The Top Chess Players in the World

FM Mike Klein

Mike Klein
Full name
Mike Klein
Oct 15, 1979 (age 44)‎
Place of birth
Georgia, USA
United States



Mike Klein is an American FIDE master and award-winning chess player, coach, and journalist. He's also the face of, the scholastic extension of, where kids know him as FunMasterMike.

Chess Career

Mike Klein (also known as FunMasterMike) started playing chess when he was four years old. When he was six, he played his first national chess tournament and incidentally faced a "movie star"—he lost a game to IM Joshua Waitzkin, the player featured in the movie "Searching For Bobby Fischer." It was this same tournament featured at the end of the film.

FM Mike Klein, also known as FunMasterMike.
Mike Klein in 1986 at the National K-3 Championship. Photo: Mike Klein/

In 1987, Klein became the youngest member of the inaugural All-America Chess Team, one of the highest national honors a young chess player can attain.

Klein won the K-3 Division of the National Elementary Championship a year later when he was eight. He also won a Bughouse National Chess Championship in 1992 and the North Carolina High School Championship five times from 1993 to 1997.

FM Mike Klein or FunMasterMike, the face of
FM Mike Klein. Photo:

In 1996, Klein earned his national master title. He earned his FIDE master title in 2006 and reached his peak FIDE rating of 2326 in 2007. 

A self-proclaimed grinder, Klein takes pride in his tenacious and fighting playing style. According to the FunMaster himself, he consistently gets into difficult positions but often manages to squeeze something out of them.

FM Mike Klein, the player behind FunMasterMike.
Klein coaching a kid. Photo:

His favorite game comes from the final round of the Land of the Sky Tournament in 2003. Klein was playing as Black against GM Alex Wojtkiewicz and needed only a draw for clear first. He was in a much worse position but conjured the exchange sacrifice with 15...Rxe3, securing a draw a few moves later after getting a better position.

Klein retired from professional chess and has dedicated himself to teaching chess full-time for more than 20 years in Charlotte and New York.

Chess Journalist

Klein started his career as a chess journalist in 2008 after WGM Jennifer Shahade recommended him to Chess Life magazine's Director of Publications, Dan Lucas. He gained momentum as a journalist after covering the Chess Olympiad in the same year when the United Stated earned two bronze medals.

Klein won the Chess Journalists of America (CJA) award for Chess Journalist of the Year in 2012, 2015, and 2018. He has also won other awards from the CJA, such as Best Tournament Report, and several writing awards for major newspapers.

FM Mike Klein, FunMasterMike.
Klein is an award-winning chess journalist. Photo: Maria Emelianova/

Chief Chess Officer Of

Klein became the Chief Chess Officer of, the world's largest scholastic chess website, in 2013. Since then, he has become the website's face and has created an insurmountable amount of content.

Kids from all over the world know him as FunMasterMike. He has become the biggest chess celebrity for young players who are learning the game.

FM Mike Klein, FunMasterMike.
Kids love to play against FunMasterMike on

FunMasterMike streams regularly on ChessKid's Twitch channel. Here you can see one of his most famous streaming series, Beat FunMasterMike, where ChessKids gather online to try to beat him in a blitz game: Content

Klein not only works as a chess writer and as the CCO of but also creates content for He has authored the How To Sacrifice Your Queen and the How To Make A Comeback lessons. Klein has also helped with the coverage of multiple events and created numerous videos for, including an interview with "The Queen's Gambit" star Thomas Brodie-Sangster:

Best Game

Most Played Openings