Several of our regular members have formed a Coaching Group that are on hand every Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to assist both kids and adults who want to learn chess or reach the next level in their game. We encourage anyone interested to join us! There is no advance notice required and there is no charge for "walk-in" informal lessons at club—just tap one of us on the shoulder!
If you are looking for regular instruction from one of our coaches, we encourage you to review the biographies below and reach out directly to them regarding their services. If you have any questions, you can contact the Columbia Chess Club Coaching Group using the contact button.
Titles: Columbia Chess Club Executive Director and Founder, Local Tournament Director
Bio: James grew up in Hawaii, California, Washington, Texas, Tennessee, and South Carolina, having attended White Knoll High School. James learned how to play chess at the age of 10 from his father, starting chess clubs in middle and high school and teaching the basics to others. In 2021, James competed in his first tournament at the late age of 28. In August of that same year, James rebooted the Columbia Chess Club following pandemic disruptions, and within the first year he directed and competed in over 60 events. The 2022 Columbia Open, hosted by the Club, set a record for the largest open chess event in South Carolina chess history. While spending most of his time as a husband and father, James is focused on invigorating the local chess community and making chess as popular as other competitive sports.
Titles: 2017 Columbia Chess Club Champion, Local Tournament Director
Bio: Brandon is a long-time chess player who has been coaching individual players and school clubs since 2018. Brandon was the coach of the Lake Murray and River Springs Elementary School chess teams, whose teams and individuals won first place in several tournaments. Brandon's students have also placed highly in the SC State Scholastic Championships, including winning their division and qualifying to represent South Carolina at the national tournament of champions.
Titles: Club Tournament Director
Bio: Paul grew up playing chess with his brother Sam. He was the runner-up in the 2004 and 2005 high school state championship. After high school he stepped away from competitive chess for a while. He began working with club president James at Westinghouse. During COVID he reconnected with chess and began playing competitively again in 2021. Since returning he has taken his rating from 1230 to 1685.
Titles: Club Tournament Director
Bio: Thomas grew up in Ohio before attending business school at the University of South Florida in Tampa. He learned chess at a young age from his father and brother. He recently regained his interest in the game and joined the Columbia Chess Club in August of 2021. He competed in his first tournament in November of the same year. Since then, Thomas has competed in tournaments all over SC and NC. He also has become a Club Tournament Director to help organize the Clubs many ongoing tournaments.
Bio: Having learned to play chess at the age of five, throughout his time in school Konrad frequently sought out communities of chess players. He now has a Master's degree in Math from the University of South Carolina, and while he has gone through several periods of inactivity with chess, the appeal of a functionally infinite game consistently draws him back to the board, as that means there's always more to learn.
Bio: Nick is from Irmo, South Carolina currently attending Midlands Technical College, and studies chess regularly in his free time. Nick has been playing casually from a young age, but only recently has been working to improve as a serious player. Nick is a coach at ThinkMove Chess Academy and teaches the basics to elementary students. He plans to hit a rating of 2200 and become a National Master within the next 10 years.