Offerings for Adults & Advanced Juniors | Mechanics' Institute

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Offerings for Adults & Advanced Juniors

Class Schedule for Adults and Advanced Scholastic Players (click links to jump down to information)

Chess Cafe
Dates: Ongoing Mondays
Time: 4:00-5:30 pm
Location: Zoom
Cost: FREE for all
Register here.

The Chess Cafe is a meeting place to talk about chess, life, and everything in between. Join FIDE Master and Chess Room Coordinator Paul Whitehead and a revolving cast of folks from around the country in a fun and casual atmosphere to discuss the latest chess developments and for the pure love of the game. The Chess Cafe is suitable for ALL level of players and FREE for everyone.

Chess Cafe is held every Monday except on major holidays. Register to receive Zoom information to join. Additional details here.

Introduction to Chess Class

Dates: Thursdays, May 2-June 13, 2024 (six sessions - no class on May 23)
Time: 5:30-6:30 pm
Location: Onsite in the Chess Room
Cost: FREE for Members
Register here.

Join us - beginner or intermediate player - and learn the fundamentals of the Royal Game with Lead Chess Coach Marcie Yang. From the basics of how pieces move and capture, castling, and en passant; to more advanced strategy of checkmating patterns, how to think in the openings, middle-game strategy, and what to do in the endgame. This goal of the class is to open up a new world of fun and joy through the magic and beauty of chess.

Please note: Class will not be held on Thursday, May 23 so that Members may attend the Mechanics' Institute Biannual Members Meeting. The date is listed on the Jumbula registration page - but NO class will be held on Thursday, May 23.

Introduction to Chess Class is available for Mechanics' Institute members at no cost. Register to join the class.

Women's, Girls', and Gender Expansive Individuals Online Chess Class
Dates: Ongoing Sundays
Time: 10:00 am-12:00 pm
Location: Zoom
Cost: FREE for all
Register here.

Coached by FIDE Trainer Sophie Adams, this class is for women, girls, and gender expansive individuals looking to develop their chess skills with a community of women. Knowledge of piece movements and mates is expected. Registration is required so we may send the links for players to join. Zoom will be required to participate, and we will include optional links to participate in online platforms like if players would like to play with each other online. Be sure to join the Mechanics' Institute Women's Chess Club on here.

We are proud to offer this opportunity to bring communities together through chess.

Women's, Girls', and Gender Expansive Individuals Online Chess Class is held every Sunday except on major holidays. Register to receive Zoom information to join. Additional details here.

Chess Socials
Dates: First Fridays of the month, every month
Time: 5:00-6:00 pm
Location: Onsite in the Chess Room
Cost: FREE for all
No registration necessary.

Unwind from the week with fellow chess players. We'll have rousing game replays on the big screen, snacks, and lively conversation. Wine available for purchase in the Meeting Room provided before the CinemaLit program. Stick around for CinemaLit at 6 pm!

Additional information here.

Chess in the Community

Dates: Thursdays and Sundays
Time: Thursdays 12:00-1:00, Sundays 11:00-2:00
Location: Thursdays Mechanics' Monument Plaza, Sundays UN Plaza - right by the statue of Simon Bolivar
Cost: FREE for all
No registration necessary.

Mechanics' Institute is bringing chess to the community across San Francisco. Come out and join us throughout every week:

Opening Intensive with GM Jacek Stopa: Catalan

Dates: Saturday May 18
Time: 10:00 am-2:00 pm
Location: Mechanics' Institute Chess Club Annex
Cost: Members: $150
Non-members: $200
Registration here.

Come and join GM Jacek Stopa for his new set of one day intensive classes on openings! For the second session, this course will explore some of the most modern lines of the very popular Catalan Opening from White's perspective. The Catalan is a rich and complex opening with a reputation for deep strategic play. It's a popular choice for players who enjoy maneuvering and long-term planning.


Due to the extensive nature of the opening, the focus of this session will be on the most interesting lines. The variations to be covered are useful for a player who wants to avoid the very main lines. They offer a comfortable opening edge for White, and many yield a straightforward advantage in endgames.


Earliest games in the Catalan reach back to the early 20th Century. Players like Paul Morphy, Andor Lilienthal, and Reuben Fine used it with success. There are even games played in the Catalan in the 1937 Alekhine vs Euwe World Championship Match. Strategic principles will be discussed, real game examples from both the more classical time periods as well as cutting-edge theory will be shown. This opening is a popular choice among some of the highest-rated players in the world and is therefore a good choice for club/tournament players. Time for analysis and discussion will be provided.


​The course is targeted at players USCF 1600+, but all are welcome. Please note this class is geared towards experienced club players. Newer chess players are encouraged to join the Introduction to Chess Class for Members.

Game Analysis Series
Dates: Thursdays, February 1-March 7, 2024 (six sessions)
Time: 5:30-6:30 pm
Location: Onsite in the Chess Annex
Cost: Members $175, Non-Members $200 (pro-rated $30/class)
Register here.

Celebrate your finest victories, and learn from heart-wrenching defeats. The key to success in chess lies in understanding our own games. How do I determine my path forward? Where did I go wrong? Why wasn't that the best move and what could I have done instead? By analyzing missteps, broadening strategic knowledge, and strengthening personal style and beneficial chess habits, we can all improve our game. Each session includes reviewing game theory, assessing participants' games, as well as improving tactics, strategies, and techniques for opening, middlegame, and endgame play. This class will take your game to the next level. Ideal for TNM and club players who want to improve their game and perhaps get a few plans in place for their next match. Students will be expected to send .pgns or bring in scoresheets to the class for analysis. This class is expertly facilitated by FIDE Master Paul Whitehead.

Endgame Lab
Dates: Thursdays, November 2-December 14 (six sessions)
Time: 5:30-6:30 pm
Location: Onsite in the Chess Annex
Cost: Members $150, Non-Members $175 (pro-rated $30/class)
Registration here.

The endgame is that part of the game separating the strong player from the weak. How many games are won or lost because basic knowledge of endgame is lacking? In this six-week course, FIDE Master Paul Whitehead will lead a discussion covering basic and intermediate endings, including reviewing the participant's knowledge of checkmates, principles, and terminology - opposition, centralization, and zugzwang. The class will discuss and review the theory and practice of king and pawn endings, rook endings, minor piece endings, queen endings, and various material imbalances. Participants will also be encouraged to bring in examples from their own games, and there will be plenty of take home material and examples for independent study. Take your game to the next level during Endgame Lab.


Testimonials about our classes:

" It was fascinating to me and a wonderful challenge. Now I have many directions to follow in my studies, and I am newly interested in the history of many of these World Champions. Paul had obviously done a great deal of research, and I can't believe how much I learned in speeding through so many games. I enjoyed both Part I and Part II very much. I've done more reading about chess and chess history than I have playing chess. " Terri C.
"I continue to be impressed by the level of service the Chess Team provide to chess players. I believe that "The Queen's Gambit" is having an impact comparable to Bobby Fischer in the '70's!" Larry S.