Hi, I’m coach Flyn and this is my chess story.
I learned to play chess when I was 5. When I was about 11 my dad started playing chess and I started playing with him. Of course, he beat the pants off me every game. But as a kid, you always have hope you can win. I even bough a book on chess to see if I could learn more.
Then, early in my high school years I got very interested in the game and began to study regularly. I started to grow a small chess library. And by the time I got my drivers license I could beat all my friends and my dad quite easily.
Getting my license was key as it allowed me to join and play at the San Jose Chess Club in 1967. I was kind of a brash arrogant kid and when I showed up, I told the fellow who ran, the club , his name was Bill, that I had been studying chess for a while and could easily beat all my friends.
So Bill hooked me up with one of the club masters who made rubbish out of me in short order. Following that, he hooked me up a fellow who was an expert – he also quickly beat me. And just to make sure the first two games weren’t a fluke and that I got the right indoctrination, he then hooked me up with an A player – yes, he beat me as well.
So much for believing I was a good player. In fact, I decided when I got home that I probably knew almost nothing about chess despite my play and study. I made a commitment to fix that.
Fortunately, I was in high school and had summer vacation. So, I set up a schedule where around 8 or 9 in the evening after the summer heat had cooled a bit to study. I studied until somewhere around 5 or 6 in the morning. I did this routine nearly every day. I read book after book and played tons of chess including tournaments.
My first rating was 1366 making me a D class player (basically a knowledgeable beginner). At the end of my three months working on my chess my rating had increased 300 points to 1666 a B player. For those unfamiliar with the ratings, the B class is the bottom of what would be considered a “club player.” At that strength you are unlikely to lose to anyone who hasn’t studied the game formally.
My first notable success was drawing with newly titled Grandmaster Walter Brown of Australia in a simultaneous exhibition. He latter became a US citizen and one of the top 10 strongest players in the world. He would go on to win the US Championship 6 times (I think that’s the record). By comparison Bobby Fischer won the championship as a young teenager (13 or 14 I believe) with a perfect score 12 wins and no losses or draws – he won every game. This was an unheard-of accomplishment.
My second notable result came in 1981 at the Horace Mann School’s Open (Open tournaments have all the players are in one group as opposed to separating them by class.) In this tournament I tied with three senior masters (2400+) for 2nd place in the tournament beating a strong and notable Bay Area master at the time in the last round.
I have been an avid student of the game most of my life. Chess has given me great joy and even a business skill that was responsible for much of my amazing success in sales, management and as a sales development consultant – that skill, strategic thinking.
In the mid ‘80s I was a collector of chess literature and had over 4500 chess books in my library. Among my prize possessions were complete collections of the four major Russian chess magazines, and a complete collection except for one early volume of British Chess Magazine starting in 1881.
For the past three years I have taught after school chess at K6 schools. I have also done a bit of private tutoring.
It is my goal to get you off to a fast start with your chess and get you moving in the right direction to be successful. I hope chess will bring you as much joy as it has me.