Business Spotlight Story: Steinitz Chess Academy

By Larry Ball

Five years ago, after his retirement from a marketing career, Larry Ball started the Steinitz Chess Academy in the back room of his Northeast Portland home. He started with just a few students but now teaches as many as forty kids each week from a half dozen Metro area schools. Those kids can be spotted at chess tournaments with personalized chess score books and often with Coach Larry looking on from the sidelines as they play.

The Steinitz Academy

The Steinitz Academy has a library of over 1500 chess books on openings, middle games, and endings along with some game collections available for his students to borrow as they seek to get an edge on competitors. The kids like to get together to share ideas, analyze openings, games and any position that they find interesting. They are spending the summer studying and playing chess and looking forward to another competitive year.

Now in Beaverton

Now that Coach Larry has moved to Beaverton, he’s closer to many of those students and his plans for fall lessons are underway. He’s customizing individual and group lessons for his students, and arranging new classes for schools like Montessori School of Beaverton and Access Academy. He hopes to reach even more chess students in other area schools. No matter where they come from or what level they’re at, chances are the kids will thrive under Coach Larry’s unique style of teaching. It’s amazing how fast these young kids learn under the tutelage of a dedicated instructor.

Success Story

Coach Larry emphasizes that success in chess comes from extensive preparation and the leader of the Steinitz students, Gavin Zhang, is proof of that. He played with the state’s top young chess players in the Oregon Scholastic Chess Federation State Chess Championship, April 13-14 at the Seaside Convention Center. Gavin also played in the St. Louis Susan Polgar Tournament, where he started in 10th place and ended an impressive 3rd. The next weekend he was off to Nashville for the Super Nationals, an invitational tournament for top-ranked players from each state.

Gavin is clearly an outstanding young chess player, but Coach Larry says he sees a lot of success stories, at all ages and all levels.

For more information about the Steinitz Chess Academy, contact Larry at 503-348-2800.