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What level should one's chess be before considering the idea of passing on one's knowledge?
I am interested in coaching others, but feel that my own chess knowledge is still full of holes and is greatly lacking in quite a few areas. My knowledge of openings has been relatively "deep and not wide", since I have been trying to learn few openings, but learn them well; for example, I am out of book after playing 1. d4 (as white). I fear that I wouldn't be able to help others with forming an opening repetoire other than one mimicking my own.
Would it hurt others' chess to try teaching them before mastering the basics (say, obtain an Elo of ~2000)? Moreover, I never had the opportunity to have a chess coach myself, but have learned through books, exercises, and analysis by others, as well as practice from analyzing others' games.
Finally, what sort of preparation must a teacher have? Would I be expected to have a book of exercises at hand, a collection of games from which to learn, and a well-planned course structure?
Going back to the original question: How and when should I begin?
Start now. You can teach a three year-old the basic King vs. King/Rook mate. I really like your question, because I am in the same situation. I am an amateur over the board with a rating between 1200 and 1900 on a good day, but I am a great teacher because I understand the process. Sure, I got started late in life in chess while most masters were childhood prodogies. But I understand what it takes to become a top player, just as I understand how to teach music or writing or boxing. I may never have become a professional musician, author, or athlete, but I know what it takes. If you think you have the ability to coach someone, you probably do. Go for it!
A good rule of thumb is that the rating of the teacher should be minimum 300 points higher than that of his/her pupils.
I am also giving training lessons to kids and they are quite challenging although I still out-rate them by far.
Anytime you make an assessment about a position you have to be able to proof it OTB otherwise you pupils won´t accept it.
I'll just relate my experience if that helps. I've coached twice in my life, and not for money, both times it was for friends.
The first was for somebody who was never going to play in tournaments, he just wanted to play well against other people who "knew the moves". All I taught him was the K+R vs. K checkmate, and the ideas behind the Italian and Spanish openings.
He reported back to me in a month that he was winning 80-90 percent of the time.
The other time was with a 1300 player that I met at a tournament -- he saw me walking and gave me a ride from the bus stop. So as an 1800+ player I repaid him by visiting him every month or two on weekends to study with him for a couple of hours.
His rating is now higher than mine. I'm pretty sure its a sign your a good teacher if your student eventually surpasses you.
Surely that always should be the aim of any trainer. (I am also only a hobby trainer giving lessons for free so I don´t have to proof anything to anyone.)
But the problem is that kids are quite spoiled these days. They are getting training lessons for everything. But as soon the training is over their development get stuck.
My generation didn't have any trainers, we had to learn the hard way from the few books we could afford. Kids today don´t care about books anymore - it takes at least computer animated training to catch their interest.
I think if you're teaching children or beginners, you don't need to have reached any high level, but you want first and foremost to convey your love for the game.
Now, if you're coaching people for OTB competition, I think it's better if you're at least expert level, and rated 300+ above your trainee, or you may instill bad habits.
You might want to take this into considersation when suggesting study plans to your potential students. A lot of weaker players spend more time than they should trying to become very good in the opening. I would suggest studying endings, strategy, tactics. Work/learn backwards. Endings, middlegames, then openings. The ability to read a position & plan based on that will guide you in the right direction to choose openings that compliment your style, your strengths. I've only recently started studying openings. That's after years of mainly middlegame/engame study. I obtained an A rating OTB with only general positional opening principles. Most opponents you face under 2000 you can figure it out right during the game with your ability to plan & accomplish positional goals. Of course you WILL need to learn openings in detail as you get stronger & face stronger opponents but early on it's not as important as "learning to simply play chess" & not memorize openings.
I fully agree with you - teaching openings to kids makes little to no sense at all. - Beside that it is not possible to catch their attention for such dry matter - especially if you do the training in the evening - after they had a hard day in school.
Problem for me is that tactic is the only thing easy to teach. But the truth is that only few OTB games end with spectacular sacrifices. Most of the time it is hard work and accumulation of small advantages that pay off.
How to teach that to high-tuned little computer freaks ?
Thank you all very much for the feedback so far. I agree that openings shouldn't have much emphasis. Would it be a better idea to prepare a selection of tactics practice for students, organized by motif, or to simply go over games (theirs' as well as masters') and try to teach positional ideas?
Also, by what media are chess lessons being done these days? Is it practical to teach over Skype (is there some other kind of special computer program?), or do I need to restrict my pool of students to the who live within driving distance?
My experience is that it is quite difficult to arrest the attention for a complete game.
I recommend to start with tactics. I use tactics from pgn databases which can be downloaded for free from the Internet. Always positions from real master games. If the combination is too long and difficult I cut out the first moves and use only the final moves.
Teaching positional ideas is very difficult and surely part of the fine art of chess teaching. I am still looking for ways to make that more attractive but it is quite difficult to get good training material for that.
@ShadowKnight regarding age difference: I'm taking an in-person lesson tomorrow (one last one before the World Open) from somebody less than half my age! I'm in my late 40s and he's in his early 20s. He however is rated 2300 and I'm 1800 (my online coach on the other hand is a few years older than me)
I'm an assistant coach at my teacher's academy and I teach beginners, the rules of the game, game notation, simple mates, and tactical operations - pins, knight forks, skewer etc.
I have OTB rating 1476, and I think that is ok to teach beginners.
every 6 months I look back at my games and think ''wow, I was terrible back then''.The idea that someone like me from 6 months would teach is imo laughable.So when I see people that arent even near to being half as good as I was 6 months ago talking about how they want to take money for coaching and teaching I get very irritated.I'm not good enough to coach. If we are talking about helping your friend how to play chess then why not but if you're talking about being a legitemate trainer/coach then you're only deluding yourself. You're in a position where you should set up a training plan for yourself, not for others.
edit; hicetunic on post 6 said what I wanted to say but in a better way. Just read his post lol
This is what I fear--particularly because I and many others have been able to learn chess just fine without a teacher. At my current level, it seems like charging beginners for a lesson would be boarderline cheating them, since there are plenty of people and sources online (e.g. on chess.com) that would willing to provide the same advice completely free of charge.
Frankly, I'm not interested in teaching for "fast and easy money". On the other hand, if I take the time to try and identify a person's weaknesses and tailor lessons to addressing them to help the student improve faster than they would on their own, I believe it would be fair to ask for a fee.
If I were to give lessons, I would try to teach beginners to (for example) develop/castle quickly, take heed of pawn structures and the resulting positional demands, recognize various tactical and mating motifs, and learn how to execute an attack on a weakened king (ideas such as deflection, identifying/eliminating defenders, etc.). Of course, it ultimately depends on what they already know and need to work on. Personally, I believe that I have a relatively solid opening and middlegame, but a weak endgame. Is it a good idea to teach what middlegame I can, in addition to providing hand-picked tactics practice? Or should I go learn my endgame, and forget this whole thing until I manage to patch most of the holes in my own chess fundamentals?
It seems that my idea of "beginner" might vary from another's idea of "beginner". In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if I myself were classified as one in the eyes of any master. In terms of who it's ok to teach, is everyone actually talking about those who recently learned the rules, flip-flop their knights and bishops, and set up the board with the wrong colored squares? Or are we talking about people who have all of those down, whose priorities should be something like basic board awareness, checking that piece X is attacked/defended how many times adequately, and checking for hanging pieces/mate-in-ones?
Actually, I don't mind working with kids. As a matter of fact, I spent last week volunteering at a day camp for children. My concerns are mainly of my knowledge--or lack thereof.
while working with the kids work on your knowledge that you lack of.
Nachtwulf, if you DO feel compelled to focus on openings you should use the book that has larson, petrosian, evans, & 4 others as authors & it's called something like chess openings explained move by move. I'm sorry I cant remember the details. But focus more on stuff like Jeremy Silmans Reasess Your Chess & his Engame book.
I learned a lot by being beaten by my students. Anyone who lost to me was in big trouble, so they all studied.I made no pretense of being a "coach".Room 210 was just a place to play chess during studyhalls and after school.
glad this fourm was started may I ask is anyone with a chess.com rating above 1400 or OTB rating about 1200 intreasted in looking over and analyzing the games of some members of my club games so far we have 3 teachers with 11 students and some games are still overlooked by how many games are submitted to the 3 of us. 3 of the kids are already taken care of but the others which is a list below still need someone to help further there progress. The Sorry but I wont be able to pay even the 3 coaches are volunteered one's so they might leave at any time well 2 might (im one of the coaches and i'm not leavin).
O another thing they've all been playing chess for more than a year so no beginners althought 2 students aren't even above a 800 rating other than that everyone is at least above 1000 OTB.
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