Bravo Zulu Chess Academy (BZCA) grew out of the increasing demands of students at Elsie Whitlow Stokes Community Freedom Public Charter School in Washington, DC to train and compete at the highest possible levels. Bravo Zulu Chess began as a fledgling chess club that would meet occasionally to play chess with a handful of students who had expressed interest in the game at that time.
Beginning in the 2013-2014 academic school year, the E.W. Stokes chess program began to forge an identity and reputation in the Greater Washington, DC area as the preeminent destination for competitive chess players. The team began playing in rated chess tournaments in DC, and Maryland. The first students to obtain United States Chess Federation memberships were:
Satiya Ewing-Boyd, Marlon Debose, Jaden Dunning, Jamir Graves, Abdi Deleon, Isaiah Dziketey, William Carter, III, and Maximillian Biscarr.
In the 2013-2014 academic year, the Stokes Chess team tied for first in the Bum Rush the Boards Hip-Hop Chess Tournament, placed first in the CHOP Black History Chess Tournament, placed first in the 6th annual G. Kasparov Scholastic Chess Tournament, placed first in the open and select sections of the Chess Challenge in DC (CCDC) Winter Tournament, placed first in the CCDC city championship, and placed first in the 30th annual DC Schools chess championships.
Making the transition from the Stokes Chess Club to the Bravo Zulu Chess Academy was the next organic step in the process of building a program which includes students from various schools in and around the Washington DC area. In the 2014-2015 academic school year, BZCA placed 1st, 2nd, & 3rd in the Bum Rush the Boards Hip-Hop Chess Tournament, 3rd in the Harvest Day Tournament, 4th in the U.S. National Championship (Blitz), 1st & 3rd in the 7th Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, 1st, 2nd, & 3rd in the Black History Chess Tournament, 1st & 2nd in the CCDC City-Wide Championship, 1st & 2nd (Elementary) and 1st & 3rd (Middle and High), in the MECA Chess Bowl Championship, and 1st and 3rd in the DC City Schools City Championship. Since 2014, BZCA has won more than 250 local, state, regional, and national championship tournaments.