My mission is to enhance my students’ enjoyment of chess and improve their ability and confidence in playing this wonderful game!
New students often ask, "How can a chess coach help me?" A brief outline will summarize the aspects of modern, intensive chess coaching methods.
The initial assessment of the student's chess persona reveals playing style, opening preferences, and endgame knowledge. I examine their annotated games until I have a picture of the student's strengths and weaknesses. I'll suggest stronger lines as well as identifying weaker areas needing improvement.
This is not the same as "examining" a game with a chess engine such as Stockfish. True, it will show you better moves and identify blunders. But a superficial computer assessment, such as "+3.14", isn't really adding anything to your bank of chess knowledge. I'll show you strong lines of play and optimal pawn structures, where to attack, when to defend, and more. We'll review relevant thematic examples and exercises together with other material as applicable.
Relevant interesting thematic examples and exercises together with other reference material are emailed after each lesson. Depending on the lesson topic I will put together a study schedule possibly including a list of proposed books, articles, YouTube videos and 'homework’ exercises. Over time I have developed a large range of coaching materials which I am constantly updating with new examples.
In terms of openings, I generally try to prioritize lesson time for other chess areas because the importance of opening knowledge is often overplayed for club players and also there are plenty of opening resources available nowadays. But if my student has identified an issue or I see a specific opening problem myself, we discuss and address it. Of course, as a GM I have a good and broad knowledge of opening systems and topographical themes though my specialist openings where I'm probably most useful for my advanced students include: for black – Ruy Lopez, Caro-Kann, French, Queens Gambit Declined, Catalan, Benko Gambit, (Najdorf variation); and for white - all 1.e4 openings and some not-1.e4 openings.
I have already prepared annotated pgn files for many opening variations which are ready for use. I'm also open to analyzing new openings or variations and finding out their secrets together with my students. This is also potentially very useful as the student can see how a GM studies new openings.
During lessons, I often focus on issues of chess psychology, because irrespective of strength, practically all chess players have psychological problems and there is relatively little chess literature on the topic. From my experience I find I am becoming more and more a psychologist and that improving your chess psychology is one sure fire way to get more consistent and better results!
For example, issues I often help with include how to maintain your focus and concentration during a game; control your nerves at the critical moments; avoid being unnecessarily intimidated by higher rated opponents or underestimating weaker opposition; not relaxing in winning positions and how to fight on in seemingly lost positions.
A particular area of help is tournament preparation. This could cover practical issues including: where and how often to play; strength of opposition or tournament category currently most useful for the stage of chess development; how to prepare for and handle the rigors of tournament play; preparing for games with known opponents, etc.
If you dream of becoming a really strong chess player, our lessons will provide a sufficient foundation for the serious work. Lessons themselves (unfortunately) will not make you 50 or 100 ELO points stronger. You will need to be an active and dedicated participant of our "Coach-Student" team – so ask the questions, think about your own weaknesses, and work actively both during the lesson and alone.
Another type of student loves chess and want to understand it better to enjoy and appreciate watching chess games or reading chess books and material. I have dedicated my life to chess and would welcome becoming your guide to unlocking its treasures! We could focus on watching and enjoying the classical immortal games, learning the history of different tournaments or matches, and so on. Developing an understanding of chess history and chess culture can definitely be a most rewarding and entertaining experience.
So, if you have a goal in chess and think that we could achieve it together, contact me. I would love to help you reach your chess goals as your coach!