René Phillips “Chess Gym” video series!

Chess photojournalist Frank Johnson has launched a new blog at and posted an encouraging message on chess coach and Katrina Hurricane survivor René Phillips. A few years ago Phillips, was hit by a devastating tragedy that would change his life forever.

Fernwood Jones making presentation to René & son.

Fernwood Jones making presentation to René Phillips. This was an event held by chess players in Philadelphia to help René recover from his losses during Hurricane Katrina. Photo by Glenn Bady.

Phillips left behind his life in New Orleans and trekked up to Philadelphia where he was welcomed by the chess community. After roughly a year in Philly, he then settled in Atlanta where he is now building a reputation as a chess coach. In June, Phillips will return to New Orleans to rebuild life in his native town. A former New Orleans police officer and SWAT team member, Phillips has launched a number of videos teaching different themes in an effective format.

Many can be found on under the moniker, “The Chess Gym.” Following is one such video Phillips has done. He offers customized services at his website. Enjoy!

Video by Rene Phillips/The Chess Gym

Visit “The Chess Gym


  1. I seen Rene at the k-6 Bert Lener Nationals in Pittsburgh, May 9-11. He had a group of children there. It was good seeing him and he offer to fly my team to Atlanta to play his. GM Ashley was also at the nationals with a private student.

  2. I have had the opportunity to work with Coach Rene off and on over the last year. He brings an enthusiasm to teaching and learning that is unrivaled.
    I wish him all the success in any and everything he does.

  3. LOL! Daaim I would if I could. Let me know what games you would like to see and what GM,IM, or FM smash you would like to see. 😐
    What’s up Philly brothers ?

  4. Coach Rene inspires excellence in his students, and nurtures greatness in his coaching peers. His practical sense at the board and his pleasant persistence beyond the board exemplifies the best of what chess-mindedness can offer. Working with him is fun, both for coaches and for students. Forwards ever, Coach!

  5. Coach Mike- the Variant man! I have been honored to have worked with the likes of you my friend. No other coach has been able to get me hooked on as many variants of the royal game as this Morehouse graduate. Yes, I am still hooked on Gothic Chess and play on the site uncontrolably. Stay strong Coach MJF! No folks and MJF does not stand for Michael Jordan forever. 😮

  6. I had the pleasure of training with mr Phillips online at ICc in the late 90’s. Those lessons dramatically changed my play, and yes I’m now a London addict 😉 I will be hitting him up again for a refresher now that I found him again! Recommend his lessons to anyone!

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