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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Recreation & Sports, Sports

Mission: The Berkeley Chess School is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to enriching the academic and personal development of children through the benefits of chess, regardless of gender, cultural background or socioeconomic status.

Geographic areas served: San Francisco Bay Area

Programs: The berkeley chess school offers chess instruction to over 4,800 children in over 140 schools throughout northern california. Established in 1982 by elizabeth shaughnessy, former irish women's chess champion and former president of the berkeley school board, the berkeley chess school has introduced the joy of chess to thousands of bay area children. The berkeley chess school is dedicated to sharing the wonders and joys of chess with as many young people as possible. Through the medium of chess the berkeley chess school teaches critical thinking, problem solving, decision making and mental discipline -- skills that affect the learning experience in the classroom and prepare children to enter the adult world as contributing members of society.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Client Served

Rating: 5

I moved to Berkeley so that my children could benefit from this school, and it was well worth it.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Miles has been going to BCS summer camps for 3 years, and every year it is the favorite week of the summer. The staff are like a family, and the instructors are very supportive.
We only wish they offered the classes at his school.
The quads are a great opportunity to get a feel for competition, both winning and losing.
Thanks!

Client Served

Rating: 5

My nine year old son was willing, but not enthusiastic, about learning chess. BCS sent a teacher to his school for after school classes, which led to signing up for the Friday sessions. BCS has nurtured his interest and helped him develop genuine skills. He really looks forward to the Friday classes and in-house tournaments. Through the club he also recently entered a larger tournament for kids, with hundreds of children competing. He managed to win one game, but, more important, was exposed to a wider world of competitive chess play. BCS is a great resource.

Katie23

Client Served

Rating: 5

I guess the best way to say it is this. Last year I signed my older two boys up for one week of chess camp. They are both academically-oriented, love chess and had enjoyed Berkeley Chess School camp before. My younger son is more the run around, jump up and down all the time type. On the first day of camp I took my six year old swimming in Lake Anza, to feed cows at Little Farm, to hunt for turtles, and for ice cream and a carousel ride. But when we got back to BCS to pick up his brothers, he begged me to join camp the next day. The staff was accommodating, but I knew my busy 6 year old wouldn't last 15 minutes in those quiet, focused classrooms. The next day I brought him, but stayed around so I could take him home when he got bored. 15 minutes turned into an hour, an hour turned into all day and before I knew it he had stayed the whole week. This past spring when I asked the boys what they wanted most to do in the summer, they all asked - can we have 2 weeks of chess camp instead of one?!
The only thing BCS could improve is to have the money to take the beautiful, amazing space they're in and refurbish it. Their curriculum, staff, organization are all fantastic.

6

Client Served

Rating: 5

We continue to be amazed by the program BCS offers at our kids school in the East Bay. The teachers are warm, flexible, encouraging, knowledgable and professional. We're using this program as a role model for another non-profit with which I'm associated. The organization is well-run from top-to-bottom. Somehow in this age of automation, they seem to be able to provide a friendly, personalized service which is unparalleled. Keep up the good work BCS!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Our son grew up in the Berkeley Chess School. He started lessons & tournament play in kindergarten and continued playing into high school. We attended many tournaments over the years. The experience was instructive on many levels--tactical & strategic play, winning & losing, etc. Most recently, as a college student, he has helped out in the BCS summer camp. The chess community is a wonderful group of families. Elizabeth Shaughnessy's leadership in that community is widely respected and she chooses teachers who the kids enjoy learning from. We consider the BCS to be one of the important experiences of our son's growing up years and we are grateful to Elizabeth and her staff for all that they do.

2

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My son was first introduced to chess through classes held in his first grade class by the school. He was immediately drawn to the logical aspect of the game and the warm, inviting nature of the instructor. We decided to enroll him in the Friday night chess classes held in the Berkeley Hills. He adores the game and love to learn new moves and hone his skills. I absolutely think that this is a life-changing skill to have--the children are introduced to logical reasoning and learn how to think a few steps ahead of the immediate move. The instructors are great. Would love to see more women involved, but that's ok, they do have a female founder which is great. GREAT camps offered in summer. camps are a really good way to try it out before making the commitment to the friday night classes