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.