About Us

Image for About Us

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:

  • More than 96% of teachers reported that CIS’s chess program were effective and that they would want it to return.
  • 97% of teachers reported that chess had a meaningful positive influence on their students.
  • 85% of teachers reported that their students applied the lessons of chess beyond the chess board.
  • 91% of teachers reported the growth of analytical and logical reasoning skills in their students.
  • 82% of teachers reported improved understanding of math concepts.
  • 91% of teachers reported improved ability to concentrate.
  • 94% of teachers reported improved cooperation skills in their students.
  • 86% of teachers reported improved social skills and behavior in their students.
  •         2020 Survey
            Photo Credit: Erik Bardin

Featured Event

Fall Charity Chess Challenge


Chess in the Schools thanks Chess24 and GM Psacal Charbonneau for helping with this unique online event to support Chess in the Schools. Special thanks to GM Sam Shankland, GM Andrew Tang, IM John Bartholomew,…

Learn more

Frequently Asked Questions

Mark E. Maher


VP/Counsel, Showtime Networks Inc.

Daniel Ryan


Managing Partner, Sincerus Advisory

Cody Smith


Retired Partner of Goldman Sachs & Co.

Kwadwo Acheampong


Director, Prudential Fixed Income

Lawrence B. Benenson


Principal, Benenson Capital Partners, LCC

Praju Doshi


Director, Credit Suisse

Debbie Eastburn

President & CEO

Chess in the Schools

Chun Lin


Director, Credit Suisse

Gustave K. Lipman


CEO, Voyager Analytics USA

Dhruv Sharma


Director, PwC LLP

Andrew C. Smith


Partner, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP

Dave Stein


Solution Architect, Adobe

Richard B. Wagner


Vice President,  ABILITY Network

Mike Walsh Peissis


President, Vetta Inc.

Jonathan Zald


Director, Bank of America

Lewis B. Cullman

In Memoriam


Lev Alburt

Maurice Ashley

Ipek Bakir

Erik Bardin

John Bartholomew

Peter Bassey

Nikita Bear

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

David Joerg

Roman Kazan

Richard C. Levin

David MacEnulty

Robert MacNeil

Beatriz Marinello

John Merrow

Frank H.T. Rhodes

Aia Sarycheva

Charles E. Schumer

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

Elena Ryabova

Elena Ryabova

Director of Development

Shaun M. Smith

Shaun M. Smith

Director, Programs

Will Staso

Will Staso

College Bound Coordinator