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Basic Info:

Michael Takahashi

Current board 1 for the Oberlin College Chess Team

USCF Rating 2202

FIDE rating 2051

http://www.uschess.org/msa/MbrDtlMain.php?14333301  USCF page

https://ratings.fide.com/profile/30911648      FIDE page

mrcapture02@gmail.com email address

https://www.facebook.com/michael.takahashi.568/   Facebook

https://www.instagram.com/uscfnmmichaeltakahashi/   Instagram

Coaching Profile

Hello chess enthusiasts! My name is Michael Takahashi, and I am a USCF National Master from Iowa City, Iowa, currently residing in Oberlin, Ohio, during the school year. I have played competitive chess since 2010 and have taught chess since 2018. However, during my run to NM, I started coaching seriously in the summer of 2022. During that time, I found a sense of gratefulness to my chess community for helping me forge my path and helping me be the player I am today. As a result, my goal has always been to give back to the chess community and help my students accomplish their goals. Whether you strive to be a GM or just want to enjoy the game, I feel I can help you in either case. After all, what is chess but a fun game that we all love to play? 

Coaching Philosophy

My coaching philosophy is based on my upbringing as a player. Unlike some of my fellow masters, I wasn’t a chess prodigy. I earned the NM title when I was 20, while some of my friends earned it when they were 12 or 14 years old. Because of this history, I have always believed there’s a point in everyone’s career when their natural talent catches up to them. At that point, it becomes imperative to work to continue progressing. Find any chess.com video with authors explaining how to get better, and you hear the same things. They tell you to review your games, review master games, work on your calculation, work on your endgame, etc. I have found that all to be good advice. However, many people don’t (including myself) understand HOW to do these things. For example, is it better to do tactics online or over the board? Which endgame book will be the best for my improvement? How do I review my games? These questions guide our studies together, and the goal is to enable you to be in charge of your improvement. As my former GM coach Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko told me at our first lesson, “I can help you all you want, but at the end of the day, you have to put in the work.” I think the legendary Russian trainer Mark Dvoretsky said it best in his book, Attack and Defense: “The most difficult thing for any of us is to handle unfamiliar types of situation in which we lack adequate experience. To some extent, this deficiency can be cured by purposeful training, but unfortunately, there are few players who engage in this.” 

Coaching Specialties

I specialize in helping my students learn how to improve on their own. As a player who has had to work incredibly hard to achieve his accomplishments, I’ve realized how much work is required to get to the next level. I believe there aren’t many coaches who specialize in helping their students learn how to improve. I have often noticed that many chess coaches help their students learn openings and positions. I do that too. Instead of teaching a student an opening, I teach them how to understand the opening. I believe that by training in this manner, I can help them apply these skills to more aspects of their life than chess. 

Rating range

I can generally teach anyone (probably not rote beginners) within reason. Some of my strongest students are rated 1800 USCF, while some of my lower-rated students don’t have an OTB rating but are pretty strong in online play and hope to play in OTB. If you have experience playing chess and a passion for learning and improving, you would fit right in! 


USCF National Master with a rating of 2202 (Earned at the 2022 Minnesota International Chess Festival)

Earned the USCF Candidate Master Title in 2020 (At the 2020 US Amateur Team North in Schaumburg, Illinois)

FIDE rating of 2051

2022 Rochester Open co-champion (with NM Andrew Titus)

2022 US Junior Open Sixth Place Overall (Played in the U21 Open Section)

2020 Iowa Denker (K-12 High School) outright champion

Represented the state of Iowa at the 2020 National Denker Tournament of High School State Champions

2-time Iowa Denker (High School) Co-champion (in 2018 and 2019)

2020 Iowa State Runner-up (at the 2020 Iowa Closed championships)

2016 Finished in the top 25 at the K-8 National Junior High School Championships

2012 Finished in 6th place at the 2012 Susan Polgar World Open for Boys and Girls

Qualified for Iowa Closed from 2017-2020

Team Experience

I played on Team Iowa in the 2020 States Cup. Team Iowa went on to win the Central Division over teams such as Illinois, Minnesota, Colorado, and Missouri. In the playoffs, Iowa finished in third place, with a win vs. Illinois in the quarterfinals, a close loss to Washington in the semifinals, and a win vs. Virginia in the third place playoff. From 2015-16, I formed a dynamic duo with NM Joseph Wan, and we combined for 20.5 points at the 2015 and 2016 Junior High Championships, leading Northwest Junior High School to two top 10 finishes. 


Special Thanks go to

My mother is the best mother a kid can have! She supported me so much throughout my life, and I would not be here right now if it weren’t for all the sacrifices she made for me. Special thanks go to my former mentors, NM James Neal and GM Mykhaylo Oleksiyenko, who have shaped me into the person I am today. 

Coming soon!

I hope to launch my own chess website where I share my mission and love of the game with people worldwide. More details shortly. 


Feel free to reach out to me at my email address mrcapture02@gmail.com or call me at my phone number (319) 400-8057. I would love to get to know you better!


I've previously served as a mentor for the chess.com group "Road to GM," having served in the summer of 2022. I also am now currently working with the Chess Organization "Focus Chess" https://www.focuschess.com/   a Vancouver, BC, Canada based organization focused on improving players of all levels. I currently serve as one of their main coaches, and I would highly suggest you take a look at their program, they're doing a lot of great things!


I usually offer between $25-35 USD hourly lessons, but may raise the amount given that I recently secured the NM title and also depending on your level. I'm quite flexible with this, however, and would love to work out something with you to help improve your chess