Meet Our Instructors

Instructor Chris WelcomeChris Welcome has been teaching chess to children of all ages since 2000 and has taught chess within the curriculum in over 30 public schools. His vast experience in both curricular and after-school programs has trained him  to handle large groups from kindergarten to high-school. Chris has also coached several school chess teams to prominence in national competition and guided three young players over the 2000 rating level to the rank of Candidate Master.

Chris was part of a group in Brooklyn affectionately called the “Black Bear School of Chess” which fostered the growth and development of many African American chess players in the late 1970s. From this group of self motivated players emerged many masters such as Ernest Colding, Ronald Simpson, William Morrison, and GM Maurice Ashley. Chris earned his National Master’s title in 1982.

Chris says: “I believe that it is important to show every child regardless of age or ability how to enjoy chess. Not all children will one day become masters. Those that aspire to that goal and desire to do so will need a clear path to develop their interest. But even those who do not can experience a lifetime of pleasure creating a beautifully played game."

Danny Rade is a USCF Candidate Master who has been playing chess since before he could read. Growing up in New York in the 90’s, Danny played in many of the same tournaments in which his students now play, enabling him to draw on his own childhood experiences when teaching and coaching young players. In both 5th and 7th grade, Danny finished in second place at the National K-12 Championships. At 14 years old, he reached his peak national ranking of #14 in the U.S. for his age group.

Danny graduated from Washington University in St. Louis in ‘09 with a BA in Psychology and Economics and has been working as an NSCF Instructor for over 5 years. Although constantly trying to improve himself and his instructing techniques, Danny prides himself on being patient and empathetic, yet engaging and charismatic. According to Danny, “there is no better feeling than a student coming to me and raving about how he just played a game of chess and won because he used some technique that I showed him.”

Silvio Rosato has been an NSCF instructor since 1999 and teaches both enrichment and curricular classes for the NSCF. A master of classroom management and teaching strategies, Silvio effectively uses many sources and varies his approach, adjusting his tone, activity and interaction to best meet the needs of the children.

Silvio's private students have earned first place in their respective scholastic sections, including the 2014 Westchester County Grade Championship.

As a NSCF tournament director, Silvio directs tournaments held in Westchester and Southern Connecticut. He is also a TD for the New York State Championships. Silvio excels at directing the young players in the K-1 section, where his calm manner while maintaining high standards makes events a pleasure for our youngest players and for their parents.

Instructor Jon Rigal

Jon Rigai is a strong (Class A) chess player with over 23 years of playing experience and 7 years of coaching experience. He was a former student of the late Grandmaster William J. Lombardy (1937–2017), Bobby Fischer's former teacher.

According to Jon, the most important lessons that he took from his time with Grandmaster Lombardy was to: (1) make sure that he was always well prepared for any upcoming competition that he would participate in; and (2) to use the Eidetic imagery technique regarding the study of positions, patterns and games. This technique is used by all top level players when they study master level games. Jon constantly emphasizes these concepts to his students on a daily basis to instill good habits within them.

He currently coaches at Bronxville Elementary; in 2016, Jon led the team to a sixth place finish (out of over 300 teams) in the K-6 Elementary Nationals .

Julio Maldonado was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut but learned to play chess around the age of 9 in Puerto Rico where he became the territory's high school champion in 1977-78. While serving in the US Army in Germany, Julio finished in the top 10 in the 1986 USAREUR Army chess tournament. Julio has been teaching chess since 2005 in Westchester and enjoys teaching students between kindergarten and middle school grades.

Instructor Jason CianoCoach Warren Williams, aka Dr. Gambit, aims to have his students develop their minds and social skills through chess education, discipline and mentorship. Named Dr. Gambit by the late Tharin Chadwick, who was known as Dr. Chess, Coach Warren brings 42 years of chess playing and 17 years of enthusiastic teaching experience to his NSCF classrooms. The kids love when he brings his large chess set and fuzzy board!

Warren is a Retired NYS Peace Officer with 25 years of service, 15 years of those as Community Affairs Officer. During his tenure, he taught chess to youth and seniors, organized tournaments within the Bronx community and received many awards and citations, including a 2012 NYS Proclamation Award for Youth Leadership from Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz.