About Us

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Mission Statement

Chess in the Schools fosters the intellectual and social development of low-income youth through chess education.

Boy playing chess at school

Why Chess?

At Chess in the Schools, we believe in the power of chess to change lives. To date, we have taught more than 500,000 of New York City's most underserved children, inspiring them to greater achievement. Each day, we are proud to help kids grow, one move at a time. Our impact is demonstrated by classroom teachers responses to our annual survey:

  • 99% Chess had a meaningful positive impact on my students.
  • 95% Practicing chess increased students' self-esteem.
  • 96% Chess enriched students' social skills.
  • 98% Chess developed students' analytical and logical skills.
  • 96% Chess improved my students' math skills.
  • 98% Girls and boys are equally interested in chess in my class.
  • 99% Want Chess in the Schools in their class next year.
        2018 Survey, 167 respondents.
        Photo Credit: Erik Bardin

Featured Event

Lecture and Book Signing with Alisa Melekhina


Monday, October 22, 2018, 6-8 pm Internationally ranked chess master and author of Reality Check: What the Ancient Game of Chess can Teach You About Success in Modern Competitive Settings Click here to register for…

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

Mike Walsh Peissis


President, Vetta Inc.

Lewis B. Cullman

Chair Emeritus


Mark E. Maher


VP/Counsel, Showtime Networks Inc.

Cody Smith


Retired Partner of Goldman Sachs & Co.

Kwadwo Acheampong


Director, Prudential Fixed Income

Nikita Bear


Merchant Banking Division, Goldman Sachs

Lawrence B. Benenson


Principal, Benenson Capital Partners, LCC

Debbie Eastburn

President & CEO

Chess in the Schools

Gustave K. Lipman


Security Industry Executive

Daniel Ryan


Senior Manager, RCL Advisors, LLC

Andrew C. Smith


Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Lev Alburt

Maurice Ashley

Erik Bardin

John Bartholomew

Cohlie Brocato

Peter Brown

Nikken Cullman

Ronald J. Daniels

David Danziger

Cassie Desens

Howard Dodson

Kimberley Doo

Jon Edwards

Ellen V. Futter

Anna Ginzburg

Eric Gioia

Betsy Gotbaum

Vartan Gregorian

Agnes Gund

Evan Hunter

Roman Kazan

Richard C. Levin

David MacEnulty

Robert MacNeil

Beatriz Marinello

John Merrow

Frank H.T. Rhodes

Charles E. Schumer

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Greg Shahade

Jennifer Shahade

Shahnawaz Sheikh

Michael Shuman

Vanessa Sun

Stanley Switalski

Zack Weiner

Debbie Eastburn

Debbie Eastburn

President & CEO

Nicole Alston

Nicole Alston

Office Coordinator

Ronald Boocock

Ronald Boocock

Director, School Program

Chano LaBoy

Chano LaBoy

College Bound Director

Carmen Morales

Carmen Morales

School Program Manager

Shaun M. Smith

Shaun M. Smith

Director, Programs

Samantha Spina

Samantha Spina

Development & Communications Coordinator

Will Staso

Will Staso

College Bound Coordinator