San Francisco School of Chess

Hosted and Sponsored by the Mechanics’ Institute

(57 Post Street, San Francisco – One block from Montgomery BART station)



To provide a boost to promising young chess players in Northern California both through interactions with GMs and IMs as well as their fellow juniors.


Schedule for June to September



IM David Pruess – Saturday, June 22


GM Nick DeFirmian – weekend of July 12-13


GM-elect Josh Friedel – Saturday, August 23


GM-elect Vinay Bhat – Sunday, September 7




* Invited GM or IM gives lecture to Class 1.

* 1-2 students from Class 1 teach Class 2.

* 1-2 students from Class 2 teach Class 3.

* Student instructors receive help in preparing from the GM/IM.

* A local master will provide guidance and continuity for the program.

* Sessions are scheduled about once a month.

* Each class will be approximately 2 hours long.

* Class size of 6-10 students.

* There will be a nominal fee charged.


IM David Pruess writes:

We believe it is quite valuable for the students to prepare and learn material in a way that allows them to then teach it to others. Passing on their knowledge and skills to the local juniors below them also constitutes their main payment for the program.


Class Groups

1.     Juniors rated over 2100.

2.     Juniors rated over 1800.

3.     Elementary (K-6) kids rated over 1600

+ Primary (K-3) kids rated over 1400

+ Top Northern California Girls

(Occasional alternates may be invited for single classes.)


A word about the selection process: We are lucky to have many promising players in the area right now, and we do not yet have the capacity to accomodate everyone. In the interest of keeping classes focused and productive, we will keep the class sizes somewhat small. In addition to chess playing strength, our main criteria for who can attend will be based on commitment. Students are expected to commit to participating in most of the sessions and remaining active in chess events outside of our program. Players who are active at the Mechanics’ Institute tournaments may stand a better chance of being noticed for this special opportunity. Finally, if the dates of our sessions do not work, don’t despair! We will update our schedule and invitation list periodically throughout the year.


For more information about the School of Chess, please contact Mechanics’ Institute Chess Room Director IM John Donaldson, IM David Pruess or NM Michael Aigner. Sponsors interested in supporting this program may also contact IM Donaldson.


IM John Donaldson: IMWJD at

IM David Pruess: Pruess at

NM Michael Aigner: Michael at

Mechanics’ Institute Chess Club: ChessRoom at or (415) 421-2258

(replace “at” with @ in each email address)


Check out the Fpawn Chess Blog to read stories about previous lectures at the Mechanics’ Institute.


IM David Pruess on June 22

GM Melik Khachiyan on May 3

GM Gregory Kaidanov on March 2