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Over the Chessboard believes everyone can learn to play and excel at chess.

We use chess as a tool to promote education, leadership and respect. We especially focus on girls since they currently represent only 10% of U.S. tournament players.

chess, Jessica Prescott, state championship

Founder & Director

Jessica Era Martin


Jessica Era Martin is the author of four chess books, the first of which has 35 chess activities: Learn to Play Chess, How to Play Chess for Kids, Chess Strategy for Beginners, & Chess Openings for Beginners. All are available wherever books are sold. She has ranked in the top 100 women in the US, formerly number one woman in NC, and she has been a chess instructor for over 20 years. After training with Chess-in-the-Schools in NYC, she developed programs in NY, AZ, and NC. Martin has coached her students at local, State, and National Championships. Martin is the past Vice President of Scholastic Chess of the North Carolina Chess Association (NCCA). She was a weekly author for from 2010-2015. The International School of Tucson created a chess scholarship in Jessica's name. It is one of her goals to encourage more girls and women to participate in chess. 

Project Manager & Instructor

Elena Salazar


Elena has been an active member of the chess community for more than eight years. Her daughter started playing in kindergarten, and she can offer parents advice on chess programs and tournaments. Elena also believes in making chess fun by taking it out of the classroom!


She has served on the board of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Scholastic Chess Association and led the McAlpine Elementary Chess Club for four years. She is an instructor and project manager for Over the Chessboard and a club tournament director. She is married to Steve and lives in Charlotte. 


Want to partner with OTCB? Set up an event? Contact Elena:

Spencer Singleton 

Spencer Singleton, social studies teacher (retired), CMS, has been sharing the joy of chess with young people of all ages for over 20 years.  Seven of those years were devoted to Cochrane Middle School, where scholastic chess participants brought home multiple state championships and national awards. 


Spencer taught social studies and the AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) curriculum at West Charlotte (WC) Senior High School for 11 years before retiring in July, 2011. While teaching at WC, and presently, he advises and coaches the chess club/team.  Under his guidance WC’s chess teams won two consecutive state championships, followed by a tie for 1st place honors in the K12, U1300 Section. These and other victories added to the school’s trophy cases which are overflowing with state and national chess trophies and plaques. 


In the “2009 High School Nationals” WC finished in 5th place in the K12, U900 Section.  Spencer is currently a chess instructor for the non-profit organization, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Scholastic Chess Association (CMSCA).   Spencer’s extracurricular activities includes, directing the “Study House,” a Bible Study Fellowship; playing the trumpet with a local church orchestra; and writing and recording music.      


We teach in public, private, montessori, charter, and parochial schools, all grades k-12.  Contact us to start a program in your school!  See Services to learn more about programs and private lessons.


Welcome Sirisha Hari, Paul Skok, NM Shawn Pealer, & Nick Bloomberg!


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