Chess for Success is much more than a recreational after-school club. It is an educational intervention and support for at-risk students that uses chess to teach critical-thinking and problem-solving skills that help kids be successful in and out of the classroom. Through Chess for Success, self-esteem, behavior, and academic performance, including attendance, grades, and test scores, improve. 

“All students can learn and be successful, no matter the color of your skin, the language that you speak, or the home that you live in.” Enediala Schofield, Principal, Butternut Creek Elementary

Chess for Success takes an innovative approach by using certified teachers as our front line staff. By recruiting, training, and paying teachers to lead our clubs, we know that chess is being taught with the central focus on learning rather than winning. Our coaches are mentors, role models, and a support for students in our clubs.  

Our lesson plans are built on 11 skills learned through chess that develop executive function and self-regulation. These functions--working memory, mental flexibility, and self-control--are interrelated.

Fact Sheet

"Chess for Success provides an afterschool enrichment activity for our students and helps them with valuable skills such as critical thinking and problem solving."  Brian Haats, Principal, Mooberry Elementary, Hillsboro
Watch a video filmed at Mooberry.

Mooberry is a title-I school where more than 95% of students are considered to be living in poverty and two-thirds of the student population is Hispanic (about half of whom come from Spanish-speaking homes). 


  • Why chess? Interviews with Co-Founder Phillip Margolin, Board Member Chester Edwards, Ed.D., Program Manager Michael Malone, and students at Sabin Elementary School in Portland.
  • Good Day Oregon calls Chess for Success "pushups for the brain."
  • Portland Public Schools District news segment about Chess for Success at Portland's Jason Lee elementary school, featuring interviews with Chess for Success Program Manager Steve Rosenfeld and Co-Founder Phillip Margolin.

Each School Receives

  • Training, support, and a stipend for the coach, who is a certified teacher at the school
  • All instructional materials including lesson plans, demonstration boards, and chess sets
  • Marketing materials
  • Books for the school library

Each Participant Receives

50 hours
of lessons
A chess set
to keep
A club
Registration to
Chess for Success