About

Lauren Goodkind ChessChess players of any age who are motivated and are struggling to win at chess rely on Lauren Goodkind to help them improve their skills and become a confident player.

I am an independent and respected chess teacher and a speaker, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Chess is more than a game for me. Chess teaches people how to think, a crucial skill needed to succeed in life.

You have come to the right place if you are looking for a friendly and patient chess coach who can help you:
– Become a confident chess player
– Learn winning tactics and strategies
– Develop a winning mindset to win more games
– Discover how to learn to play in tournaments, if that is a goal of yours
– Take your chess game to the next level
– Learn the rules of the game, if you’re a complete beginner

Since chess is a male dominated game, I am proud to be a female chess teacher, trying to inspire more people, particularly girls and women, to play chess. In January 2015, InMenlo Magazine wrote a chess article about me and my mission.

InMenlo-Article

Here is more about my chess background:

My mom, a casual chess player, taught the game to me when I was eight years old. Back then chess was just another fun board game, like Monopoly or checkers, so I didn’t take chess that seriously. When I was 15 years old, I played in my first USCF (United States Chess Federation) tournament and my first rating was 689. After playing in many tournaments and studying tactics over the years, I am currently rated as a class A player, rated between 1800-2000. I am also proud to be ranked on and off the top 100 ranking list of females in the USA for over ten years.

Here are my chess highlights:
  • Gained about 450 USCF rating points in less than four months, from 1117 to approximately 1550, after winning and doing well in local tournaments.
  • Defeated Vivian Smith, the New Zealand women’s chess champion in a 2004 tournament game. The second tournament game was a draw. Both games were played in beautiful New Zealand.
  • Defeated and drawn various expert and master players (rated 2000-2300)
  • Drew (a tie) against Peter Thiel, a billionaire and master chess player in a 2003 tournament game. Below is the game (Meeting fascinating people is one of the perks of chess).

My Game Against Chess Master, Peter Thiel

Here’s the instructive commentary regarding the Peter Thiel game:

1. e4 e5
Opening up with e5 is a good move because the pawn controls the center and opens lines for the bishop and the queen.
2. Nf3 Nf6
This opening is called Petrov’s Defense, also known as the Russian Game.
3. Nxe5 d6
I moved my pawn to d6 to attack his knight.
4. Nf3 Nxe4
Now it’s safe to take his pawn on e4.
7. O-O O-O
Castling is important because the move gets the king out of the center. The king is safe behind my pawns! Castling also lets the rooks into future play.
8. Re1 Bf5
I moved my bishop to f5 for a couple of reasons:
1) It’s important to develop your bishops in the opening.
2) I had to meet his threat. Peter is threatening to win a pawn on e4 by capturing my knight with his bishop. After my pawn takes his bishop, then his rook can capture my pawn. Therefore, I would be down a pawn for nothing!
By moving my bishop to f5, my bishop is adding more protection to my knight on e4. Now Peter cannot win a pawn!
11. Bc2 Nd7
I just finished developing my last knight. My knight will be going to f6, where the knight will support the other knight on e4. It’s important to develop all your bishops and knights toward the center.
18. Bh4 Re8
I moved my rook to e8. It’s also defending my black-squared bishop.
19. Re2
It seems like Peter wants double up on his rooks so he can take control of the e-file.
…Nd7
23. Rxe5 Qd7
I moved my queen to d7 for a couple of reasons:
1) My queen now defends my d5 pawn.
2) My rook can get into play now by going to d8
3) My opponent’s rook cannot penetrate my position by going to d7. By the way, rooks generally love going to the 7th rank.
24. h3 Re8
I moved my rook to Re8 to challenge his rook on e5.
27. Qxe6 fxe6
The game is officially now a pawn and king endgame now. Notice that we have the same number of pawns.
28. Kf2 Kf7
29. Kg3 Kf6
In the endgame, it’s very important to activate your king! The king is a strong piece too!
30. Kg4 g6
As a general endgame rule, it’s important to restrict your opponent’s king’s mobility
so he’ll have a very difficult time penetrating your position. I moved my pawn to g6 so Peter’s king cannot go to h5.
52. Kf3 Ke7
Draw (tie game) 1/2-1/2
We agreed to have a draw in this position because nobody can make progress. In other words, my king cannot penetrate his position, and Peter’s king can’t penetrate mine. Moving a pawn would be a huge mistake because the pawn will be simply captured by a pawn.