Originally, we called ourselves Hip-Hop Chess and worked with a group of the same name in California. Eventually, the other group became more competition-based and our mission of community unity became more clear. For us, while we love to win, we also love to have fun. Kids who are burned-out from competition often coem to our sessions to detox. Think of us as the chess whisperers.


We have grown and blossomed into a citywide partnership based at the Lamberts Point Community Center. 

Partners include: Norfolk Public Schools, Norfolk State University, Norfolk Southern Railway, Chess4Less.com, Lionel Collector's Club of America, Norva Plastics, The Susan Polgar Foundation and many small donors nationwide.


Here in Norfolk, Virginia chess is inclusive, free, fun and funky. 


It's not just about the competition, although we do have them and those events help students win scholarships, prizes and gain experience.


Our main focus is about building self-esteem, community and helping kids improve their critical thinking skills so they can do better in school and in life.

Here it is about everybody getting on board. From champions with coaches to those still figuring out which way a pawn moves, we are about getting on board together.


This is an old school community partnership between mentors, the Norfolk Public School system, Old Dominion University's Math Department and ODU Womens' Center, chess professionals, Grandmasters, a World Champion, Norfolk Police Anti-Crime Unit, Norfolk Sheriff's Department, local service organizations like the Rotary and the Carnegie Girls' Math & Science Initiative called BrainCake.






Lisa Suhay

Working journalist for The Christian Science Monitor

Children's book author

Mom of four boys.

Community activist and motivational speaker who has done a TEDx TALK on chess in the community.

She has been a working journalist for 25 years and is also the author of eight children's books including two books of life-lesson fables and an audio tape on the power of storytelling with Dr. Deepak Chopra, "Tell Me a Story."

Ms. Suhay has worked to seed chess programs, create scholarship and education opportunities for at-risk children and build community through chess. 

Order her collection of OpEds on Amazon.

NICE Co-Director

Dr. Arthur Bowman

Norfolk State University's Biology Department

Williamsburg District Co-Founder with Rev. Alton Jamison.

Dr. Bowman is a major mover and shaker in the world of STEM education.

He is oneducation committess with NASA, Norfolk Public Schools He is currently actively involved in founding a chess program at the university as well as seeding chess initiatives throughout the state with various schools and organizations.

 He is a SENCER (Science Education & New Civic Engagements for Responsability) Leadership Fellow.


Norfolk, Virginia

Williamsburg, Virginia