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Misha Vilenchuk wearing a blue suit and salmon tie

About The Founder

Misha Vilenchuk is the founder of the Mindful Masters Chess Academy, a chess master, and many-time national and Ohio chess champion. He believes chess can be used to advance cognitive abilities, and his passion for teaching has led his students to place 1st in Ohio for their age groups. Misha is recently married and lives in Chicago.

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My Story

My sisters and I practically grew up around a chessboard: we traveled to tournaments together, attended classes, and played on weekends. As we grew older, chess opened us to other opportunities: new friends, travel, and as my parents soon realized, improved memory and analytical thinking.

Nevertheless, my mother had trouble finding quality chess coaches at reasonable costs: coaches were either cheap and did not teach well, or vice versa. Furthermore, there were language and social barriers.


I (and my sister Elina) turned my hobby into work and took on students of my own. For the past 15 years, I have been building on a toolkit of behavioral psychology and professional development techniques, as I've refined my own teaching style. Today, my students range from 500 to 2000 rated, are aged 6 to 30, and have themselves won numerous state championships.

When the world went online during the COVID-19 Pandemic, I was faced with more students than I could handle. For the students I could not access accept, I started looking for other qualified chess Masters that were:

  1. Qualified

  2. Passionate about chess

  3. Had a growth mindset

  4. Empathetic

  5. Did not break the bank.

After months of interviews, I hand-selected a handful of coaches I wanted to work with, one of which, Zahar Efimenko, became my own coach. 


As I continued to receive coaching requests, I realized that there was no concierge service that matched qualified coaches to students, and worked with them to constantly improve. Thus, Mindful Masters Chess Academy was born.

If you’re a lifelong learner, just watched The Queen's Gambit, have wanted your kids to learn the game, or have always wanted to beat your dad, you now have a chance to improve.

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