North Tonawanda Youth Center

Chess Masters



  • For Boys and Girls 
  • Grades 2 - 12 
  • Mondays 
-Chess Club 5-6:30 PM 
-Chess Class 6:30-8 PM
  • 12 weeks instruction
  • March 13 - June 5
  • $50 per child (sibling discount available)
  • Limited spots available

The NT Recreation Department will be working with the Buffalo Chess Association to bring you the opportunity to provide master level chess instruction for your child/ren at fraction of the cost.


What We Offer:

Our motto is “balancing competition and fun,” and is the underlying principle behind all of our lessons.

 We hire chess coaches who can connect with students-- coaches who offer them the guidance they need to grow both their skills and their love of the game. 

Players will always be pushed to grow, but not at the expense of their enjoyment of the game. 

We also have instructors who can cater to any skill level, so that students will never feel that they have “outgrown” their teachers.

Chess Club or Chess Class

We will operate as both a chess club and a chess class. Here are the differences:

Chess Club will be a little more informal. Kids can come in by themselves or with friends and play some friendly chess matches. Our instructors will be on hand to give advice and help improve the child's overall chess play. The chess club will run on Mondays like before at 5 PM. You can opt to pay a one-time price of $50 ($60 for non-residents) for the 12-week chess club program or pay a $5 drop-in price just on the days your child wants to attend. (Drop-in payments must be made online prior to arrival and can be made any time before the start time)

Chess Class will be more structured week to week for the more serious player with the intent of greatly improving their chess playing knowledge, forming strategies, and testing their limits. The chess class will run on Mondays starting at 6:30 PM. 

Snack will be provided for each session. Participants are encouraged to bring their own beverage or plan to buy one from our Snack Shake.

Once a child has been registered for the entire 12-week program, they can opt to move from chess club to chess class from week to week. (With instructor approval) If you opt for drop-in only then you can only attend chess club for that given week. 

Meet the instructors


Mark has been practicing chess since he was a child. His peak online rating was 2500, and he has competed in and placed in multiple major tournaments.

 He began teaching chess volunteering at a local high school, and found a passion for instructing there. He and John Hanni co-founded Buffalo Chess Association to provide high quality lessons to students in the area. 

Mark was in the top 100 in NYS out of all chess players and top 10 in Buffalo. He's won the Marchand tournament 3 times along with placing 10th at the world open in Philadelphia.

His students have  won the NYS scholastic U1000 section multiple (2) times, one student won the U1200 NYS championship section, another tied for first at the Cleveland open.

He has over ten years of teaching experience and provides the curriculum’s structure.


    John has spent most of his life teaching. He began running classes at his martial arts studio while still in high school. 

    During college he began teaching chess at schools across Western New York, and eventually went on to found Buffalo Chess Association with his co-owner, Mark Johnson. He has roughly ten years of teaching experience, and is the lead designer for the program’s lessons.


1. Improves Concentration and Memory

Studies conducted by the University of Memphis have found that children who play chess significantly improve their visual memory, attention span, and spatial-reasoning ability … all important factors for success in school.

2. Enhances Math and Reading

The need to focus on problem solving and the process of thinking through move variables are important traits that help improve children's math skills. In addition, studies have shown that because chess requires children to use cognitive processes such as decoding, analysis, thinking, and comprehension (all skills required for reading), chess playing kids greatly improve their reading skills over non playing kids.

3. Helps Develop Logic, Critical Thinking, and CREATIVITY

Playing chess requires a lot of "if-then" logical analysis and "what-if" scenarios, all necessary ingredients for developing logical and critical thinking. In addition, studies show that chess boosts creativity, most dramatically in originality. Researchers attribute this boost to the process of imagining all the possible move alternatives which trains the mind to play with possibilities … the cornerstone of original thinking.

4. Encourages and Rewards Hard Work

Playing chess provides immediate feedback. Lose your focus, lose a piece; study the game and practice, win more games. Your children control their destiny.

5. Think Through Solving Complex Problems

Chess helps kids learn and practice thinking through and finding solutions to complex problems.