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John M.

Birmingham, AL

$50/hour

Classic Games Instructor in Chess, Backgammon, Poker, Psychology

In-person lessons

$50/Hour


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Dominican University of California
Psychology

Education

Dominican University of California (Psychology)

About John

I recently moved back to Birmingham, AL a couple of weeks ago at the time of writing this. I spent the last 6.5 years living out in the San Francisco Bay Area and 5.5 of those years were spent teaching as a Chess Instructor. I spent 3 years with The Berkeley Chess School and another 2.5 years running my own programs and private lessons. I have extensive experience competing all over the world as a child from ages 9-13 and won a national scholastic tournament for the 9-10 year old age group. I also spent two years from 11-12 on the All-American Chess team back then and only about 40-50 kids in the entire nation are accepted based on their age and current USCF rating. I also was invited to a fully paid for 10 day-intensive chess school at the Manhattan Chess Club, led by the late Grandmaster Edmar Mednis. Only 8-10 players from about 5th through 12th grade were accepted to this program. It was a great experience as they searched for the next young upcoming star to go represent the United States on the international stage. Around 13 I quit playing and turned more to sports. Later in my late teens and early 20's, I taught myself No-Limit Holdem Online Poker and played professionally online for 5 years, making millions of dollars at the biggest cash games in the world against the top players in the world. Six figure cash games pots on a daily basis were common occurrence back then until the United States removed online poker in February of 2011. Despite this, there is still so much to learn to help any live player and poker enthusiast improve his/her game. Unfortunately, that kind of money too early in life was not managed well at all.

Later on I moved to the San Francisco North Bay Area at age 25 to teach chess after a long hiatus since my competitive days playing chess as a child. I also spent a few years immersed in a small, but special world class Backammon group and read books, studied on a computer program, and immersed myself in the game until I could play at a world class level against some of the world's very best. Just before moving back to Birmingham, I spent a few months playing and living with the number one player in the world, which helped bump my game to the level I always wanted. The Classic Games are comprised of Chess , (which is great for younger players and still good to learn at any age has comprised most of my teaching experience), Backgammon is like the chess of the Middle East, which is great for 5th grade students to middle school aged kids all the way up to any adult, and then last but not least, Poker, my true love, which usually draws more of the adult crowd, have all been my great passions for the last 12 years. I have traveled all over the world playing competitively at the highest levels. I really enjoy teaching and also offer a few lessons on the psychology of classic games, especially No-Limit poker. The right mindset alone can change the outcomes of a game from a loss to a victory and many metaphors within some of these games transfer directly into life lessons in the real world. I am also happy to share some of the more interesting and wild high stakes stories with those that are interested, once we have become acquainted and covered enough material to make sure you understand the basics. These games have really helped my self-confidence, critical thinking skills, and they are my life's passion.

I completed a 4 year B.S. in Psychology from the University of Dominican in the North Bay near San Francisco a few years ago and studying/observing human behavior in life and games has helped me have a keen sense of being able to read a person's emotions and behaviors, almost to the point of predicting future behavior at times.

Many young kids in elementary schools can find an after school program with a chess club since many offer that service, but most don't reach their full potential without the help of a strong private instructor. This can really benefit your child and give them a much better chance to bring home a 1st place in that next big State Championship Scholastic Tournament. For older kids and adults, Backgammon is a truly elegant game, huge in the Middle East, and it can be a real thrill to learn compared to chess. For college students or adults, understanding the psychology of poker and discussing poker strategy from beginner to advanced play can really make a drastic difference in a player's game, assuming they can develop the discipline and patience to achieve this at the table while maintaining strong emotional control. I hope more students will be interested in Backgammon as it is more of a rarity a very special, high paced, and exciting game. Poker would also be a joy to teach more as well. Chess is easily the most prevalent of the classic games that is taught, but I would like to see people expand their horizons by learning some of the other games and psychology behind them as well.

Thanks and hope to see some of you for some in person lessons in town or we can use this newer technology and do an online lesson through Skype as well. Good Luck in your endeavors and never give up on any dream,

-John
I recently moved back to Birmingham, AL a couple of weeks ago at the time of writing this. I spent the last 6.5 years living out in the San Francisco Bay Area and 5.5 of those years were spent teaching as a Chess Instructor. I spent 3 years with The Berkeley Chess School and another 2.5 years running my own programs and private lessons. I have Read more

Policies
Cancellation
24 hours notice required
Travel Radius
Travels within 20 miles of Birmingham, AL 35213
In-person lessons
Science:
Psychology
Sports/Recreation:
Chess,
Poker

Approved subjects are in bold.

Approved subjects

In most cases, tutors gain approval in a subject by passing a proficiency exam. For some subject areas, like music and art, tutors submit written requests to demonstrate their proficiency to potential students. If a tutor is interested but not yet approved in a subject, the subject will appear in non-bold font. Tutors need to be approved in a subject prior to beginning lessons.

Chess

I played competitively all over the world from ages 9-13 when I was a child. I won a national junior championship when I was 10 for the 9-10 year old age group and also made the All-American Chess Team, which only picks 40-50 kids per year from K-12 in the entire nation to be on it. I was also accepted to a fully paid 10-day intensive chess program at The American Chess School at the Manhattan Chess Club in NYC that was sponsored by the United States Chess Federation to prepare young players for the international stage. Only about 8-10 people were invited each year to this exclusive Chess School run by the late Grandmaster Edmar Mednis. I then stopped playing competitively around the United States around the age of 13 and took a long break from chess. I started teaching as a chess instructor for the Berkeley Chess School when I was 26 at the beginning of 2011. I taught for them for 3 years and then went off on my own for another 2.5 years after that, so I have extensive experience teaching group lessons to children K-8 and also did lots of private teaching during the entire 5.5 years I was teaching out in the San Francisco Bay Area. I recently moved back to Birmingham, AL and am looking for more lessons to teach.

Poker

I started playing live poker at age 18 before going to my freshmen year in college. I then switched to online No-Limit Holdem during freshmen year and by the time I was 22 years old, I had made millions of dollars playing in the biggest poker games in the world and also traveling to a few international tournaments for fun. A regular win or loss in cash games that big would be six-figures on a daily basis. I became one of the top players for a couple of years and the psychology of poker and other classic games is my strong suit.

I also offer Backgammon lessons, which is kind of like the Chess of the Middle East. This has become a more recent passion of mine the past few years and I have played with the best in the world at a world class level. I think many adults interested in learning a new class game would find it very elegant and addictive.

Dominican University of California
Psychology

Education

Dominican University of California (Psychology)

Hourly rate

Standard Hourly Rate: $50.00

Cancellation: 24 hours notice required

Travel policy

John will travel within 20 miles of Birmingham, AL 35213.