Gary Goldstein (Wayne Thomas/Oak Terrace/Northwood) is a parent volunteer who ran the chess program at Wayne Thomas during the 2007-2008 school year, and now will run the combined program. His son Caleb is now a 6th grader at Northwood. Gary owns a nature audio recording company specializing in cutting-edge recording techniques and spends many weekends in the woods and other natural settings. He is a founding member of our district-wide chess committee and is committed to promoting chess to the entire Highland Park community. He’s proof that you do not need to be a chess expert to be an effective volunteer. We hope other parents will take his example and join the effort.
Jonathan Hrach is an 8th grader at Elm Place Middle School and has been playing chess for three years. He is the district’s top player, with a USCF rating of 1719, and a regular player in state and national tournaments. He is a member of the 4-H club, plays the cello and clarinet in several school bands, and is an award-winning Super Motocross racer in the 85 Senior Class. He can’t wait to move into Highland Park High School this fall, where he’s a shoo-in for top board on the school chess team. He currently studies chess with FM Eric Rosen and Shiva Maharaj and loves to play chess online.
Jonathan Kogen is a sophomore at Deerfield High School. He has played competitive chess since kindergarten, and now holds an Expert title from the United States Chess Federation. He won an Illinois State Grade Championship in middle school, and has won numerous awards in national and state competitions. In 2009 he won the Under 2000 class prize at the World Open in Philadelphia, as well as the Illinois Junior Grand Prix Award from the USCF. He has been named a Warren Junior Chess Scholar multiple times. In his free time, Jonathan enjoys playing and following sports.
Roman Kuperman has been playing chess since he was six years old. He played top board at Buffalo Grove High School, a perennial top 20 finisher at the state high school championship, and was president of the Knox College Chess Club, where he studied math, economics and business management. He is currently preparing to take the Chartered Financial Analyst exams and applying to graduate school while working as a campaign auditor for a nonprofit. Rated over 1800 and hoping to become a Master, he enjoys helping students improve their chess understanding and critical reasoning skills. His other hobbies include ping-pong, tennis, basketball, and swimming.
Karen Moore (Lincoln) has been a resident of Highland Park for 15 years. A Lincoln parent, she has co-managed the club since its inception in 2008. Both of her children have been members. Although she knows how to play chess, Karen enjoys learning more about the strategy from her club’s coaches. In her free time, tennis, knitting and reading are some favorite hobbies. Currently, Karen co-manages the club with Crystal Obochi, another Lincoln mom. They appreciate all the extra help provided by the club members’ parents.
Jerry Neugarten (Indian Trail and Oak Terrace) has run scholastic chess clubs and coached since 1995, initially in New York’s Hudson Valley. His former club won numerous awards in competition and produced a national champion. A retired lawyer, Jerry was a prosecutor in Manhattan, served as Special Assistant to District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, and founded the New York State Law Enforcement Council. Raised in Hyde Park, Jerry returned to the area in 2006 and a year later started the Indian Trail club. The following year Jerry spearheaded the district-wide program in Highland Park, which serves 11 schools. In the five years since the program started, its clubs have won 24 team awards at state championships. He is content manager for our website. Jerry is also a mediator and mock trial coach. He is active in the Illinois Chess Association and chairs ICA’s statewide Youth Committee.
Denise Karlin Tiemeyer is an ICU nurse for PNI, the Co-President of the Oak Terrace PTA, and the manager of the Oak Terrace chess club. She lives in Highland Park with her family of three children, her husband Joe, and their dog and cat. Every day she navigates through hundreds of emails regarding bake sales and committee meetings, dreaming all the while of climbing Mount Everest, training for the Savageman Triathlon, and doing book tours. After serving her time, Denise looks forward to relaxing by reading Reader’s Digest and spending more time with her cat.
Leo Vilker (Sherwood) is a real estate manager living in Highland Park. A former computer programmer, Leo directs many of our Highland Park tournaments. He formerly coached chess at Sauganash Elementary School in Chicago and taught chess to his sons Jacob and Michael, both strong players who attend Elm Place. Leo is a native of Russia. His goal in life had been to beat Indian Trail, a goal he realized last year.
Jon Walker (Oak Terrace) grew up in Stockport near Manchester in England. He graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Molecular Biophysics and has worked in the software business ever since. He came to the USA in 1992 for three months and is still here twenty years later. He’s lived in Highland Park for 15 years and has two daughters at Oak Terrace, Gracie in 5th grade and Amy in 3rd. Jon played chess in high school and college for fun and continues to be a student of the game. He’s happy to have Chessmaster and Promethean boards to make his lessons more interactive and fun for the kids. Jon enjoys coaching and playing soccer which is why he is often limping or hobbling around Oak Terrace.
Dan Wolf (Wayne Thomas) is a FIDE Master with a distinguished record in international chess. Born in 1946 in Romania, Dan played for the Romanian Under-21 team as a youth, was Romania’s student champion in 1970, and a finalist in the Romanian 1972 national championship. Emigrating to Israel in 1974, Dan won the Nathania Open in 1975, attained a FIDE rating of 2385 in 1977, and helped the University of Tel Aviv win the Israeli team championship in 1980. He moved to South Africa in 1982 and for many years was that country’s top ranked player. He moved to the U.S. in 1995. Dan also helps coach the Highland Park High School team.