I want your input;Bad Chess Coach?

I want your input;Bad Chess Coach?

May 30, 2014, 7:24 AM |

I will use "he" for the most part for general simplicity. It could be a woman or a man.


First a little background: I study chess on my own and i've been competing in a few local tournaments. I've had great results so far as long as I stick to my study schedule. Usually my opponents are rated about 1700-2200uscf and my biggest scalp so far is a 2000+ I'm very happy with my progress and usually I am competing for 1st place, but I thought, "Hey, people always say coaches are amazing; I wonder what i'm missing in my own studies!" I've never had a coach before and thought it'd be insightful. I was actually plannining on only taking one lesson and then targeting my weaknesses on my own once they were revealed to me!

The Lesson: First, I don't want to reveal the teacher, he's/she's a nice guy/gal and an extremely strong Grand Master. Well he/she looked at a few of my games and then asked me if I thought I had a weak endgame or if I have an opening repertoire. I told him/her, "well, my opening repertoire is pretty vague with basic ideas, like the QGD exchange variation with the minority attack, etc. Just small plans like that, but no concrete lines." And so it was decided; he would train my openings to help me reach my goal of 2000uscf.

----------If you want the TL;DR version, you could probably just start reading here----------

The "Training": Here comes the strange part: When we went to learn the openings we started with the QGA, I believe, and he simply wanted me to memorize the moves and play them over again as white. It was just like: "Go here,here,here,here,here,here and you're better."

That has literally been my experience every opening he or she has shown me. I have MCO and an opening repertoire book "Chess Openings For White Explained," that gives me WAY more than that.

I thought perhaps i was going over openings wrong, or maybe i'd receive some insight, but I don't want to pay $70-$90 for wrote memorization! that is outrageous. People kept telling me, maybe it's like Mr.Miyagi and it's better than I realize and right now I'm just waxing on and off, but I don't think that is the case anymore. He gives me some puzzles to do, but heck, I have better puzzle books in my house too! 


Conclusion: I'd like to make it clear, that I am not stuck in my rating, I have no rating woes, I have no problems, I simply thought that a coach would give me insight that I don't currently have and I'd learn a lot or SOMETHING, but, it seems that it was simply a waste of time and money. What do you thin kabout this? is this normal? Am I being dramatic? is this the norm for opening studies?? Right now I'm in the 1800's and I'm aiming for 2000; is simple opening memorization all that's required? or is my coach out of touch with my level?


Please respond with your feedback I'm very interested to hear everybody's thoughts on the matter. Thanks!