• FM FunMasterMike

  • Mike can't remember life without chess. He began when he was four and won his first national title when he was eight. He also won the first-ever National Bughouse Championship for middle school children. At 16, he became the youngest chess master in North Carolina history, and after college he began a career teaching chess. His students have won multiple national championships themselves, and Mike is now bringing his lessons to ChessKid.
  • IM Daniel Rensch

  • Daniel learned to play chess at the age of 10. With the help of his grandpa, brothers, and close friends -- a chess team was started at the Shelby School (a local private school). Danny went on to compete with the Shelby School chess team for many years, and as a group they won 11 National Scholastic Chess Championships and over 25 Arizona State Championship titles. He is now an International Master and a full time Chess Coach. Danny still regularly competes in high level chess tournaments around the world.
  • David Petty

  • David learned how to play chess with his brother while on vacation at the tender age of 6. David and his brother didn't always move pawns correctly, but they sure had fun! When school started, David signed up for chess classes and the fun continued. David played in many local chess tournaments and made lots of friends through chess. While in college, David rediscovered the game, and began teaching scholastic chess. David loved teaching so much, that even after graduation, he continues teaching chess to kids every day.
  • GM Alex Yermolinsky

  • Yermolinsky won the U.S. Chess Championship, tying for first place with Alexander Shabalov. In 1996 he was the sole champion after a tie-breaker. He was a three-time winner of the World Open: 1993, 1995 and 1996 (in 1999 he was equal first with other nine players, but Gregory Serper won the playoff). In 2001 he won the American Continental Championship. Alex, better known to the chess community as "Yermo" is also a great chess coach, and has tutored many of America's strongest chess players.
  • NM Bruce Pandolfini

  • National Master Bruce Pandolfini became one of America's first full-time chess teachers after he co-hosted the television broadcast for the Bobby Fischer-Boris Spassky World Championship Match in 1972. Since then, he has written more than 40 chess books and has been a columnist for Chess Life since 1977. He has taught Josh Waitzkin, the boy featured in the film Searching for Bobby Fischer, and Fabiano Caruana, now one of the top-five players in the world. In 2012 he was named the Chess Educator of the Year from the University of Texas at Dallas. He is probably the most famous chess coach in America!
  • GM Bryan Smith

  • Bryan grew up in Anchorage, Alaska, and learned how to play chess at the age of thirteen, when another kid on the school bus taught him how to play. His first game had to be "adjourned" however, when the bus hit a particularly large bump in the road, sending the chess pieces flying! Soon after he began competing in tournaments. Although there were not many tournaments in Alaska, he loved the game and studied it from books. When Bryan went to college in Baltimore he was able to play more frequently. He is now a grandmaster who plays in tournaments around the world, in addition to teaching chess.
  • FM Carissa Yip

  • At just 12 years of age, Carissa Yip has quickly become one of the top US female players. Known for her creativity over the board, she qualified to play the US Women's championship in 2016. Carissa has been on a record-shattering pace ever since she learned how to play the game from her father at age six and a half. At age 9, she became the youngest female to reach the title of Expert. She broke the record for youngest female player to beat a Grandmaster in a classical tournament at age 10. She broke the record for being the youngest female to achieve the title of National Master at age 11. In 2013, she tied for second and got 4th place after tie-breaks in the World youth chess championship. In 2015, she tied for first, and got the Silver medal after tie-breaks. Since 2015, she started coaching an after-school chess program and writing articles for
  • Ranae Bartlett

  • Ranae Bartlett is an attorney and school board member for Madison City Schools in Alabama. She is a chess coach for Rainbow Elementary and assists all schools in Madison in developing their chess programs during and after school. Educators are realizing that teaching kids how to play chess is a way to help them develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, while having a lot of fun! In 2013, she founded the Madison City Chess League (MCCL) which conducts tournaments, summer camps, girls chess nights, and free chess nights at the YMCA.
  • IM David Pruess

  • At the age of twelve, David was lucky to be brought by his mom to a session of the Berkeley Chess School's Friday night kid's chess club. There he met Master Robert Haines, who showed him that chess was full of deep strategies and cool tactics. He also showed David a thing or two about teaching. Seventeen years later, David is still in love with the game, and with teaching.
  • Jessica Prescott

  • Mrs Jessica Era Prescott (nee Martin) has taught chess for a super long time and has played for even longer. Although, she doesn't play much of anything now, except maybe Patty-Cake, because she is a new mom. She still sends her students off to States and Nationals and coaches tons of kids at every tournament. Mrs Prescott hopes you read her articles and learn how to crush your opponents from them. And maybe wow your parents with some sophisticated vocabulary, too.
  • Claudia Munoz

  • Claudia Muñoz is 15 years old and is currently rated 2029 in the USCF July 2013 Rating List. She is ranked amongst the top in the nation for Girls U-16. She was awarded the FIDE title of Woman Candidate Master when she was 9-years old for winning the gold medal for the United States (undefeated) in the 2007 North American Youth Championship in Mexico. She has participated in 3-Pan American Youth Championships (Argentina, Colombia and Peru) as well as the 2010 World Youth Chess Championship in Greece. Currently she is the 2nd highest Hispanic American woman in the United States.
  • Christina Schweiss

  • Christina Schweiss, a member of the Board of Directors for the Virginia Scholastic Chess Association, is the founder and director of the Hampton Roads Scholastic Chess Club in Virginia Beach. She is also the head of the chess program at Grace Academy Homeschool Cooperative. Christina is a USCF certified Local Tournament Director and has directed at tournaments from local to national levels. She developed a passion for chess after her son, now age 17 and Virginia State Amateur Champion, began playing a decade ago.
  • Thomas Lucker

  • Coach Lucker is the chess coach at Aldine Middle School and also serves as the district chess coordinator for Aldine ISD in Houston, TX. Mr. Lucker started a chess team six years ago at his middle school where he serves as an instructional technology specialist. He brings the unique perspective of a person who was a non-player six years ago and how he was able to start, grow and eventually find success with his scholastic chess program.
  • Paul Swaney

  • Paul Swaney has taught scholastic chess for over 10 years in Ohio, Virginia, and DC. Teaching chess inspired Paul to change his majors during his college years to pursue Early Childhood Education. This experience has strengthened his chess classes by learning the stages of development in children and how young minds learn and process information. Paul received the Virginia Coach of the Year Award for K-3 and K-5 during the years 2011, 2013, and 2014.
  • FM Alisa Melekhina

  • Alisa's father taught her how to play chess when she was five, and she played in her first tournament when she was seven. Two years later, Alisa was already representing the US in world youth championships. She has since competed all over the world, including Argentina, Ecuador, Spain, Greece, Georgia, Turkey, China, Poland, France, and Switzerland, frequently placing in the top 10. Alisa won the gold medal for her performance in the 2009 Women's World Team Championships in Ningbo, China. Alisa is currently a FIDE master with one International Master Norm. She still competes regularly, and has participated in the US Women's Chess Championships in St. Louis seven times.
  • WIM Alexey Root

  • When she was five years old, Alexey's Dad taught her some of the rules to chess. By the time she was nine, she was already beating her Dad. So Alexey's Dad took her to the Lincoln (NE) chess club. There she learned rules of chess she had never heard of, like En Passant. In 1976, Alexey became the Nebraska Elementary Co-Champion and played in the first-ever National Elementary Championship. After her family moved to WA state, Alexey won the Northwest Junior and started teaching chess. Alexey is most known for winning the U.S. Women's Championship (in 1989) and for writing seven chess books including Thinking With Chess: Teaching Children Ages 5-14 & Prepare With Chess Strategy.
  • FM Todd Andrews

  • Todd is a chess teacher in Nashville, TN where he is currently the Director of Operations and Scholastic Chess at the Nashville Chess Center. At age 16, he attained the rank of National Master and was sent to Europe as a member of the US Olympic Youth team. At age 18, Todd attained the international title of FIDE Master and was invited to participate in the United States Junior Championship. He was ranked number one in the country for 17-18 year olds during that time. Todd currently holds the title of Tennessee State Champion, which he has achieved 8 times. He was also Georgia State Champion when residing there in 2004.
  • Jerry Nash

  • Jerry Nash has worked for more than 15 years to introduce chess to the classroom. After helping to start the scholastic chess program in Lake Charles, Louisiana, in 1996, Nash became Scholastic Director at the United States Chess Federation in 2005. Currently the National Education Consultant to US Chess, his work also includes overseeing the Tournament Director Certification program and coordinating FIDE youth events. In addition, he serves as a consultant to individuals and organizations across the US to introduce and expand chess in communities.
  • Rob Lazorchak

  • Rob Lazorchak is a Class A player and USCF Certified Advanced Chess Coach. Over the last six years he has combined his love of chess and teaching, and has taught chess to thousands of children throughout the Washington, D.C area and New York City. He has a Masters in Teaching from American University, and currently teaches chess as a subject at a leading charter school in Manhattan.
  • Mike Amori

  • Mike is a USCF rated Expert who has been teaching chess professionally since 1992. He is the co-founder of the Westchester Chess Academy, a chess training program based in Harrison, NY. The driving force behind his work is the belief that chess is an incredibly flexible teaching tool which can be taught to a broad spectrum of students. Mike divides his time between teaching curricular chess programs and training local scholastic tournament players.
  • ExpertAbrahams

  • Steve Abrahams has been teaching chess professionally for more than 8 years. He has taught over 5,000 students in Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Massachusetts, DC, Virginia, Maryland, and Florida. As a coach, Steve's students have won national, state and many local championships. He holds the title of USCF Expert with a peak rating of 2040. Steve is currently a full-time chess teacher in South Florida at Franklin Academy for more than 1300 students.
  • LauraAndDanSherman

  • Laura Sherman, also known as “Laura, the Friendly Ghostwriter,” is a professional ghostwriter, author and mother of three children. Bill Kilpatrick, a serial entrepreneur specializing in advanced educational techniques, is a father to four children. Together, they authored Chess Is Child’s Play, a book geared to teaching parents how to introduce the game of kings and queens to their children. Laura and Bill are now co-authoring regular articles for!
  • Ashley Tapp

  • Ashley is from Vancouver, BC Canada and has played chess since age 8. There are few girls playing in Vancouver, so she set out to campaign to bring more girls to chess. Known internationally as "Ashley Chess Girl," she often uses social media to bring attention to the game. In 2013, Ashley incorporated the first girls' chess foundation in Canada, the BC Girls Chess Foundation. She has competed in two World Youth Chess Championships in Maribor, Slovenia (2012) and Al Ain, Dubai (2013). Ashley's first US tournament in the Summer 2015 earned her a rating of 1811. Ashley hopes to continue her studies and plans to run an all-girls chess camp in LA.
  • FM Kostya Kavutskiy

  • Kostya Kavutskiy is a professional chess author, journalist, coach, commentator and player. Kostya has written a number of articles for Chess Life magazine and Chess Life Online, and is currently an instructor for Chess University. Kostya's tournament accomplishments include winning the 2014 Southern California Closed Championship, as well as achieving two IM norms. He plans to complete his IM title and then pursue the GM title.