MEET OUR COACHES

Michael Cuthbert 

 

Why I love chess

Chess is a game with unlimited opportunities. When I play chess I feel like I’m in control and whatever happens on the board is a direct result of how hard I’ve trained and how much I focus. Every other game I’ve played gets frustrating after a while as luck and other factors affect my success, but I don’t feel that way with chess. Chess is the one game I can play over and over again and still feel like it’s a new experience. The more I learn about chess the more I realize how little I know.

Why I love coaching chess

I’ve been coaching chess for nearly 4 years now and the people I’ve met have had a large impact on me as a person. It always excites me to work with people who are passionate about the game and helping people achieve their goals brings a lot of joy to me.

My coaching style

My coaching style differs depending on the student. Some students require more of a gentle touch whereas others need a more rigid environment to thrive. I am big believer in the Dutch steps method for beginner to intermediate players as it offers a methodical approach which helps build a strong chess foundation.

For intermediate to advanced students I like using Artur Yusupov’s training course as a reference because the comprehensive nature of the course will help any player round off their chess. I also try to use my experience to help identify player’s weaknesses and help them find ways to improve that. Self-study is a vital part of chess improvement and I try to provide all of my students with all the tools they need to improve by themselves.

My desire for my students

My goal for my students is to help them achieve whatever goals they have. If the student does not have specific goals I will help them set measurable goals and achieve them. I believe chess should be a fun activity and I do my best to promote this as in my experience the students who enjoy chess most are the ones who will succeed.

Message to students, parents, and teachers

There are numerous studies on the benefits of chess. Improved concentration, creativity and better memory are just a few of the upsides. I’ve seen enough people (kids specifically) mature and grow as they improve their chess skills that I think it’s very good for any child to learn chess.

Andrew McInnes

Why I love chess

I love chess because of the almost endless complexity that even the simplest positions can hold and the narrative that each game has. In a tough game the outcome rests on each move and it’s this pressure during the game I find so exhilarating.

Why I love coaching chess

I love coaching chess because of how powerful expressing a single concept can be on a student’s approach to the game. Often it is a small piece of the puzzle that changes a student’s framework and seeing a student excel is such a gratifying experience.

My coaching style

I have a heavy focus on the endgame and correctly converting won and drawn positions. Stylistically I also really enjoy dynamic, asymmetric, and attacking middlegames. I think coaching should also be a fun experience as it’s under this condition that you learn and absorb the most.

Desire for my students

The most crucial desire I have for my students is to see them excel and improve. It is important to put what is learned in practice into application in a game. Secondly it is incredibly important to cultivate a ‘never give up’ attitude as many games can be won with spirit alone. Finally, I want to see my student continue to have fun while playing chess, regardless of their level.

Message to students, parents, and teachers

At a young age playing chess leads to strong improvements in the areas of mathematics and cognition. Chess also builds decision making skills and teaches us how to act under pressure. Finally, chess teaches us how to handle loss and to accept our fault in that outcome, because there isn’t a biased ref or rainy conditions, we must accept our mistakes and learn from it.

 

Francois van der Westhuizen

Why I love chess

It is the feeling of making a great move after a mistake, the joy of the fight against someone who loves the game as much as you, the look and feel of an expertly crafted chess set. My love for chess is as simple and complicated as the move of a pawn.

What I love about coaching Chess

Teaching chess is not as easy as it seems, there are many factors that go into its success and I love all of it. Having your student go from moving randomly in the opening to having a repertoire is a great feeling. Even better is the excitement of winning against an opponent they had problems with for months or years. But my greatest love is when a student picks up a bit of that chess passion and starts talking about Morphy and Tal and asked if I saw the latest Magnus game.

My coaching style

I adapt to each person. Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses and I take time over the course of the year to address each student. Everyone thinks differently about moves and positions and I believe that everybody should have a chance to be heard and corrected if wrong. Growth in any subject is a two way street.

My desire for my students

I want each and everyone of my students to walk away with a deeper understanding of chess. Even if it just surface level knowledge. Not every student will be a chess fanatic but I believe everyone can love the game if they have the right teacher.

Dione Goredema

 

How did you learn chess?

My brother taught me the game when I was 10, and since the age of 12 I’ve played for schools, clubs, and for Chess Western Province, and have won numerous medals at various tournaments.

How did you get into coaching?

In order to share my love for the game and pass on what I’ve learnt, I coach chess to all those who would like to improve their game.

What is your approach to coaching?

I focus on building your self-esteem and challenge you to become a tenacious fighter at the chess board. Since 2018 I have coached for Chess Western Province, and my teams have won both gold and silver medals at national tournaments.

The one thing that I love the most about coaching chess is when students become convinced they are good enough to compete against anyone! 

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Kelvin Edwards

 

Why I love chess

I love chess because it is very similar to life. In life, decision-making is very important so also on the chess board. But the main reason I love chess so much is because it exercises the whole brain and produces problem solving and creativity skills.

 What I love about coaching chess

I love coaching chess because I have a great passion to equip others in life and develop our kids to be leaders. Chess was originally played only by kings and presidents who used it as a way to grow their problem-solving abilities in order to be better at making tough leadership decisions. 

My coaching style

I like to use daily life as examples to explain to students certain important moves or decision-making. I am a strategic positional player which means I like focusing on patterns of potential strategies and positions. Finally, tactics is key when I want my students to develop a habit of looking through the whole board for opportunities and weaknesses.

My desire for my students

My desire for my students is to develop them to a point where they become independent in their thinking while playing, and learn to identify patterns and solve problems on their own when problems occur.

My advise to parents is to always support your child when it comes to chess because it will help them grow as a person.

Tatenda Mushininga

 

Why I love chess

I cannot have enough of the thrills I have during a game, mostly of suspense, action and mystery. Although occasionally drama and comedy. Then every one I am sure, like me, will attest that some games are just plain Survivor Series and horror stories. All this is the entertainment chess brings, entertainment with discipline and focus cultivated, a rare sport.

Why I love coaching chess

I have a motto I live by. LIVE. LEARN. EVOLVE. I can only live by it if I share what I have and that automatically pushes me to evolve. I love the process of replicating my years of learning in my students in a few lessons. I teach others so that together we evolve up the chess ladder.

My coaching style

I teach how to think, how to see, and how to analyse. I have countless examples of students whom I taught from having no chess knowledge to becoming national finalists and gold medalists within a month or two of training. I don’t believe in teaching opening traps, I want my students to know what to do at each point of the game whether new or theoretical.

My desire for my students

My greatest desire is for my students to be able to finally play like titled players with ease in no time.

Message for students, parents, and teachers

Chess teaches discipline, smartness and critical thinking. Kids are thus captured from a tender age and discipline is instilled in them. Analysis and the ability to take responsibility for every move one makes in life, the ability to sacrifice one advantage for another, like material for time to win…. kids are taught currencies of real life by this and thus become smarter than their contemporary classmates.

Whatever your age, chess will teach you to be a better person. It will not only sharpen your brain and save your brain from aging too quickly, but it’s a whole new world of entertainment full of feelings and memories that is much better than video games and TV .

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