Serving North Carolina’s biggest city, the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy seeks to spark a big interest in chess.
Having just moved into a new, larger location on the southern side of Charlotte, North Carolina, the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy is now better prepared than ever to accommodate chess classes and camps for students from 5 to 105! Like many chess schools, CCCSA was created with a goal of growing the local interest in chess and expanding chess culture in the Charlotte metropolitan area. Since they’ve recently outgrown their previous location, that must be working!
Executive director Peter Giannatos has been working tirelessly to get the new location up and running and ensure a smooth transition for students and their families. Now, that hard work has paid off, and normal operations resume at the new and improved location of the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy. This school is well positioned to serve the entire city of Charlotte, the most populous in the entire state of North Carolina, and its surrounding areas.
History of the Charlotte Chess Center and Goals for the Future
Officially founded in March of 2014, the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy was born out of the Queen City Chess Association, a small local chess club. Members of the QCCA thought that it would be a good idea to maintain a physical location in which to host their events after it outgrew the public space they had been using. That idea snowballed, and eventually, the CCCSA was founded as a place where people of all ages and skill levels could come to receive top quality chess education.
As far as goals for the future, CCCSA would eventually like to see a cultural renaissance in the Charlotte area including a rise in the popularity of chess. Currently, Charlotte is not known as a hub of American chess activity, but CCCSA would like to change all that. They’d like to not only form a friendly community of chess players and provide a space to play, but also bring the game to new people and bring them into the fold. To achieve these goals, they plan to:
● Provide the best quality chess education available in the area
● Promote all the wonderful benefits of playing chess
● Develop master and internationally titled players from within their own ranks
● Work with the Charlotte Chess Center Foundation to bring full chess club programs to Title I schools
● Let interest grow from satisfied students and word of mouth!
Programs at Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy
The Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy runs a number of different educational chess programs, both at its location and in local schools throughout the Charlotte area.
After School Programs
CCCSA provides after school chess programs at a number of area schools. These programs employ only the best instructors and are designed to take enrolled students from complete beginners all the way up to the level of tournament play within a single school year. These classes are held weekly at your child’s school, and chess sets are provided, as well as a free yearly Chesskid.com membership for each student, which represents $50 value and allows students to practice throughout the week at their own pace.
Visit this page to see if an after school program is currently being offered at your child’s school. If not, you can always request that one be added!
CCCSA offers a variety of classes to accommodate all ages and skill levels. The classes are divided into 3 basic skill levels- Bronze, Silver, and Gold. The goal of Bronze classes is to take students from absolute beginners to able to play a completely legal game of chess while exhibiting sportsmanship and respect. Silver classes focus on strategy and preparing students to compete in tournaments. Gold classes delve deeper into strategy and competitive play and are designed to help students achieve a rating of 1400 or higher.
In addition to these classes, there is also a new option available at CCCSA for all-girls classes. These classes are taught by Coach Anastasia Wzywany, who is the highest rated female chess player in the Charlotte metro area! All-girls classes are held on Monday evenings and are currently limited to Bronze level students.
If you don’t find anything in the current class offerings that works for your situation, CCCSA is happy to work with you to develop a custom program. This option would be great or an adults only class, classes for a homeschool group, or classes for students who surpass the 1400 rating level. Contact CCCSA directly to find out what they can do for you!
Regular and Elite Camps
Chess Camps are held over the summer, during school holidays, and even for single days on scheduled teacher workdays throughout the year. They are the perfect thing to keep your child’s mind active and engaged during times when school is not in session. Camps are divided into two levels- Junior Master camps geared toward first time chess players who have not competed in tournaments before, and MEGA Master camps, which are geared toward enriching the area’s top junior chess players. Prices for these camps range from $160 to $300.
Group A: Minimum 2250 Peak Rating
Group B: Ages 13 and Under, Minimum 2000 Peak Rating
Needless to say, Elite Camp is for skilled chess players interested in the highest level of chess education to improve their already strong game. Tuition is $750 per student.
GM/IM Norm Invitational Tournaments
Since many of its chess lessons are geared toward preparing students for tournaments, it only makes sense that CCCSA would hold its own tournaments on a regular basis. These invitational tournaments are open to 20 players total and offer a great opportunity for students to score their norms or even earn their GM or IM titles!
The Charlotte Chess Center Website and Social Media
The CCCSA website is very informative and well laid-out. You should have no problem finding all of the information that you need over there, and then some! Not only can you find all the usual information about upcoming events, classes, and after school programs, but they actually provide free chess advice and information on their blog! Just a few topics covered recently on the blog include the McCutcheon Variation, the Closed Variation of the Tarrasch, and an endgame analysis of various Bishop moves. You can learn a lot just browsing through the CCCSA blog!
CCCSA also maintains an active social media presence. You can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and even YouTube! Check out photos from past events, get announcements on future events and classes, and even watch videos of game analysis on their YouTube channel.
Shop at Charlotte Chess Center
The Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy also offers an online shop on their website where you can see all of the items that are for sale at CCCSA and their prices. You cannot actually place an order online, this page just acts as a sort of catalog for purchases that can be made in person at CCCSA events. The items available for purchase include all sorts of chess equipment, from customized chess boards emblazoned with the CCCSA logo, to plastic chess pieces, to workbooks.
Founder and Executive Director Peter Giannatos
FM Peter Giannatos learned chess at the age of 7, but didn’t compete in his first tournament until he was 13. In that tournament, he achieved a USCF rating of 589. Just four years later, he achieved the expert rating (2000+ USCF) and he is now one of only 4 chess players in North Carolina to earn the title of FIDE Master. He also holds the USCF title of National Master/Life Master.
Gaining nearly 1500 rating points in just 4 years is a remarkable feat. It’s highly unusual to see that kind of rapid improvement. Through his work at the Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy, FM Giannatos hopes to teach children and adults the techniques that he himself used to improve immensely over a short period of time.
Giannatos uses a philosophical approach to chess education that, when paired with his humor and naturally energetic personality, students really respond well to. He privately coaches most of the top junior chess players in the Charlotte area, which should come as no surprise, since he himself is currently ranked 6th overall in the state of North Carolina. No wonder he’s in such high demand for coaching!
Our Final Thoughts on CCCSA
The Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy is a great place to improve your chess game, no matter your age or skill level. They really do have something for everyone. We admire their mission to enrich the chess culture in Charlotte, and hope to see them succeed!
Charlotte Chess Center & Scholastic Academy website: Charlottechesscenter.org
Phone: (980) 265-1156
Address: 10700 Kettering Drive
Charlotte, NC 28226