Guest Instructors

One of the really exciting things we've been able to do with our online club is bring in guest instructors for special events. Sometimes these are former students who have won state or national championships, or have gone on to become masters. These events are always 100% included with a club membership! Sometimes guests teach a lesson, sometimes they answer student questions, sometimes they play games with our students, and sometimes they do all three! What other kinds of people have visited in the past nine months? 

GM Judit Polgar | Best Female Chess Player of all time

We've been lucky enough to have the legendary Judit Polgar visit our club not once, but twice to teach lesson and answer kids' questions!

Judit became the highest rated woman in the world when she was 12 years old in 1989, and she's still the highest rated woman in world! She was the youngest grandmaster ever, she was the youngest player ever to be ranked in the top 100 players in the world, and she's the only woman ever to be ranked in the top 10 in the world. She's beaten ten world champions in competitions.

Her lesson included puzzles and tactics from her games, along with walking our students through one of her best wins at one of her best tournaments. She also answered tons of questions from our students, both serious - "how do you psychologically handle losing?" and silly - "do you still have your lucky sweater?"

It turns out the lucky sweater is gone, but she does still have a lucky lion!

GM Sam Shankland | 2018 US Chess Champion

Sam visited and taught on one of his best wins, where he won against the fearsome Sicilian Dragon! Afterward, he he answered a bunch of our students' questions.

Two stars of the documentary Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle is a great documentary from 2012 about the top middle school chess team in the country, IS 318 in Brooklyn, New York. Two of the stars, Rochelle Ballantyne and Pobo Efekoro (separately) visited our club, taught lessons, and took on challengers.

The documentary is exciting, and shows a bunch of smart, engaged students balancing their passion for chess with schoolwork. It also shows in a pretty raw way the process of improving at chess. They play games, lose, get upset, work through it, and move forward.

Nadya Ortiz

WGM Nadya Ortiz 

Nadya grew up in rural Colombia where she was a chess champion, and earned a chess scholarship to the University of Texas at Brownsville (which is a chess powerhouse). When she got to Texas she didn't speak English, and she had to learn the language. She figured it out, got a masters in computer science at Purdue in 2014, and now works on machine learning and data science as an engineer.

Nadya taught a lesson with highlights from her first win against a grandmaster and then took on some of our students. She played some of the games blindfolded! 


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