About Us



Since 2003, Baltimore Kids' Chess League has promoted chess education in Baltimore City. 800 students from 40 Baltimore City Public Schools participate in our programs annually. We train teachers to become chess coaches, provide clubs with equipment and materials, hold novice tournaments, and sponsor qualifying BCPS students to participate in local, state and national US Chess Federation rated tournaments.  


Our Mission

Baltimore Kids Chess League, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that exists to promote scholastic chess educational opportunities in Baltimore City that foster skills necessary for overall academic achievement.

Why Chess?

Chess develops general intelligence, self-control, analytic skill, and increased ability to concentrate (Stuart Margulies, "The Effect of Chess on Reading Scores: District Nine Chess Program Second Year Report," 1992). 

Chess makes an excellent after-school activity at any grade level and the per-student cost can be substantially less than other academic or sports activity. Scholastic chess has been successful in many cities and school systems around the country. Take a look at Portland, Houston, Dallas, and New York. So why not in Baltimore, too?  


About Our Programs


  • Baltimore Kids Chess League is an after-school chess program formed in 2003 in partnership with the Abell Foundation and the Baltimore City Public School (BCPS). The core of the Project is the development of after-school chess clubs in Baltimore City Public Schools. 
  • BCPS schools elect each year to participate in our program. The annual student enrollment is typically 800 or more. Schools that wish to participate have identified a Chess Coach, agree to a minimum enrollment of 10 students, and hold club meetings at least 20 times per year. Teams are provided free admission to BKCL chess tournaments. They have the option of attending United States Chess Federation (USCF) tournaments sponsored by the MD Chess Federation (MCA). BKCL pays entry fees to those tournaments. Chess Coaches receive training and instructional materials and supplies through BKCL. 
  • BKCL Chess Tournaments are held periodically throughout the academic year to give kids the experience of playing in a competitive, yet friendly environment and to test out their newly developed chess skills. To encourage broad based participation, most tournaments are held on Saturday mornings and admission is free for BCPS students. 
  • Since 2007, BKCL has sponsored qualified schools to participate in the Maryland State Chess Championship and in national scholastic championship tournaments. In 2014-15, BKCL sent 5 teams, the most ever, to participate in two different national tournaments located in Columbus, OH, and Louisville, KY. Not only have our teams continued to earn top team and individual honors, but the experience of traveling to another US city to meet like-minded students from all over the country is unparalleled.  In 2017, BKCL produced its first individual USCF National Champion.

Who We Are


League Commissioner

Steven Alpern has been the Commissioner of the league since it began in 2003.  His experience includes 33 years as an instructional leader in the Baltimore City Public Schools. He launched chess programs in the city schools in 1990. 

BKCL Board of Directors

Dr. Linda Lee, BKCL Founder

Kelly McCoy

Carolyn Williams, BKCL Secretary

Steven Alpern, BKCL Commissioner

William Smith

John Brenner

Find out more

BKCL Partner Organizations

BKCL wishes to thank our partner organizations for their ongoing support!

Baltimore City Public Schools


The Abell Foundation

Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth


Contact Us

If you have any questions about the BKCL programs or want more information, get in touch!

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