info) Category In-Person Location Day Time Age / Rating Format Price
Coach Jay’s Chess Academy Chess Foundations Class Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Monday White, Yellow, Orange, and Green Belt levels 5:45-6:45 PM

Purple, Blue, and Black Belt levels 7:00-8:00 PM

Ages 7 and up (younger by exception), all abilities In-Person/Hybrid Zoom $150
Think Like a King Chess Foundations Class Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Wednesday First Lessons in Chess, Tactical Thinking, and Checkmate Thinking 5:45-6:45 PM

Endgame Thinking, Opening Thinking, and More Tactical Thinking 7:00-8:00 PM

Ages 8 and up (younger by exception), all abilities In-Person/Hybrid Zoom $150
Guppy Chess Chess Foundations Class Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Thursday 5:45-6:30 PM Ages 4-6 (3 by exception) In-Person only $150
From Beginner to Master Endgame Course Master Level Instruction Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Wednesday 5:45-6:45 PM 700 rated and up In-Person / Hybrid Zoom $150
Pawn Play Master Level Instruction Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Thursday 6:30-7:30 PM 700 rated and up In-Person / Hybrid Zoom $150
Inside the Mind of Mikhail Tal Master Level Instruction NA Monday 5:45-6:45 PM (overflow class 7:00-8:00 PM) 1000 rated and up (lower by exception) Virtual (Zoom) only $150
Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club (HRSCC) Tournament Club Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) or Ivy Memorial (Hampton) Monday – Hampton

Tuesday – VA Beach

5:30-7:00 PM PK-12 all abilities with knowledge of basic rules In-Person only $75 for new students (includes HRCA membership and ChessKid Gold); $50 if you did Fall session
Peninsula Satellite Club Tournament Club, Casual Club, Informal Instruction Ivy Memorial (Hampton) Monday 5:30-8:00 PM All ages and abilities, kids and adults In-Person only For HRSCC at this location, see above; all others just HRCA membership required — no additional fee for casual play
Hampton Roads Chess Club (HRCC) Tournament Club Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Tuesday 7:30-UTC (9:30-10:30 PM) Adults and Advanced Youth In-Person only HRCA membership $10 plus pay-as-you-go entry fees
HRCA Ladder Club Structured Casual Games Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Tuesday 7:00-8:00 PM PK-12 all abilities with knowledge of basic rules In-Person only $15
HRCA Women and Girls Club Casual Club Mid-Atlantic Chess Center (VB) Thursday 6:00-7:00 PM Women and girls only, all ages and abilities; no knowledge required In-Person only $15

Winter Classes – Chess Foundations

HRCA strongly believes in building firm chess foundations.  Chess is like math — gaps in those foundations will cause problems for years to come!  All of our foundational classes provide instruction not only in the basic rules of play, but also in the concept of draws, common checkmate patterns, opening principles, piece values and calculations, tactics, basic endgame ideas, basic strategy, and planning.  Self-taught students are often eager to skip over this critical material to study things like specific openings, which will do them no good if they lack a solid foundation.  HRCA has trained hundreds of students over the last several years with our proven methods!  

Coach Jay’s Chess Academy: This class uses the curriculum developed by renowned chess “Coach Jay” Stallings out of California.  It is broken down into seven levels using a karate belt system (White, Yellow, Orange, Green, Purple, Blue, Black) ranging from absolute beginner to expert level.  Each level covers “five disciplines of chess” at increasingly challenging levels — Defense, Checkmates, Endgames, Tactics, and Strategy.  Students registering for this class will be assessed for placement in the proper level.  Virtual students will receive an online account containing digital lesson books and workbooks up through Green. In-person students in all levels and virtual students in Purple+ will receive a set of paper workbooks for class.  Students must complete their digital or paper workbooks and pass an assessment in order to progress to the next level and receive a karate belt keytag with matching colored chess piece to indicate mastery of the level.  With cartoon-illustrated workbooks and fun Kahoot quizzes, this class tends to work better for our younger students (but is also popular with students of all ages) than other options.

Think Like a King This class uses the curriculum developed by renowned chess coach David MacEnulty out of New York City.  Specifically designed to teach critical thinking skills through chess, it is used extensively in the NYC public school system.  It is broken down into seven levels using a “thinking belt” system (white through black).  After the First Lessons in Chess course, which provides a comprehensive beginner’s introduction to the game, including rules, opening principles, tactics, etc., each level focuses on one specific skill — Tactics, Checkmates, Endgames, or Openings, each course becoming more challenging.  New students with little to no chess background will be placed in First Lessons in Chess.  Students demonstrating sufficient knowledge of those foundations but new to our programs will begin in Tactical Thinking and progress from there.  All students will receive a training account to complete homework online.  Students must complete all homework to a passing level in order to progress to the next level.

Guppy Chess  This is a curriculum created by an HRCA coach specifically to lay the foundations for students as young as 4 years old to become strong chess players.  Many of our former Guppies are now among the top players in the state and nation for their age at only 7 or 8 years old.  Preschool and K-1 age students usually take much longer to master basic skills such as piece movements.  This class uses age-appropriate methods and pace to help young students master the basics and prepare to move on to other formal classes in our program and to compete in chess tournaments if that is their desire.  Students may be at various levels of learning — a coach experienced with this age group is able to differentiate instruction within the classroom.  Parents (or any other responsible party) are required to sit in this class with their students.

Winter Classes – Master Level Instruction

HRCA also offers classes taught by Experts and Masters for our more advanced students.  Previous completion of a comprehensive curriculum such as Think Like a King or Coach Jay’s Chess Academy, or reaching high King levels on ChessKid through serious self-study is strongly recommended to ensure your child has a solid foundation before taking a Master level class.  “Gaps / cracks” in the foundation will prevent your child from improving in chess.  Our “foundations” classes progress from basic to advanced, so even students rated up to 1000 can benefit from completing all the levels before moving on to Master level instruction.  Master coaches will assign their own homework for classes, which will be critical for your child to get the most out of the training.

From Beginner to Master Endgame Course:  Taught by reigning Virginia high school state champion Tyson Brady, this course addresses a critical area that is perhaps the greatest weakness of most young players.  The endgame is one of the most important factors of the game, and proper technique in the endgame is crucial to a win or draw. If you have found that your confidence plummets once you reach the endgame, and you’re looking to make the endgame your field of power, your search is over.

Pawn Play:  This course is taught by National Master Nemanja Milanovic from Serbia.  When children first learn to play chess, they often have the mistaken assumption that pawns are unimportant and expendable.  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Pawns are the most punishing pieces on the board, as they are the only ones who can’t move backwards. If you move a piece to a bad square and realize that it does not serve a purpose, you can adjust the problem. With the pawns, you don’t have that luxury. Once a pawn moves forward, it leaves permanent weaknesses behind.  This class will greatly improve your ability to answer the eternal question, should I push that pawn?

Inside the Mind of Mikhail TalThis class is taught by six-time Virginia State Champion National Master Daniel Miller.  Garry Kasparov said that Tal was the only person he ever knew who didn’t just see combinations, he saw through them! After Botvinnik and Smyslov played three matches in the 50s, the Magician from Riga took the chess world by storm skyrocketing to the world crown with the perfect blend of science, chaos, and aggression. We will study the man, known as “The Claw.” His life, his games, his style, from many sources, including his own best selling work on the 1960 match with Botvinnik, his wife Sally’s story of the man behind the myth, and other sources. Why was this World Champion able to make the world’s leading masters look like they didn’t know how to play? He was friends with Petrosian, Fischer, and Kasparov, and perhaps the greatest chess personality of the 20th century.  Students will see the board and chess patterns open up as we study Tal the Magnificent. The goal is to help students understand the true art of calculation, chess psychology, and master combinational vision.

Winter Clubs

HRCA is a US Chess Affiliate and offers rated tournament clubs, as well as unrated sections for youth training to become rated players.  New this year, we are offering some casual, unrated clubs for youth.

Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club (HRSCC):  Open to students in grades PK-12, this nationally-recognized club is only for children desiring to compete / play in chess tournaments.  Students enrolling in HRSCC are required to also enroll in a “Chess Foundations” or “Master Level” class in order to be in the club.  New this year, recognizing that many students need to take time off to play in other sports, the club will be broken down into three self-contained quarterly clubs, Fall, Winter, and Spring.  Children enrolling in one or two sessions only must take a minimum of one class during the school year.  Children enrolling in all three sessions must take a minimum of two classes during the school year.  Each night of club will consist of a tournament event, including formats such as Match, Quads, Quick and Regular Swiss, Blitz, and Bughouse.  Each quarterly session will have its own championship tournament, and the last day of each session will consist of an awards ceremony.  Students do not need to be US Chess members to start in HRSCC — a “Rookie” section is offered for training and preparing for rated tournaments — however, they should know all the rules and be able to play a complete game of chess.  We strongly recommend completion of at least one Chess Foundations course (see above) before enrolling in HRSCC.  Rated players will be broken down by ability for play — generally Novice (U400 or 500), Amateur (U800), and Elite (800+).  This club is recommended for players up to 1200 rating, at which time we recommend the children move to playing in HRCC (see below); however, PK-12 players of any rating are welcome to join.  All HRSCC members receive a ChessKid Gold account included in their fees and are eligible for awards associated with use of the account, which is strongly encouraged for supplemental training and practice.  Choose Virginia Beach (much larger) on TUESDAY or Hampton (a start-up club) on MONDAY.  Virtual club has been discontinued.

Hampton Roads Chess Club (HRCC):  Open to any US Chess member, this club offers rated tournaments in a variety of formats, such as Match, Quads, Quick and Regular Swiss, and Blitz, as well as occasional lectures or simultaneous exhibitions.  This is the only HRCA club that is open to adults.  For players in grades PK-12, it is recommended primarily for those rated 1000+.  Parents should consider that this club can last until late at night on a school night.  There is no “Rookie” section at this club; all events are rated.  This club is NOT on the registration form.  Simply contact us if you’d like to play.

Peninsula Satellite Club:  This new club in Hampton is in a growth phase and is a place to meet for casual chess, informal instruction, and eventually tournament games.  Youth in grades PK-12 can register for HRSCC at this location — if we get even a decent handful of kids of similar ability, we can run tournament games for them.  If you register your child for HRSCC at this location and we don’t end up having enough, we’ll let you know a week before the session starts so you can decide if you want the Virginia Beach location or to cancel your registration.  We will not invoice kids for HRSCC at this location until we know it’s a go.  We strongly encourage players who live on the Peninsula and on the western half of the southside (e.g. Suffolk, Western Branch Chesapeake, etc.) to join this casual club for some over-the-board play.  This location also runs a club ladder, as well as occasional lectures and informal instruction, all at no additional charge.

HRCA Ladder Club:  NEW this year, and due to the division of HRSCC into separate locations, we are removing the Ladder from that club and offering it as an option for any HRCA youth (PK-12) member.  A Ladder is a way of structuring casual games in which players are randomly placed on a board from top to bottom at the beginning of the quarterly session, and rules are in place for players to challenge each other to games in order to try to climb the ladder.  At the end of each quarter, awards will be presented to top overall and ability group finishers based on how many players are on the ladder.  Players simply show up at the designated time and place to make their challenges and play their games.  They are also welcome to stay for casual games until the end of the Ladder Club time period.  Ladder games are not rated, and players of any ability are welcome, as long as they know the rules and can play a complete game of chess.

HRCA Women and Girls Chess ClubOnly about 15% of all US Chess rated players are women and girls.  Girls often find themselves the ONLY girl in their chess class or club and may drop out as a result.  NEW this year, HRCA is offering a club exclusively for women and girls, who enjoy each other’s company while playing chess.  This is a casual club where members and volunteers will teach, mentor, and guide each other.  Additional activities will be offered throughout the year, such as outings or guest speakers, with a focus on empowering women and girls through chess.

Other Offerings

ChessKid Gold:  HRCA strongly encourages all kids to actively use for supplemental training, regardless of which classes you are taking, if any.  ChessKid provides over 120 structured, cartoon-based video lessons with interactive tests that will take your child from how the pieces move to advanced concepts that can help a tournament player raise their rating as high as 1400 before moving on to  You can also solve thousands of puzzles, play unlimited live and correspondence games, complete workouts on certain chess positions, watch more videos, read articles, and more.  We have used ChessKid for many years and find that kids who actively use the site daily and complete all the lessons, in conjunction with training from HRCA, have all risen to very high competitive levels.  ChessKid provides a solid foundation in chess for your child.  As an HRCA member, you can benefit from a steep discount off the retail $50 for a ChessKid Gold (full access) account for a year (our batch year runs September to September).  Because we own hundreds of accounts, we can offer them to our members for $15.   This is a members-only discount.  Even if ChessKid is the only thing you want from HRCA, along with the $10 HRCA membership, you are still only paying half retail price.   ChessKid Gold is included in Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club and Old Donation School program fees.  All other students must pay separately to purchase an account.  If you already have a basic account you’d like us to import to save your progress, we can do that, too!  “ChessKid Only” registrations are restricted to local and alumni kids only, though – sorry!  You can “register” for a ChessKid Gold account at the link at the bottom of the page.  We will contact you to see if you have an existing account or would like us to create one for you.

Tournaments, Workshops, Camps, and More:  Your HRCA membership, required for any of the programs above, also entitles you to play in local HRCA tournaments on the weekends, to attend Masters workshops or guest lectures in person and online, to participate in simultaneous exhibitions, camps, and any other activities we provide to our members (additional fees usually apply).  Once you have joined, you will be added to our e-mail distribution / app notification list and will always receive notifications of upcoming events that may be relevant to you.

***HRCA will provide any disability accommodations necessary for any player desiring to participate in any program***


We recommend you carefully review all the options and make notes of the programs you wish to register for.  Descriptions are not available on the registration form itself.  Once you complete the form, we will contact you with any questions we might have and will send you a Quickbooks invoice.


The firm deadline submit an application requesting a needs-based scholarship is November 29th.  No applications will be accepted after that date.

Priority Registration period is from November 14th to November 29th.  Be sure to register right away to ensure a seat in a physical classroom or on Zoom.  After November 29th, Zoom seats may be given to out-of-area students, and physical classrooms may be considered full and closed, with no additional coaches laid on.  Local and alumni students have priority of seats during this period. Non-local / non-alumni students acknowledge that even if they register during this period, their seats in Zoom classes are based on space available as of November 29th.  You will be notified on that day if you are accepted into the class.

The firm deadline to register for all programs is December 6th.  Any registration after that date will be accepted only on a space available basis and will incur a $25 late registration fee.  Programs with low enrollment may be cancelled after this date, and we will work with students to register them in another program.

Contact Tina with any questions before you register.