Mario Amodeo is a chess mentor and trainer. UCSF Candidate Master title, ID: 12523359 

For beginners to players rated up to 1800. Ages 6 to 106. Call 619 508 2312

Young Students Chess Achievements

11 year old, ranked 11 in USA for his age, tied for 1st place U/2100 rating in the 26th Annual Pacific Coast Open in Irvine, CA July 30 – August 1, 2021. In the same tournament, a 9 year old ranked 27 in USA under 10 years of age, finished 4th place U/1900. Both U/2100 and U/1900 sections included both adult players and up and coming juniors.

U/2100 1st place finish for 11 year old Isaac at 26th Annual Pacific Coast Open.

  • 13 year old is the 2018 S. Carolina Middle School Girls State Champ. Update: she finished top female South Carolina High Schools 2019 while still in Middle School, winning the GRIT (Girls with Respect, Integrity & Tenacity) Award and qualifying for All Girls National Invitational (link to Edgefield, SC newspaper story here).
  • 9 year old tied for 3rd place among fourth graders, 2018 New Mexico Scholastic Championships. Update: after 5 wins at US Nationals in Nashville, TN, May 2019: “A great experience…A big thank you from her and all of us!”
  • 9 year old taking lessons with Mario for 4 years is ranked 11th in U.S. for his age, 2017.
  • “Not plateauing is a reflection of your teaching method. Instead of quick fixes to win games, you focused on teaching fundamentals.” Jerry, a parent -Jan, 2012
  • From a parent, May 2019: “I am very pleased to tell you that he won 1st place.  He had a rough start losing the first game, but I was so glad to see he could pull it off emotionally and continued on wining 4 straight games.  He told me he learned a lot from your lesson so that he recognized all the techniques his opponents tried to use on him.  I can see he’s built more confidence and interest in chess after today’s winning. It was a very good experience for both of us.  I am very grateful for the teaching, guidance and help you have given…”. “…how fantastic you are as his first coach. You helped him build up a very solid foundation in chess play in two years time…You are very good at communicating and your teaching is well organized, I can’t imagine him reaches his level without your coaching in two years.” – from Zhenning, parent of an 11 year old, rating: 2093. From earlier in 2020: “He is very picky in who he wants to pay attention to.  He usually lost focus to me or my wife after 40 secs or so.  He still has a lot to learn from you, not just chess strategy but also life experience. I think you are very good at teaching chess: sometimes (my son) explains a bad move I made when playing against him…  I can see it must have made crystal clear sense to him.  In my opinion teaching skill is more important than personal achievement as a coach.  I am very happy with the progress he has been making under your coaching. My wife and I are very grateful for the help you have given him.  I have also recommended you to some of my friends who have kids interested in chess.” May 2021: “I will probably still consult you on (son’s) chess relation topics in the future.  You have given tremendous help to (son) and he won’t reach his level today without your coaching.”

Young Students Academic Achievements & Feedback

  • From a parent: “Hi, Mario…You are a great coach: very patient, encouraging and responsible. Her chess has improved a lot. She has also learned something beyond chess, such as general attitude toward things, from you. Thanks and congratulations!” -2009; Seven years later she wrote: “Benefit from her chess experience and also your help over the years, she has got into Princeton early action.” -Jan. 2017 (note: she eventually chose Harvard)
  • From a parent: “…truly encouraging!…(they) can’t stop smiling.” -March 2016″; It was a desperate decision for me to consider chess when they were bringing home failing grades… It’s as if I’d hit the jackpot. Their grades are improving and they are way more confident. Thank you for what you do.” -May 2016; A year after moving to the east coast: “Thank you for being there for them.” -Oct 2018; “Thank you for all that you do!” -May 2019
  • From a parent in 2019: “You provided great opportunities for him. It is a lifetime experience to him.” -This student had weekly lessons with Mario from 2014-19; accepted to Northwestern U. in 2019.
  • Very first one-on-one student (1999-2001) graduated Yale class of 2014.
  • From a parent: “Mario…Thanks again for all you do for her – above and beyond pure chess.  You have a great balance of encouraging her, letting her be a little kid (to a degree), but also pushing her, treating her like an adult, teaching her very profound concepts that will help her in all aspects of life in the future.”-2017
  • From a parent: “Mario, Rob has worked two years longer… to achieve his diploma. You were one of the people who believed in him, even when I thought it was impossible. We are all so proud of Rob, but most importantly he is proud of himself. Just wanted to thank you. Chess was pivotal in changing how people viewed Rob. When he became the ‘chess kid’, it changed his whole trajectory.” -June 2021
  • From a high school student: “Thank you so much for teaching me not only chess but also lots of life lessons. I really appreciate how understanding and patient you were, and especially how encouraging you were. I would always come out of chess lessons feelings as if I actually accomplished something, that I understood something that I didn’t before. You have always inspired me to do my best and also think about what’s really important to me. I, one day, also want a dream just like how you discovered chess.” -2021

2019: 10yr old student playing a 3 time US Champion!

Thoughts on Coaching and Learning:

UT report thumb
San Diego Union Tribune Interview with Coach Mario
Teaching Examples:
Students in Print:
Student Featured in Chess Life Magazine
G.R.I.T. Award 2019 Newspaper Story
icon Ankit
Student Featured in 92128 Magazine

Administrative Testimonials:

“Mario Amodeo is a first-rate Chess Instructor of very long standing in San Diego.”
David Saponara
MBA (UCLA). David is current and many time San Diego Chess Club President since 1982, former United States Chess Federation Board Member, former U.S. Navy Fighter Pilot, and parent.
"...beating a Master couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy. Congratulations, Mario! We salute you for your excellent play and even more importantly, your friendly style and easy going nature."
Chuck Ensey
Longtime San Diego Chess Club Volunteer and Board Member

Contact Info:


call or text 619-508-2312


Six year olds and up learning from each other!