Free Chess Sets for Title I Schools

UPDATE 10.04.2019: Due to the overwhelming popularity of our new Education Program, we have exceeded the maximum number of applications for the chess equipment donation and so the Survey Monkey application link is closed and no longer active. We will be verifying eligibility of all who have applied so far and if we do not meet the 200 mark after the US Chess review, we will reopen the application via Survey Monkey with a posted notice on our website.

US Chess and US Chess Federation Sales Partner in a Mission-Based Program

In partnership with US Chess Federation Sales, US Chess seeks eligible Title I schools that need equipment for their school-based chess programs. Programs that teach chess as part of their school day or are run as an afterschool enrichment activity are eligible to apply. Accepted schools will receive:

  • 5 vinyl chess boards
  • 5 sets of pieces
  • 1 demonstration board for use in instruction

To apply for a chess program starter kit, please apply online through this link:

US Chess Executive Director Carol Meyer explains, “US Chess is delighted to partner with US Chess Federation Sales to promote chess among school children who are the most at-risk. This new program meets two US Chess goals: increase the use of chess in education and use chess to increase opportunities for under-represented segments of society. This partnership helps us meet our mission to empower people, enrich lives, and enhance communities through chess.”

As part of the application, you will be asked to provide documentation supporting your school’s eligibility for the donated chess equipment. US Chess staff will confirm eligibility and notify you of your school’s acceptance into the program. Once approved, US Chess Federation Sales will send you your program’s equipment at no charge to you. Up to 200 schools will be selected during the 2019-2020 academic year.

US Chess Federation Sales is the exclusive donor for this program. To purchase additional chess sets and other equipment, you can visit Shawn Sullivan is the Director of US Chess Federation Sales and says, “US Chess Federation Sales firmly believes in the power of chess to change lives, especially for school-aged children, but the reality is that there are schools across the United States that simply cannot afford to offer chess. This now changes with the introduction of the US Chess Education Program. We are helping lower the financial barrier for low-income schools to show that chess is for everybody! Our company is proud to partner with US Chess to provide chess equipment at absolutely no cost and I, personally, am thrilled to have the opportunity to give back to the game of chess in such a meaningful way.”

If your students would like to play tournament chess and become rated players, please contact US Chess membership to learn about our group membership program for students. Memberships are as low as $9 per year per student. Call 931-787-1234 or 800-903-8723 and select Option 4 for membership information.

As part of this program, we would like to hear from you. We encourage your students to tell us what they like about playing chess and ask that you share any pictures you might have. Participation in this program allows US Chess and US Chess Federation Sales to share your pictures and stories with others in our print and online media. Please send your stories and photos to [email protected].

Getting Started: Chess Resources

Chess Life Kids is the US Chess award-winning magazine that offers young players (12 and under) tips on improving their game while featuring stories about other chess-loving kids from across the country. Chess Life Kids comes with US Chess scholastic memberships in either print or digital formats. Subscribe today with a student membership by calling 800-903-8723 and selecting Option 4 or visiting the US Chess membership store online at makes it easy for any teacher or adult to run a chess program! Whether after school or during the school day, the ChessKid Classroom Lesson Planner guides teachers and students through the most important 30 lessons that every beginner chess player needs to learn. Everything is in the planner, from videos and lessons to worksheets and games to play with the pieces. The planner also aligns each lesson with specific math concepts!

To get started with the free 30-week planner, just create an adult account at and then click here for the Lesson Planner to see how easy teaching chess can be!

Learn to Read & Write Chess, by Jeanne Cairns Sinquefield

Jeanne Sinquefield. Photo by Austin Fuller, courtesy of the Saint Louis Chess Campus

This short guidebook promotes chess literacy for those wanting to take their game to the next level. Through reading, doing and playing, Learn to Read & Write Chess is a concise primer on learning chess notation. As chess notation is required for many chess tournaments, learning it as part of the game from the very beginning promotes a sense of accomplishment for new players in their first tournament game. Download the pdf for free here.

Printed copies of the guide are also available for purchase from the World Chess Hall of Fame’s Q Boutique. Visit for more information or to purchase.

Find a Tournament Near You

US Chess and its members regularly offer tournaments throughout the year. Some tournaments are a few hours long, others last a whole weekend and still others are even longer. You can find rated events near you by visiting the US Chess website and following the “Play” menu at the top of the page. To see a list of current tournaments happening in your state, please visit

This set of resources represents only a small number of the many worthwhile ones freely available. Reach out to your local chess club or state chess federation for pointers to local professionals and chess education content.


  1. This is a WONDERFUL idea for bringing chess into the lives of students of all ages. I wish this was available when I was in school.

    I also feel strongly that this program be expanded to involve ALL schools, regardless of Title status.

  2. Thank you so much for this article and info. I just met yesterday with the Principal of North Tattnall Middle School in my little hometown of Reidsville, GA about my volunteering to help start up a chess program. Huge fan of chesskids and I promote them and their awesomeness all the time on my twitter account @johnbrazel It’s a GO, btw. Our first Club meeting will be Oct. 21 so this is very well timed. I have forwarded the article to Principal Sikes. Thanks again and say hey to Jen Shahade for me. Take care buddy!

  3. I agree that this is an excellent program — and the article makes it clear that it may well become an annual event (with the number of qualifying schools capped at 200 per year).

    However — it is not something new.

    In the 1990s, the office placed a tiny advertisement in a national education newsletter — offering free chess sets and boards to interested schools. The office was inundated with many hundreds of requests (which were fulfilled — via the US Chess Trust).

    Old ideas are often good ones — even if repackaged to seem like they are new.

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