Who is Ray Garrison?
Chess Classes
Private Lessons
Chess Camps 2018
camp photos from 2017
Chess Tournaments
Chess & Games for Sale
Contact Info and Links

Welcome!  My name is Ray Garrison

Facebook page for Arbor Chess:  click here

For a bit about Mr. O (Kent Olson, scroll down)

I am a professional chess instructor.   

I was born in Ann Arbor while my father was completing his degree at the University of Michigan.  Both of my parents were public school teachers, as were both of my grandmothers.  My father, a high school math teacher, taught chess to me when I was approximately the age of seven.  When I entered high school, I became serious about chess and began studying the game and competing in chess tournaments.  I graduated from Michigan State University, where I was the president of the MSU chess club.  I achieved the level of Expert from the US Chess Federation in 1993.    I earned the official title of "Candidate Master" from the US Chess Federation in 2016.

I began teaching chess to children, both in schools and privately, in East Lansing, Okemos and Fowlerville in 1996.  In the fall of 1997, I purchased a fledgling chess store on Main Street in Ann Arbor and started “Chess Express”.  I sold this business to one of my employees in the fall of 2000.  During the three years I owned Chess Express, I turned the business into a highly successful retail operation and web business and also started a successful weekly chess club for kids.  While I owned Chess Express, I taught exclusively at one school, Ann Arbor Wines, where I started teaching in 1998.  I turned down all other requests for teaching (I was just too busy).  The Wines chess program proved highly successful.  Wines won the state K-3 team championships with a perfect 5-0 score in 1999 and that same team of third graders also won the 4th place team in the National Middle school championships!  After selling my store in the fall of 2000, I turned all of my attention to teaching chess in the Ann Arbor area.  Currently I teach chess programs in three different private schools (Go Like The Wind Montessori, Honey Creek and Daycroft Montessori) and I teach classes at various public schools through the Ann Arbor Rec & Ed department.  I also teach private chess lessons (in your home or mine).  During the school year I typically have around 200 students.  

My school teams have won numerous state championships, so many I have difficulty recounting all of them.   My teams have been consistently dominating state events for many years.  In 2016, I formed 14 teams for the K-3 and K-5 events.  11 of those teams won trophies, including 2nd place for King in the K-3 championship.  In 2015, King won the K-3 championship with a perfect score and STEAM at Northside won the K-5 team reserve.   In 2014, King won the K-3 reserve team championship with a perfect 5-0 score.  Bach won 5th place in the K-3 championship, and my other teams won several trophies.  In 2013, King Elementary won 2nd and 3rd place in the K-3 and Thurston and Lawton tied for 2nd in the K-5.  Thurston also won 4th place in the state Middle School Championships!    In addition, several of my students have won individual state championships, including Sid Jha winning the 2013 Scholastic Club k-5 division, and two of my students have won a national championship.  I also taught chess to Governor Engler’s triplets when they were in Kindergarten!

In addition to school chess programs and private instruction, I organize summer chess day camps.  I have been organizing chess camps in Ann Arbor and East Lansing since 1999.  I also organize two Thinking Games camps each year in Ann Arbor, and these have proven to be quite popular with the kids!  

I find teaching chess to children highly rewarding.  I have found my calling in life and I embrace it with all of my heart and passion.  

Please feel free to contact me for any reason!   Ray Garrison raygarrison@arborchess.com 734-945-5951 (cell)

Mr. O teaches for Arbor Chess too!!

Kent Olson, most famously known as "Mr. O."  has been teaching chess at Mr. Garrison's chess camps since 2006.  He also works for AAPS and is WONDERFUL with the kids!  Mr. O begins teaching chess classes in the Fall of 2016 at five AAPS schools.  Please click on "chess classes: in the left side menu for a list of Mr. O's chess classes