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Digital Classroom Instructors


Jana Thomas Photo

Jana Thomas


Affectionately known as "Queen Thomas" by my students, I've been a chess instructor for 4 years now. I’ve taught students of all ages, from Pre-K on up through adults. I do my best to make learning chess simple and fun. 


Orlando Luis Photo

Orlando Luis


I am a 1600-rated active chess player. I am Cuban, the proud home of chess world champion José Raúl Capablanca. I started to teach chess for the Saint Louis Chess Club in September 2019. I have loved this game since I was a child and enjoy sharing my love for chess with others.

Benjamin Rahming Photo

Benjamin Rahming

Originally from Milwaukee, WI, I moved to St. Louis for college and stayed to become a teacher here. I love soccer, robotics and music. In my chess class students will have so much fun that they may not even realize they are learning, until they start to see the improvement in their games! 

Dan Todd Photo

Dan Todd

My name is Dan Todd, the Chess Magician. I have performed magic and played chess for 50 years. I’ve been teaching chess for the St. Louis Chess Club since 2017. My classes include pictures, stories, poems, and magic tricks, to make learning chess FUN! 

Jonathan Israel Photo

Jonathan Israel

My name is Jonathan Israel and I have been playing chess since I was seven years old. I have a B.A. in Mathematics and have taught at the Saint Louis Chess Club for three years. This is my favorite job in the world, and am very excited to teach your students this year!

Dirk Downing

Hello everyone! My name is Dirk Downing and I love playing and teaching Chess! I have a PhD in Sport Psychology, and have found that Chess is an incredibly fun and helpful way to train your mind so that you can excel in other walks of life.

Lawrence Hu Photo

Lawrence Hu

My name is Lawrence Hu and I have been playing and teaching chess with the Saint Louis Chess Club for just over two years now. I mainly play online speed chess, but have some over the board tournament experience as well. 

Vincent Tucci's Photo

Vincent Tucci

Greetings everyone, my name is Vincent Tucci. I have been working for the Saint Louis Chess Club for about three and a half years. I have been teaching chess for about four and a half years now, and I have also been playing chess for just about 20 years. 

Joe Bruno's Photo

Joe Bruno

I am a retired Firefighter and entered the world of teaching several years ago. I know how the benefits of playing chess apply to life and love to see passion for the game in my students. I look forward to learning along with my students.

Eric Payne's Photo

Eric Payne

Born and raised in St.Louis, Missouri. I love teaching chess to kids and adults and I am excited to try online learning with everyone. My other passions include flower gardening and this season I have included growing vegetables and fruits as well.

McFarlane Duncan's Photo

McFarlane Duncan

My name is McFarlane Duncan and I have been playing chess for over 20 years. I first began playing when I was 12yrs. old. I have been with the St. Louis Chess Club since January 2020 and genuinely enjoy teaching the game.

Alexander Schumm's Photo

Alexander Schumm

My name is Alexander Schumm, and I am a philosopher, philosophical consultant, and writer. What I love about chess is that beneath its simple rules lies a strategy deep enough to spend your whole life exploring.

Ray Paul's Photo

Ray Paul

My name is Ray Paul. I am by nature a chess enthusiast. For me, chess is not just a game, it is a mind builder. I get great satisfaction leading young students into learning all about this fascinating game.