David Gaston first learned the rules of chess at age 5, but then he put the pieces away and didn’t touch them again for nearly a decade. It was around age 14 that he began to play chess seriously, jumping from a rating of about 850 to 1550 in under a year—in just four tournaments. Completely self-taught, he rose quickly to Expert level, and continues to improve to this day. His unorthodox attacking style is emblematic of the modern approach, fueled by fanatical preparation and intense hard work behind the scenes, all with the aid of the best technology of the day. Coming hot off of wins in the 2016 Southwest Class Championships and the 2016 Little Rock Spring Open, David is one of the special few chess players who has won more prize money than he’s paid in entry fees over the course of his chess career. Though he still competes, he’s found time to teach as well, and he’s excited to share his secrets with any and all NTCA students.