IM John Bartholomew

Target Students:

All Skill Levels

About Me:

Hello! My name is John Bartholomew. I am a 28 year-old International Master (IM) from the United States. My USCF rating is 2555 and my FIDE rating is 2449 (April 2015). I graduated in May 2009 with my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration from the University of Texas-Dallas. As of January 2011, I am a professional player and coach.


I am looking for serious students. Chess is a game that requires a lot of study and dedication. If you are willing to put in the necessary hours to improve, I promise that I will give you my full attention as a coach and mentor. My focus is on developing a strong student-instructor relationship that does not end simply because our weekly lesson is complete.  


I typically conduct my online lessons using a combination of Skype + or ICC (Internet Chess Club). I do not offer in-person lessons.


ATTN: I strongly encourage prospective students to view a three-part video series I made for entitled "Sensing the Critical Moment" (part two and three). These videos and the associated comments give a very good indication of my teaching style and may help you decide whether I am the right coach for you.


In addition, you should definitely check out my YouTube channel! I have hundreds of free instructional videos there that are also representative of my teaching style.


Feel free to contact me at for inquiries and rate requests.


Finally, here is a fun interview of me conducted in October 2012.


  • 13 days ago


    Can you teach me I'm a serious person about chess

  • 8 months ago


    Hello sir,

    I messaged you via your account here and the email provided here. I was just wondering if you'd had time to read them and, if so, I was wondering if you could help or perhaps point in the right direction to someone you think more appropriate. Thank you. Love the YouTube channel btw.

  • 17 months ago


    Hi John! I'm a big fan of your channel. Greetings from Norway.

  • 20 months ago

    IM Fins0905

    Hey all! Just a quick note to encourage you to visit my YouTube channel if you're curious about me and my coaching style. I have hundreds of hours of free content on here: Enjoy! Smile

  • 21 months ago


    Hi John,

    I am a beginner looking to improve my understanding and play. I feel my development from reading chess books have not been comensurate with the effort thus far. 

    Please let me know what your rates are like. I am really interested in working with you to improve my game.

  • 22 months ago


    I am a casual chess player who was looking for a few pointers, as well as someone to ask questions regarding openings, theory, and the like. I decided to contact John for some lessons. I am so glad that I did!

    Before we even met, John reviewed a bunch of my games and already had recommendations for how I could improve. I took his advice and sure enough I started winning more games.


    It's one thing to be good at chess, but it's another to be a good teacher. John is both.


    If you want to improve (who doesn't right?), then I highly recommend that you schedule some time with John.

  • 2 years ago


    I was taking lessons some time ago and I enjoyed them very much. Lessons were varied and always interesting regardless of the topic we were covering. Not comparable to studying chess just on my own. Great communication and dealing with time difference. 

  • 3 years ago


    IM john, I sent message to you.

    Please check it soon.

  • 3 years ago


    Excuse me I am a beginer at chess but devoted. I would really appreciate if you could teach me. So can you tell me how much does this cost

    ps this is online right

  • 3 years ago


    i would like you to coach me please :)

  • 3 years ago


    I would like you to coach me on I am trying to become a stronger chess player and I take the game seriously. However, Nobody around me is on my level, there aren't enough players I can play against, and I have no mentor to help me reach my goal. I would highly appreciate it if you accepted me as your pupil. If you do accept me as your pupil, do I have to pay for lessons or can I take them for free. I am a high school student with no money or a job.

  • 3 years ago


    Hi John, I want you to know that I am very willing to be your chess mentor. I am dedicated and willing to listen every word on what you have to say. I cannot offer money from you because I don't have the privilege to have a bank account. My parents stricts of having a bank account because I am still young to have one. I am 12 years old and Im going to be 13.

    As a student of yours, I am dedicated to improved my skills using your teachings.

    Please guide me in improving my chess skills and I promise that you won't regret.  Smile


    P.S : This can appear to your inbox too.

  • 3 years ago


    First off, I would like to say that I am very happy with my experience with John both during and between lessons.  I am in graduate school, so time is a commodity, and I am very happy setting some time aside to meet with John and improve my chess.

    I imagine that in the chess community I would be a non-traditional student, in that I only have lessons once every 3 weeks or so, and with my hectic schedule, John has always been very accommodating.  During our lessons, he is very good at keeping the focus on chess in a very productive way (even with my very distractable mind).   Usually our lessons progress like this: we catch up briefly (maybe a minute or two); move into talking about the homework problems I was assigned the previous week; work on related problems, and expound on possible responses that I had not considered (especially in non-forcing lines); look through my games and talk about my thoughts, areas for improvement; and work on ideas that will improve weaknesses in my game, while maintaining my strengths.

    While I was writing this, I looked back at his coaching profile, to see what he had written; he said:

    "I am looking for serious students. Chess is a game that requires a lot of study and dedication. If you are willing to put in the necessary hours to improve, I promise that I will give you my full attention as a coach and mentor. My focus is on developing a strong student-instructor relationship that does not end simply because our weekly lesson is complete."

    And I think that is completely accurate.  Because of my demands in school, I am not able to put in the amount of time to advance as quickly as other players might, but I take our lessons seriously, and I try to take as much away from each lesson and each game as I can.  John takes care in providing excellent, personalized lessons, so it is no wonder he expects his students to put in their best effort.  

    One of the most encouraging things about having John as a coach is that he encourages you to be a good learner.  Take time to reinforce ideas that you have built in the past; take time to analyze and reflect on your games.  He will point you in the right direction, to help hone your skills and ideas, as efficiently as possible.

    Because others have been posting their rating changes, I will post mine.  I have taken six lessons from John, over the course of several months and through our combined efforts, my online live standard rating has improved about 200 points (~900-1100).

    I don't endorse many things, but if you are considering taking serious chess lessons, send John an e-mail.  He's very friendly, and made me feel comfortable from the beginning.

    Best of luck to everyone!
    ~Steven Wesbur 

  • 3 years ago


    I've been taking lessons with John for only two months now, but it is already proving to be more than I could have even bargained for. The results were immediate and measurable.

    Nov 12, 2013 - Online chess rating of 1488

    Dec 7, 2013 - First coaching session with John

    Jan 2, 2014 (today) - Online chess rating of 1603

    Dec 31, 2014 (one year) - Any guess?

    John understands how you play and provides training custom built for you, including analysis of your own games (sometimes bringing up the embarrassing losses Yell). It's hard to put a value on just how helpful it is to have an International Master discussing YOUR games. It is so much easier to apply knowledge to a game that you are familiar with because YOU played it. We all know that analysing your finished games is key, but oh how much better it is to have a little help!

    He doesn't just lecture at you for an hour, though. It is a dialogue where the student is expected to try to apply the lesson at multiple checkpoints throughout. It's a you-get-what-you-put-into-it scenario.

    After each lesson you get exercises to work on alone to help you practice the concepts learned in the lesson. At the next lesson, it's pop quiz time where you are expected to have made progress with your homework and have found some of the solutions. The accountability required of both parties, I think, is key.

    If you're on the fence about getting some coaching, as I was, I think you'll find it's even more helpful than you would know. Give it a try! And John is an exceptional coach.

    Good luck!

  • 3 years ago


    I am taking lessons with John Bartholomew and I can certainly recommend him for chess players at all levels who want to improve their chess. I have been taking lessons with him for 10 months, and I have been very happy so far. My chess has improved quite a lot, and I am still improving. 

    He is also good at choosing illustrative exercises for the lessons, and to explain them; either it is positional, openings endgames or tactics involved in the position. The exercises have always been challenging, but not too hard for me to understand. They have me work hard and also improved my chess understanding a lot. The degree of difficulty on the exercises have also increased as my chess abilities have increased, so he has been very good at finding good exercises for me. I have also received a lot of help with analyzing of my games, and work on the mistakes that I have made in my games and what I should do to avoid them.

    John has also helped me with finding good openings for me to play and also to find good literature for me to study on my own. He has been very flexible and easy to work with, so I am looking forward to continue taking lessons from him in 2014.

  • 3 years ago


    hey i live in st.paul by the hamline midway area, where would i need to go for lessons?

  • 3 years ago


    hi this is spencer i took a lesson from you. can you coach me online

  • 3 years ago


  • 3 years ago


    I can certainly recommend John if you are looking for a strong chess coach. He has been coaching me for a couple of months now, and I am very happy about his work.

    He is quite proficient at adjusting the homework to your level: always challenging, but never too hard to finish on your own.
    John is also very good at reviewing games and filtering out your most common errors. That alone has helped me a bunch. 
    Probably his best trait is that he is open-minded about feedback on his way of teaching. That is just golden.
    I also feel that he is very sincere in wanting you to improve. He was always enthousiastic at the little successes I had along the way, which always motivated me. 
    Last but certainly not least, the classes are simply fun. He's an easy-going guy who points out your mistakes in a constructive fashion; never an awkward moment.

    So, again, if you are looking for a strong chess coach, I recommend taking up coaching from John.

    Best of luck to you all in improving your chess!

  • 3 years ago


    hi i am in the 1100 so ,i dont know if i am in the target range but i know the basic rules about chess but not good strategy i just memorise other people and try to use that

    please help (i might not be able to pay) it would really help thanks

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