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I am new to Chess.com, an inexperience (just below 1000) but wanting to improve player. My question is about coaches on this site. I've seen the "find a coach", I'm wondering what to expect from a coach here? Is payment required? How much time realistically should I need to commit (I have a fulltime job, family, etc). I'm 58, my goals are to improve, and be able to have interesting and fun games at a higher level. Thanks for any thoughs.
I have an awesome chess coach IM John Bartholomew. I go with him every other week for just an hour and learn a lot. For most coaches you must pay, but it is worth it. A famous GM does it for 70 $ an hour, there are some who do $30
Well, take this with a grain of salt, but I think much of what you need to reach higher levels from 1000, requires very simple yet hard work. At this stage, I would simply recommend you to search around for improvement methods and do the work needed. A coach could explain you the intricacies of the advantage of a queenside majority in the endgame but it wouldn't mean much if you hang a piece on move 5, which a lot of beginners do.
Personally, I would recommend studying a good beginner's book, get chessmaster for Waitzkin's lectures, play lots of games with stronger opponents and analyze them with a good engine, and daily tactics study on an online tactics server (probably the most important).
A coach would be much more useful after reaching maybe class A or B level.
Thanks for the response, but you highlight some of the problems. First, there are SO many resources, it's difficult to find where to start. I am doing the tactics here and steadily improving, and also reading Dan Heisman's books. I have Fritz 12 but frankly I'm not sure how to use it and it doesn't help much when it spills out one variation after another. Perhaps some of it would just be as an assessment and then direction on how to use some of these resources?
Do you recommend just connecting with Mr Bartholomew, or are there others that may be better suited?
TFirst, there are SO many resources, it's difficult to find where to start.
Tactics. They will always be useful. Memorizing opening theory is only good if your opponent participates, and endgame theory revolves around having relatively equal material. Tactics are useful at all stages, at all levels, and can never be good enough.
A coach simply won't be worth it for you right now.
Mostly agreed. But I'd say that memorizing openings isn't useful at this level - but he should be learning basic opening theory. Develop pieces, minor pieces before major pieces, control the center, try not to move any one piece more than once until the others are developed, castle early, that sort of thing.
Basic opening theory and tactics! Paying a coach won't get you out of this stage.
A coach is very helpful for me and I dont know what class player I am. I learned tactics, opening theory, and pawn structure on my own, but Mr. Barrtholomew really helps me to understand key concepts that the books dont teach as well such as opposition. I do not know if you would be a good match with him, but he is a great coach.
As you are an adult (as opposed to a 4-5 year old prodigy-in-the-making), I'd recommend you don't sign up for a coach until you hit a brick wall / can't get any better. It just doesn't make sense to approach somebody for help until you're sure "thinking for yourself" is no longer getting you any closer to your goals.
Say I am "rated" 1000 on a given rating system (could be Federation-based like USCF, ELO or on this very chess server )
My near-term goal (for example) : Break a 1200 rating barrier within 50 games/2-3 months of studying/learning/playing.
Question to ask each day: Assuming I am diligent and make time each day (even if it is 30 mins at best), am I inching closer to this goal, day by day?
1- Is it because I'm setting unreasonable goals given my available time / day to put in the work? A coach can't help. Just set more realistic expectations!
2- Is it because I feel I'm always confused about what to do ... I have "some" knowledge upstairs in my noodlebasket but I don't seem to be applying it correctly most of the time. A coach can help!
3- Is it because I don't feel motivated to try harder? A coach won't help!
4- Is it because I may be reading/studying material well above my level? A coach can point you in the right direction, but usually there's enough level-based reading (NM Heisman's reading list) recommendations out there to correct for this. Even the chess.com forums!
5- Is it because I no longer find it fun to challenge myself? A coach won't help!
i personally hit walls #2 and #4 at about USCF 1300 (was pretty much stuck there for nearly a year) before I approached a coach.
The real benefit (assuming you find a good one) is that a coach helps you think for yourself with more clarity and helps you study/learn chess more efficiently.
This is an excellent article on how/why/if-i-even-need-to to find good instructor.
You have to do it alone, I have spent 5 hours today on, 40 GM games in a variation of the English Opening that I am having trouble with as white.
There is no easy road in Chess.
Thanks everyone for the excellent comments and ideas. In particular, Shivsky your thoughts are very helpful. I think your idea of establishing some type of goal is very useful. There is simply no way I could commit to the time that some are doing, too many other commitments. Nevretheless, a reasonable goal like you mention is something that appeals. I'm not quite sure how I go about getting a rating (mostly just to get a measure of myself), does this come through tourney and online play here at chess.com?
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