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Challenge yourself, learn from the best, and experience the thrill of competing against top-level players.

David Hubbard


David Hubbard is a remarkable individual who has significantly impacted his community as a chess coach, educator, and former marine. With two teenagers in tow, his dedication to his students and community is unwavering, and his passion for education and chess is evident in everything he does. In his day job, David does air traffic control for the FAA.

Brad Pratt

Board Member

Brad is a lifelong chess player and a world language teacher with Frederick County Public Schools. His current mission is to expand chess programs in local school systems. You can find him on the basketball court, making his hoop dreams come true when he is not playing or teaching chess. Brad was a chemist, reptile showman, and plumber in previous lives.

Rene Picota

Vice President

Rene Picota, a chess master, was born and raised in a family that nurtured his passion for the game. He is a married man and a proud father of four children. In addition to his passion for chess, Rene is an avid enthusiast of French Bulldogs, or Frenchies, and has a collection of these lovable pets. In addition to his prowess in standard chess, Rene Picota has a particular penchant for blitz games involving lightning-fast time controls. Rene's social media and digital marketing background has proven invaluable in promoting the Shenandoah Valley Chess Club and growing its membership. Rene developed a reputation for his brilliant sacrifices and gambits, making him a formidable competitor in chess. Rene’s involvement with the Shenandoah Valley Chess Club has helped to raise its profile and attract new members, while his passion for the game has inspired countless young players to pursue their own chess aspirations.

Sam Sabbagh

Board Member

Sam Sabbagh is a finance manager for Children’s Services of Virginia. He is an avid chess player and can often be found playing 5 minute blitz games with friends at Starbucks. His other primary passion is astrophotography, where he enjoys catching ancient photons with his telescopes and cameras, and integrating them into beautiful pictures of the cosmos.

John Clark

Board Member

John Clark is a dedicated father, husband, and chess enthusiast who has spent his career teaching the game to others while also working for several mental health non-profit organizations. His passion for chess began with his son, Matthew, and he has since honed his skills through countless hours of practice and study. As a result, he has become a skilled player and respected teacher, known for his ability to break down complex strategies into easily digestible concepts. In addition to his work in the chess world, John is also a devoted family man, spending time with his loved ones whenever possible. When he’s not teaching or playing chess, you can find him enjoying a cup of bold coffee.