(720) 504-8765 info@palschess.com

PALS Chess Academy

PLAY ASPIRE LEARN SUCCEED: Chess Camps, Clubs and Lessons for Kids
Chess ClubsChess Camps

AT PALS, OUR MISSION IS TO INSPIRE LIFE-LONG CHESS PLAYERS!

Our before and after-school chess club programs start with a unique, fun and individualized chess curriculum.  We have Colorado’s best-trained chess coaches, who are passionate about teaching children and fostering a safe, fun and encouraging learning environment. PALS chess clubs work with ALL levels of chess players, from beginners who don’t know how the pieces move, to advanced players. Every year since 2014, PALS Chess Academy students have consistently scored in the top 5% at the annual Colorado State Scholastic Chess Championship with numerous state champions. 

 

CAMPS

PALS chess camps are the gold standard for aspiring young chess players in Colorado. Our original camp curriculum combines unique and fun interactive games and exciting team competitions! We group students according to ability and prioritize exploring new chess concepts, having fun and making life-long friendships!

CLUBS

PALS before and after school chess clubs are usually one hour long and include an original lesson, engaging puzzles, our very own chesserizes and fun game play. During gameplay, coaches will help teach critical fundamentals and strategies. 

LESSONS

PALS is your one-stop shop for private and small-group instruction.  Our coaches provide in-depth 30 to 60-minute zoom lessons. Whether you are a beginner looking to beat your parent or have your sights set on the next State Championship, PALS has the right coach for you!

TOURNEYS

PALS tournaments are kid-friendly, tons of fun, and a great way to motivate your child to improve in chess while learning valuable chess and life lessons.  Playing in tournaments is a great way to improve your chess skills through friendly competition and a fantastic way to make new pals!

Chess isn’t just a fun game; it is a gateway to countless worlds with unlimited possibilities. It’s a mental workout that sharpens your mind and fuels your creativity! Join Colorado’s premier chess program and start your journey to becoming the best YOU you can be!

 

Meet the McConnell family, PALS’ new owners

Kevin, Kori, Griffin, Sullivan and Moira (the McConnell family) are super excited to be the new owners of PALS Chess Academy! Chess has been a huge part of our family’s life for the past 13 years and we are deeply honored to share our passion for chess education. For the past 10 years, PALS has been the premier organization for before and after-school chess clubs, scholastic chess tournaments and quality group and private chess lessons. Coach Lior Lapid (PALS founder) was a critical part of Sullivan and Griffin’s chess journey to becoming National Masters. The boys now hold 11 Colorado State chess championship titles between them. Griffin started the non-profit “ChessAbilities Inc.” 2 years ago and held the first “North American Chess Camp for Children with Disabilities” last year. Our family is dedicated to growing PALS and we will work tirelessly to inspire life-long chess players!

Be sure to watch the video below about Griffin’s story.
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“PALS offers a more holistic approach to chess education that develops a range of mental skills that will serve students in chess and in life… It is one of the best, if not the single best, scholastic chess programs in the area.”

Review of PALS Chess Academy

Chess-site.com

5
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“It wasn’t until I came to PALS that I fully understood what it meant to improve and challenge my game. I’ll never forget the awe and confusion I felt when I tried to keep up with PALS during the very first game we played. PALS was able to explain not only their own strategies but also the mistakes I was making throughout the game. Their ability to cater to different skill levels is unmatched; I went to a camp with my 7-year-old sister and other players across various spectrums of ability and was able to get just as much from it as they did because of how personalized PALS makes their lesson plans. On top of this, PALS warm demeanor and patience highlights how they cares about more than just your chess skills, but about you as a person. After the camp, I felt humbled but also inspired to continue to enjoy and pursue chess as a lifelong hobby. I can’t recommend PALS enough and owe it to them for renewing my passion for the game.”

Riker Johnson

5
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“Simply stated, PALS is, without a doubt, the BEST chess teacher and coach I have ever met. As a teacher myself, with a masters degree in education and 25+ years experience teaching, I recognize talent and exceptionality when I see it. After having the pleasure of watching PALS teach a variety of students, in classroom settings, summer camps, and individualized lessons, I can honestly say PALS is terrific! PALS has created a specialized curriculum, unique to PALS, that scaffolds a wide variety of chess ideas within each lesson. Unlike most chess lessons which are dull and boring, PALS lessons are thoughtful and captivating.

Watching PALS teach chess is like listening to Mozart compose at the piano. PALS imagination and creativity are limitless. PALS weaves the depth of its chess knowledge together with its innate love of chess to create extraordinary lessons. PALS enthusiasm for teaching, along with its ability to entertain whilst conveying difficult ideas is exhilarating. PALS teaching style is magical; taking a basic chess concept and turning it into an exciting tale, breathing life and energy into the motionless plastic pieces. I have seen their students on the edge of their seats, hanging on their every word, excitedly throwing their hands up in the air and jumping out of their chairs trying to answer his challenging questions. I must, however, warn you, their love of chess is contagious.

PALS understands that each child is a unique learner. PALS is engaged with all of their students making sure each of them grow in their chess knowledge and ability. I have no doubt PALS will be tremendously beneficial to the growth of chess in Colorado in the years to come. I feel quite lucky to have them as my coach.”

Ann Davies

5
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“I really can’t convey to you how fortunate we as an entire family feel having you as the boys’ chess coach. You are always prepared for your lessons and you almost always (not that we expect this now) go over the allotted time to finish the lesson. This is EXACTLY what we had been searching for in a coach and it is so wonderful to have finally found it! The fact that you have so obviously given actual and significant thought to what the boys should be working on to achieve their goals is so refreshing. I don’t know if any other parents have told you what an outstanding job you do but if they haven’t, they should have their heads examined. My guess is they don’t know how good they have it because they have only had you as their child’s chess coach.

On top of all I have pointed out so far, you LISTEN to my kids and they have never been LISTENED to before. You are a genuinely nice person and always encourage a collaborative process. You have hired my oldest son to assist you with some of your classes and paid him a very fair wage to do so, knowing that he was getting the benefit of observing you and learning from you at the same time. Both boys have LOVED every lesson with you….seriously, they are beaming after the lessons and feel like they have LEARNED from your lessons, every single time. I will stop now, knowing I could go on and on. I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for being really good at what you do (and I know that that involves a lot of WORK on your part). I don’t know how far my boys will go in chess but I can assure you that they will ALWAYS remember their time with you as their coach and will look back at this time in their lives as one of the most significant periods of excitement and growth in chess that they ever experienced.

Thank you SO much for caring about what you do and doing it so well!”

Kevin McConnell

father of K-8 Colorado State Champion and Co-Champion Sullivan and Griffin McConnell

5
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My son joined PALS chess team in first grade and was soon thereafter diagnosed with dyslexia, which served to undermine his confidence on multiple levels – in the classroom and beyond. As a chess team member, however, he not only had fun while participating on the team and in tournaments, but he also received a massive boost of self-worth through his success at the board. I have come to understand that while he was playing chess, my son was exercising the portion of the brain that works to understand big picture, if-then scenarios. During a recent cognitive evaluation, my son was diagnosed among the 92% of highest thinkers in Fluid Reasoning. The psychologist explained to me that chess has a lot to do with this aspect of his success. Without PALS passing on their enthusiasm for the game, we would likely be looking at a very different academic outcome, but I am thankful to share that my son was recently accepted into a private high school with rigorous academic requirements. Thank you, PALS, for your dedication to your students, to the game of chess and for the long-term positive impact you have had on my son and my family. Ever grateful, Christina

Christina Morley

5
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“Our son attended full day chess camp and loved it! He looked forward to it *all* summer and was not disappointed. Every day he would come home excited to tell us what he learned that day and every night he would be sitting at the kitchen table, practicing his chess moves. PALS is so great with the kids and makes learning fun and exciting. Thank you so much to the coaches – we are hoping to be able to send our son again in the future!”

Jamye Harris

5
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“PALS has been a big help preparing me for tournaments and becoming a better chess player…PALS has helped me select specific openings and strategy that fit my style of play. And their lessons are always fun!”

Calvin DeJong

Colorado K-6 State Champion

5
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“I cannot say enough wonderful things about PALS. Their coaches have been a fantastic influence for my son Johnny. They make chess fun while their humor and friendliness help the kids feel at ease. If there’s a “Chess Coach of the Year” award, I would certainly vote PALS”

Cheri Burrer

5
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Dear PALS

“You are a hero in the community, and I thank you for your efforts. I applaud your innovation in using your skill as a chess champion to instill strategy and forward thinking in our students. The valuable life skills they learn from your class is priceless and positively impacts their lives for years to come.”

Tom Udall

United States Senator

5

Chess has so many benefits!

Introducing your child to the game of chess will bring about:

  • It’s FUN
  • Improves critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Enhances cognitive development and memory
  • Fosters character and sportsmanship
  • Did we mention that it’s FUN?
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