Frequently Asked Questions


I wish my son's/daughter's school had a chess club...

So do we! Schools are usually responsive to starting chess clubs, especially when parents request it. If you run into resistance, you may try presenting the school with a sampling of the numerous studies linking chess with improved academics. Some such studies can be found here. Here at CCFC, we have been running successful school chess clubs for years (long before the Club opened!). If you are interested in our program and wish to start a club at your school, e-mail

Please explain your Club membership...

Membership is NOT required to attend any of our events, but members receive tremendous discounts on our products and services. Often your membership will pay for itself after only 1 or 2 activities. Our small group and private lessons, for instance, are discounted 20% to members. Camps can be up to 50% off. Tournaments, classes, lectures and other events all offer similar savings to members.

Can I check it out before committing to a membership?

Of course! Contact us and we will arrange a time for you to visit for a tour. First visits to our scholastic programs, like Dream Team, are also free, so come in and check us out!

I am a member of the United States Chess Federation. Is that the same thing as being a member of your club?

No. The United States Chess Federation is an organization that unifies all of the different chess tournaments taking place in the country by keeping track of everyone's "rating". We are a chess club that offers many chess programs and events, including tournaments that are overseen (as all tournaments are) by the USCF. USCF membership costs roughly $20/year and can be purchased at (click on "join/renew").

I heard you offer an after-school program...

Check out our Dream Team!

My son/daughter already has a chess teacher...

Learning chess, like learning to play an instrument, is a complex endeavor that rewards diligence. The more time you invest in it, and the more angles you approach it from, the more you will improve. In addition to one-on-one lessons, it is crucial to play regularly in competetive events where you and your opponents take the game seriously and are trying your utmost. Learning how to think in this context, and analyzing your moves rigorously subsequent to making this level of effort, are crucial to success. As a full-service chess club - the only such club in Connecticut, and one of only a small handful in the nation - our events and staff can help you achieve your goals. We will work cooperatively with your current chess teacher to develop a program that best suits your needs; we are here to expand and enrich your opportunities to improve your chess. More is always better, so do not hesitate to be in touch by phone (203-505-6215) or email ( To look up a coach's credentials, go to When presented with the option of proceeding to the site or the store, choose the site (on the left). Then, in the left menu, click "players and ratings". Follow the instructions to find your coach's rank and/or rating. At CCFC, our teachers are among the top one-quarter percent of players in the nation. GM Mikheil Kekelidze and GM Michael Rohde, both International Grandmasters (the highest title in the world, representing the top 900 or so players of an estimated 1.6 billion), are members of our staff.

What is a rating? What do the numbers mean? What is a Chess Master?

Because there are so many tournament chess players (roughly 100,000 in the US), it does not make sense to rank them one-by-one, except for the top 100, which are listed in the "players and ratings" section at Instead, each player is given a "rating", a number which climbs with every tournament win and falls with every tournament loss. The higher the rating, the more advanced the player. A beginner will have a rating of 100 or less. After a few years of dedicated work, a player may aspire to a rating of 800-1000, a class player. At 1400, one is a "class C" player and qualified to train others to become competitive tournament players. Class "A" players (1800-2000) and experts (2000-2200) should expect a meaningful boost to their college applications. Masters (2200 and above) represent the top one-quarter of a percent of competetive chess players. These are the top of the top. Here at CCFC, we have 8 Masters and two International Grandmasters (the highest title in the world, representing the top 900 or so players of an estimated 1.6 billion) on staff.

What happens if my child loses his/her first game in a tournament? Will s/he be eliminated?

In chess tournaments, all participants play all rounds. It is not an elimination, so nobody goes home early. If you lose a game, you will most likely be paired with another child who lost his/her previous game. As the tournament goes on, you continue to play other players with as close a tournament score to yours as possible, thus the games become more even.

Will s/he still get a trophy?

Trophies at our scholastic tournaments are presently awarded to 1st through 5th place. Other participants are given medals. For children with the same number of wins and losses, a tie-break system recommended by the United States Chess Federation is used. The tie-break system is an algorithm that takes into account the different levels of opponent for each player in the tie, as well as a number of other factors.

At CCFC chess tournaments, as in life, not everyone wins all the time. Sometimes this seems unfair, but more often than not it provides uniquely good teachable moments.

I like your concept. So what do I do now?

Come on in and try out some of our programs! There's no amount of discussion that can substitute for actual experience. Join a tournament, sign up for the after-school program, or just come by to play some casual games and meet some friendly people. You'll have a much better sense of what we're about!








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