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About Chess for Students

John Bain, M.S. Education, a certified USCF tournament director, a certified special education teacher, is an expert in textbook and materials modification. John taught special education at Central High School in Independence, Oregon, where he also supervised a district-wide chess club. Today, John is a chess book author.

Prior to Central High School, John taught in juvenile corrections at Hillcrest School of Oregon, where he established an academic chess program, called Analytical Thinking/Chess, as part of the regular school curriculum, offering chess classes in two-period blocks.

The first period of each block consisted of a lecture on the principles and practices of chess. During the lecture period, students practiced skills which are transferable to any school setting; e.g., listening skills, note-taking skills, vocabulary skills, group discussion skills, reading comprehension skills, and oral language acquisition and usage skills. In addition, students gave class presentations by reviewing with the class their own chess games that they recorded.

The second period of each block consisted of “hands-on” activities, drills, and ladder challenges, where students practiced the principles they learned.

A second component of the chess program involved student participation in United States Chess Federation (USCF) rated tournaments in the community, visits to city chess clubs, and chess matches with other middle schools and high schools.

John’s published books include the best-selling titles Chess Rules For Students, Checkmate! Ideas For Students, and Chess Tactics For Students, which are used enthusiastically in school chess programs throughout the United States. The books are available from your favorite chess materials distributor or online at

John lives in Corvallis, Oregon, with his wife LaVaun. In his spare time, John reads, walks, writes chess books, travels, enjoys movies and dining out, coaches and plays chess.


In my younger days I was a tournament player. As a parent of young children—ages 4 and 7 years old, I am having a wonderful time teaching and sharing the game with my kids—and I started a chess program at their school. Your books have been a wonderful resource for us. My older child has gone through your books and is playing at a fairly sophisticated level. My younger child is just starting on “Checkmate! Ideas For Students.” She is having fun with the problems. They present a good level for her.

I just bought additional copies of “Checkmate” and “Chess Tactics” to give to a friend of my children for a birthday present—a youngster who is just starting to play and has really taken to the game. Hopefully his family will enjoy your books and get as much out of them as we have. I just wanted to pass on a quick note to say thank you and well done!

Brian Osler, Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada

Chess Tactics For Students was the first tactics book that my son used. I was a complete novice at the time so we both learned a ton from your book. He’s had a top 10 rating (for his class) each of the past two years in Washington state, so it must have helped! Thanks again.

Dan Osborn (Chess Club Coordinator, Wedgwood Elementary, Seattle)

I have been using your books in our elementary school chess club for several years. They are the only workbooks I’ve found that allow for different levels of students to progress at their own pace and are both challenging at those levels as well as being easy for the students to understand in terms of directions and goals. We have around 90 students in our chess club ranging from kindergartners (who use the books with assistance), to fifth graders (many of whom who have been in the chess club since kindergarten).

John Brunner (Lowell Elementary School Chess Club)

We use Chess Tactics For Students as our official club book at my school, Greenbriar West Elementary School. In our second year of using the book, the school became the Virginia state champions for K–3 and K–5. It is a great book for kids.

Gary Connors (Coach, Greenbriar West Elementary School)

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