Ten Years of Coach Tanner!

Coach Tanner


In the summer of 2011, Tanner Nicely showed up for an interview as a chess aide with Silver Knights.  He'd just finished high school, and was looking for a summer job.  He'd been in a chess club at Hayfield Elementary and had played in a few chess tournaments, and thought that teaching chess to kids sounded fun.  We had no idea at the time, but this was actually a momentous occasion! 

After a year or so as an aide, he moved into a role as a coach.  Since then, Tanner has taught 4,000 kids to play chess in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax County, plus the occasional trip to Prince William County or DC.  For the last year, he's been earning rave reviews from students (and parents!) in his online classes.

For the last ten years we've been SO lucky to have Tanner as a coach. He's incredibly reliable, outrageously patient, and just the right amount of just the right kind of goofy humor.

What have kids, parents, and schools said about Tanner and their classes and camps with him?


My daughter... LOVES chess club. She comes home with lessons learned each time--and I'm really excited for her. Waynewood Elementary

My son loves the class, tells me about new moves, victories, and just really enthusiastic about it all. Thanks so much for all the effort you guys put in this.
We love it! Aquinas Montessori

(My daughter) is loving chess so far... (she) is really enthusiastic about the program. Browne Academy

...Coach Tanner did a great job of keeping them engaged in the chess instruction at the beginning and then at facilitating some exciting competition among them as they all played games for the second half of the club. It was a treat for me to see so many engaged kids of all ages having a good time together. Clermont Elementary

Every week Coach Tanner sent an email telling us what the kids learned in class that week. He would even list the kids by name that got checkmate that week and offer words of congratulations and encouragement. He was A-mazing and his communication was outstanding. As a parent, it was great to read not only what my son learned in class, but also that he made checkmate that week. Ashland Elementary

My daughter really enjoyed and learnt a lot from Coach Tanner classes. Online parent from North Carolina

"Tanner is my son’s favorite chess teacher! Thank you! Online parent from Virginia

(right after a class) I wish I had a time machine so it could be next week already! Online student from Maryland

My son who is 5 loves his chess lessons and we hear about how fun it is every week. Thanks for the time and effort your group is pouring out for our kids.

My son enjoys going to chess club and really likes the game! We're delighted that he likes chess as it's much more educational and people interactive/social than video games. Thank-you for putting on a great program, (name)

My son is having a great time. This is his second time participating. He is enthusiastic to share with us new strategies he learns. He feels accomplished when he plays well. It's a lovely way for him to start his morning. Thanks to you guys for bringing this opportunity to the kids!

My son, has been enjoying the chess class very much. He participated last year and is very excited about this year as well.

My sons are enjoying chess club this year

My daughter loves the chess club--even though I had to twist her arm the first day. Indeed, her little sister is now interested. We're hoping to sign both of them up in the Spring if there's a Spring session. I'm so glad this has rekindled her interest. I won't say that she plays every day now, but she does play most days.

So convenient and great instructors. I also enjoy the weekly recap from the instructor.

Our child learned a lot and was able to play with some older cousins. 

My son really enjoyed chess club and is looking forward to next session

My child loved it and improved so much.

My grandsons loved the class and the instructor was very good.

My son had a great time and found the class fun. My child loves the game of chess... he enjoyed himself and will take the class again.

My daughter loved playing chess, and she even taught my 4 year old. Now they both play each other. I like that you offer a great program for young kids. Thank you!

I like the way the coach teaches the kids... coach Tanner shows great patience and tactics when coaching.

(Tanner) had a great way of communicating with the children.


Feel free to add your own in the comments!



  • Maryland Parent

    Coach Tanner is a 10!

    If my son has a different instructor for a particular week, that coach gets rated off of the Tanner standard :)

  • Quynh Glasson

    My son Pierson enjoyed Tanner’s classes so much, he asked me to enroll him to become a member. Tanner has been such a positive and patient teacher and people are impressed by my son’s progression in chess! Thanks, Tanner!

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