The Vegas Great Knights look to develop social and life skills in addition to mental and emotional ones. All members of the Vegas Great Knights are part of a team. They have a chance to meet and play with other members of the team at various group meet-ups we organize such as our chess and hockey event. We also have team shirts and jerseys that members proudly wear with last names on the back.
Our highly skilled instructors pass background checks and are tested not only for their chess and teaching abilities but for their attitude and how it will translate to our member's experience.
“Our passion is teaching chess to children who want to learn the game, have fun, be part of a positive team, and cultivate valuable life skills.”
Seth Berger has been teaching chess for many years and has been playing since the age of five. Some of his chess accolades include being ranked in the top 25 in the United States for his age group when he was younger, tying for the second in the Nationals in his younger years as well, and being the Syosset High School chess team captain who won the Nassau HS League title. He has taught chess in various programs in New York such as Syosset Chess Mates and Glen Head elementary. Seth holds a degree from UCLA. His chess skills helped him achieve success as a poker player before returning his focus to coaching chess.
Chase has been actively playing chess since the age of 8. He learned how to play from his father and participated in a chess club for a brief period in elementary school. At the age of 16, Chase began working in a childcare program located in the district he went to school in. This gave him the work experience necessary to start teaching in our program and is still learning how to better himself as a teacher. Chase looks forward to helping the brilliant young minds in the program learn the game of chess, which can translate to important skills such as forward-thinking that are important for anyone to learn.
Kevin Raiyn began playing chess when he was 16 years old. Kevin says he initially thought chess was boring, but as he began giving it a chance, it taught him to have lots and lots of patience, as well as so many other benefits required to succeed in life.
"I remember moving all the pieces without a purpose, but as time passed, I had realized that every move should have a purpose and not be wasted. "
"In my opinion, this is the best game in the whole world—however, chess is more than just a game the way I see it. Chess is life because everything we do requires a strategic step that needs to be taken and applied across the board. My passion for chess is greater than anything I have ever dreamed of, and I hope to spread my enthusiasm."
Gabriel learned to play chess at age 9, taught how the pieces moved by his father. From ages 9-15 he played his father and kids in classrooms when permitted. At age 16 he created an online chess profile in which he expanded his gameplay, learning via raw playing time. He is now 25 years old and still is actively playing chess.
Gabriel graduated from CSU, Northridge with a degree in teaching. He thinks chess should be in the school curriculum because it teaches logic, in which he believes to be a core component in intellectual growth.
Wayne Smith is one of the most experienced chess coaches around. He was the Master Chess Instructor
at Hyde Park Academy of Scholastic Chess in Chicago, IL from January 1998 to August 2008 where he provided chess instruction to kids K-12, teaching students to play competitive chess. He helped start and run "Nuts for Chess” as well as organize “Diamond in the Rough” chess tournaments in Chicago, Illinois. His students have won city, state, and national championships. Coach Smith has also been an instructor in Las Vegas, most recently with the West Las Vegas Arts Center before joining the Vegas Great Knights coaching staff!
Dallas comes to us from the casino industry. Games have been his life. From board games to craps tables he has trained teams on how to play. His grandfather taught him to play chess but often cheated. T his caused Dallas to obsess over the rules and discover what is and what was not an honest move. Finding game integrity has always been a focus. At the age of 7 he even wrote a book breaking down chess rules and basic strategies in the hope of getting his parents and grandparents to play.
He believes this game of gentlemen should be just as enjoyable for children.
"Finding encouragement and lessons in losses is critical for chess." It’s the only game I can think of where adults and children can garner so much respect using only their mental faculties. Much of my time and focus is spent understanding how AI play chess. Lessons can be learned by engines which are beyond our capabilities.
To me, the dance of a chess game is one of the purest, most beautiful activities you can participate in. Everyone is on equal ground with the same tools at their disposal. Bring the characters to life and let your natural creativity show through the ocean of possibilities. In chess most likely the game will be lost from the mistake, but tomorrow’s game will always be there. "