Recognizing Outstanding Wizards – February 2020

By Catherine Smith, Wizard Training Coordinator and Instructor in WA

 Wil Coloma, WA

Wil is a lead instructor in WA who has been teaching with Chess Wizards for almost a year and a half. He has a great attitude, a wonderful sense of humor, and is always a big hit with both the schools and the students. He is extremely reliable and subs whenever he can. Wil also helps to train new instructors and he always gets great feedback from them, saying that he runs an awesome class! I’ve done a few classes with Wil and he makes sure his students have fun while learning at the same time. One of Wil’s greatest assets is his sense of humor that he uses in the classroom. His dedication to Chess Wizards is something I admire, and I have learned a lot from watching his classes. 

Wil, thank you so much for all your amazing teaching at Chess Wizards. You have made a big difference in the Chess Wizards classes in WA and we all appreciate your hard work. Keep on being Wonderful Wizard Wil in WA!


Interview with Wil


1. Who are you, where do you come from, where are you going?

Hi there, I'm Wil.  I'm a full-time realtor who strives to make people happy, including chess players through Chess Wizards and archers through our own archery club. Amy is my wife of 32 years and we have raised 5 children, my youngest being 15.  I moved from Hawaii to Seattle in 1982 and have lived/worked in the area for decades. I enjoy all types of sports and games that make you really think. We work hard, then play hard.


2. What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started teaching?

Every student is different, so just be sure that each student learns something and has fun during every class!


3. What is the most exciting experience you have had while playing or teaching chess?

It is so satisfying to see the sparkle in your students’ eyes, especially when they realize that they learned something cool.


4. How do you motivate your students to succeed?

Take the pressure off and let them know that it is okay to not win every game. You learn from every game regardless of the result.


5. What is your most memorable memory from your time as a Chess Wizard? 

When one of the kids told me that she would go home to make a special sandwich for me, and bring it to the next class. 


 6. If you could retire tomorrow and never have to worry about money again, what would you do with your time?

I would still work to make people happy, but with less pressure/stress.


7. What’s your go-to technique for dealing with ‘handful students’?

Separate them in multiple groups to occupy their time.


8. What is an unusual place you have been to?

Narita Airport en route to the Philippines. Hot dogs were $8.00 and the M&Ms were $7.50! :)


9. Do you have a talent that not many people know about?

I'm a very talented Scrabble player.


10. What’s your #1 teaching tip?

Get the kids involved in playing human chess!


11. What’s your favorite classroom Attention Getter?

 Ask a question that makes them think.  For example, “who knows what a fork is in chess?” or “who are the top 2 chess players in the world?”


12. What is something interesting that you’re involved in, outside of Chess Wizards?

We have our own archery club where we teach archery skills to all age groups.


13. If you saw a kangaroo and a chimpanzee playing chess what would you do? Who do you think would win?

I would watch the chimpanzee win!


14. Star Wars, Star Trek, or they’re both lame?

Star Trek!  Space, the final frontier...