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I feel these comments are a good cross section from the many letters I have received over the years. Many of the congratulatory letters came in response to my end of the year newsletters. These are among my favorites--well, besides the ones that praise me individually :0)--as they identify many of the the types of things I do to create an academic, structured and fun program. The letters were unsolicited and the names have been changed to protect the guilty. No changes, however, occur in the letter from Scott Pfeiffer,

Dear Dr. Kirshner,
John’s had a wonderful time in Chess Club this year, plus, as icing on the cake, his motivation in school has improved a lot. And based on his analytical chess aptitude, I got him GATE tested (despite no recommendation from teacher or principal) and he got into GATE just a couple of weeks ago.

We’re so pleased with John’s enjoyment in Chess Club and his improved attitude and competitive spirit.
Thank you so much for all your time, effort and expertise in running the top-notch program.

Sincerely, Susan Fay and Family

Dear Dr. Kirshner,
Just wanted to send this note on how efficient, captivating and motivating your instructors are!! My daughter and son started their first Chess Instruction experience this year at Milpitas Christian School. My son, Neil has had Kevin Batangan from the start and he has thoroughly enjoyed his learning experience with Kevin. Lana finds it really awesome when coach Kevin plays chess kind of blind folded (not having to see the chess board and the pieces - what an amazing memory!)
My daughter (who is 6), Lana had coach Moe to start with and she enjoyed the suburb guidance that coach Moe gave her and built her confidence. My daughter is really shy with men and kind of afraid to have a man as her instructor. When coach Moe left our school, coach Chris Plummer took over...Lana was really afraid to go to his class... Last Wednesday she finally went to his class with so much of reluctance but you should have seen her face when she came out from the class. She was so excited, bubbly and happy that she went for her chess class and I owe it all to Coach Chris Plummer. He made it a wonderful experience for her. Since I couldn't find Chris Plummer's email id on your web site. I thought I will send this to you and maybe you can forward my Special Thanks to Chris for being an outstanding coach! I know my daughter is going to enjoy playing chess under Chris's guidance!
Thanks to you for your wonderful organisation and the effort you put in to make it a happy experiecence for our kids!
Jane Berenson

Dear Mr. Kirshner,
Thank you very much for the chess scholarship this year.  I had a lot of fun and I learned a lot.  I really liked our teachers, David and Hans.  They were really fair with each of us and helpful.  Thank you again!

From, Chap Retislen

Dear Alan,

As I sat at the chess banquet Friday evening, I was in such awe of the group of chess enthusiasts you have created over the years. I can remember when Judy'’s chess banquets were less than 1/2 that size. What an accomplishment and what a legacy. We are so grateful for you and for that being of you, in our children’s lives. I can’t believe I’ve let this many years go by without communicating how much you have been and are valued in our family over the years.

Your devoted and loving followers,
Kate, Michael, Judy and Sam Keiko

Dear Dr. Kirshner:

I just wanted to let you know that Sangria has graduated from Weibel. You may be offering Chess instruction for Junior High student but Sangria is going to join a private Junior high school so unfortunately she will not be able to continue with Weibel Chess program.

She has thoroughly enjoyed all those years she played chess for Weibel. I have no doubt that Weibel community is very thankful to you for teaching and enhancing knowledge of chess of these kids . Thank you very much for your dedication, hard work and enthusiasm. Your guidance has molded Sandria's life and personality in a very positive manner and we will be grateful to you forever for that.

I hope you will continue to share your wealth of knowledge with young kids' and I am sure they and their families will be grateful to you forever like us.

Thanks once again to you and your team.

Heta Dravidian
(Sangria's mom)

Thank you Dr. Kirshner. It is all your hardwork toward
the chess program for the children. It has taught them
a number of things: focus, concentration, fun,
competition and the game itself. The children and the
parents thank you for your effort. We are and will
always be grateful to you. Learnings of Chess from you
will be with them through out their life in many
different ways as they grow. So, the seed from you is
very important without which they would not have even
come this far.

Best wishes and regards

Dear Dr. Alan and Chris,
XXXXX has enjoyed another terrific year of chess with Success Chess.
Thanks go to you and your teachers who come to XXXXXX and lead the
One boy whom I've worked with on his math and reading for the past 3
years moved from being a beginner to the highest group before the team this year. His
self-confidence and intellectual development is miraculous to me.
And, the usual suspects are continuing to thrive.

This isn't the first time a non-academic kids has excelled. Last year, a
dad thanked me over and over again for bringing you to XXXXXX. His
dyslexic kid shone in chess, and it helped him do much better in school
for the confidence it gave him!

Thank you for controlling the noise mid-year.
Chris' management style REALLY helps ensure the children maintain their
decorum. Friday afternoons are a challenging time, and the children are
ready to party down. Thank goodness that Chris is not only a tremendous
person, and a talented coach, but also excellent in managing a hundred
squirrelly kids.



Thank you ever so much for your willingness to create a chess program at our school this year. I have heard nothing but favorable reports about you, your instructors and your program. I will be very happy to have Success Chess with us again in the Fall.

Kent Sandia, Principal

Dear Dr. Kirshner.

Thank you for implementing such a beneficial program at Mission Valley.  my son, Nikit, has really taken a liking to chess as well as becoming a very strong player on his team.  I also want to compliment the wonderful, caring and knowledgeable teachers. Hanz and the female teacher overlooking the club are great.

My daughter Sara is enjoyin the club too. She likes her teacher and is learning well.


Karan Sharma

Dear Alan.
Thank you for your email. I read it! Seriously. My son, who is in 1st grade at xxxxxx, has participated in this program all year. What a wonderful opportunity! It is so nice for our children to have a choice of non-athletic related, after school activites. We hope to participate again next year. Thank you again.

Pam (
A parent at a school where over half the chess club members are on the federal lunch program and, therefore, have full scholarships for SCS)


My husband and I want to thank you so very much for starting the chess club at Silver Oak. My boys are having such a wonderful time and we are very pleased with their enthusiasm and learning experience. 

Warm Regards,
Jan Hymm

Hi Alan,

Thanks for the great update. My son, Johnny Fan, at James Leitch greatly enjoys your chess classes. When we forgot to re-new for Spring semester, he reminded us several times. His interest carries over to the home front where he is constantly bugging his dad to play with him.

Your dedication to this game and your efforts with the children is impressive. I am very grateful to you for exposing our children to this wonderful, intelligent sport.


Hello Alan,

I wanted to let you know my children (Arnav and Jayodita) enjoyed the program you designed this year. They also were thrilled with the certificated and trophys you and your staff provided to each of the students. It had a hugh positive impact upon my children and many thanks to you and your staff for making the last day a big sucess for our children.

Looking forward to joining your fall program. Regards,
Harsha Singh

Hi Alan,

My name is Lotus Jeng.  My son Jacob Jeng is in the chess team in Dilworth Elementary School.  Last Tuesday, Josh was their substitute teacher for Sandi. I happened to be there during his class for most of the time.  I wrote to let you know that he did a very good job in disciplining the children and giving instructions.  My son enjoyed his teaching very much.

I also want to express my appreciation towards my son’s regular teacher, Sandi. He has made a lot of efforts in his teaching.

I am glad that my son is a member of your chess school. He definitely learned a lot from your staff. Thank you for providing this opportunity.

Best regards,   


 Dear Dr. Kirshner,       

It's been a while since I last spoke with you, but, I thought a progress report was in order.This was my first full year as chess instructor in a bi-weekly, after-school program at Pinedale Elementary School in Jacksonville,Florida.We modeled our program , to some extent, after your very successful program at Weibel Elementary. We took to heart your advice on implementing a "hands-on" approach to instruction by providing club members an opportunity to purchase small pocket magnetic sets for home games. Many students took advantage of this opportunity. With funding from the Paxon Full Service Schools Program, we were able to purchase 20+ sets, demo board, pay my salary, and use the remaining funds for travel expenses to a Jacksonville Chess Club Scholastic Chess Tournament.We recently hosted the First Annual Pinedale Invitational at the school, drawing 50 participants from the various elementary schools in our Duval County School System and from as far away as Statesboro,Georgia (a 3-hour drive!) Rewarding the kids with certificates of participation, trophies for 1st and 2nd place finishers, and door prizes for ALL attendees seems to be the right ingredients for motivating the kids.It's truly amazing to see the progress our students have made over the year.It's no wonder that the "Green Pawns" walked away with 5 of the 6 trophies at the Invitational ! We were truly blessed with a tremendous outpouring of support that the administration, staff, teachers, and parents provided over the year.Having taught chess at several local schools, this was the 1st time for me that everything fell together to create SUCCESS. The key is to have ALL the elements working together on behalf of the kids. Like chess pieces, people function best as a team in working toward a common goal and when there is genuine solidarity, success is a given.

I periodically revisit your website for inspiration and to note the many nice upgrades.We are hopeful that our initial success at Pinedale will be the springboard for infusing chess into the local school landscape.There is a tremendous need for this type of activity in our Jacksonville Schools, which is a huge school system with over 100 elementary schools.We believe that Pinedale's Green Pawns will be the model for other programs to follow, just as your Weibel Elementary School is.

If you would like to get a better picture of our efforts at Pindale, please review the following article:  http://www.jacksonville.com/tu-online/stories/050303/neR_12428033.shtml
Thanks again and look forward to hearing from you again.

Yours in Chess,
Scott Pfeiffer

PS: Here is a small point of interest concerning Pinedale which might be worth mentioning. At the beginning of the school year, when our chess club first met, we decided to "vote" on a team name.Various candidates were submitted and the children were allowed to orally explain why they chose a particular nickname.When her time came, India Wishart, a 4th grader, spoke up and pointed out that since GREEN was a school color, she thought a good name would be the Pinedale Green Pawns.We asked her why she chose "Pawns" and she replied "because pawns are LOYAL!" ( I love it!!!) This nickname won by an overwhelming margin.Apparently ,it had struck a chord with the children