ChessPals was founded by Henry Lien, a competitive chess player, to supply free chess programs to elementary schools across Marin County. The program began in 2018 when Henry started teaching chess to Venetia Valley School elementary school students for his bar mitzvah project at Congregation Rodef Sholom in San Rafael, California, which is located across the street. The purpose of the bar mitzvah project was to contribute to Tikkun Olam, repairing of the world, through a project in the local community.
Henry realized that he loved teaching kids and saw how much the students enjoyed learning the game. During Covid, Henry continued teaching his students online.
Once after-school programs returned in person, Henry expanded the program with the help of multiple tutors to summer camps and elementary schools throughout Marin County.
Henry hopes to help foster a new generation of chess players who enjoy the game and all it teaches.
Picture: Henry with two of his students in 2019 at the Marin Scholastic Chess Tournament.