Meet Our Instructors

Mike McDermott

Mike McDermott is a former student of Grandmaster, and seven-time US Champion Samuel Reshevsky. Mike has attained the rank of Candidate Master in the USCF. A full-time chess instructor for the NSCF, Mike’s students include a National Scholastic Champion. He loves to entertain his students with stories of his games against famous chess personalities, especially his loss against Bobby Fischer and his simultaneous exhibitions draws against two other former World Champions, Gary Kasparov and Boris Spassky.

A retired Physical Education teacher, Mike makes good use of his experience during the NSCF Summer Chess Program, when he serves as both a chess coach and recreation coordinator.

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 professional chess instructor and a Class A player. He joined NSCF in 2010 and has now taught at over 20 different schools as well as at summer camps and community chess classes.

Jon’s father was a classical pianist who taught music and inspired Jon to also want to work with children. An athlete and former fitness trainer, Jon teaches his students that “a chess game is like mental boxing. If you want to win, you have to fully commit yourself to every move in the game.” Jon finds that this approach teaches students to focus and stay on task, valuable skills that they can apply towards their schooling and whatever other challenges life presents.

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.

NSCF Instructor Nathan Goldberg loves teaching, chess and children. He began teaching chess to children in 1999 for Chess-in-the-Schools, and became an elementary math and chess teacher for the NYC Department of Education in 2005. He has taught chess in classrooms, afterschool programs, camps and as a private tutor. Now retired from the NYC Department of Education, Nathan joined NSCF to focus on teaching his first love, chess.

Nathan has created a wide variety of chess worksheets, puzzles, activities and poetry to help him teach, always challenging his kids to think in new ways. He sees chess as the perfect metaphor for life, and engages his students with the wisdom and habits of chess playing along with the rules, tactics and strategies. Nathan shares his enthusiasm and passion for learning at every opportunity, and has the ability to motivate children to achieve great things.

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 and Westchester and enjoys teaching students between kindergarden and middle school grades.