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.
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.
“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.”
“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!”
“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.”
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?