NSCF Instructors

Nathan Goldberg began teaching chess to children in 1999 for Chess-in-the-Schools. He became an elementary math and chess teacher for the NYC Department of Education in 2005. In 2016, Nathan joined the NSCF to focus on teaching his first love, chess.

A Category 1 player, Nathan helps his students understand the connections between chess and other subjects, particularly math. He has created chess worksheets, puzzles, activities, and poetry to help him teach, always challenging his students to think in new ways. Seeing chess as the perfect metaphor for life, Nathan shares his enthusiasm and passion for learning at every opportunity, and has the ability to motivate children to achieve.

Robert McKenzie was a stand-out basketball player who did not get into chess until college. His brother had picked up the game on road trips while playing in the NFL. Robert’s drive to finally beat his brother at something motivated him to read a book on chess and he was soon winning tournaments and became a Category 1 player.

Robert began his career as a 2nd grade teacher at Castle Hill Elementary in Lauderhill. After earning his Masters in Math Education, he became the Math Specialist and started a school-wide chess program. Today, Robert is the STEM and math specialist at Lauderdale Lakes Middle School where he teaches chess to all his students.

Robert teaches in NSCF community programs across Broward County. He leads NSCF workshops for area teachers, and is also the NSCF tournament director for South Florida.

Chris Goldthorpe has been a full-time chess instructor for more than 20 years. As a trained electronics engineer with a B.S.E.E., Chris brings a mathematical perspective and precision to everything he does, including teaching and playing the game of chess.

Chris has authored several books on chess and is also educating students through his Youtube videos. Chris has founded several chess clubs in South Florida. Among his programs, Chris was the long-time chess teacher at University School in Davie which has produced many strong players and teams that competed successfully at national championships.

Polly Wright is a former New England Women’s Champion and was regularly ranked among the top 100 women in the U.S. Polly is a triathlete who continues to compete in Senior events around the world. She is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. With an indomitable competitive spirit, Polly draws on her experiences to inspire her chess students to always do their best.

Polly has been a tournament director for over 30 years. She holds the title of USCF Senior Tournament Director and frequently works at national championship events. Polly is the Chief Tournament Director for our NSCF and Hunter chess tournaments.


Mike McDermott is a Candidate Master and a former student of 7-time US Champion, GM Samuel Reshevsky. An instructor for the NSCF since its inception, Mike loves to entertain his students with stories of his games against famous chess personalities, especially his loss against Bobby Fischer, and his draws in simultaneous exhibitions 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.

Sunny Seward is no stranger to the National Scholastic Chess Foundation. As a child, Sunny attended Highview Elementary School and studied under Jim Santorelli, associate director of the NSCF. Now, over 20 years later, Sunny has returned as an instructor to the very place he learned the game. Sunny is also highly accomplished in martial arts. In his father’s dojo, they teach martial arts and chess to reinforce the value of both physical and mental discipline.

Sunny has been a career firefighter in the White Plains Fire Department for over 12 years. He has often found himself in life or death situations, and says his ability to make critical split-second decisions is in part due to the skills he developed learning the game of chess. He has seen first-hand that chess not only helps you solve problems, it can help you save lives.


Mourice “Mo” Hylton learned how to play chess at the age of 13 in order to beat his cousin who had learned through school.

As an adult, Mo became actively involved in his community, mentoring children in his neighborhood, and working with local government and law enforcement to improve community relations. Seeing how chess could be used as a mentoring tool, he came to a NSCF workshop to improve his skills.

When the NSCF expanded its partnership with the City of Sunrise to create The Sunrise Center for Excellence in Chess, Mo was the perfect candidate to help coordinate programming. In addition, Mo leads the NSCF/Sunrise mentoring initiative, showing young students how chess skills can translate into real life.