Please see below for photos and experience highlights of some of our teachers and tournament directors. 

FM Bela Evans
National and FIDE Master Bela Evans has been playing competitive chess for 20 years, and believes "chess is not only great for teaching young people to think, concentrate, and reason, but also for learning good sportsmanship and how to make lifetime friends."  After teaching for several years at Success Chess School (SCS) and serving as a Regional Manager, Evans became the SCS President in late 2005.   

E-Mail: Bela@SuccessChess.Com

Joshua Eads

Joshua Eads was working as a counselor in the Challenger School (Pomeroy) when Chris Torres, who had our program there, learned he played a fair game of chess. He worked beautifully with the children and so we invited him to join our staff.  After teaching for several years at SCS, Joshua became the SCS Vice-President in late 2006.

E-Mail: Josh@SuccessChess.Com

Alan Kirshner,Ph.D.
Click on the photo above to learn more about the diversified career and many successes of the founder of Success Chess .
Dr. Kirshner founded Success Chess in 2000 based on the same principles that made his Weibel chess program a nationally acclaimed program.  Under Dr. Kirshner's direction, Weibel Chess has won a division championship in a state tournament every year since 1990. The team also won the CEA Primary and Elementary National Championships in 2000. In 1996, six players from Hopkins Junior High School became the only Northern California scholastic team to ever win an Open Championship at the extremely competitive Spring Nationals. Four of those players previously attended the Weibel program and two had been at Mission San Jose Elementary School.

Chess Life magazine honored Dr. Kirshner as a volunteer of the month in March 1997, and The Chess Education Association named him the National Chess Coach of the Year in 2000.  Although Dr. Kirshner retired from his role as the SCS President in 2005, he continues to direct tournaments for SCS and run the Weibel chess program through the Weibel Chess organization.

CCM Barry Curto

Barry Curto is a FIDE (international chess governing body) Correspondence Chess Master.  He is also a high US Chess Federation Expert ranked player.  He has been teaching chess in various capacities for many years in Northern California and joined out team in 2003.  He wrote that he likes to teach chess to help children improve their minds and expand their lives.  Besides chess his personal hobbies include health and fitness and racing pigeons.   I guess he has the space to raise the birds on his ranch in Morgan Hill. 

A few months after Barry started teaching for SCS, I asked him to direct a school where a number of the children did not like their instructor and the principal requested a change.  He took so well to the task that the program has received loads of accolades from the participants in our program at that once "trouble" school.

Charles Dupree

Chuck comes to our schools from San Francisco via public transportation. He left a successful job in the software industry where he worked for many years as a programmer and technical writer. He decided to add more meaning to his life. Working with children teaching chess is one of a number of actions he is taking to give back to the life he loves dearly. He is also a writer and has published articles and is presently working on a book proposal. Chuck is another one of our high rated tournament chess players. He has been playing competitive chess most of his life and impresses one with his knowledge of chess literature. Chuck writes that we should teach all children how to play chess not because of the pleasure derived from the game, but due to " the life lessons the game teaches to those who play it. . . . Whatever decision you make, it affects your reality, and you must live with the consequences for the duration of the game. The past is prologue; history tells you how you got here.


David Donaldson I have known David for 20 + years. He came to Ohlone after working in New York for an advertising firm. He taught me most of what I know about making websites and working with Photoshop. I worked with him in getting my college courses on the internet before anyone else at Ohlone (1995). He played chess in his teens at the famous LERA tournaments where he met and took lessons from the most famous chess instructor in the Bay Area, Richard Shorman. David obtained an A ranking before he stopped. As a young man he also worked for Sunnyvale Parks and Rec and for the Community School Program in Fremont Union High School District (Sunnyvale & Cupertino) supervising youth activity programs.  David is a very creative and dedicated chess instructor. He puts as much energy into his teaching of chess as he did for the Silicon Valley company he started up to hype Apple's Hypercard a number of years back. He continues to work as a consultant for creating websites.  He has many hobbies including writing and directing movies, but the most fascinating one to me is his massive collection of Action Figures.(


Eric Schiller FIDE master Eric Schiller has been teaching at SCS since 2005, but he's been training chessplayers for 35 years. His students have been among the top young Americans and include local stars including Jordy Mont-Reynaud and a number of Grandmasters. He is an experienced international player and international arbiter of important competitions including the world championship. Dr. Schiller holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of Chicago and has authored dozens of books on chess, many at the basic scholastic level. You can learn more about Eric at, and check out some of the chess games he's played at


Dushan Gasich Dr. Gasich is another one of the instructors brought to SCS by our District Manager Henry Cate.  Henry has this amazing skill of finding retired people who are talented in chess and working with children.  Dr. Gasich came to the U.S. from the former Yugoslavia. He had been a Programming and Project Management for over 25 years working at Junior College and Universities.  He still teaches courses in Management at the University level.On his job application where I ask "Why do you want to teach chess?", he wriote: " To refresh my skills and play for fun, to develop skills to motivate my grandchildren."


Henry Cate

Henry Cate taught for us at Almaden Country School last year. As with a few other SCS Instructors, Henry retired from the work world. Henry learned to play chess with his brother, driving cross country as his father was moved around by the Army. He played tourmament chess for many years in Alaska where he met his wife who had been asked to sponsor a chess club. His son was born on the way home from a chess club. Talk about a life revolving around chess. :0) Oh, and in Henry's words: "I took second place in about three tournaments in Anchorage in 1960-1963, usually beating the winner, but losing or tying due to blunders on my part to two other contestants. I frequently brag about this by saying I was the second best chess player in Alaska." He is at four schools this year to continue his love of children and chess. Oh, and he is also the District Manager for the Cupertino area.  Energetic people have trouble staying retired. :0)


Henry Vinerts
Henry Vinerts retired from his position as an engineer in 1999. Despite a busy schedule as a senior competitor in badminton, his hobby of working on Volvo's and his myriad of other interests, Henry was willing to join our staff of experienced chess player/instructors. Henry started playing chess in Latvia and continued at UC Berkeley as a member of a competitive team. He entered US Chess Federation Tournaments for the first time in 1995 and obtained a rating of 2055--an Expert. One of his ambitions is to become the oldest person to obtain the title of Chess Master. He is presently ranked among the Top 100 Seniors in the United States. Henry loves chess tidbits and is hardly ever seen without a book as reflected in this photograph. Best of all, he is an enthusiastic and creative teacher.


Kevin Batangan Kevin Batangan played chess for the Independence High School (San Jose) team.  He has been a competitive tournament player and usually shocks his opponents with his sharp tactics.  He has enjoyed teaching for SCS for the last five years and his experience has inspired him to enter the San Jose State Graduate Teacher Education Program. The Weibel Elementary School teacher who allowed him to use her room for his chess students commented to me that he is a natural and would be happy to mentor him in his chosen career.   I might note that she begin playing chess after watching him teach. In his early years Kevin became a student of Richard Shorman, not only in chess, but in photography. He combines his playing and teaching of chess with his love of photography. He has had his chess photographs published in local newspapers and the California Chess Journal. Kevin also is a swim coach at Milpitas High School.


Micah Fisher-KirshnerMicah Fisher-Kirshner
Micah Fisher-Kirshner is one of our most popular chess instructors. He recently received his MBA in Pacific International Affairs at the University of California at San Diego and he has a BA in International Affairs, having spent a total of a year in China honing his Mandarin language skills. Presently, he is teaching SCS Advanced Chess Classes - perhaps Micah's popularity as a teacher is due to his having attended Weibel Elementary School (a State Team Champion in various divisions since 1990) and being one of the top young chess players in the United States. Micah won the High School State Championship with a perfect 6-0 score in April 2000 and represented CalChess at the prestigious Denker Tournament of State High School Champions in St. Paul, Minnesota in August 2000. He won the first of five California Chess State Scholastic Championships when he was in First grade. He tied for second in the Nationals twice(1993 & 1994). He led the Hopkins Junior High School Chess Team to its win in the Junior High School K-8 Championship Division in 1996--the only Northern California Team to ever win this prestigious title.  Micah reached his Expert title at 15 years of age. He continues to teach private lessons in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can learn more of Micah's chess accomplishments at

IM Ricardo De Guzman

Ricardo DeGuzman

International Master Ricardo de Guzman is our highest rated playing instructor having reached 2558.  His first tournament rating after arriving in the States from the Philippines in 1994 was 2522.  As you can see, after one gets to a certain level in chess the ratings do not change a lot.  However, IM e Guzman's goal is to become a Grand Master and it is for this reason he is teaching chess.  It provides him with a few extra bucks to pursue his main goal in life--to join the very few elites in the chess world. He also seems to be the person to beat in Northern California Open Tournaments.  He appears to go home with a fair size purse after each major event.

IM De Guzman was recommended to me by one of the SCS Board members, Regie Annonuevo, who had worked with him.  On his job application he wrote that he truly enjoys working with children and imparting his chess knowledge to the kids.  I am honored to have his talent and love of teaching to bring to the children of SCS.


Andrea Dawson

Andrea is, as she describes it, a "visual communicator".  She creates multi-media art through painting, sculpture and photography.  She has now added chess instruction with SCS's 3D approach to her means of visual communication.  SCS has each student interact withthe pieces on a board rather than sit and listen passively to an instructor ramble.  Andrea's students are involved in her and their creations.  She plays chess with her older brother when she gets time  away from her busy schedule.  She recently graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, concentration in Photography and a minor in Philosophy.  She honed her teaching skills while mentoring young women in the Girl Scouts.  Andrea loves teaching because she loves learning from children.  She writes: "I believe children have important concepts to remind adults about that equal what adults can teach children."  Last but not least-- I love having Andrea help out at chess tournaments as she is a dedicated and extreemly hard worker.  Even when the other instructors are ready to leave, Andrea is, on her own accord, mopping the floor to be sure the tournament room looks better than when we arrrived.


Robert Eads Robert Eads is the second father of one of our instructors to join out teaching staff due to the recommendation of his son. In this case, another of our head instructors Josh Eads. Robert has his Masters in Fine Arts. He is an accomplished artist and has had many art shows. He has taught children at the One World Montessori School. He also teaches Tai Chi Chuan and holds private classes. Robert enjoys teaching, and says: "there is something that happens when you see the person (s)your teaching start to light up with interest--when the "ah ha" happens. It's rewarding."


Sandi Ordinario

Sandi taught chess in Cupertino as part of a service program at HP. He taught a few classes for us in the last three years, but now that he has retired he is a full time SCS instructor as well as a head instructor in a number of schools. Sandi is dedicated to his students and gets to know their names immediately as well as being sure they get all the credit they deserve for our rating lists. He played chess for many years in the Philippines.


Ted Castro I first met Ted while I was interviewing IM Ricardo De Guzman.  They are good friends.  Ted first came to the office to help us with some paperwork and as a single father brough his young son along.  I was impressed with the love and care he showed the boy.  Ted is an A player (soon to be expert I am sure) and had done a few sub jobs for another chess organization so when a position became available I requested he complete a job application. He wrote the following on his application: "Being a very active chess player in the chess circuit, i feel like i can contribute in imparting my knowledge and experience in chess to kids. . . I think SCS in the most organized chess school in the Bay Area and has a very good line-up of instructors. It's more like the best chess school attracts the best chess instructors/players.


Tov Fisher-Kirshner

Tov Fisher-Kirshner stopped playing competitve chess in Junior High School. In sixth grade he obtained a US Chess Federation rating of 1686 and was ranked on the national top 50 player age list in the United States. He placed as high as third in the Primary School Nationals and second in the team bughouse national competition. Tov decided to leave tournament chess to pursue his other interests of guitar and track. He received a white athletic letter sweater upon graduation from Mission San Jose High School (8 varsity letters). Tov still enjoys playing blitz chess against our other chess instructors just to prove that once you have it you don't lose it. Tov has recently taken a school year position with the San Diego Chess Academy. He teaches in our summer chess classes when he is home from the University of California, San Diego.


Tuong Mai

Tuong Mai played chess for the Independence High School Team. He loves the game and challenges everyone to play. He worked so beautifully with the intermediate players and beginners for the last four years as a full-time SCS chess instructor that a number of parents requested he tutor their children. I think a lot of it has to do with his constant smile and warm personality.  Tuong will enter graduate school at CalState Hayward in the Fall and also has plans to enter the teaching profession.


FOOTNOTE: Our new instructors go through a half day training session in working with children and with our system. Each instructor leaves with our course books and curriculums, plus a number of video tapes and DVD's developed by Dr. Kirshner to enable the new instructors to review the overload of information they obtain at these sessions. We also request that our new instructors spend some time viewing our mentor teachers before beginning their own programs. Refresher courses for SCS chess instructors are offered at the beginning of each school year. Instructors of our advanced students develop their own curriculum based upon the principles set forth in the SCS course guidelines. The photograph to the left was taken on February 2, 2003 at one such gathering held at the Jung SuWon Martial Arts Studio in Milpitas. We are very proud of our instructor retention rate. Most chess programs have trouble keeping qualified teachers. Once in a while we do have to move experienced teachers and coaches to help open new programs. Here is how one instructor, Josh Eads, expressed his feeling in a holiday card: "Thank you for everything. I never had a job I loved this much!" Josh went on to talk his father into joining our staff.