LFM Club

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U.S. Chess

USCF Player Ratings

USCF is the official sanctioning body for over the board tournament play in the US. With over 90,000 members, USCF offers something for every player, from beginner to Grandmaster! In addition to rating tournaments, the USCF supports and promotes chess activities throughout the US and publishes Chess Life, and Chess Life for Kids, two national magazines for members.  ...and much more.


Catonsville Chess Club
Near Baltimore.  They run regular USCF-rated tournaments.  


A great web site
for beginners! 
Chessville.com was created by and for the aspiring chess amateur.
  They are also devoted to providing instruction at a variety of levels, from explaining basic rules to the total beginner, to teaching higher-level chess theory and offering playing- and study-advice to the more advanced player.  A great site!

The Chess Cafe

A terrific web site
for serious players!

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare!"  This site can be overwhelming to beginners, but is one of the core chess sites on the Internet.  Each week, as a service to their readers, they send out an e-mail newsletter, This Week at The Chess Cafe.  Check it out if you are serious about your chess.


American Go

The national organization of go players in the US. Go is an ancient Asian board game which combines simple rules with the basic elements of line and circle, black and white, wood and stone, to create a game even older than chess.  Like chess, "go" (or "weiqui") has analogies with life which allow it to transcend being merely a game.


Area Go Links  

John Goon's link page for all those looking for local Go action .



The Chess Club
at Lakeforest Mall

(Last Update 12/09/16) 
701 Russell Avenue
Montgomery Village
in Gaithersburg, MD

The Chess Club at Lakeforest Mall.

Chess players meet in the food court,
"Cafes In the Forest"
Mon. through Fri. 6 - 8:45 PM, Sat. 12 Noon - 8:45 PM, Sun. 12 - 5:00 PM

This USCF affiliated club is the only place in Montgomery County which is both centrally located and available at no charge to everyone seven-days-a-week.  It is the largest free chess club in the state of Maryland.  Lakeforest Mall (LFM) permits us to utilize space in their food court which is located on the lower level by the "blue snowflake" mall entrance (between Sears and Lord & Taylor).  The chess club area is located next to the windows, adjacent to Central Newsstand.  Recently, the new mall management has generously supplied us with twelve chess-tables. The club's activities are sponsored by the C&O Family Chess Center and players like you.   

It's not always fun losing to a girl!  ...but it's fun watching!

Currently, the official club hours are Monday through Friday, from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and Saturday/Sunday from 12:00 noon to mall closing, but players are welcome any time during regular mall hours (the mall closes at 9:30 PM Monday through Saturday, and at 6:00 PM on Sunday).  Players may not stay after mall hours.  There are several after-hours locations nearby where chess players are welcomed.

A few chess sets may be available for inexpensive rental from the adjacent News Stand.  However, most players bring their own sets and if you have your own equipment we recommend that you bring it.  If you set up your equipment in our area at almost any time, it should not be long before an opponent arrives (or bring a friend).  Feel free to read a book, have a snack or a drink, etc., but be patient.  People do come and go all the time. 

Players of all ages and levels are welcome and play is not limited to chess.  Please understand and remember that we are primarily organized as a "family friendly" club, with children frequently in attendance.  Please remember to dress and behave appropriately at all times.  For those who are interested in supporting these activities, membership in the sponsoring parent organization is available.  See Online-Center Membership


Volunteers are often at the mall.  They may provide help, free lessons and some study materials to those who cannot afford them.  Student and adult  volunteers are welcome at the Saturday Morning Chess Club (SMCC), a C&O Family Chess Center paid club activity for beginners and intermediates (children and adults). MCPS students may receive credit for "volunteer SSL hours" at this activity.  

There is no charge to play during regular club hours, but donations to support the club are encouraged.  Used chess equipment, clocks, chess magazines, books, or other donated materials are also welcomed and appreciated.  Donations may be sent to the center or dropped of at the mall on Saturday mornings when coach Pancoast is there.  Volunteers who can attend on a regular basis and make an effort to welcome, or play with newcomers and children, are also appreciated.  Ask how you can help or see the Membership page for more information.

Saturday is a great day for chess kids! 



We are currently seeking volunteers who are willing to organize and direct club ladder or tournament competition.  Coach Omar's schedule has forced him to cease these activities at the mall.  In the past an evaluation was offered to all new members who wish to compete in the club Seasonal Chess Ladder tournaments.  The initial "provisional" club-rating was an estimate based on the evaluator's experience over thirty years of teaching and coaching.  Currently our club-rating system is based on the Chess.com "Live Chess - Standard" (Live/Standard) rating and is roughly analogous to official USCF national ratings. It allows club and scholastic members to see how they compare with the rest of the country and the world.  After about twenty "Live/Standard" games the rating becomes "established" and has been shown to have a high degree of correspondence to regular USCF ratings.  We encourage all LFM Club players to join in this effort by registering on Chess.com.

In the past, the C&O Family Chess Center has also sponsored both club-rated and USCF-rated (national) tournaments for those who want to experience this exciting aspect of chess.  An inexpensive entry fee was charged for these events, and covers the cost of prizes, tournament administration, and rating charges.  If you are a USCF certified Tournament Director, or are willing to become one, your help would be greatly appreciated to renew these activities. 

If you are interested in undertaking such challenges (or "part of...") Coach Omar will assist, and help train you.  Contact him at the center (301-963-9122), or at OPancoast3@gmail.com.   


                                       Regular players come from all over the world.  Here anyone can relax and have fun.



Free introductory inter-active on-line instruction is available to everyone through our partnership with the Chess Magnet School (CMS), Chess.com, and the free downloads on our web-site.  Inexpensive, "professional" chess lessons (for beginner and intermediate strength players) and reasonably priced, "tournament quality" chess sets, clocks, and some books, are available through coach Omar Pancoast and the C&O Family Chess Center.  See the Instruction page for details, or contact him by E-mail OPancoast3@gmail.com or at the LFM club.  

"Cafes In The Forest"

The LFM food court offers a number of choices for food and drink at reasonable prices and we hope you will patronize them.  Restaurants include Charley's Steakery (Subs, Fries), Panda Express (Chinese), McDonald's (opens for breakfast at 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM Sun.), a Pizza & Pasta place, Subway, Texas Barbeque Factory and others.  The mall has many other food sources, such as Pollo Camparo, Cinnabon, Starbucks, Silver Diner, the American Cafe, Red Robin, Chick-Fil-A, Dairy Queen, etc.  The food court is accessible for players and patrons daily from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM and Sunday from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM

For further information:
Omar Pancoast, Club Coordinator

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