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 bought 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 playing 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 later 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 US Championship as a young teenager (14 I believe) with a perfect score of 12 wins and no losses or draws – he won every game. This was an unheard-of accomplishment that has never been repeated to this day.
My second notable result came in 1981 at the Horace Mann School’s Open (Open tournaments have all the players 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. (See the picture to the right.)
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 from 1881 except for an early volume of British Chess Magazine.
Since 20016 I have taught after-school chess at K6 schools. I also do private tutoring.
It is my goal to get your kids off to a fast start with your chess and moving in the right direction to be successful. I hope chess will bring you as much joy as it has me.
You do not have to be a paying private student to get my help.
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My Greatest Chess Success
Horace Mann School, San Jose, CA 1980
I played in this little tournament after months of inactivity.
I played Victor in the last round. I believe he was rated 2200+ at the time and I think he was a pretty solid 2300 player for some time.
My win tied me for second place in the tournament with Silman, Lobo and I believe one other player all rated over 2400 (Senior Master).
My performance rating in the tournament was around 2550 which is commonly the rating level of someone who's a grandmaster level competitor.
I was so fortunate that my dear friend and chess coach Richar Shoreman was at the tournament taking pictures as usual and capturing my best moment in chess.
For this and all he has done for me since I met him in the late 60's I am forever in his gratitude.