Inside Columbia


New Chess School Opens With Summer Tournaments

By Jordan Durham
boy playing chess on table

Future champions and grandmasters alike can now sharpen their skills this summer at Columbia’s new North American Chess School and its tournaments.

Mikhail Antipov, the founder of the school, earned the title of Grandmaster at 16 years old. He is ranked 180th in the world and has taught for seven years. He is also a member of the Mizzou Chess Team. Irina Utyatskaya is a Women International Master whose highest FIDE rating is 2246. She has taught chess for eight years and is a member of the Mizzou Chess Team, as well.

“The main reason we decided to start our chess school and organize chess tournaments is to make chess more popular and entertaining in Missouri,” Antipov says. “We realized that it’s difficult to find quality chess lessons and tournaments in our state, and we want to change that!”

The school’s group lessons for kids are every Tuesday and Thursday starting on June 18 at the CALE School. Multiple options are offered for different skill levels. The fundamental skills class is 4:00-4:30 p.m.; the beginners class is 4:30-5:15 p.m.; the advanced class is 5:15-6:00 p.m.

Individual lessons for adults and kids 5 years old and above are offered through the school. These lessons can be online or in person and include learning theories, as well as practicing with the coach. Individual lesson packages with the Utyatskaya begin at $65 that includes one, one-hour lesson with flexible scheduling and is valid for three months. The pro package cost $290 and includes five, one-hour lessons with flexible scheduling and is valid for six months. The ultimate package is $520 and includes 10, one-hour lessons with flexible scheduling and is valid for one year. Individual lessons with Antipov cost $100 for the lite package, $450 for the pro package and $800 for the ultimate package and include all of the same features.

“Our goal is to create a supportive environment where students of all ages can learn to play chess and grow, both in their chess abilities and personal development,” Antipov says. “In the future, we aim to organize chess tournaments, lessons, and camps throughout Missouri and develop our chess community across the Midwest.” 

The North American Chess School is hosting the First North American Chess School Cup at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Registration begins at 9:30 a.m. The cup includes three sections with all ratings: K-5th grade, K-12th grade and open for all ages; it is time controlled at G/25; +10. Everything including equipment, water and snacks will be provided, and trophies and medal will be awarded in all sections for first through third place.

The first tournament fee is $35 with a $10 discount for students of the school and other official school groups. To register, visit the school’s website or the fee can be sent via Zelle or Venmo to 573-639-4111 with participant information. The three remaining summer tournaments are June 15, July 13 and Aug. 10.

Visit the school’s website for more information on lesson, tournaments and coaches at

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