He graduated from Dartmouth College in the class of 1975. Kopec later received a PhD in Machine Intelligence from the University of Edinburgh.
He lived in Canada for several years during the 1980s, and competed there with success. He has written numerous books on the subject of chess, produced eight chess instructional DVDs, and has run chess camps since 1994. Kopec has also worked to promote his chess opening, "The Kopec System" (1e4 c5 2Nf3 d6 3Bd3!?).
With Ivan Bratko, he was the creator of the Bratko-Kopec Test which was one of the de facto standard testing systems for chess playing computer programs in the 1980s. Kopec has published notable academic pieces in the areas of artificial intelligence, machine error reduction, intelligent tutoring systems, and computer education. As of April 2009, his FIDE rating is 2334.
Member Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) SIGART, ICCA, Edinburgh Chess Masters (board directors 1981-1982), Association Computing Machinery, Canada Chess Federation, United States Chess Federation.
Married Sylvia Antos, December 18, 1994. 1 child, David; 1 stepchild, Oliver.