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McReynolds MS teacher achieves success by ‘beginning with the end in mind’

2014 May 8
by HISD Communications

In this week’s I Am HISD, which features district students, graduates, employees, and other members of Team HISD, McReynolds Middle School teacher and Chess Academy Director Robert Myers talks about how he became a nationally certified chess coach, which personal achievement makes him the proudest, and whom he’d love to play against someday.

Over the ten years you’ve been with HISD, you’ve taught speech, debate, photojournalism, public speaking, and now computer application technology. You also serve as the chess coach at McReynolds MS and the freshman basketball coach at Chávez HS, but I hear you worked as an on-air personality for KSBJ for about 20 years before that. Why did you give that up to be in education?

IAH_RobertMyers_300bIt was my son. When he was little, his mother had bought him some Tweety Bird tennis shoes that she thought were cute, and he was getting teased about them at school. He didn’t like it, and he told me about it in the car one day. I asked him what the teacher did to stop it, and he said, “Daddy, she do nothing.” Then he said, “Daddy, I wish you were my teacher.” And when he said that, it was a wrap for me. It just synched.

At that time, Dr. Rod Paige was still the HISD superintendent, and I had just interviewed him for the radio on a Monday. But by the end of the week, I’d already been hired at Milby High School, and they wanted me to start the following Monday.

I understand you also serve as the director of The Chess Academy. How long have you been interested in chess, and how old were you when you first learned to play?

I’ve been interested in chess all my life, but I only got serious about it about 12 years ago. My now 25-year-old son, who was 12 or 13 at the time, asked me to play one day, and then proceeded to beat me 30 games in a row. So I said, “Okay, let’s do this again.” And I started using the pieces in combination to attack. He’s been trying to beat me ever since.

Why should today’s kids consider learning the game?

Chess is the game of life. It’s the best game in the world. It has everything: hidden opposition, deception, strategy, thinking before you move, responding instead of reacting, critical thinking skills, and working your way through a problem. Everything is there. Ten to the 25th power is the number of nanoseconds since the Big Bang. Ten to the 75th power is the number of known atoms in the universe, and ten to the 250th power is the number of possible moves in a single game of chess. It is harder to become a grand master than it is to earn a PhD.

Last year, you had a six-year-old kindergartner win first place at the United States Chess Federation’s National K-12 Chess Championship and a team win the All-Girls State Championship at the Louisiana State Chess League for the third consecutive year. Out of all your students’ accomplishments, which one pleases you the most?

Well, there’s one kid who was a numbskull. When he was a ninth-grader, there was a tenth-grade girl he was trying to talk to in the hallway, and she wouldn’t give him the time of day. His diction and grammar were just terrible. But he started learning chess and eventually, he won a $100,000 chess scholarship to Texas Tech. And that girl is chasing him down now. His name is Adrian Patterson, and he’s one of my coaches. I hired him. I’m the most proud of him.

To what to you attribute your success, both in the classroom and on the chessboard?

I’d like to say it’s a gift, or my witty banter, but it’s got to be God, because it sure isn’t me. It’s like that old saying about the tortoise on a fence post. I don’t know how I got here, but I know I didn’t get here by myself. I just set myself on fire and the kids come and watch. But there’s a lot of prayer, and dedication, discipline, and desire. And in everything I’ve ever taught, you’ve got to begin with the end in mind. In chess, checkmate is the ultimate goal; in math, it’s the solution to the problem; in photography, it’s how you want the image to look; and in public speaking, it’s how you want your audience to respond. If you begin with the end in mind, you’ll succeed.

You’ve earned a number of recognitions yourself over the years, including Teacher of the Year and HISD’s own Elizabeth Brand Memorial Award. Which one makes you the proudest?

You know, I’ve been named Teacher of the Year at every campus I ever taught at, but the thing that’s most impressive to me is the school yearbook. Every year, the students vote for the coolest, smartest, funniest, and best-dressed teacher, and pretty much every year, I win all of those.

In April of 2013, you were designated a Level IV (National) Certified Chess Coach by the United States Chess Federation—making you the only one in Texas and one of only eight (now nine) in the entire world. What drove you to obtain that certification and why was it so important to you?

Here’s the thing: it’s about what you say versus what you know. It’s one thing to say, “I’m a Level IV coach,” but where’s the proof? Once you have the certification, you have the paper to back it up. A lot of people coach, but they don’t coach on the same level I do. This way, I can say that only eight other people in the world know as much about coaching chess as I do.

Over the years, you have met some pretty accomplished chess players, including Grand Masters Timur Gareev, Hiraku Nakamura, Susan Polgar, and Julio Sadora. Which one left you the most star struck, and who is still on your wish list to meet? Do you have a dream opponent?

You know, these guys are great, but they’re just regular people. And when I’m at a tournament where they are, they are usually so many kids around me, that they’re wondering who I am.

Hiraku Nakamura is number four in the world, an amazingly humble yet highly intelligent guy. Susan Polgar is as smart as she is beautiful. Timur Gareev is the funniest and coolest guy around, but Julio Sadora has to be, by far, my man. They all act as consultants for us, but he calls and talks to us on Skype all the time.

I’d have to get in a time machine to play my dream opponent, because he’s dead, but that would be Bobby Fischer. I’d also like to play Garry Kasparov, who played against Deep Blue, and Magnus Carlsen. He is amazing.

If you know a graduate, student, employee, or other member of Team HISD who should be featured here, please email us at
57 Responses leave one →
  1. dulce flores permalink
    May 12, 2014


  2. May 13, 2014

    wow great stuff

  3. May 13, 2014

    Wow,this is great stuff. We need more people in the world like this.

    • Robert permalink
      May 22, 2014

      Joshua, thanks man. I am really proud of you. You came to school late in the year and didn’t know anyone and now you are out shinning them all. Keep up the great work Bro.

  4. Antoinette VanKlingeren permalink
    May 13, 2014

    Very nice little brother. ♥♥♥

    • Robert permalink
      May 22, 2014

      Awhh shucks Big Sis. your words honor me. Thanks…

  5. alder olusola permalink
    May 16, 2014

    i am blown away by your achievement.l pay homage to you and will be glad to meet such personality in person.l hope ur presence in Nigeria will boast the game of chess.

    • Robert permalink
      May 22, 2014

      Looking forward to Nigeria, 2016. The Chess Academy Lagos will face The Chess Academy America, Houston, New Orleans, San Antonio and Baton Rouge.

  6. stephany permalink
    May 17, 2014

    Hey that’ s my teacher! Awesome guy! (:

    • Robert permalink
      May 22, 2014

      What’s up Stephany?! Thanks “Gurl.”

  7. gloria r permalink
    May 17, 2014

    hey thats my teacher !

  8. Elizabeth permalink
    May 17, 2014

    a nice teacher!!

  9. Jonathan permalink
    May 17, 2014

    Coach is by far the grates teacher I have ever had and he is the best in Chavez HS

    • Robert permalink
      May 22, 2014

      Man thanks but you’re gonna get me in trouble.

  10. Andres Banda permalink
    May 17, 2014

    That’s my teacher

  11. Victor Torres permalink
    May 17, 2014

    This is a very interesting interview and I am proud to have Mr. Myers as my public speaking coach.

  12. cintia permalink
    May 17, 2014

    His a great tracherr

  13. Criseida Garza permalink
    May 17, 2014

    Hes an Awsome teacher he has helped us even though some of us like me dont go to school in order for him to help us but those times i have been there he has been a great teacher.

    • Robert permalink
      May 22, 2014

      Hey You. You’re great student. There’s greatness within you. You just don’t know it yet. When you realize your powerful potential, whew! Look out world!

  14. lupita toledo permalink
    May 17, 2014

    thats my teacher from speech class , he is a great person (:
    -lupita <3

  15. Jesus alarcon permalink
    May 17, 2014

    That’s cool Coach.

  16. Ana Contreras` permalink
    May 17, 2014

    thats my teacher from speech class his one of the best teacher i ever had his really good at chess and a lot of stuff more like sports , his really great .
    -Ana Karen C.

  17. Robert permalink
    May 22, 2014

    Awwhhhh Ana, thank you sweetie.

  18. Lennard Haynes permalink
    June 15, 2014

    Not only a outstanding teacher but a awesome humanitarian, love all that you do brother stay strong in the Lord.

  19. Coach Philup permalink
    July 14, 2014

    Coach Robert flat out is the man! Accomplished, humble, serving the community, our children, and the man upstairs. He is the type of role model all children need in their lives showing them that your visions and dreams are within your grasp if you desire and put in the time and energy.

  20. María Cervantes permalink
    September 13, 2014

    It’s a pleasure to be in your class

  21. Abigail Madrigales permalink
    September 13, 2014

    Great person!

  22. Alexis Williams permalink
    December 27, 2014

    cool dude.

  23. Juan Lara permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Coach On point.

  24. Alexis Williams permalink
    December 27, 2014


  25. kela morris permalink
    December 27, 2014


  26. Luis Flores permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Hey Meyers dont take my pawn while the rest are blocking your pieces… but let’s have a rematch sometime.
    -love, your little oppenent luis flores
    p.s. nice stuff on here

  27. Tierra Bailey permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Absolutely outstanding humanitarian .

  28. Elizabeth Velazquez permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Really into his chess games, always a winner with his great techniques!

  29. Kasandra Lopez permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Awesome teacher.

  30. Heriberto Triana permalink
    December 27, 2014

    I wish I could beat you, but I can’t. 🙁

  31. christal vargas permalink
    December 27, 2014

    You are a great coach.

  32. Jada Sanders permalink
    December 27, 2014

    wow , very successful !

  33. Fernando Herrera permalink
    December 27, 2014

    wooow coach I wish I could be like you. You are my role model

  34. juan garcia permalink
    December 27, 2014

    great guy

  35. elza nino permalink
    December 27, 2014

    your are a great coach

  36. Moises Nunez permalink
    December 27, 2014


  37. Jeromi Ball permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Coach you are a wonderful person, but I feel like I can beat you in a game of chess because you know I’m a boss. QUEENS

  38. Jessica Flores permalink
    December 27, 2014


  39. Cristal Soto Quijano permalink
    December 27, 2014


  40. Brandon C Sanchez permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Great Coach and teacher And glad to be in his class he gets us motivated to learn something new and it just great ! Thanks coach

  41. Juan Lopez permalink
    December 27, 2014

    That’s cool coach

  42. Rosa Martinez permalink
    December 27, 2014


  43. Daniel Badna permalink
    December 27, 2014

    Pretty sweet accomplishments coach!

  44. D Smith-Jones permalink
    May 14, 2015

    chess game is the key of life to the best game in life

  45. J.O.period 5 permalink
    May 14, 2015

    I appreciate what Mr. Myers does for the betterment of others. He is constantly changing people’s lives day-in and day-out. It is really inspiring to be able to achieve the goals that he has achieved and to help others through their everyday life. He is a legend in the making.

  46. Demond Linsey permalink
    May 15, 2015

    By far the best Teacher I have met so far. He is a very down to earth person, and motivates me every time I’m in his class.

  47. Jorge olivo permalink
    November 28, 2016

    We need more people in the world like this , keep it up coach

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