I'm Now a FIDE Trainer
I obtained my FIDE Trainer qualifaction over the weekend of 12th May to 15th May 2016, conditional on approval by the FIDE commision meeting in September.
A big thank you to the Singapore Chess Federation for organising the training sessions, and GM Thomas Luther and GM Bong for their excellent tutelage.
Above all, I learnt a lot about chess as it was like having a private GM instructor on call for 18 hours, available to answer any question on your mind. I loved it.
For anyone considering taking the qualification, it's a 4 day course with one hour long topics ranging from "The Role of Classics in Chess", Endings (Knight, Rook vs Minor Piece, Bishop, Schematic thinking), Pawn structures (Hanging, Isolated) and Strategical themes (Attacking the King, Open file, typical plans).
There are 4 titles available (FIDE Trainer, FIDE Instructor, National Instructor and Developmental Instructor) which is awarded based on your Chess resume (FIDE rating, FIDE titles, Chess experience, Chess publications, attendance and a written examination at the end. I used my blog entries (over 180) for publications, as well as running Chess meetup events, lecturing seminars at Chess clubs.
Undertaking the written examination was actually very enjoyable, as it was the first time I was to sit a Chess "test". Interesting questions was naming the 9th World Champion, the combination the Lasker was famous for, the number of GMs that have been FIDE president. If anything it could have been harder, asking for specific strategies and famous examples to support your argument.
The enjoyable part of the course was interacting with two GMs. They spoke passionately about each of the Chess topics for hours. I got to see first hand how they go about operating a seminar, the speed of their thought, their intuitive understanding as well as their human stories of the own Chess adventures. There was even fantastic Chess trivia such as which World Champion had green eyes!
Some suggestions I could make is that there were no "practical" sessions where participants would actually present. It's one thing to have Chess "knowledge" that you have acquired, but in my view that in no way is an indicator if you can actually train players. 5 minutes a participant is sufficent to gauge their teaching ability. Whilst the course content is heavily geared towards the acquiring of specific Chess knowledge, more focus could have been placed on topics specific to actual coaching such as how to handle group lessons with children, how to nuture talent, the role of repitiion, stages of development.
I must say the handbook provided is exceptional in content, as well as the trainer material available online. It has really opened my eyes as to the quality of writing, analysis and instruction that is world class. In particular, I must point out the articles by GM Mikhail Gurevich, as I was not familiar with his planning style or writing. His depth of knowledge in endgames, as illustrated by his play, has inspired me to investigate his games further.
If you're passionate about training, or simply want to improve your chess knowledge by rubbing shoulders with GMs, I thoroughly recommend this course!
ps. In the photo I'm the one in the Chess Endgame t-shirt with the King