Instructors

  • Meet the Kid Chess Team

  • We are a child centered program with highly qualified and experienced chess coaches. Our unique staffing approach utilizes the talents of both tournament chess players and educators.

  • Each of our coaches pass in-depth background checks and are trained to make chess fun! Meet the Kid Chess® team below.

    • Justin Morrison
      Founder

      Justin Morrison

      Founder

      Justin is the founder and owner of Kid Chess. He started playing chess in high school and has over four decades of experience. He was the 3-time Georgia High School Champion from 1976 through 1978, High School Champion of Southeastern United States in 1976, and Georgia Junior Champion in 1978. He is a current USCF-rated Expert, a certified USCF tournament director beginning in 1977, and has taught chess since 1976.

       

    • Kristi Morrison
      Instructor / Coach

      Kristi Morrison

      Instructor / Coach

      Kristi received an Elementary Education Certification from Kennesaw State College after graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in Psychology. Before working for Kid Chess, Kristi taught 1st and 2nd grades for 10 years in Fulton County, Georgia. Kristi first learned how to play chess in a chess class taught at her elementary school in Michigan. Kristi loves being a part of the Kid Chess team because it allows her to continue to teach. Kristi is a co-owner of Kid Chess with her husband, Kid Chess founder Justin Morrison. Kristi and Justin have a son and she has spent the last several years raising him. Kristi enjoys spending time with her family, practicing yoga, exercising, and reading.

    • Ratana Landry
      Instructor / Coach

      Ratana Landry

      Instructor / Coach

      (Shown here on the right) Ratana joined the Kid Chess team as Director of Operations in June of 2004. Ratana has been a casual chess player since her college days, and “hopes some of the chess talent currently surrounding her rubs off”. She is a graduate of the University of Southwestern Louisiana where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She has an extensive background in Private Investigations having owned her own business in Louisiana. Ratana met our founder Justin Morrison when she first moved to Georgia in 1995 and has had the pleasure to work with him at various times over the last 20 years. When not engaged in the many facets of managing the Kid Chess operations, Ratana is likely out riding her Harley Davidson (fondly known as “Doux”) or enjoying the outdoors camping with family, friends, and her “four-legged” kids Nick, Chloe, and Chee Chee (the infamous Chocolate Chihuahua and his two “feline” sisters).

    • Bella Belegradek
      Instructor / Coach

      Bella Belegradek

      Instructor / Coach

      Bella has been playing chess for almost thirty years. She was a seasoned tournament player in Russia, where she acquired the title of Woman Chess Master’s Candidate at age 16. She earned Master’s degrees in Math and Computer Science, the latter from the University of Maryland. She was the university’s chess champion in 1994-95 and was a member of their chess team when they won two Pan-American Intercollegiate Championships. Bella started teaching chess while in elementary school and joined Kid Chess in 2005. In her spare time she enjoys photography, traveling, hiking, knitting and knitwear design.

    • Ben Vinyard
      Instructor / Coach

      Ben Vinyard

      Instructor / Coach

      Ben has been a Kid Chess instructor since 2004. He learned to play as a child when his cousin taught him the basics of the game, and started playing seriously as an adult. He attended Southeast Missouri State University and majored in Communications. His occupational experience involves years working in the film and television industry, including a position as the studio producer for the Kansas City Royals, as well as freelance assignments with ESPN, CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS and Entertainment Tonight. Ben is a certified tournament director and, since joining Kid Chess, has become an active tournament player, at one point gaining 150 ratings points in the span of a single year. He has coached several Kid Chess teams that have qualified for the State Team Championship.

    • Gerald Stafford
      Instructor / Coach

      Gerald Stafford

      Instructor / Coach

      Gerald joined Kid Chess in 2006. He majored in elementary education, and has worked with children in different capacities including youth minister, activities director, camp director, physical education teacher, and sports coach. Gerald’s aspiration is to teach children life skills and values through fun and innovative games. A father of three daughters, he encourages all children as if they were his own. Gerald brings an exuberant amount of energy to every class and interacts with the children in a relatable way. He aspires to be a role model and to show caring and a positive character at all times.

    • Joey Weigel
      Instructor / Coach

      Joey Weigel

      Instructor / Coach

      Joey was taught how to play chess by his father when he was very young. He became absorbed in the game and began to independently read chess books in an attempt to better his skills. Joey attended Justin Morrison’s very first chess camp (based out of Justin’s home!) and won the outstanding player trophy. Joey earned a music scholarship to Kennesaw State University and then joined Kid Chess in 2006. In addition to being a Kid Chess coach, he is a musician and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor and competitor.

    • John Austin
      Instructor / Coach

      John Austin

      Instructor / Coach

      John was born in Memphis, but grew up in Atlanta. He learned to play chess at the age of twelve. In 1955 he enlisted in the Army. After his discharge he earned a BBA degree from Georgia State University and became a CPA, working with Price, Waterhouse & Co. He was president of the Atlanta Chess Club between 1961 and 1964. Under his leadership, the club affiliated with the USCF, a move that ended segregated chess tournaments in Georgia. In 1974 he went to work at what is now Bank of America as their chief internal auditor. His roles as president of a commercial bank in suburban Philadelphia, a thrift bank in Virginia, and a mortgage bank in North Carolina culminated his successful career in the banking industry. In 1993, John suffered a heart attack. The doctors gave him six months to live. He decided to devote that time to chess, and in 1995 he turned in his best ever tournament result. He tied for the Georgia State Chess Championship with a performance rating of 2243. Still active in tournament chess, he ranks among the highest rated players in Georgia. He likes Baroque music, studying languages, and most of all, sharing his love of chess with children.

    • Laura Parker
      Instructor / Coach

      Laura Parker

      Instructor / Coach

      Laura was raised in Scotland and England before moving to the Atlanta area in 1978. She attended Auburn University where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Education and then graduated with her Masters Degree in Education from Kennesaw State University. She taught fourth and fifth grades in the Cobb County School District for 26 years and enjoys continuing to work with children through Kid Chess. Her earliest chess memory is playing with her grandfather, and she now enjoys playing with her son. Laura enjoys reading, walking, and camping with her family.

    • Wendy Rones
      Instructor / Coach

      Wendy Rones

      Instructor / Coach

      Wendy is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. She attended Louisiana State University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education. She taught first grade for twelve years and working with children has always been her passion. She lives in Marietta with her husband and three sons. Wendy enjoys hiking, theater, movies, travel and spending time with her family. She loves teaching chess and seeing her students grow and flourish from all of the wonderful benefits chess provides.

    • Aaron Pratt
      Instructor / Coach

      Aaron Pratt

      Instructor / Coach

      A native Georgian, Aaron is a graduate of Creekview High School and earned his associate degree in psychology from the University of North Georgia. He is currently pursuing a BBA in Finance. Aaron’s prior work experience has involved philanthropic projects through his church and the restaurant business. Aaron’s grandfather taught him to play chess at a very young age. He still enjoys the challenge of the game and likes to see the look on someone’s face after overcoming an obstacle.  In his spare time, Aaron enjoys hiking and he is a self-confessed huge Star Wars fan.

    • Akiva Blaut
      Instructor / Coach

      Akiva Blaut

      Instructor / Coach

      Following graduation from The Weber School, Akiva earned an associate degree in psychology from Georgia Perimeter College. He is now pursuing a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Georgia State University. His prior work experience includes being a teacher’s assistant, teaching a Microsoft Excel class, and tutoring students in math and science. Akiva’s family lives in Atlanta, Seattle, and he has two sisters who live in Israel. As a child, he was taught to play chess by his mother and plays weekly with the chess club at Georgia State. Akiva finds the game is not only a great mental exercise but also a terrific way to meet people and get to know them. Chess is only one of the many games he enjoys. Akiva also plays video games and many board other games, especially those that make you think. He also likes to draw and write.  

    • Al Horton
      Instructor / Coach

      Al Horton

      Instructor / Coach

      Chess came into Al’s life at a fairly young age; however, he did not take the game seriously until his science teacher asked him to play on the school chess team at Boys High School (now Boys and Girls High School) in Brooklyn, New York.  With his guidance and coaching, Al eventually lead the team as captain for two years.  Al joined the Kingsmen Chess Club and rose to junior champion in local tournaments.  He participated at both local and national levels including three World Open tournaments, and, as a member of the Armed Services Chess Team, he represented the Marine Corps during the Sea Services Chess Tournament. Al is currently rated as an “A”player and a member of the United States Chess Federation.   He has been a chess teacher for several years and enjoys sharing his experience with children of all ages.

    • Grandmaster Alonso Zapata
      Instructor / Coach

      Grandmaster Alonso Zapata

      Instructor / Coach

      Alonso is a Grand Master and FIDE Senior Trainer (currently one of only 52 people with that designation). He is a published chess author with extensive expertise as a presenter at conferences, lectures, and FIDE seminars. Alonso has trained many top players and was both the trainer and captain of several teams at Chess Olympiads. He obtained second place in the World Junior Chess Championship in Innsbruck, Austria in 1977 and has been ranked as one of the 50 best players worldwide numerous times since. He competed in several cycles for the World Chess Championship and competed 12 times at the World Chess Olympiad. He has been the Colombian National Champion 8 times.

    • Anthony Morse
      Instructor / Coach

      Anthony Morse

      Instructor / Coach

      Anthony has played chess since the age of 4 and is a 1700 rated tournament player.  He earned is BA in Linguistics from Georgia State University, and studied abroad in Korea at Hanyang University.  Anthony holds a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) Certificate and has taught for several years.  His interests include languages, chess and other games, exercise, and travel.

    • Barbara Cramer
      Instructor / Coach

      Barbara Cramer

      Instructor / Coach

      Barbara was born to a U.S. Foreign Service Officer family, and experienced various cultures during her childhood. After nine years living in Madrid, Spain, she completed high school and joined her parents in Alexandria, VA. She studied at the Peabody Conservatory in Maryland and then enrolled at Georgetown University, receiving a B.S. in International Affairs. After getting married, she moved to Georgia, where she had a daughter. Homemaking and homeschooling kept Barbara busy until her daughter turned fifteen. At that point, Barbara enrolled at Kennesaw State University and earned a B.A. in English, with a minor in Music, and an M.A. in Professional Writing. Chess intersected her life at various points. She was taught the basics by a friend, and after her daughter learned the game, she began to play consistently. She played chess on her laptop and also read books to improve her skills. At KSU she played with classmates. She is excited to have found a company that not only promotes chess, but introduces and teaches it to youngsters. She enjoys working with children; teaching them to think and have fun at the same time.

    • Bennett Marquis
      Instructor / Coach

      Bennett Marquis

      Instructor / Coach

      Originally from Wisconsin, Bennett completed the American Council of Exercise(ACE) personal training program at KSU and is now studying Human Resources Management. Bennett’s work experience includes being a DJ, a personal training consultant, an actor, and a sales representative. He enjoys working with children as he finds it inspiring to watch them develop critical and consequential thinking while providing the opportunity to be a positive influence. Bennett learned the basics of chess as a child and his interest in playing increased as a teenager. He plays with family and friends and has a 1500 plus rating on Chess.com. Bennett’s hobbies include weight-lifting, Aikido, traveling, West-Coast Swing dancing, cello, and golf.

    • Bill Dickman
      Instructor / Coacn

      Bill Dickman

      Instructor / Coacn

      Bill has been married to his wife for over 50 years and has two adult children. He is originally from Fremont, Ohio and earned at BS in Commerce & Finance from Tiffin University. He started playing chess in high school and plays on line. In his spare time he enjoys music, writing, reading, sports, and politics. He believes that chess is a lifetime challenge that provides growth in the mind and relationships. As a retiree from Owens-Illinois, Inc. after 28 years in sales and marketing, Bill strives to be mildly outrageous each day!

    • Bill Grossman
      Instructor / Coach

      Bill Grossman

      Instructor / Coach

      Bill has been playing chess for over 50 years. He grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and learned to play chess in the fourth grade. He was very active with the chess clubs in junior high and high school. After graduation, he volunteered for the U.S. Army and was an instructor at the U.S. Army Infantry School in Ft. Benning, GA before serving as an infantry squad leader with the First Calvary Division in Vietnam. After three combat decorations and an honorable discharge, Bill entered the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. During college he took a part time job teaching chess at a local community center where he could instill his love of the game to elementary age children. After graduating with a B. S. in Psychology, he married his college sweetheart and moved to Dunwoody in 1978. Later that year, Bill started a company which provided services to the Theatrical Film distribution industry. In 2006 he sold his business and became more active in the Dunwoody community, where he serves as a Planning Commissioner and sits on other city boards and committees. Bill loves teaching chess to children and firmly believes that the skills taught in chess contribute to the concentration and analytical skills the kids will need to be successful in school.

    • Bill Noyes
      Instructor / Coach

      Bill Noyes

      Instructor / Coach

      Bill Noyes has been playing chess since 1972 and started working with Kid Chess in 1998, when he created the company’s first web site. Originally a MVS and OS/390 mainframe systems programmer, Bill is the Information Technology specialist for Kid Chess, and brings over two decades worth of professional data processing experience, standards, and procedures to his work with us. He is a former newsletter editor and Vice-President of the Georgia Chess Association, as well as former Secretary and President of the Decatur Chess Club. Bill was webmaster to the Georgia Chess Association’s Website GeorgiaChess.org, which under his administration was named Best State Chess Website in 2004, 2005, and 2006 by the Chess Journalists of America. Bill is also a classical pianist, playing the works of composers such as Beethoven, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Chopin, Liszt, Grieg, Brahms, Rachmaninoff, Debussy, and Franck.

    • Blake Zimbardi
      Instructor / Coach

      Blake Zimbardi

      Instructor / Coach

      Originally from Grayson, Georgia, Blake began playing chess in elementary school. He enjoys the game as it utilizes strategic and critical thinking; skills he believes to be important to teach to children. Blake enjoys playing chess with friends.  A graduate of Mill Creek High School, Blake is a civil engineering major.  His work experience includes the restaurant field and his hobbies include weight lifting and hiking.

    • Brian Meyer
      Instructor / Coach

      Brian Meyer

      Instructor / Coach

      Brian is a graduate of Milton High School currently enrolled at Georgia Perimeter College. His work experience includes retail sales, singing professionally, and working with children at Fulton County Schools and Gymboree Play and Music. Brian likes teaching chess because children’s personalities and natural exuberance make it fun and rewarding. Brian plays chess online but prefers a face to face opponent. He also enjoys the challenge of daily chess tactics problems. In his spare time, Brian enjoys spending time with his family, especially his nephews, and is pursuing his next belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

    • Chase Nixon
      Instructor / Coach

      Chase Nixon

      Instructor / Coach

      Chase started playing chess in elementary school. He was taught by his father and learned more about the game by participating in the Kid Chess program while in elementary school. Chase graduated from Kennesaw State University with a BS in Communications: Journalism, a film minor, and a music and entertainment business certificate. He is an active musician and taught music to kids of all ages both privately and at Camp Jam. Chase’s creativity is demonstrated through his music, writing, and filmmaking. He is always working on a project, learning new material, and striving to be the best person he can be. Chase loves helping kids learn new things and giving them the courage to succeed at what they want in life. Chase continues to play chess and reads books to better his game. He also enjoys spending time with his family and friends.

    • Cheri Drake
      Instructor / Coach

      Cheri Drake

      Instructor / Coach

      Cheri first learned to play chess in an after-school 5th Grade program while living in Michigan. “It was fun”, she says, “I loved it!” She then moved with her family to Roswell, GA and after high school, attended the University of Georgia where the second person she met was her future brother-in-law and Kid Chess Founder, Justin Morrison. After graduating with a degree in Speech Communication, Cheri worked as an on-air radio announcer and was the Assistant Production Director for Cox Media Group in Athens, GA. Cheri’s chess experience largely comes from playing with her son while he was growing up. For Cheri, the fun in chess comes from teaching the game and watching others grow as chess players.

    • Cheryl Jackson
      Instructor / Coach

      Cheryl Jackson

      Instructor / Coach

      Cheryl graduated with a B.A. from Villanova. She then earned her M.Ed. in Special Education at Antioch and taught high school and middle school in both Philadelphia and Las Vegas. She relocated to Atlanta in 2014 and began playing chess several times a week with a group of retirees. Cheryl loves sharing her passion for chess and seeing young people happy and engaged in their games. She also enjoys baking cheesecakes, cookies, and pies. A keen gardener, Cheryl likes to shop for pretty flowerpots to use for begonias, peace lilies, roses, and clippings.

    • Chevis Reed
      Instructor / Coach

      Chevis Reed

      Instructor / Coach

      Chevis is originally from Columbus, Ohio. He is pursuing a degree in spiritual studies and hypnotherapy from Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. His prior work experience includes being a teacher’s assistant, a summer camp and after school program counselor, and a youth and young adult life coach. Chevis’s dad taught him to play chess when he was 8, and he continues to play both online and with friends. He is an avid reader particularly about the topic of human psychology and sociology. Chevis enjoys chess as it allows him to learn about himself and provides opportunities to think and plan. His goal is to help build schools around the world that will inspire and instruct the next generation on healthy and prosperous living. He is married with one daughter.

    • Clay Johnson
      Instructor / Coach

      Clay Johnson

      Instructor / Coach

      Clay received a BS in Telecommunications and Theatre from Lee University and possesses a background in customer service, processing, and theater. He is originally from Greenbrier, Arkansas and his family still lives there. Clay started playing chess when he was eight and enjoys its puzzle and mental challenge. He enjoys teaching children how to play as he finds them imaginative and excited to learn. Clay is an actor and previously traveled the country doing sketch theatre for five years. In fact, he has been to every state except Alaska! Clay is also interested in directing, voice acting, and podcasting.

    • Clinton Hasan
      Instructor / Coach

      Clinton Hasan

      Instructor / Coach

      Clinton is originally from California. He attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and worked in the insurance and banking fields. Clinton has one daughter, Clintel. He has played chess for over 20 years, predominantly online with players all around the world. He finds chess calming and likes that it requires a player to be patient and problem solve. Clinton also enjoys cooking, jazz, hiking, and fishing.

    • Dan Woodard
      Instructor / Coach

      Dan Woodard

      Instructor / Coach

      Dan joined Kid Chess in 2009 after working as an attorney and IT professional. Dan is currently the president of Quantum Leap Solutions, a management and leadership consulting firm. He has experience working with young adults in the mentoring program, Rising Star. Dan learned chess from his grandfather at the age of seven and played chess competitively for his high school and college chess clubs. He believes that learning chess is one of the best ways to teach young people how to think internally and to plan ahead, both essential skills in today’s world. He has a B.S. from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. and a J.D. from Cumberland School of Law in Birmingham, Alabama.

    • Daniel Ledoux
      Instructor / Coach

      Daniel Ledoux

      Instructor / Coach

      Daniel attended Florida Atlantic University, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Health Promotion. He attained his education certificate and taught kindergarten through 6th grade, specializing in science. He is a tournament chess player. When not teaching or playing chess, Daniel enjoys spending time with his family, writes lyrics for music, and plays sports.

    • David Barfield
      Instructor / Coach

      David Barfield

      Instructor / Coach

      David work ethic originated when he opened his own newspaper delivery service at the age of 14. Later, he worked for AT&T (Southern Bell, BellSouth) and also trained in art and drafting at DeKalb College. While working for AT&T, he opened a part-time photography business. This became a full time endeavor after retiring in 2006. He enjoys working with children as a professional photographer, Sunday school teacher, and chess instructor.

    • David Mbonu
      Instructor / Coach

      David Mbonu

      Instructor / Coach

      David first learned to play chess when he was 6 years old. He quickly developed a love for the game and in 2nd grade won his first school tournament 12-0. He rose to be the top ranked chess player in his elementary school, began competing in numerous tournaments, and playing online. He placed top 5 every year in the Middle School Grade Level Championships. Upon entering high school David was invited to the Georgia Junior Invitational/High School Championship multiple times, placing 2nd in 2012. David enjoys working with children, and in his senior year was invited to give a lecture to 8th graders about STEM education. David is expert strength with a USCF rating of 1981 and actively competing while attending Georgia Tech for Electrical Engineering. David is the brother of Matthew Mbonu, fellow Kid Chess employee.

    • David Swanston
      Instructor / Coach

      David Swanston

      Instructor / Coach

      David was taught chess in 5th grade by his mother. He attended high school in Sandy Springs, GA, then moved to Oregon and lived there for twenty years, before returning to Georgia. He has a Masters of Education and a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, both from the University of Oregon. He taught high school English and math for ten years, and was the chess coach at the high school for eight of those years. He was also the sports announcer for the basketball, football and volleyball teams. In his spare time he enjoys playing guitar and ukulele for his aging parents.

    • Deborah Ifill
      Instructor / Coach

      Deborah Ifill

      Instructor / Coach

      Deborah is originally from New York. She graduated from Queens College with a degree in psychology and went on to earn her Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University. She was a psychotherapist/counselor and then transitioned into wellness training management. Upon retirement, she and her husband moved from New Jersey to Alpharetta and are enjoying the change in climate! They have one daughter who lives New York. Deborah enjoys playing chess with her husband, family, and friends. The challenge provided by her husband, Kid Chess coach Ken Ifill, strengthened her game. Deborah worked with children during her master’s program and enjoys volunteering in an elementary school after school program. She also volunteers at her church providing hot lunches for the homeless and other needy people in the community. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, entertaining, watching old movies, and playing competitive games with friends. She and Ken love to travel. They have ventured all over the world including China and especially love cruising with family and friends.

    • Dionne Eargle
      Instructor / Coach

      Dionne Eargle

      Instructor / Coach

      Dionne received her undergraduate degree from Kean University in NJ and her Masters Degree in Management from Southern Polytechnic University in Marietta. After 14 years at AT&T, she received her Child Development Associate (CDA) Credential in the field of early childhood learning. She became the director of an early learning center and while there she taught two classes: American Sign Language and “Confident Kids, a life skills curriculum. Dionne also worked for Georgia Public Broadcasting and as a teacher for Primrose Schools in Dunwoody. Dionne is a certified Laughter Yoga Leader – a health movement in which anyone can learn to laugh for no reason without the use of humor. Dionne insisted her sons learn to play chess but thought it was too complicated for her to learn as an adult. However, she did become a skilled player, becoming an example of the saying “life is for learning”. She considers herself as a casual player. Dionne donates to the Red Cross up to 6 times a year. In her spare time, she plays chess with her husband. Her favorite quote is: If the student hasn’t learned, the teacher hasn’t taught.

    • Donna Phillips
      Instructor / Coach

      Donna Phillips

      Instructor / Coach

      Donna is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. Her professional background is with IBM in a marketing and sales capacity. She enjoys playing classical piano, volunteering for community projects, caring for the elderly, and playing chess with friends and family. She believes in Kid Chess because of the leadership, analytical skills, and friendships that develop as the children learn to play.

    • Ed Felts
      Instructor / Coach

      Ed Felts

      Instructor / Coach

      Ed is a class A USCF rated player who was introduced at a very early age to the game of chess. His older brother explained how the pieces moved and he won the first game he ever played. He then went on to play his first tournament in Mississippi Junior Championship and won as well. Ed is a retired engineer who is enjoying his grandchildren along with his wife. Ed continued to pursue his love of the game when he joined the Kid Chess team in 2009. He now shares his passion for chess with many young students, encouraging them to develop their own skills and grow.

    • Eugene Motz
      Instructor / Coach

      Eugene Motz

      Instructor / Coach

      Eugene was born in Arad, Romania in 1957. He immigrated to the United States in 1978 where he attended Los Angeles City College and UCLA. He began to play chess when he was 13 and is a Class A chess player. Eugene is also an artist who works in many mediums, including paint, collage, printmaking, and glass. His pieces are mainly in an abstract style.

    • Fred Judson
      Instructor / Coach

      Fred Judson

      Instructor / Coach

      Fred began playing at chess in Milford, Connecticut. He initiated his chess career by reading Capablanca’s “A Primer of Chess” and Reuben Fine’s “Chess the Easy Way” and was recognized as “All Campus Champion” at the University of Connecticut. He graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Bridgeport Engineering Institute, now part of Fairfield University. His accomplishments include two time Club “Blitz Champion”, holding Grandmaster Pal Benko to a draw in a simul, defeating a Master at the Connecticut Blitz Championship, and sharing 1st place with a blind player at the 1990 Hartford Open. Fred has over thirty years of experience as a chess instructor and is a registered Chess Coach with the United States Chess Federation. Fred started working for Kid Chess in 2002.

    • Herman Jones
      Instructor / Coach

      Herman Jones

      Instructor / Coach

      Herman Jones is a Sprayberry High School graduate with work experience in the fields of customer service, music production, and childcare. He began playing chess when he was 8 years old and likes to play with friends and online. Teaching children to play chess allows Herman to help them take each concept to the next level where there is always something new to discover. His hobbies include playing basketball, soccer, piano, trombone, singing, and songwriting. Herman has perfect pitch and auditioned twice for NBC’s The Voice.

    • Ingrid Payton
      Instructor / Coach

      Ingrid Payton

      Instructor / Coach

      Ingrid was born and raised in Battle Creek, Michigan where she and her husband raised their two sons. She earned a Bachelor Degree in Management and Organizational Development from Spring Arbor University in Michigan and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Cornerstone University, Michigan. An educator with more than 20 years of experience, Ingrid started as an Arts Coordinator where one of her duties was to schedule enrichment classes, including chess. Ingrid, herself, first started playing chess with her siblings. In their household, playing chess was as popular as video games! She likes to play on the computer or against family members and can’t wait for her grandchildren to learn to play. In her spare time, Ingrid enjoys researching history and traveling. Children inspire her to continue in the field of education, and she finds it exciting to collaborate with them on a game that teaches strategies for Iearning life lessons.

    • Ivan Nikitin
      Instructor / Coach

      Ivan Nikitin

      Instructor / Coach

      Ivan was born in Obninsk, Russia and moved to the USA as a child. His father and brother taught him to play chess, and he continues to improve his game on the computer. Ivan is a graduate of Lassiter High School and attended The Atlanta Institute of Music specializing in the guitar. His work experience is in the service industry, specializing in customer relations. Ivan’s hobbies include boxing/martial arts, music production, music education as a guitar teacher, and performing. He loves to play both video and card games. Ivan believes teaching chess is important as it helps children find solutions to problems using logic and reasoning.

    • Jacob Mbonu
      Instructor / Coach

      Jacob Mbonu

      Instructor / Coach

      Jacob is a senior at Mill Creek High School. He started playing chess with his family as a child and is one of three Mbonu brothers who work as part of the Kid Chess team. Jacob is a USCF member and has participated in chess tournaments both as an individual and as a member of a team. When not in school or playing chess, Jacob enjoys playing soccer and guitar, skateboarding, photography, and collecting antiques. He loves teaching chess to children as it is so much fun!

    • Jared Radin
      Instructor / Coach

      Jared Radin

      Instructor / Coach

      Jared has been playing chess for approximately 45 years. In the 70’s he was one of the top players in Georgia and won the State Championship in 1973. Jared is a former President of the Georgia Chess Association, and he has also directed and organized many chess tournaments. Jared is a computer programmer by trade and he created KCEasyChess and the interactive chess puzzles in the “fun house” section of the Kid Chess website.

    • Jayashree Sekar
      Instructor / Coach

      Jayashree Sekar

      Instructor / Coach

      Jayashree is originally from India and moved to U.S. in 1998. She first learned chess from a friend and has been playing since middle school. She is an active USCF Rated Class B tournament player, a USCF Certified Tournament Director, and holds a FIDE Trainers Title as a Developmental Instructor. Jayashree loves to teach children to play chess. Jayashree joined Kid chess in 2008.

    • Jeff Martinez
      Instructor / Coach

      Jeff Martinez

      Instructor / Coach

      Originally from Queens, New York, Jeff earned an Associates in Engineering at Queens Borough Community College and a Diploma in Programming from Chattahoochee Technical College. He is also a Georgia certified interpreter; English-Spanish. Jeff’s work experience includes property management, computer technology, and junior web development. He enjoys chess since it is a game of skill and tactical prowess and plays about twice a week with a chess club. In his spare time, he enjoys HTML tutoring, computer technology, and sports forecasting.

    • Jim Varda
      Instructor / Coach

      Jim Varda

      Instructor / Coach

      Jim is a native of Chicago. He earned a B.S. from Purdue University and a MBA from Loyola of Chicago. He worked in Operations Management for Oscar Mayer/Kraft Foods for 25 years before retiring. He enjoys golfing, reading, chess, cooking, and working for Kid Chess. He has been playing chess for over 50 years and enjoys teaching kids how to play as it reminds him of coaching his son’s little league teams.

    • John Papp
      Instructor / Coach

      John Papp

      Instructor / Coach

      John moved to Atlanta from Ohio in 2009 and joined Kid Chess in 2010. John is an American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) Certified Personal Trainer with a degree in Middle School Education. He has been a head coach in girls’ volleyball and boys’ basketball. John loves the safe and stimulating environment Kid Chess creates for kids. He believes chess is the best game there is for children’s social and cognitive development.

    • Johnathan Curley
      Instructor / Coach

      Johnathan Curley

      Instructor / Coach

      Johnathan is a native of Georgia but has traveled extensively.  He has been to every state except Hawaii! Born in Kennesaw, Johnathan started playing chess as a child. He is a casual player and plays both on the computer and with friends. Johnathan joined the marines at 17 years old and went on to earn three bachelor of art degrees in early childhood education, sports science psychology, and nutrition.  He has been a teacher, personal trainer, marketing manager, and nutritionist. Johnathan loves to be healthy. He works out every day and enjoys being outside in nature, especially with his four rescue dogs. In his spare time, Johnathan plays the guitar and has taught other people to play. When teaching chess, Johnathan likes to help children figure out different chess strategies and tactics, teaching them to think about every move and the its consequences. He hopes they apply the same skill to everyday life, becoming well rounded and confident.

    • J.T. Henricks
      Instructor / Coach

      J.T. Henricks

      Instructor / Coach

      J.T. was born and raised in Kennesaw. He received a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from Toccoa Falls College and a Masters in Accounting from Kennesaw State University. His work experience includes tax preparation and working at a hobby and gaming store. As a child, he attended Kid Chess classes and has been a competitive chess player since 5th grade. In the 10th grade, he tied for 2nd place in the country at Bughouse Chess. He has worked for Kid Chess since high school, beginning as one of the company’s first Junior Coaches. He loves speed chess, playing all manner of board and card games, and enjoys traveling.

    • Jordan Page
      Instructor / Coach

      Jordan Page

      Instructor / Coach

      Jordan attended Kennesaw State and currently works at Publix as well as coaching for Kid Chess. He is the son of Tory Page, a former Kid Chess trophy coach. Tory taught Jordan how to play at an early age, and he became an avid player. He stopped playing to be involved in sports and other activities, but has begun playing again. He enjoys reading chess books, playing online, and entering tournaments. Jordan has experience working with kids as a camp counselor and a sports coach. In his spare time, Jordan likes to watch sports, go to the gym, and stay up to date in politics. He has also ventured in to realm of amateur standup comedy.

    • Julia Radin
      Instructor / Coach

      Julia Radin

      Instructor / Coach

      Julia was born in Helena, Montana. She then lived in Utah before eventually moving to Georgia. She worked in banking for thirty-two years, and graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2010. Julia enjoys working with children and she is always amazed as to how quickly they learn the moves and tactics of chess. Her hobbies include scuba diving, reading (when she can find the time), and playing chess and Scrabble. Julia joined Kid Chess in 2008 and is happily married to Coach Jared Radin.

    • Katie Lucas
      Instructor / Coach

      Katie Lucas

      Instructor / Coach

      Katie is a Georgia native, originally from Lawrenceville.  As the daughter of a former Kid Chess coach and editor of Chess Life magazine, she was raised around chess. She plays with her family and online. In addition to inheriting chess skills from her father, she inherited a love of teaching from her mother.  She likes working with children as they have different perspectives and generate creative and clever ways to accomplish things. Currently, Katie attends Kennesaw State University aspiring to be a veterinarian or to work in the area of wildlife rehabilitation. She loves animals and enjoys pet sitting, playing tennis and photography.

    • Kearstyn Denton
      Instructor / Coach

      Kearstyn Denton

      Instructor / Coach

      Kearstyn works in the Kid Chess office and as well as coaching chess in schools. She currently attends Kennesaw State University and plans to apply to nursing school. She enjoys working with children through Kid Chess and various volunteer positions, including the Boys and Girls Club. In her spare time, Kearstyn is training for a half marathon, enjoys reading, and spending time with her family and friends.

    • Ken Ifill
      Instructor / Coach

      Ken Ifill

      Instructor / Coach

      Ken has played chess for over 40 years and plays regularly with friends and family members. He also finds time to challenge the numerous chess programs on his laptop. Ken graduated from St. Mary’s College in Trinidad, and retired after 30 plus years of service as a locomotive engineer at New Jersey Transit Rail. He comes from a musical family and started working at a young age as a professional musician. Ken and his wife, Deborah, are involved in a bi-weekly lunch program to feed the homeless. He also mentors children through teaching chess and has taught the game to his many nieces and nephews. He believes learning chess fosters creative thinking and its positive influence may be the thing that helps a child achieve greatness in life. Ken’s hobbies are photography and riding his bicycle on trails.

    • Lee Miller
      Instructor / Coach

      Lee Miller

      Instructor / Coach

      Lee began playing chess as a sophomore in high school. He was founder and president of the chess club at Berry College, where he graduated with a B.A. in English Literature. He has taught chess professionally since then. Lee has achieved the second category (USCF) in his many years of tournament competition. He is married with three children and enjoys reading and walking in his spare time. As for his thoughts about chess in education, and the tremendous benefits of chess for children (and adults!) they are nicely summed up in this original quote: “Chess is a chimera, a fabulous mystery, ever medieval yet eminently modern, a moving myth. While all at once a sport that edifies, a science that engages, and an art that enlightens, chess is a game that anyone can play, an ennobling quest for all who venture it.”

    • Leslie Nicodemus
      Instructor / Coach

      Leslie Nicodemus

      Instructor / Coach

      Leslie hails from Baltimore, Maryland, though she spent most of her adult life in Florida and California before settling in Cobb County in early 2014. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland in Elementary Education. Leslie taught third grade for more than 20 years and then switched gears and became an Instructional Technology Specialist for fourth through eighth grade. She has presented at more than a dozen conferences on such subjects as how to engage students in learning and how children can learn to think and ask questions, rather than memorizing facts. Kid Chess is a natural extension to these skills, as chess playing has been scientifically proven to help build cognitive skills. 

       
      Leslie has two grown children and lives in Marietta with her Lhasa Apso, Harpo. She considers herself a casual chess player and enjoys reading, traveling, movies and developing her chess skills on line and with family and friends. Working with kids is entertaining and satisfying. There is nothing quite like the “Eureka” moment when a child makes a discovery or learns something new. She enjoys the challenge of chess. 

    • LeVar Bell
      Instructor / Coach

      LeVar Bell

      Instructor / Coach

      LeVar earned a B.S. in Health Education from Alabama State University and an MPA in Education from Jacksonville State University. His prior work experience includes health education and coaching football and basketball. LeVar’s hobbies include traveling with his wife, chess, hiking, and physical fitness. He began playing chess while in college and plays with family and friends. He enjoys teaching chess to children because it allows him to be part of their learning experience and to encourage their critical thinking skills.

    • Louis Alderman IV
      Instructor / Coach

      Louis Alderman IV

      Instructor / Coach

      Louis works in our office as well as being a chess coach. He was a member of the Milton High School Chess Club and president of the club 2003-2005. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southern Polytechnic State University. In his spare time, he also works with students of all ages at a martial arts school. He also volunteered with Georgia BEST robotics in 2008 and 2009.

    • Maha Sikkander
      Instructor / Coach

      Maha Sikkander

      Instructor / Coach

      Maha is originally from India and it was there, when she was twelve years old, that her cousin taught her to play chess.  Initially a casual player, Maha played a game that changed her perspective. Her queen was captured and Maha made the assumption that she would also lose the game.  However, she won that game with two rooks!  This experience increased Maha’s passion for chess. She now considers chess to be an art as it stimulates both concentration and imagination.  Maha plays frequently with friends and family, including her husband and daughter, as well as online. Maha has a Master’s degree in English Literature and a software testing certificate.  Her work experience is in this field, including database analysis, development, and testing. In her spare time, Maha enjoys learning new languages (she speaks three different Indian languages), cooking, and volunteering for the Girl Scouts.

    • Matthew Mbonu
      Instructor / Coach

      Matthew Mbonu

      Instructor / Coach

      Matthew originally learned chess from his mother and through his kindergarten gifted program. He developed a passion for the game, becoming one of the founding members of a successful chess club in which he was ranked in the top 3 for his entire tenure; playing in many rated scholastic and individual tournaments. While attending Mill Creek High school, he tutored elementary students in reading and math which sparked a love of teaching. He earned a certification in fitness training and continued teaching in a children’s fitness boot camp. Matthew enjoys working for Kid Chess as it allows him to combine his passion for chess with his talent for teaching.

    • Matthew Siano
      Instructor / Coach

      Matthew Siano

      Instructor / Coach

      Matthew is currently studying Theatre and Performance Studies at Kennesaw State University.  His prior work experience includes a variety of roles including a mover, a barista, and a veterinarian assistant.  Although originally from Atlanta, his family now live in central coast California and Philadelphia. Chess is part of Matthew’s genealogy.  He first learned to play from his grandmother who had learned from her father, a tournament player. Once Matthew possessed the skills to beat his grandmother, he elevated his chess game by reading his great-grandfather’s old notated games.  Matthew now holds the title of the family chess champion and frequently plays with friends. He believes chess is a special place you can take your brain, an itch that no other game can really scratch. Players win and lose on their own merit and decision making skills. In his spare time, Matthew enjoys running, camping, and playing music.

    • Melissa Rivera
      Instructor / Coach

      Melissa Rivera

      Instructor / Coach

      Melissa is originally from Pennsylvania and originally moved to Atlanta in 2000. Since then she has moved away from Atlanta twice, but always returns and is now here to stay. She has an Associate Degree in Travel & Tourism and is also holds a Georgia Real Estate License. Her previous work experience is as a legal docket clerk & paralegal, a commercial property manager, and a safety and compliance director. She lives with her husband, and her children; a son and a daughter who are both competitive dancers. She is a casual chess player who learned to play from her son who is a Kid Chess kid!   In her spare time, Melissa enjoys weightlifting with her husband and daughter, hiking, camping, reading, and being a chauffeur for her children’s activities.

    • Meredith Smiles
      Instructor / Coach

      Meredith Smiles

      Instructor / Coach

      Meredith attended the University of Alabama and the University of South Carolina where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Management. She went on to receive her MBA from Kennesaw State University and then worked in the management field for several companies, most recently as a human resources/business consultant. She and her husband have two children. In her spare time, she loves to play tennis and read. She learned to play chess in elementary school and considers herself a casual chess player. She enjoys sharing the strategy of chess and seeing the children have fun while learning the game.

    • Michael Burns
      Instructor / Coach

      Michael Burns

      Instructor / Coach

      Michael earned a Bachelor of Science in Film Studies from Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.  His work experience is in retail management and camera and television equipment rental. Born and raised in Atlanta, he learned to play chess in 5th grade when his school started a chess club. He enjoys playing with friends and enjoys the critical thinking and logic of the game. He is excited to share his love of the game with others and being a positive role model to children. Michael has one daughter and his favorite thing to do is to spend time with her. Along with playing chess, Michael is a tournament foosball player. He thinks of it as a high speed chess game.

    • Michael Farris
      Instructor / Coach

      Michael Farris

      Instructor / Coach

      Michael is originally from Park Forest, Illinois. He graduated from Morehouse College with a B.S. Psychology and is a certified English as a Second Language teacher. With over 15 years of teaching experience, Michael enjoys combining his love of teaching with his passion for chess. A casual player, he taught himself how to play at age 9 and continued to play on computers and at the Atlanta Chess Center. Michael believes that playing chess allows the mind a chance to relax, to explore ideas and share camaraderie with another mind, exploring the “truth” of a co-created story. In teaching chess, he enjoys seeing the excitement of building the understanding of the game and re-experiencing those discoveries. When not teaching chess, Michael’s hobbies include photography, poetry, and reading. A world traveler, he has taught students from more than 15 countries and one of his favorite experiences was flying over Cappadocia, Turkey in a hot-air balloon.

    • Michael Hyde
      Instructor / Coach

      Michael Hyde

      Instructor / Coach

      Michael began playing chess in grade school. He went on to become the chess club champion his senior year. Since then Michael has been playing many different strategic and tactical board games including historical military games. After a long absence from chess, he began playing chess again at the local chess club meeting at Borders a few years ago. He enjoys music, reading and spending time with his wife and three children. Michael holds a BS in Education and is a partner in his computer company.

    • Michael Rose
      Instructor / Coach

      Michael Rose

      Instructor / Coach

      Michael is a rarity in Atlanta – he was born and raised here! A graduate of Georgia Tech with a BS in Mechanical Engineering, he now develops and tests web applications. Michael’s mother taught him to play chess when he was about 6 years old and he plays almost exclusively online. In addition to chess, he likes watching and playing almost any sport. Michael also likes to work out and travel as much as he can. In fact, he has visited 12 countries in the last 5 years! Michael finds chess an exciting game and a great mental exercise, where both sides start as equals and all possibilities are there to be seen on the board. He believes the game provides opportunities for players to be creative and resourceful and that teaching children these skills is an important and rewarding responsibility.

    • Myron Morgan
      Instructor / Coach

      Myron Morgan

      Instructor / Coach

      Myron was raised in a family of eight and is now married and the proud father of three young children. He attended Ball State University in early childhood education and has worked with children in a variety of areas, including Little League soccer and as a Sunday School teacher. He began to play chess at an early age and is excited to share his love of the game through Kid Chess.

    • Norman Stokes
      Instructor / Coach

      Norman Stokes

      Instructor / Coach

      Norman has been with Kid Chess since 2005. He learned to play chess s an elementary school student, improved throughout high school, and played in his first tournament in 1977. Norman has been interpreting for the deaf for more than 40 years and has taught many deaf people how to play chess. In 1984, Norman graduated from University of Alabama in Birmingham with a MA degree in Special Education. Norman taught in Cobb County Schools and used chess as a teaching tool with some of his students.

    • Ramadevi Muppiri
      Instructor / Coach

      Ramadevi Muppiri

      Instructor / Coach

      Ramadevi is originally from Hyderabad, India. Her cousins taught her to play chess when she was nine years old. She attended Osmania University and graduated with a Bachelor of Science and later a Bachelor of Library and Information Sciences. She moved to America in 2000 with her husband and son. She has worked with children as a volunteer in schools and with the Girl Scouts. Ramadevi started with Kid Chess as a parent helper for Cogburn Woods Elementary School before becoming a coach and loves to help the children learn to play chess.

    • Render Cutts
      Instructor / Coach

      Render Cutts

      Instructor / Coach

      Render is originally from New Jersey and attended Seton Hall University. For the past 30 years, she has been involved in chess, volunteering as an instructor at libraries, recreation centers, and schools. Render’s passion for chess was first instilled by her mother who taught her the game. She continued this tradition with her own children. Volunteering at her children’s schools, she had the opportunity to work with many children, including gifted, learning disabled, and special needs. It was during this time she realized that within the broad scope of learning, children from all backgrounds could benefit from chess. After living in Atlanta for a number of years, Render returned to New Jersey in 2007 where she renewed her commitment to working with children. In 2009, she obtained her CDA Certification. Beginning in 2010, she taught chess at a counseling center for children. Render returned to Atlanta and continues to dedicate herself to engaging children in activities like chess that can raise a child’s expectation of what they can achieve.

    • Sabia Sahota
      Instructor / Coach

      Sabia Sahota

      Instructor / Coach

      Sabia earned a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering from the University of Hertfordshire in England. He then qualified as a Chartered Accountant before specializing in insolvency and becoming a Licensed Insolvency Practitioner. He worked in a firm of Chartered Accountants for thirty years, one of four partners. Sabia is married with two children and five grandchildren. His son lives in Slovakia with his family, and his daughter and her family live nearby in Atlanta.  Sabia was born in Coventry, England but lived and worked in London for most of his life. A casual chess player, he was taught to play by a cousin when he was about 9 or 10 years old. After his cousin emigrated to Canada, Sabia didn’t play again until he started to visit Slovakia. His son’s father-in-law doesn’t speak English and Sabia does not speak Slovak, but they put on a pot of coffee and enjoying playing together. In his spare time, Sabia loves reading, watching soccer and football, especially the Falcons. A dog lover, he has always owned dogs and his current companion is a miniature Labradoodle called Dave. Sabia loves walking him and playing fetch; Sabia insists on doing the throwing though!

    • Shea Kaste
      Instructor / Coach

      Shea Kaste

      Instructor / Coach

      Shea is originally from Alabama. She attended Kennesaw State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree. Previously, she taught science to elementary age students and worked in the project management field. She is our Kid Chess office manager and also teaches chess in schools. In her spare time, she enjoys playing chess with her family, especially her son and daughter. Shea joined the Kid Chess team in 2010.

    • Steve Hood
      Instructor / Coach

      Steve Hood

      Instructor / Coach

      Steve moved to Georgia from Baltimore when he was three years old. He was home-schooled and is majoring in communications at Kennesaw State University. His prior work experience includes food service management, as well as being a librarian and a horse farm handyman. He is the youngest of 5 children; 3 boys and 2 girls, and has a newborn nephew who lives in England. He enjoys lifting weights, disc golf, and fulfilling the role of cook when barbecuing with friends. Steve is a casual chess player and plays with friends. He likes working with children because they learning at a fast pace and it provides the opportunity for them to develop into confident adults with sportsmanship skills. Steve loves to play chess because it’s fun and improves critical thinking skills. Some fun facts about Steve are that his favorite color is red, his favorite number is 9, and his favorite dinosaur is the triceratops.

    • Tom Chow
      Instructor / Coach

      Tom Chow

      Instructor / Coach

      Tom was born in Taiwan and went to high school and college near Philadelphia, PA. He has a B.S. in math and has been playing chess since 7th grade. In 1979, Tom became the Delaware State Champion and had a rating of 2025. Tom joined Kid Chess in 2007 as a coach and has also worked on the Kid Chess video lessons.

    • Tom Kayma
      Instructor / Coach

      Tom Kayma

      Instructor / Coach

      Tom learned how to play chess shortly after Bobby Fischer won the World Chess Championship in 1972. He has been playing tournament chess for almost forty years and achieved the USCF Master title in 1990. He is a long time USCF Expert and active tournament player. Tom graduated with a degree in Accounting from Texas Tech University and obtained a CPA license shortly afterwards. Currently he is a mergers and acquisitions advisor negotiating the sales of various businesses. Tom is also a huge fan of the Braves, Falcons, and his alma mater’s football and basketball programs. His daughter teaches elementary school in Mississippi and recently learned how to play chess. His son-in-law plays the game as well. Tom is the proud grandfather of a beautiful baby girl. He believes that chess teaches many positive critical thinking skills and is a fantastic game for children and adults regardless of their individual aspirations for the game. He has a passion for teaching children and wants to share the beauty of chess with them as a way of giving back to the wonderful game that has influenced both his personal and business life.

    • Travis Caskey
      Instructor / Coach

      Travis Caskey

      Instructor / Coach

      Travis is originally from Fort Mill, South Carolina.  He possesses a Bachelor of Music with a major in jazz guitar and went on to receive a Master of Arts in Teaching with a major in Secondary Education/Social Studies; both from Winthrop University.  After serving four years in the infantry of the US Marine Corps, Travis went on to teach high school social studies.  He began playing chess in high school and plays regularly with friends. He loves teaching chess because the lessons from the game are applicable to one’s own life experience.  As well as chess, Travis’s hobbies include reading and listening to music.  His favorite TV shows are oldies but goodies: All in the Family, The Jeffersons, and The Carol Burnett Show.

    • Trina Jackson
      Instructor / Coach

      Trina Jackson

      Instructor / Coach

      As a child, Trina was inspired to learn chess after years of watching her dad play with his military friends. She was a quick study and began to play in tournaments. Trina played scholastically in grades 6-12 and then collegiately. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology/English from Florida A&M University and went on to earn a BS in Hospitality Management/Travel & Tourism from Johnson & Wales University Miami and an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Nova Southeastern. She is currently studying computer science in the pursuit of her Ph.D.  Trina is married and has four children, a granny, and a busy dog named Lucky. In her spare time, she enjoys playing chess online with friends, reading a good book, watching superhero movies, or just relaxing. Her favorite things are NFL football, Mickey Mouse, and all things Disney. Sharing her love of chess with others is one of her greatest passions! 

    • Zac Bolton
      Instructor / Coach

      Zac Bolton

      Instructor / Coach

      Zac first learned to play chess as a teenager. He pursued his love of the game by volunteering at Kid Chess camps, and his game progressed from not knowing how to play to reaching a peak rating of 1836 in four years. He was ranked in the upper half of the top 100 scholastic players in the nation and an assistant instructor at Emory Castle Chess Camp. He loves regular, bullet, and bughouse chess. Zac graduated from The American School of Correspondence while dual enrolled at Chattahoochee Technical College. He then attended Furman University and worked in the area of food service management. In his spare time, Zac likes to paint, play guitar, and read, especially Ray Bradbury’s books.