Our Coaches

Chess4Life Employment Opportunities

National Master John Graves is a very enthusiastic and energetic chess coach who started playing chess in 1986 and became a National Master only 3 years later. He has won the Washington state junior championship three times and the Oregon Open Championship. <more>

Darren CampbellDarren Campbell leads the Tacoma region of Chess4Life. Darren believes that the principles of discipline, planning and understanding consequences through Chess benefit kid's lives in other positive ways besides school work. <more>

Bert Rutgers has a strong chess background and has been working several years as one of the most successful coaches with beginner to intermediate students. Bert's high energy and animated character inspire and excite his students. <more>

Lane Van WeerdhuizenLane Van Weerdhuizen has been playing chess competitively since the 3rd grade. His ratings are1851 NWSRS and 1831 USCF. Lane's goal is to become a chess expert within the next couple of years. His chess teaching style is planned, attentive, and exciting. <more>

Jill DowneyJill Downey joined Chess4Life as a coach in 2010. Having earned teacher's certification and a master's degree in education, Jill plans chess lessons that are developmentally appropriate for young children and that encourage discovery through exploration on the chess board. Jill grew up the older of two, where the dinner table was used for three things: family dinners together, homework, and chess. <more>

Steve BrockSteve Brock coaches in Redmond.

Hristo Arabadjiev has coached multiple students privately, helping them to achieve in the top 15 in the state of Washington elementary chess championships. Originally from Bulgaria, Coach Hristo has followed his two passions: music and chess. <more>

Brian OpalewskiBrian Opalewski loves helping kids learn the game of chess and ardently believes that students derive benefits that go well beyond how they play the game itself. Brian emphasizes home study and competitive play, along with good sportsmanship. <more>

Carlos Portillo's dad taught him how to play chess at age 7 and has been playing recreationally ever since. He began to study the game more in-depth in 2011 and learned his passion for coaching chess while doing so after teaching his younger brothers and their friends how to play. He has a passion for soccer as well and has played in semi-professional leagues and college. His favorite book is the Bible and has a BA in Communication from Northwest University.

Nick RiderNick Rider has been enjoying the game of chess since the age of five. He is eager to share with his students the complexity, challenges, and rewards of the game. Nick enjoys reading, writing, history, building balsa wood airplane models, and strategy games. Whenever possible he goes up flying.<more>

Jeremy GlascoJeremy Glasco was welcomed into the captivating world of chess two decades ago by his father, a passionate student of the game. He is currently working towards his bachelor's degree in education, and finds his position as chess coach to be a rewarding and enjoyable way to help others realize their goals and develop their intellect. <more>

Cayla Vichot learned the game of chess in 2011. She enjoys the ability of the game to cultivate a better thinking process as well as how chess is applicable to life. She has a passion for children and is thrilled to be able to teach them a game that will not only make them better thinkers, but will give them life skills that they can carry on through their adult lives, as well. <more> Josh PritchardJoshua Pritchard earned a BA in business from Azusa Pacific University. He first learned to play chess in elementary school while living in the Netherlands and taught chess in Texas before coming here. He has worked with children of all ages, and looks forward to passing on many of the lessons he has learned through chess to his students.
Wade McCorkle has an accounting background.  Thomas Greenehas been a coach since 2014. Thomas is the Bellevue Center's lead Pawn Level coach.
PatrickPisaniPatrick Pisani coaches in Redmond. Trevor MarcusTrevor Marcus has been a coach since 2010. While Trevor spends most of his time working at the Redmond Center, he occasionally assists the team at the Bellevue Center as well. Trevor's primary expertise is teaching kids ages five to eight the most basic components of chess. <more>
David Genualdi has been playing chess since the age of six, when his father taught him on Saturday mornings. He holds an Interdiciplinary Honors BA in English/History and an MA in English, which leads David to believe there exist strong correlations between chess skills and study skills. <more> Eric Johnston coaches in Seattle.
Luke LaRocque coaches in Issaquah.