Puddletown Chess Teaches the Next Generation

Puddletown Chess Teaches the Next Generation



My goal in teaching chess has always been to get more kids playing to expand our competitive chess community: to replace the young players who move on to other activities and the old timers who give up the game. I was gratified to discover that the three kids behind Puddletown Chess are building on the same idea with their full-service organization, offering chess training, seminars and tournaments for beginners and experienced players.

Puddletown is led by Zoey Tang, an International Master, current Oregon State Champion and freshman at Westview High School. Her achievements are remarkable, but it’s especially impressive that she’s using the expertise she’s gained to spread chess knowledge to others. Rounding out the Puddletown team are Zoey’s younger brother, Austin Tang and Ishaan Kodarapu, both accomplished players in their own rankings, and both still in middle school.

Yes, these kids are all intimidating. But they also seem to be refreshingly modest and doing it for the right reasons. They want to keep chess active and available for kids and players of all ages. Their online offerings are an easy entry point for beginners to learn and play at their own pace. Puddletown tournaments, held at comfortable locations like Godfather’s Pizza, are convenient and relaxing. The Puddletown founders proudly tell me that the youngest player at a recent tournament was 4 years old(!) and they get lots of return players.

And for you cynics out there who think, “they’re probably just doing it to make money,” the truth is Puddletown’s goal is to donate $500,000 worth of cash and free services by the time they all graduate high school in 2028. Pretty admirable! So, the future of chess looks bright thanks to the ambitious ideas of these resourceful kids. It’s almost enough to ease the troubled mind of a crusty old timer like me.


To find out more about Puddletown Chess and their complete learning opportunities, go to Puddletownchess.org

Why learn chess? Simple: It’s a great mental workout that helps children perform well in the classroom. Chess is a logical game where kids have to plan ahead and adjust to new situations. But most of all, it’s fun!

Larry Ball (Coach Larry) teaches students of all ages at the Steinitz Chess Academy in Beaverton. For more information, email Larry at larryball48@yahoo.com.