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

 

Why I love chess

I love chess because it changed my life. Most of the opportunities I have received came through chess. I love chess because it is challenging and you can learn a lot of life lessons through chess. It teaches you to learn from your losses. There is always something you can learn in chess. It’s a lifelong experience.

Why I love coaching chess

It gives me the opportunity to work with many people, especially working with young people. The one thing that I love the most about coaching chess is when students become convinced they are good enough to compete against anyone! 

My coaching style

 I like to coach the understanding of a student. I want them to know why they should do what I’m teaching them. And I encourage them to try it out for themselves. I want the student to progress from one level to another.

My desire for my students

That they enjoy chess and focus on improving their chess understanding. It’s not just about winning and losing. I want them to be self-educated, I want them to work hard and teach themselves how to become better chess players. It’s their responsibility to improve in chess.  

Why I think it’s important for kids to play chess

Chess is a great educational tool. More scientific research is being conducted and the evidence is clear that children who play and learn about chess improve in their school work. Especially in their maths and reading skills. Chess helps kids learn how to deal with the fear of losing. Chess also helps kids become responsible. There is very little luck in chess. Therefore the kids are responsible for their wins and losses in chess.

Message to students, parents, or teachers

Chess is hard. Therefore it is very important that you support your kids and students. They need to be encouraged when they lose and also for you to be patient with them. You need to make it clear that it is their responsibility to become better chess players. They need to do the work required to become strong chess players. And it takes a very long time!  

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 .

Nico Martin 

 

Why I love chess

Through chess I have gotten the opportunity to travel to different provinces and even other countries. I love chess because of the unique positions and struggles that each game brings to the table. Although the rules are relatively simple, they create a game that is beautifully complex.  There is always something new to learn in chess. Each game is a battle of the minds – based on skill not luck.

Why I love coaching chess

Sharing my passion for the game and helping others to achieve their goals. Others in the chess community helped me to improve so now it is time for me to pass on the chess knowledge that I have gained over the years.

My coaching style

I’m more of a tactical player by nature and enjoy playing dynamic positions. I mainly place an emphasis on knowing the middle game plans combined with concrete endgame knowledge. Every chess player is different, but I will try to identify each student’s weaknesses and work to eliminate them.

My desire for my students

Most importantly I want my students to have fun and enjoy themselves. To be hard working and be willing to put the effort in in order to improve. It is also important to be eager to learn new things and be in a fighting mood over the chessboard.

Why you think it’s important for kids to play chess?

Science has proven through a multitude of studies that chess is a game of many benefits including: increasing concentration, teaches visualisation and planning ahead, improves creativity through problem solving and helps develop logical thinking skills.

Message for students, parents, and teachers

Losses can be painful, but in the words of Henry Ford “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” Mistakes are the pathway to improvement and fixing them allow you to move on to the next level.

 

GM Marian Petrov 

 

Why I love chess

For me, this is my life. I have started from a young age and most of my friends and important people who I met were because of chess.
It helped me to visit many countries around the world, to win many trophies and titles. Improved my overall knowledge of the world because of traveling and meeting people from all over the world.

Why I love coaching chess

I actually have studied 5 years and got a bachelor’s degree in our National Sports Academy. So I was preparing for this when I was younger and already have over 20 years of experience. It helps me again to meet even virtually many people from different countries. Everyone has a different level but I like to help them to improve their level.

My coaching style

It depends on the level of the student. For beginners, I try to teach them the most important basic things but above all to try to understand every move they make. For more advanced players to improve the areas where they are struggling and to use the strongest part of their game.

My desire for my students

The most important is to enjoy the game.  They can have different goals. Simply to learn the game, or to try to understand it better or even to master it. If they want to commit more I wish they become good players, travel around the world and win tournaments. Then to try to make a career by playing or later with coaching.

 

Ignatius Chama 

 

Why I love chess

I Love chess because I find joy in playing the Game. When I play chess it opens my eyes to new possibilities, it helps me come up with good plans and strategies. Which I can focus on and find different ways to execute and implement. Also the fact that it’s Mind games and tactics.

Why I love coaching chess

I love coaching chess because it opens the mind to new ways of thinking. When someone is facing a challenge chess can help you plan or think of a solution to the problem.

My coaching style

My style of coaching will differ depending on the student or person and what they know. I can take them from beginner to advanced with time.

My desire for my students 

My desire is for students to realize the endless possibilities and ways they can achieve their goals weather in chess or life in general.

Why I think it’s important for kids to play chess

Kids should play chess because it helps with coming up with ideas and critical thinking.

 

Sachin Hastie 

 

Why I love chess

Chess has taught me many invaluable lessons. I have learnt the importance of respect and to never undermine the ability of yourself or that of others. It is a game for all to enjoy – it does not discriminate. I love chess as it rewards patience, persistence and hard work. There are billions of variations that can be played and thus there is something new to be learnt in every game.

Why I love coaching chess

I have a love for all things related to chess. As such I get excited when others show an interest in the game and are wanting to know more. I also love seeing growth. And to me it is a privilege to be a part of someone’s development.

My coaching style

My focus is on the player’s ability to develop a plan and to improve their positional understanding and strategical play as this will ensure sound reasoning behind each move. I appreciate tactical play and awareness and its fundamentality in all games thus tactical themes is important in coaching. The endgame is a struggle at all levels of chess thus I focus on developing an understanding of endgame themes and memory of the basics.

My desire for my students 

To develop a teachable spirit and a growth mindset. To celebrate the wins and appreciate the lessons that come with losing. The student should stretch themselves and reach their potential all while having fun and enjoying the game.

Why I think it’s important for kids to play chess

It improves kids’ ability to concentrate and hold large amounts of information. It helps them to think critically and not rush when making decisions. Chess players are great people and kids will make lifelong friends at tournaments and school. 

 

Shalvi Deshmukh

 

Why I love chess

I like to play chess as it is the game that touches my mind. It’s the best of all the games I have played. It not only gives good exercise to your mind but also teaches you about your life’s situational behavior. The game will teach you when to attack in your life, when to defend when to let go a situation, when to give a sacrifice and when to gambit. The 64 squares on the chess board can give you lessons for your whole life.

My coaching style

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

My desire for my students 

You have to get a strong reason. Get motivated from your surroundings. You have to do everything no one is gonna do nothing for you. Enjoy your learnings. You should be determined towards your goal what you have decided.

Why I think it’s important for kids to play chess

Playing chess helps develop logical thinking, planning, creativity ,discipline, memory and pattern recognition. Children learn the value of sportsmanship. Chess teaches some good strategies that work in real life.

 

 

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