Coach of the Month: IM Pawel Weichhold

Coach of the Month: IM Pawel Weichhold

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IM Pawel Weichhold is a Polish chess coach who offers high-quality instruction online. With a FIDE rating of 2430 as well as a GM norm, he's well-equipped to teach players of all levels, from beginners to advanced competitors. And lucky for you, he's currently accepting new students! We spoke to Pawel to learn more about how he became a chess player and coach, what his top tips are for learners, and what his approach to coaching is.

Readers seeking private instruction can contact IM Pawel Weichhold via his profile and can find other skilled coaches at

At what age were you introduced to chess, and who introduced you?

I started playing chess when I was five years old. My older brother learned chess at school and my parents bought him a chess set. I started to play with him and from that moment on I couldn’t stop. I loved chess.

What is your first vivid memory from chess?

My first chess tournament. It took place in my home village, where it still happens once a year. That's where I saw a chess clock for the first time!

A picture of chess coach IM Pawel Weichhold in a lab coat as his alias 'IMChessBrain'.
IM Pawel Weichhold is also known as IMChessBrain. Photo: Courtesy of Weichhold.

Which coaches were helpful to you in your chess career, and what was the most useful knowledge they imparted to you?

I had a few coaches who helped me a lot! Especially my second coach, who taught me how to play chess actively without any fear. I remember these crazy variations we figured out together to surprise much stronger opponents and it worked so many times! Thanks to him I won my first medal in the Polish Youth Chess Championship.

Which game do you consider your "Magnus Opus?"

The last game in the international chess tournament in Police, Poland. Before the last game, I was half a point behind a grandmaster who was in the lead. I played him in the last game with the black pieces and he was a 1.d4 player. Fortunately, I was able to complicate the position in the opening as well as find a winning variation which I used to win this game in 21 moves. It’s a great feeling to finish first in a tournament.

How would you describe your approach to chess coaching?

I always try to understand why my student makes mistakes. The game is very complicated. If you want to make progress fast and beat your competition, you should know exactly what to study, how to do it, and how to take effective notes. I don’t only explain chess concepts to my students but also guide them in the right direction in this regard!

What do you consider your responsibility as a coach, and which responsibilities fall on your student?

My responsibilities are to ensure that I teach my students the important aspects of chess and help them identify any weak points they may have. It is then the responsibility of the student to use this knowledge and apply it to themselves and their games.

A picture of chess coach Pawel Weichhold playing chess.
IM Pawel Weichhold received the title of International Master in 2014. Photo: Courtesy of Weichhold.

What is a piece of advice that you give your students can more chess players could benefit from?

I like to repeat my philosophy: “slow down, there are no extra points for winning the game in the opening.”

What is the puzzle you give students that tells you the most about how they think?

This is a puzzle I like a lot! It’s from a game I played a long time ago. We have three possibilities to not lose the knight, and all the moves are playable. Sometimes students try to take the bishop to remove the opponent's bishop pair. They also play another move to try and keep the light-squared bishop on the board because of the pawn chain that blocks it. Sometimes they play 1...Nf5 to attack the dark-squared bishop, but if it moves, then the knight doesn’t have many squares to go to. Thanks to this position, I can determine how comfortable students are in the middlegame and get a feeling of the positional concepts they know.

Do you prefer to teach online or offline? What do you think is different about teaching online?

I definitely prefer teaching online. I can meet people from all over the world, and I really like getting to know their cultures. Online teaching is more versatile and flexible, you don’t have to drive to a venue and you can teach students from anywhere.

What do you consider the most valuable training tool that the internet provides?

I enjoy puzzles the most. Tools like Puzzle Rush are great! You can recognize common patterns and blunder less in your games. If you do it systematically, you can increase your chess ability.

A picture of chess coach and International Master Pawel Weichhold.
Weichhold is the 65th-highest rated player in Poland, and is currently accepting new students. Photo: Courtesy of Weichhold.

We hear you're looking to expand your chess school! Can you tell us more about that?

Yes! Currently, I'm actively looking for more chess coaches to join my team. Together we can teach new players who want to improve and share our love of the game. If you're a chess coach and have the same passion for teaching chess that I do, please feel free to contact me.

Lastly, which underappreciated chess book should every chess player read?

When I was younger I read all the chess books I had access to. I tried to absorb any knowledge that was available. Today I can tell you that in my opinion, all authors have something interesting to say; I would recommend giving all of them a chance.

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Previous Coaches of the Month:

Mick Murray

Mick is a writer and editor for and ChessKid. He enjoys playing the Caro-Kann and Italian Game to varying degrees of success. Before joining, Mick worked as a writer, editor, and content manager in Japan, New Zealand, and the Netherlands.

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