Bruce Pandolfini is probably the most famous chess teacher today. He is the author of at least two dozen chess books, including Chess Openings: Traps and Zaps, Pandolfini's Endgame Course, and Bobby Fischer's Outrageous Chess Moves. He lives and works in New York City where he gives private lessons, specializing in teaching children. His usual rate is $200/hour, although The New Yorker reports that a Fortune 500 company paid him $7500/hour to share with its top executives the mindset of a master of chess. (But, for a limited time only you can take a dozen intermediate lessons with Pandolfini when you purchase the Chessmaster computer program for about $40.) Perhaps Pandolfini's most notable student was Josh Waitzkin, whose father wrote an account of his son's formative years in Searching for Bobby Fischer.

The real Pandolfini is nothing like the character portrayed by Ben Kingsley in the movie version of Searching... . Bruce has a Brooklyn accent and is very down-to-earth. He was raised in Borough Park, Brooklyn where his main interests were baseball and basketball, discovering chess in 1961 at the age of 13. The next year he was playing speed chess in Washington Square Park and he played his first tournament at the Marshall Chess Club at age 15.

Pandolfini attended the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University and then dropped out of the chemistry graduate program at the University of Arizona in 1970. He went on to finish tied with five others for third place at the National Open after drawing a game with grandmaster Larry Evans on board one.

Pandolfini's teaching career took off after he was a commentator for PBS (public television) during the 1972 Spassky-Fischer match. A year later Pandolfini taught a class at the New School, the first time chess was taught for college credit. As of the late 1980's Pandolfini was the executive director of the Manhattan Chess Club.

Pandolfini told Paul Hoffman, reporting for The New Yorker,

"Chess is art. Chess is sport. But it's also war. You have to master on the order of a hundred thousand different chess ideas and concepts, patterns of pawns and pieces. That takes work. And you're going to lose a lot of games in the process, so you'll have to be able to make your peace with that, which isn't easy. Because there's no luck involved in the game, you have to face the fact that you lost because your opponent outwitted you."

The excellent article by Paul Hoffman appeared in the 4 June 2001 issue of The New Yorker. As someone trying to break the chains of novice play, I can recommend his books on Chess Openings and Chess Endgames for illustrative game examples.