Posts Tagged ‘Jay Stallings’

Chess coach Jay Stallings celebrates 25 years of teaching – Santa Clarita Valley Signal

September 21, 2019

“I think it’s less about chess and more about teaching my students how to be thinkers and good members of the community,” Stallings said. “It’s incredible for me to look around here to see former students of mine who have grey in their beards, and it’s nice to see the impact that I’ve made these past 25 years.”
— Read on

California Summer Chess Fun

July 23, 2017

 To this chess coach, Summer Fun in California means exciting chess camps every week of the summer. With chess classes planned every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, I organize events for young chess players of all skill levels, including classes with great chess teachers, rated tournaments, chess simuls against grandmasters, chess book talks with famous authors and fun blitz games against coaches. The fun continues through Labor Day leaving just enough time to prepare for my fall schedule of after school programs. 
Below are some photographs from my chess fun in California thus far this summer:

My first summer chess camp in 2017.

Two girls spending their summer studying chess.

A confident young man demonstrates his solution at summer chess camp.

Students were all ears when Grandmaster Tigran Petrosian taught strategy at our summer chess camp.

Chris Torres watches students play at summer chess camp.

IM Armen Ambartsoumian starts our summer chess camp match.

Sitting with GM Tigran Petrosian and Jay Stallings for our summer chess camp group photo.

Some young guys happy for another lesson at summer chess camp.

So many happy students and coaches on the final day of summer chess camp.

TCAMA Summer Chess Camps – The Best Value in the Bay Area

July 12, 2017

At the Torres Chess and Music Academy we pride ourselves in providing truly inspiring chess experiences for the lowest price possible. This year’s San Jose Summer Chess Camp will feature instruction from:

Chris Torres (Celebrating his 20th year teaching chess)

GM Daniel Naroditsky (Currently ranked in the Top Ten by rating in the United States!)

Francisco Anchondo (If your child hasn’t been taught gambit openings by Francisco, they are simply missing out!)

Frisco Del Rosario (Legendary Coach and author of the best selling “A First Book of Morphy”)

Jay Stallings (Creator of the wildly popular Coach Jay’s Chess Academy app.)

The first day of camp is July 17th and tuition is just $160/week. Space is very limited,

Sign up today at

San Jose Chess Camp to Teach Decision Making Skills to Bay Area Youth

July 7, 2017

SAN JOSE, CA – 07/06/2017

— Chris Torres, the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy, has been successfully inspiring California’s young chess players for over 20 years. During this time, his annual summer chess camp has proven itself a good training ground for the Bay Area’s brightest chess talent. This year’s San Jose summer chess camp is celebrating his 20 years of knowledge sharing by returning the tuition back to just $160/week the same price Chris charged in 1997!

Over the past two decades Mr. Torres’ classes have attracted players of all abilities ranging from absolute beginners to national champions. Regardless of a child’s talent level, Chris believes that chess benefits all children by improving their decision making skills.

“Using the power of chess to teach children good decision making skills has always been the most important aspect of my coaching. I have personally witnessed how strong decision making skills allow children to excel in all aspects of life. Former students who are now doctors, lawyers, engineers and leaders in Silicon Valley continue to support my classes because they credit much of their successes to chess.”

The Torres Chess and Music Academy’s summer chess camp in San Jose, California will run from July 17-27’th and is open to players of all skill levels. Attendees will receive instruction from Chris Torres, other TCAMA coaches and several highly esteemed instructors including Frisco Del Rosario, Francisco Anchondo and Jay Stallings! Additionally each week there will be a USCF rated tournament and a puzzle solving competition with awards given at the end of each week. All students who complete two weeks of camp will receive a commemorative camp T-shirt, a special 1 on 1 follow up lesson with Chris Torres, and a hand signed diploma. To apply online, or for more information on the TCAMA, please visit, or contact Chris Torres at

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Torres Chess & Music Academy
Full Name: Chris
Phone: (209)323-0197
Email Address: SEND EMAIL

Fremont Summer Chess Camp 2016

May 9, 2016

Come train with the 2015 and 2016 National Elementary Chess Champions at MSJE!


This camp will feature chess instruction by:

  • GM Susan Polgar (Former World Champion and Current Head Coach for the National Collegiate Chess Champions at Webster University)
  • NM Eric Schiller (The world’s most prolific chess author)
  • Jay Stallings (Acclaimed author, chess coach and developer of Coach Jay’s Chess Academy)
  • Chris Torres (President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy)
  • Joe Lonsdale (Head Coach of the National Champions at Mission San Jose Elementary School)
  • James Paquette (Director of Instruction for the Torres Chess and Music Academy)
Joe Lonsdale is a legendary chess coach who brings decades of teaching experience to our camp daily.

Joe Lonsdale is a legendary chess coach who brings decades of teaching experience to our camp daily.

Don’t miss out on the best chess opportunity of the summer! Our coaches will use their decades of chess teaching experience to create a summer camp that is fun, competitive and educational.  Attendees will receive the best training available and take part in USCF rated tournaments with awards given at the end of each week.  All students who complete four weeks of camp will receive a commemorative camp T-shirt, a special 1 on 1 follow up lesson by TCAMA instructors, and hand signed diploma awarded to be awarded by Susan Polgar!


Camp will meet from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM,

Mondays through Thursdays,

July 5 to July 28

At Mission San Jose Elementary School (43545 Bryant St. Fremont, CA 94539.)


To apply online, or for more information on the TCAMA, please visit CHESSANDMUSIC.COM, or contact Chris Torres at

The checks should be made payable to The TCAMA Inc. The fees for the chess program are nonrefundable after the class has begun. No refunds will be given for unscheduled student absences.

Please make the checks out to TCAMA Inc. and Mail them to:

The Torres Chess and Music Academy, 16691 Colonial Trail, Lathrop, CA 95330

Name of child: ___________________________________________

Parents (Guardian) name(s): ________________________________

Date of birth: ___/___/_____ Grade: ____ School: _________________

Address: _______________________________________________

City: ___________________________ California Zip: __________

Telephone: (___)_________ E-mail: __________________________

I AM PAYING My Child Will Go
  $222.00 FOR ONE WEEK   7/5-7/7
  $414.00 FOR TWO WEEKS   7/11-7/14
  $606.00 FOR THREE WEEKS   7/18-7/21
  $750.00 FOR FOUR WEEKS   7/25-7/28

There will be a $50 refund the week of 7/5 because there is only 3 days due to the 4th of July holiday

Susan Polgar, GM

Guest Lecturer 7/25-7/28

To summarize Susan Polgar‘s chess accomplishments is nearly an impossible task. Susan was the winner of four Women’s World Chess Championships, is a five time Olympic champion with over 10 medals earned, became the number one ranked woman in the world at the age of fifteen, became the first chess player ever to be a World Champion at Blitz, Rapid and Classical time controls. In addition, Susan Polgar was the first woman to be awarded a men’s Grandmaster title in chess, win the U.S. Open Blitz Championship, be awarded the Grandmaster of the year honor, serve as the head coach of a men’s division 1 NCAA team that won a National Collegiate Championship, serve as the head coach of a number one ranked men’s division one collegiate team, serve as the Head Coach of Men’s Division 1 Teams from two different schools to win the Final Four National Collegiate Championship, serve as Head Coach of a Men’s Division I Team to win the National Collegiate Championship 3 straight years and be named coach of the year for a men’s collegiate team. Further accomplishments of Susan Polgar are too numerous to list but even this small sample of work as both a world champion of chess and a world class chess teacher easily rank her as the best chess teacher in the United States.


Eric Schiller Ph.D.

Guest Lecturer

The Torres Chess and Music Academy is pleased to have Eric Schiller as a coach for the 2014 Fremont Summer Chess Camp at Mission San Jose Elementary School. Eric Schiller Ph.D. is the author of over 100 chess books and the personal chess coach to many talented young players. When he is not playing in major chess tournaments, Eric is a sought after International Arbiter who has organized and directed an impressive list of chess tournaments and matches. Eric Schiller has stated that he looks forward to making the “best chess camp even better in 2014.”

Jay Stallings

Guest Lecturer/Coach Jay’s Chess Academy

Coach Jay Stallings is ranked as an Expert with the United States Chess Federation. He founded the California Youth Chess League in 1996. With programs including after school and evening classes, tournaments, camps, free chess play, and special events year round, the CYCL makes chess incredibly accessible in the Santa Clarita Valley. Through the years, under Coach Jay’s leadership, CYCL has taught chess to over 20,000 young players in and around Santa Clarita.


Chris Torres


Chris Torres is a nationally renowned scholastic chess coach working in the San Francisco Bay Area. His classes have attracted players of strengths ranging from rank beginners to world champions. Working as a professional chess instructor since 1998, Chris is widely recognized as one of the main driving forces behind the explosion in popularity and sudden rise in quality of scholastic chess in California. Currently, Chris Torres has the ranking of candidate master and serves as the President of the Torres Chess and Music Academy. Mr. Torres’ hobbies include playing classical guitar and getting his students to appear on the national top 100 chess rating lists.


Joe Lonsdale

Head Coach MSJE

If ever there was an official Hall of Fame for California chess coaches, Joe Lonsdale would be a first ballot inductee. Joe Lonsdale started the MSJE (Mission San Jose Elementary School, Fremont) chess team in 1990 when his oldest son was a third grader at MSJE. It didn’t take long for Joe’s chess team to rise to the top.  In 1992 Coach Joe led MSJE to win its first grade level National Championship. They won the overall National Elementary School Championship in  2009, in 2013, 2015 and 2016. At the 2012 Elementary School Nationals MSJE was the only team in the country to finish in the top four in every Elementary school championship section (K-1, K-3, K-5, & K-6). Joe Lonsdale’s goal in chess is to make MSJE the strongest scholastic chess program in the nation and the recent evidence of their success would suggest that he is succeeding.

James Paquette

Director of Instruction

James Paquette has everything we look for in a great chess teacher and more. A former chess student of Chris Torres, James now teaches chess professionally while attending a prestigious local university to study law. James Paquette has several years of experience managing small children which he gained while achieving his black belt in Taekwondo. While an undergrad honor roll student, James was a star football player at the college level and uses his experience from the field to teach children the level of commitment necessary to become a champion.  James Paquette relates to children of all backgrounds extremely well and is now one of the most popular coaches at the Torres Chess and Music Academy.


October 10, 2015

Did you know that the second Saturday of October is National Chess Day? I celebrated the occasion with my family at the Weibel Quads in Fremont, California. The tournament was well run and I had a great time reviewing chess games, visiting with friends and celebrating chess.Kudos to Alan Kirshner for another nice event.

IM Emory Tate reviewing games at the TCAMA table.


Francisco Anchondo showing off his new puppy and his tactical bravado.


Coach Jay took a moment to congratulate Rosaleia on her final victory.


Even Lilianya enjoyed playing a casual game with the garden chess set.


Happy Fourth of July from the Fremont Summer Chess Camp

July 4, 2015

Fremont Summer Chess Camp July 4th Special


On Monday July sixth, the Fremont Summer Chess Camp welcomes world famous chess coach Jay Stallings. Coach Jay founded the highly regarded California Youth Chess League in 1996, authored the popular Fried Liver & Burning Pants: Curious but True Chess Stories,” and created Coach Jay’s Chess Academy App which is far and away the best hi-tech learning tool available to scholastic chess players.

On Thursday of this week the Fremont Chess Camp will also welcome acclaimed author and master story teller Eric Schiller. USCF National Master Eric Schiller will discuss how to “tame the wild openings” in honor of his new book, Taming Wild Chess Openings: How to Deal with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly over the Chess Board.”

*After their classes, both Coach Jay and Master Schiller will be available for autographs and photographs with camp attendees. 


At the Fremont Summer Chess Camp, your child will live and breathe chess while our elite coaches provide them with the most incredible educational experience available.


Camp Registration Includes:

Classes with California’s best chess coaches:

  Eric Schiller (National Master)

  Jay Stallings (Creator of Coach Jay’s Chess Academy)

  Emory Tate (International Master)

  Joe Lonsdale (Head Coach for MSJE) 

  Chris Torres (Correspondence Chess Master)


The Fremont Summer Chess Camp also includes:

1:8 coach to camper ratio

   Camp Tee Shirt

  Certificate of participation

  USCF Rated Tournaments

  Weekly Awards

  Mind Blowing Special Events


In addition, our camp includes supervised recesses which feature basketball, soccer and art activities. Your child is guaranteed to have a blast while training with the 2015 National Elementary Chess Championship Team at Mission San Jose Elementary School! 

Extended care will be provided by the Achiever Institute


This class will meet from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM,

Mondays through Thursdays, June 29 to July 23

At Mission San Jose ES 43545 Bryant St. Fremont, CA.




$222 for ONE WEEK

$414 for TWO WEEKS

$606 for THREE WEEKS


Click the links below to see pictures from the first week of the Fremont Summer Chess Camp 2015:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

The Easiest Chess Move You’ll Ever Make…

June 22, 2015

Could be signing your children up for the Fremont Summer Chess Camp.


At the Fremont Summer Chess Camp, your child will live and breathe chess while our elite coaches provide them with the most incredible educational experience available.

Camp Registration Includes:

  • Classes with California’s best chess coaches
  • 1:8 coach to camper ratio
  • Camp Tee Shirt
  • Each camper will receive a certificate of participation
  • USCF Rated Tournaments
  • Weekly Awards

MSJE Winner

In addition, our camp includes supervised recesses which feature basketball, soccer and art activities. Your child is guaranteed to have a blast while training with the 2015 National Elementary Chess Championship Team at Mission San Jose Elementary School!


Sign Up Today!

An Interview with Chess Coach Jay Stallings

October 17, 2014

Below is my interview with the incredibly popular chess coach, Jay Stallings. Coach Jay runs the California Youth Chess League which is one of the best run scholastic chess organizations on the west coast. In addition, Jay Stallings just released Coach Jay Chess Academy for the iPhone, iPad and Android Devices.


Can you describe Coach Jay’s Chess Academy in one sentence for us?

Coach Jay’s Chess Academy teaches you through 150+ mini-lessons and 1250+ fun and increasingly challenging puzzles not basics of chess, but the five key disciplines to being a well-rounded chess player: Checkmate, Defense, Endgame, Strategy and Tactics!

You and I have both been coaching chess for a long time. How has teaching kids chess changed over the last ten years? How do you see Coach Jay Chess Academy as continuing tat change?

I started coaching in 1994 on a demo board that I made from sheet metal, plywood, and a green Marks-A-Lot with demo board pieces that were figurine notation blown up, cut out and laminated with magnets glued to the back! Since then, as my demo board has been replaced by a laptop projector using Fritz, my students have utilized books, software, web-based programs, and now apps to supplement my lessons.

Almost every day, I talked to parents and they often asked me what chess apps I would recommend, and I began to realize that mobile devices were in almost every kid’s home these days. They’re often seen as toys, but they can also be a teaching tool!

Over the years, I have accumulated a chess book collection that has a retail value of perhaps $20,000. I’d wager that one day, chess players will have access to far more content for maybe $50, total? Seems like a steal to me! Obviously, I still read and recommend many books, but I think books, videos and software are all tools. I’m just particularly fond of apps at the moment—they’re much easier to carry around in my pocket!
Why did you initially decide to become a chess coach?

At the end of 1993, the movie “Searching for Bobby Fischer” came out. At the time, I was selling computer printers to Latin America and enjoying coaching soccer. My wife, Michel, realized that parents were going to be looking for chess classes after seeing that movie. She was right! A small add in the local paper yielded 35 students and only the 1994 Northridge earthquake slowed us down a little.

Interestingly, one of my first student’s, Kyle Sellers, was the one who encouraged me to create Coach Jay’s Chess Academy and worked with me to make it happen. I never could have imagined in 1994 that I’d not just watch my students grow up, but build lifelong relationships with students and their parents that would last over two decades!

What are your three biggest accomplishments in the field of youth chess?

Founding and running a non-profit organization that has taught chess to over 35,000 youths; being a member of USCF’s Scholastic Council where I can help change the attitude and policies for scholastic chess in the U.S.; and cramming two decades of coaching experience and curriculum into one $5 app and getting to hear from kids all over the world about how much they’ve enjoyed learning chess!
As a chess dad, why should I have my daughter train with your app rather than some of the others on the market?
My app was designed by a chess coach with the typical scholastic player in mind. Over the course of several years, I tried just about every app out in order to make recommendations to parents and I saw a giant hole in the marketplace. There were apps that taught you the rules and moves and then let you go and there were apps that were targeted at serious chess players, but not much in the middle.

Chess has a profoundly positive impact on kids and it’s a shame that so many never make it over the hump, so to speak, between knowing how to play and understanding how to play. It’s a subtle difference, but I’ve seen so many kids who know the rules of the board, but had absolutely no idea of what to do next! You could put five queens on the board against a lone king and the game would only end with an accidental checkmate or stalemate! I want to see more kids get over the hump, so to speak, and stick with chess. Their lives will be better for it.

Also, if you don’t mind, I’d like to share a word of warning to parents who might be looking for the right chess app. There are several good ones out there, not just mine, but keep in mind that most apps out there are designed by an app developer who wants easy money and they have created hundreds or thousands of fake email addresses so they can post false reviews. Often they are just a way to serve ads or sell micro transactions. I’d really encourage parents to take a look at the apps before they give them to their kids—I’ve seen some very kid un-friendly ads on some of these apps as well as constant hooks to try to get the users to keep putting in more money, a dollar here a dollar there…


Coach Jay’s Chess Academy takes young players from zero chess knowledge to a tournament ready strength of around 1000. It’s not just Checkmate and Tactics puzzles, though kids do love those! Rather, it’s those two, PLUS Endgame, Strategy, and Defense. If kids want to get to the next checkmate and tactics puzzles, they’re going to have to learn something about the rest of the chess disciplines as well! It’s the only app that includes all five indispensable disciplines and I think we roll it out in a way that really helps kids “get” it!
What are some weekly training routines a parent might ask of their child in regards to Coach Jay’s Chess Academy?

First, if you are the parent of a young player (Under 7 or 8), I advise sitting with your child in 20-30 minute stints and going through the app. For older students who know how to read well enough, the parent can ask them to earn 400-500 stars each week. After 4 weeks, they could revise it to 300 stars since the puzzles get a little tougher. In either case (with or without a parent) the Lessons should not be ignored, especially since the student only needs about 1 minute to get through them and they give you the concept and puzzle instructions that will then save you a lot of time over the next 8-16 puzzles.

Of course, they should also be playing games. Preferably notating them and showing them to their coach. That will always be the Number 1 way to improve in chess!
So far, what has been most popular aspect of Coach Jay’s Chess Academy with children?
Even though they might not be able to articulate it, the younger students love the gradual progression – getting dozens of answers correct as they slowly but certainly work their way towards more instructive and challenging puzzles. Older students enjoy the Post Puzzle Text – funny comments by Yours Truly, plus tournament advice, protocol, sportsmanship, chess history and fun facts.

In general, what is your advice to chess instructors on making training fun for kids?
Read a ton of chess history yourself and spend time every day (at least once a week) keeping up with what’s trending in the chess world. Kids can tell if you love your subject or not. When I find amazing games, I work to bring the excitement to my students as well. Additionally, I have introduced a ton of outside products into our programs – Think Like a King, Chess Magnet School,, Solitaire Chess (app and board game), 4-Way Chess, Magi Chess, Chess Legends Playing Cards, and much, much more!

Also, the more you teach with kids, the better you become at it. It sounds simple, but entertaining and educating kids is a skill that must be developed. For the past 20 years, I’ve watched the responses to the lessons I give, listened to their comments and refined my curriculum accordingly. I still use some of my early lessons, but they probably look much different now. Also, hopefully, my jokes have gotten better!
Do you envision that Coach Jay’s Chess Academy will be updated regularly? What are some future updates you are planning?
In these first few months, our updates have been to fix bugs and modify the design of the app to make it more intuitive and user-friendly. Next year, we plan to introduce new content and also an app that utilizes the engine for practice games. Maybe one day, there will be a story mode. We created an entire script, but had to scrap it when we found out how much it would cost to develop!

I have literally thousands of lessons sitting around waiting to make their way into the app! It’s a lot of work to modify it and work it into the app, but I’m having a blast revisiting some of my, and the kid’s, favorite lessons and I’m having too much fun to stop yet!

Even before Coach Jay’s Chess Academy, I remember seeing you promoting a chess product that used Karate Belts to mark achievements in chess. When did you first start incorporating martial arts rankings in your chess training? How did you come up with the idea of awarding belts in the first place?

I had originally envisioned my checkmate packets to be Pawn, Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen, and King, but the martial arts colors offered more levels and, at the time, we had another testing system that used those names. The Pawn Test had 10 tests to see if the players were ready for tournament play. It actually worked very well. This all happened in 1995, almost 20 years ago. The idea came to me when a student came to class bragging about earning his Yellow Belt. A chess dad who was also a martial arts dad, told me the order – White, Yellow, Purple, Orange, Green (POG), then Blue, Brown, and Black. So far, our Checkmate Belts only go up to Blue. But that’s hundreds of chess problems, and the difficulty increment is much steeper than in the app, since they have me in the room with them to help them when they get stuck!


It’s funny, but kids love metaphors. There are no actual belts in chess and Coach Jay’s Chess Academy doesn’t award any actual degrees, but they’re both systems that make sense to kids! It’s the same reason we award stars for completing puzzles. Not because they mean anything, but kids understand, largely from Angry Birds who actually stole it generations worth of from elementary teachers, that stars are rewards for a job well done!

Who knows, maybe there will come a day when I need to actually need to start handing out physical black belts along with a Coach Jay’s Chess Academy degree suitable for framing. If it helped kids fall in love with chess and enjoy expanding their minds, it would be well worth it!

Thank you so much for taking the time to interview me. As a fellow chess coach, I know how much passion goes into what you do. It’s not an easy job, but it’s a rewarding one and I have a great deal of respect for your work!


For additional information on this chess app, please see My Review of Coach Jay’s Chess Academy.

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