Posts Tagged ‘teaching chess’

My Quora answer to: “How do you get paid for teaching chess?”

May 13, 2015

The first obvious requirement for earning money teaching chess is that you need to be able to play chess well. This of course doesn’t mean that you have be a grandmaster level chess player but you do need be able to teach from a position of authority which means that you should at least be the equivalent of a 1500 ICC rated player.

The other half of the equation is being able to teach.  I consider teaching chess to be an art form in and of itself. The best way to learn this art, is to sit in on the classes of other successful chess teachers and take notes on their lesson material and delivery.
In order to “get paid,” you’ll need to find students. The easiest way to do this would be to contact local scholastic chess organizations. You can find these by attending scholastic chess tournaments in your area and talking with the coaches of large teams. If you are confident of your chess skills, you can volunteer to go over games in the team rooms of these groups and who knows, you might land your first job or pick up a private student.
Far and away your best source of students will be “word of mouth” recommendations but you will also want to consider starting a website or blog to get your name out faster. Offering free learning material on a professional looking site will  impress any prospective students who are cross referencing a friend’s recommendation. In addition to learning material, you should also list locations where you are holding classes and tournaments you will be attending. This way, possible students can come and see you in action before registering for a session of classes.
Making a strong connection with your students is a must for any successful teacher. For chess instructors, this means remembering that the kids sitting in front of you are actual people and not little robots. Your students need to see that you genuinely care about them and their progress. In addition, you need to be there for them when they win first place or when they have a bad tournament. Being totally committed to every student’s progress is difficult work but without your commitment you will not gain their loyalty.
The fact is that parents will be expecting to see good results from their investment in lessons with you. For gauging improvement, they will be looking at their child’s rating changes and tournament results. Since kids don’t improve in a linear fashion, this means that there will be times where the child shows little improvement for a couple months followed by a sudden rapid improvement in understanding. During the slow growth times, it is important to give honest assessments to the parents and stay positive with the child. Failing to do both will likely result in losing a student just before his/her next period of growth.
The best advice I can give to new chess teachers is that they need to enjoy themselves while teaching chess. Chess is hard work and it is vitally important for a coach to keep the “fun factor” in the game. Without a genuine passion for chess, teachers can not expect their students to enjoy the learning process. If you don’t enjoy the game of chess and working with children, being a chess coach is not a good career choice.
Remember, the most successful professional chess coaches haven’t become so through luck. They have spent countless unpaid hours analyzing chess games, answering emails and offering their services at chess tournaments. If you are not willing to go “all in” for your students and business then you can’t expect to support yourself through chess. However, if you consistently try your best for the kids you serve and use common sense in managing your business, teaching chess can be a fun way to earn a living.
Original Quora answer:

Teaching Chess Improves Chess Creativity

October 18, 2012

Last night after a long day teaching chess which culminated with a private lesson for chess prodigy Ben Rood, I came home and decided to relax by playing a couple blitz games on FICS. As usual, I won a couple and lost a couple. In the past I have noticed that I have more creative ways of handling routine positions after I teach Ben. Last night was no exception. As proof, I offer a fun new approach for black in the Nimzowitsch Attack of Petroff’s Defense.


[Event “3 Minute Blitz Game”]

[Site “FICS”]

[Date “2012.10.17”]

[Round “?”]

[White “istvanka”]

[Black “chessmusings”]

[Result “0-1”]

[ECO “C42”]

[Opening “Russian Game”]

[Time “22:11”]

[Variation “Nimzowitsch Attack”]

[TimeControl “3 and 0”]

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nf6 {This is Petroff’s Defense which can also be called the Russian game. As an opening, it is fairly easy to learn and a very solid choice against 1 e4.} 3. Nxe5 d6 4. Nf3 Nxe4 5. Nc3 {The Nimzowitsch Attack is one of white’s more aggressive choices in the Petroff. After the exchange of knights white is left with plenty of open lines with which to attack black.} Nxc3 6. dxc3 Be7 7. Bd3 Nd7 8. Be3 Nf6 {If white’s bishop was on f4 I might have tried Nc5. In our current position, 0-0 for black is quite sensible.} 9. Qd2 Be6 10. O-O-O {At this point, white’s pieces are more organized for attack than black’s. It’s a little surprising how quickly I change that.} Bxa2!? {This looks like a mistake but I have a unique plan involving the loss of my Bishop. My move is an invention for this position. Previously, black has tried Qd7 with mixed results.} 11. b3 a5! {The little “a” pawn needs to be taken very seriously.} 12. Kb2 a4 13. Kxa2? {Rda1 would have taken some of the sting out of my attack. White’s choice plays right into my hands.} axb3+ 14. Kb2? {14 Kxc3 needed to be played. Kb2 looks safe but Black has a surprise.} Ra2+ 15. Kxb3 Qa8 {This threatens mate with Qa4.} 16. Bb5+ c6 17. Kc4 {My opponent found the only way of extending the life of his king.} cxb5+ 18. Kd3 Qa6?! {Apparently, Qa4 was the much better choice because it threatens Qc4#.} 19. Ke2 b4+ 20. Ke1 b3 {18…Qa6 seems to be working out as well. Had white played 20 Kd3 I was ready with Rxc2+!} 21. Rc1? {When a player is under pressure they are more likely to make mistakes like this.} b2 22. Rb1 Ra1 23. Qd1 Ne4 {I am threatening Nxc3 which would be devastating.} 24. Bd4 Bf6 {and white resigned.} 0-1

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