Our Philosophy

  • Chess is within everyone’s reach. Anyone can learn to play and learn to play well. You can develop as much skill as you’re willing to pursue. Struggles with chess are often the result of having learned the rules without having been shown what threats and opportunities to look for. These are easy to learn with the right teacher or coach.
  • Chess is a gym workout for the mind—part of a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle.
  • Chess is one of many skills that one can learn as an adult. A late start in life is no obstacle. Most marathoners begin distance running as adults, not when they’re 8!
  • Chess is cultural capital—the modern continuation of a tradition that goes back centuries, through court and coffeehouse, pub and park.
  • Chess offers a level playing field. Color, language and income have no power to change the rules of the game or to interfere with the choices you make on the board.
  • Chess is a universal language. If you play chess, you’re connected to a community of players around the world as well as in your own neighborhood.

Who We Are

Board of Directors

Keith Ammann (Director) is a U.S. Chess Federation–certified Local Tournament Director and District Chess Coach. He holds a master of education degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and Illinois Type 03 teaching certification with middle school endorsement.

Bill Brock (Treasurer) specializes in corporate and personal taxation. He has been a CPA since 1987. He also holds a Ph.D. in English (Loyola University Chicago, 1995) and taught in Loyola’s English Department from 1988 to 1997. At the age of 9, Bill played in the 1967 U.S. Junior Open Chess Championship and lost his first seven games before finally winning one. He has previously served as bulletin editor, treasurer, president, and membership secretary of the Illinois Chess Association and currently serves as an at-large board member. Brock writes frequently for national and regional chess publications, edits the Chicago Chess Blog, and teaches students privately.


Chris Christmas (Director) has been playing chess for more than 45 years. He is a chess tutor and coach who has taught more than 1,000 students between the ages of 4 and 75. He teaches before- and after-school chess classes in Evanston and Niles and has conducted chess camps at the North Avenue Beach chess pavilion.

Ani Emrikian (Secretary).

Will Gane (Immediate Past President) is vice president of a global business intelligence firm and over the last 20 years has successfully established and developed businesses in Europe, the Asia/Pacific region and the Americas. He has a degree in business management from Hull University in the United Kingdom and an executive education certificate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is pursuing an executive education scholarship in nonprofit leadership at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. An avid long distance runner who has competed twice at the ultra-running world championships, he is also a former member of the British Army Reserves.

FM Pieta Garrett (Advisory Board Member, former Director) is an accountant pursuing certification as a charted financial analyst. He earned his National Master title at age 15 and won the U.S. Cadet Championship in 2002. He served in the U.S. Army from 2008 to 2011, during which time he won the 2009 Interservice Chess Championship at Fort Benning, Ga.

Ron Logan (Vice-President)

Advisory Board

Our Advisory Board is made up of individuals who have endorsed the Chicago Chess Center and offered their expertise in support of our mission:

GM Mesgen Amanov
Michael Cardinale Youth Chess Foundation of Chicago
FM Albert Chow
Allison Clark John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
Zack Fishman Chess Education Partners
Kiran Frey Chess Without Borders
Will Gane
Pieta Garrett

GM Dmitry Gurevich
Daniel Hart
GM Nikola Mitkov
GM Yury Shulman

Join Our Board

Chicago Chess Center NFP Inc. is seeking to enlarge and diversify its board of directors. We’re looking for people who are committed and passionate, who show common sense and good judgment, who respect group process, who are centered and self-aware, and who have a sense of humor. As a startup organization, we need self-starters, risk-takers and freethinkers along with organized and dependable professionals. We need people with experience in fundraising, entrepreneurship, for-profit and/or nonprofit management, curriculum development, and/or marketing or public relations. Also, as an organization seeking to serve the entire city, we want to include members of demographic groups underrepresented in the chess community. For more information, please reply through our contact page.


Founders' Court

The Chicago Chess Center thanks its founding members:

$1,000 and up

Vince Berry
Bill Brock
Michael Cardinale
Chess Education Partners Inc.
Will Gane
Lee & Jan Gurga (in memory of Raymond L. Gurga)
Matt Pullin
Slalom Consulting LLC

$500 and up

Michael Aaron
Louis T. Ascherman
Les Bale
Dave Ducat
Jose & Anna Garza
Rosetta W. Harris Charitable Lead Trust
Home Run Inn Foundation
Leslie W. Keith
J. Eric Smith
Walter S. Mander Foundation

$250 and up

James Adkins
Michael Banys
Nimrod Bareket
William & Wendy Choslovsky
Fredric Cohen
John DeMastri
James Duffy Jr.
Robert Eaman
Ani Emrikian
Victor Feria
Adam Geisler
Robert Grevin
Vince Hart
Titus Hattan
Robby Hecht
Jimmy Kyle Jackson
Julian & Kristin Jackson
Anthony Jasaitis
Dietrich Kappe
Thomas Kochman (in memory of Frank Skoff)
Joseph Larsen
Nicholas & Martha O'Carroll
Jenny Rosene
Dan Schmidt
Sam Sibley (from John Benson)
Dante Silguero
Brayden Sterling
Andy Stewart
Tansel Turgut
Jonathan Weintraub
Patrick, Nathaniel & Joshua Wells