Vegas Chess Player and Law Student in the News

Posted in News on January 10th, 2008 by Nevada Chess

In a city flush with jobs, students can land lucrative gigs to pay for their education. They park cars, dance, serve cocktails and otherwise contribute to the 24-hour economy.Ryan Phillips, 23, is pursuing a less orthodox way of paying for law school at UNLV.

Phillips, an aspiring corporate attorney, happens to be a competitive chess player. And he’s hoping that teaching chess for $30 an hour will allow him eventually to drop his other gigs tutoring math for about 10 hours a week.

Phillips, who won the under-2000 Western States Open in 2006 and tied for second in the North American Open’s under-1800 in 2004, learned to play chess at age 8 from his dad. (“Under-2000” and “under-1800” refer to the U.S. Chess Federation’s ratings for players.)

Since childhood, Phillips has taught himself more about chess by practicing, reading books on tactics and studying other players’ games.

“I liked the logic of it,” he said. “It’s a beautiful game to me aesthetically also. The patterns, the way the pieces move, there’s a logic and a symmetry to the game.”

So far, Phillips is finding that entrepreneurship isn’t easy.

He’s started his chess business with one student a 6-year-old who has taken hourly lessons once a week for the past 2