1) To improve students’ critical thinking and reasoning skills,
2) To challenge each student to always perform their best,
3) To teach students valuable life skills for success.
Coach Derek, the founder and Director of Fundamental Chess Academy, is a two-time California HS State Champion, runner-up to K-12 National Championships, and nationally ranked through the US Chess Federation. He started playing chess at the age of 10 and discovered a life-long passion for the game. He first learned through his school’s chess club and later moved on to local clubs in the community where he would attend classes and compete in their weekly tournaments. After reaching a plateau, he took his game to the next level with private chess coaching from National Master Ed Labate and International Master Jack Peters. Soon, his rating jumped up 100s of points through state and national tournaments and eventually reached National Master status himself at age 17. Qualified with a proven chess résumé and invaluable life experiences, Coach Derek attended UCLA where he studied Human Physiology and led the UCLA Chess Team as President. After graduating, Coach Derek founded Fundamental Chess Academy in 2012 and began sharing his talents with up-and-coming young minds ready to start their own chess journeys.
Currently, he continues to train many of his students to reach the National Top 100 for their age group and coaches his chess teams to compete in local and state tournaments. He hopes to pass along all the valuable lessons he experienced as a player and strives to create a positive environment where his students can grow and develop into well-minded, intelligent young people.