About Us

We are a group of individuals united in our passionate belief in the benefits of chess.

Chess trains minds in critical cognitive skills. We are volunteers who enjoy watching children come to realize the power of their minds, first to achieve results on the chess board, and then subtly in their academic focus, and everyday lives. For adults chess is both an engaging pastime and a way of keeping the mind sharp.

History tells us that chess had its origins around 600 a.d. in what is now India. Chess in its modern form has remained virtually unchanged since the 1400s and maintains its global popularity. Such a history of survival and popularity across time, countries, and cultures speaks volumes about its success both as entertainment and in developing the human mind.

We are volunteers dedicated to carrying forward that tradition.

Our Organization

Freedom Chess Academy is a non-profit [501(c)(3)] organization whose mission is to promote chess training and play in Tuscaloosa and western Alabama. We offer a variety of free events for chess players of all levels. We also work with the University of Alabama's 'Every Move Counts' initiative to support chess training within public schools.

Our US Chess Federation accredited instructors use various chess curricula and state of the art training tools and methods. Beginners receive instruction that interweaves chess instruction with math, history, and language lessons supporting school curricula. Once players have learned the basics, we augment our in-class instruction with Internet-based study options appropriate to different skill levels. As students progress and compete against better players, the demands of the game lead to significant improvements in focus and concentration.

As an affiliate of the United States and Alabama chess federations, we periodically organize chess tournaments including the 2010 and 2014 Alabama State Chess Championships and the annual Tuscaloosa Scholastic Championship.

Board of Directors

President, Chess Instructor - Neil Dietsch
Secretary - Hyesung Lee-Han
Treasurer - Steve McGiffert


Chess Instructor - Charles Anthony

Thank you to the many parents, students, ex-board members, and volunteers who have pitched in to help teach chess and keep our classes going. Freedom Chess Academy would not continue to exist without your efforts.