The Director


Paul Lam, Founder of the Coventry Chess Academy

I grew up in Coventry and was educated at Bablake School. It was here that I first started playing chess competitively, at the age of eleven. Shortly after starting at Bablake, I joined the Checkmate junior chess club in Birmingham, run by the late Mike Fox, where attendees included Tony Miles, Britain’s first chess grandmaster. I made rapid progress and, at the end of my first competitive season, came third in the British under 13 Championship and was selected for the England Junior Squad.

Playing for England in Estonia at the age of thirteen

Playing for England in Estonia at the age of thirteen

I am currently one of the strongest chess players in the West Midlands with a FIDE rating of 2115 (2136 peak) and an ECF standardplay grade of 2133 (201 peak, equivalent to 2208 FIDE). I have ranked in the top 100 players in England for rapidplay chess (208 peak, equivalent to 2260 FIDE). I also have an online rating of 2624 (top 100 Lichess Rapid player).

I represent Kenilworth Chess Club in the Leamington & District Chess League. Additionally, I play for Warwickshire Select in the 4NCL (Four Nations Chess League), the British national chess league.

Some of my chess achievements include:

  • Five time winner of the Coventry Schools Chess Lightning Tournament
  • Four time Warwickshire under 18 Champion
  • First recipient of the Tony Miles Award for Services to Warwickshire Chess
  • Represented the England Junior Squad and English National Team from under 14 to under 18 level in Estonia (2002), the Czech Republic (2003 Glorney Cup) and Liverpool (2005 Glorney Cup)
  • 2002 England Junior Squad under 14 Champion
  • Twice a finalist in the UK Land Chess Challenge (now know as the UK Schools Chess Challenge), the largest chess tournament in the world, making the final thirty out of over fifty thousand entrants
  • Strong performances in international chess tournaments, including joint-third place at the 1st Coventry Chess International in 2004
  • Numerous wins and draws against titled players up to Grandmaster
  • Games published in British Chess Magazine, the world’s oldest chess magazine in continuous publication
  • Two time competitor in the British Chess Championship main event


I have sixteen years of experience teaching chess to children aged five plus and adults on an individual and group basis. Dozens of my students and Coventry Chess Academy members have increased their national ratings, achieved representative honours from school to county level and won awards in regional and national competitions. In the January 2019 ECF grading list, 100% of private students saw their grades increase. Thirty one have reached the GIGAFINAL, the penultimate stage of the UK Schools Chess Challenge, and nineteen have reached the TERAFINAL, the final stage (approximately top 0.4% of 40,000+ entrants). Fourteen have achieved rankings within the TOP TEN or twenty players in England for their age groups, three of whom have achieved the number one, two and three rankings respectively. Three students have won BRITISH JUNIOR TITLES in their national age groups and two have won the prestigious LONDON JUNIOR CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP playing in a higher age category. One of my students has qualified for and competed in the BRITISH CHESS CHAMPIONSHIP MAIN EVENT, one of the youngest ever to do so at ten years of age. Students of mine have beaten or drawn against titled players up the Grandmaster level. To date, eight students have represented ENGLAND on the following occasions:

  • 2018 European Youth Chess Championship
  • 2019 World Schools Chess Championship
  • 2019 Glorney Cup
  • 2019 European Youth Chess Championship
  • 2019 FIDE World Cadets Rapid & Blitz Championship
  • 2019 FIDE World Cadets Chess Championship
  • 2020 Online Glorney Cup
  • 2020 European Online Youth Chess Championship
  • 2020 FIDE Online World Youth Rapid Chess Championship
  • 2021 Online Glorney Cup
  • 2021 FIDE Online World Youth Rapid Chess Championship
  • 2022 Glorney Cup
  • 2022 European Schools Chess Championships
  • 2022 World Cadets Rapid and Blitz Championships
  • 2022 International Youth ChessMates Tournament
  • 2022 FIDE World Youth Olympiad

In addition to private tuition, I have taught at the following:

  • Bablake School Chess Club
  • Bablake Junior School Chess Club
  • Solihull Checkmates Chess Club
  • University of Nottingham Chess Society
  • University of Warwick Chess Society
  • Dunchurch Boughton Junior School Chess Club
  • Burton Green Primary School Chess Club
  • Hearsall Primary School Chess Club
  • Bilton Grange Pre-Prep School
  • Bilton Grange Preparatory School
  • Warwick Junior School
  • Head Coach for the Warwickshire Junior County Chess Squad and Junior 4NCL Squad


14 Mar 2013: Introduction to Safeguarding Children (Coventry Safeguarding Children Board)

  • Developed my knowledge and understanding of issues surrounding child protection and the procedure for making multi-agency referrals in cases where a child’s welfare is at risk

12 Oct 2011: Chess Coaching Course (Nottinghamshire Primary Schools Chess Association, David Levens – English Chess Federation Manager of Coaches)

  • Accredited to coach junior players and other beginners

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s