Joe Martin, Founder
16 years teaching chess
A Family History
Joe Martin is heir to a rich family tradition of chess playing. His grandfather, Albert C. Martin, was a nationally rated Master, and the Rhode Island State Champion sixteen times. His father, Stephen A. Martin, followed in Albert's footsteps, achieving the rank of Expert, tying for 8th at the U.S. Open of 1970, and developing his own opening gambit.
This family bond informed Joe's early beginnings as a chess player. By 13, Joe had started his first chess club, by 16 he had organized his first private group - a summer camp for younger players- and watched his students win local tournaments, and by seventeen had fielded his first scholastic team.
In the years since, chess education has become Joe's life’s work, as well as his full-time job, melding the traditions of a dynasty with a knack for fostering the same enthusiasm and passion in the next generation. His meterstick for success is how many children still play when they stop working with him, and he's proud to say that he still has students reaching out to him from when it all began fifteen years ago to let him know that they still play, and how much they've learned in the meantime. Some of them even stop by current programs when they're in town to reminisce and meet the next generation. Joe's commitment is to continue this tradition of enthusiastic excellence, grounding his students in solid theory and practice while fostering a lifelong love of chess.
In recent years, Joe has been at the epicenter of the chess explosion in Sharon, MA and the surrounding area. His company, Common Sense Chess, has become a byword for chess fun and education. Partnering with local schools, after-school programs, and small groups; Joe now works with almost a hundred kids a week and routinely organizes local tournaments for the town of Sharon and surrounding areas.