Born in Yugoslavia, Tamer Karatekin learned chess from his grandfather, Mücahit Korça, who was a physics teacher, Turkish-Albanian-Macedonian textbook writer, and the director of the Turkish minority school "Tefeyyüz" in Skopje. Tamer grew up in oldtown Fatih, Istanbul, where he attended Capa Primary School, followed by Istanbul Highschool, and had a chess career that brought him many medals in Youth, School, and Junior championships of Turkey.
Tamer Karatekin won the chess championship of Turkey two points ahead of competition in year 2000 before the world chess olympiad was held in Istanbul in the same year. Previously, during the year 1997, he drew against the world chess champions Anatoly Karpov and Garry Kasparov in simultaneous exhibitions in Istanbul. Tamer received his first ELO rating and FIDE master title at age 16 during the European Junior Chess championship in Tallinn, Estonia.
With the influence of his successes in the chess sport during his Turkish-German high school education (1992-2000) at Istanbul High School, Tamer Karatekin was accepted to Harvard University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology as an undergraduate student in the year 2000. He studied at MIT at the department of electrical engineering and computer science between 2000-2004. While playing as the first board of MIT's chess team and before, Tamer defeated the US Junior Champion Dean Ippolito in 1998, Harvard Champion Marc Esserman in 2002, and US High School Champion Patrick Hummel in an MIT-Caltech college team match in 2003.
Tamer’s brother, Serdar Karatekin, also was admitted to MIT in 2005 and graduated from the electrical engineering and computer science department in 2011. The brothers have been developing software for chess in schools and training purposes. Serdar was the lead mobile developer of socratic.org from the start, one of the leading ed-tech startups in the world, which was acquired by Google in 2019.
After his undergraduate education in USA, Tamer returned to Istanbul where he enjoyed a career in management and entrepreneurship in various sectors, including software, tourism, food, and international trade. As a 2nd profession, he started to coach young chess players and train them for World and European Youth Chess Championships. Among his pupils, there have been medalists in the World, Europe, World Schools, Europe Schools, Turkey, and Istanbul championships. His most famous students are U8 World silver medalist CM Işık Can with an international chess rating, ELO, above 2100 at age 9, and his sister U9 world school silver medalist, CM Işıl Can. Sample photos of Tamer’s students can be found on his chess academy website. Based on the results of his students, Tamer was awarded the title of FIDE Trainer in 2015.
During the 2014-2015 school year, Tamer also taught to around 300 first and second grade students at Istanbul Technical University Development Foundation primary schools, one of the first schools in the world to have compulsory chess lessons in curriculum. Having coached small children both on a personal level and in a group setting, Tamer noticed the need for better personalized chess learning tools for young learners. Following his classroom teaching experience, Tamer participated with his school chess platform project and qualified as a semi-finalist (top 60) among 3000 participants at the Istanbul Technical University Seed Incubator program, ranked among the best in EU and in the world. He continues to run this edtech company based in Istanbul,Turkey, looking for partnerships with chess federations and ministries of education. He also regularly consults private school chains, ministries of education, and national chess federations about chess in schools.
During 2019, Tamer completed the graduate-level MITx Data, Economics, and Development Policy micromasters program, taught by the recent Nobel laureates in Economics prof. Duflo and prof. Banerjee. Next, during the 2019-2020 school year, he returned to MIT's EECS department as a student and currently has a pending certification in healthcare from MIT Sloan’s Healthcare Systems Initiative. During this period, Tamer also served as a co-president of MIT’s Entrepreneurship Club. As a graduate of MIT’s both on-campus (EECS) and online programs (MITx DEDP), Tamer is an experienced entrepreneur, data scientist, and product manager with a strong background in education and healthcare sectors. He has presented his research at leading conferences on machine learning in healthcare and artificial intelligence in education.