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Great Knights

The Great Knights look to develop social and life skills in addition to mental and emotional ones. All members of the 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.”


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Coach Seth Berger

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.

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Coach Kevin Raiyn

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 is the way I see it. Chess is life because everything we do requires a strategical 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."

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Coach Phillip Spinella

Phil Spinella has been a competitive chess player for 20+ years. He has an undergraduate degree from Georgetown and a law degree from Cornell. This sharp mind and fun energy made him a great fit for the staff of the Vegas Great Knights.

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Coach Ivan Mitkov

Ivan Mitkov has been playing chess since he was three years old. He was taught by his dad Nikola who was Macedonia's first ever chess grandmaster. Ivan won the state championship when he was in first grade and won the Chicago open for his section in 8th grade. He has played in many tournaments and continues to teach and play chess.

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Coach Syuzanna Safrazyan

Syuzanna Safrazyan is a professional chess player whose journey in the realm of chess began at the tender age of 5. She is a student of the Chess Academy of Armenia, where she has honed her skills and knowledge of the game under the expert guidance of grandmasters. With a passion for both playing and teaching chess, Syuzanna has 5 years of teaching experience and holds a teaching license, demonstrating her commitment to imparting her profound understanding of the game to aspiring enthusiasts....Syuzanna Safrazyan's performance on the chessboard is truly remarkable, with an illustrious track record of victories in various competitions. Syuzanna has earned a collection of well-deserved medals, including 1 gold for 1st place, 2 silvers for 2nd place, and 2 bronzes for 3rd place. Her dedication, strategic prowess, and impressive tournament record mark Syuzanna Safrazyan as an avid chess lover and mentor.