Thursday, December 21, 2006

I'm hiring a chess coach

Hello, my name is BDK, and I'm an blunderholic. Can you direct me to the closest BA meetings? I need a sponsor to help me.

I noticed at ICC that one of the Carolina Cobras, International Master Jon Schroer ('schroer' at ICC), offers lessons, and lives in a nearby town. He won the North Carolina championship five times between 1995 and 2002, and is one of the highest-rated players in the state. Perhaps more importantly, he has lots of experience teaching chess at the scholastic level, so probably has worked on explaining things so that chess numbskulls like me can understand them.

Added 12/21/06: One of the main reasons I want to try this out is that I've noticed amongst the chess bloggers that it's the people with some kind of chess mentor or mentors in their life that seem to have improved the most. That is, people they trust, people who are willing to go over games, answer questions, give them advice on how to improve, etc.. In particular J'adoube and Patrick stick out as mentioning helpful discussions with people who are better than they are, and they are two bloggers who have improved very quickly.

I plan to start working with Schroer in January. I'll let you know how it goes.

Update 12/22/06: Our first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 4!


Anonymous Anonymous said...


12/21/2006 05:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmm, it seems everybody is hiring a chess coach nowadays..

12/21/2006 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Nezha: I saw your post about this (titled How to Improve). It seems your method is good too. We'll see. I did one session at ICC with a coach (not schroer) and I didn't like it: he played fast and loose with words, using the word "Right?" too much when it was clear he didn't want an answer.

12/21/2006 10:47:00 AM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

I've improved about 100 points a year for the past couple of years.

In my experience, the most important thing you can do is this:
Never move until you are sure, by calculating out a few variations, that your opponent will not hand you your head on a platter starting next move.

A corollary of this is- never play when you are tired, because you will inevitably take the easy way out, play too superficially, and get nailed.

12/21/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Tired play is definitely awful.

12/21/2006 12:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I'm actually jealous! [grin]

Don't get me wrong - Ed is good and we work on things that are helpful, but to get access face to face with an IM? Holy cow - I would love to do that!

I think you are definitely doing the right thing. One of the problems with highly intelligent folks is they often think they can discover "The Way" and read some books and then put it into practice - but the reality is quite different.

Lose your ego and become teachable - then there is no limit to what you can achieve!

Ok, absurb pedantic lecture over [grin]. . .

12/21/2006 04:06:00 PM  
Blogger funkyfantom said...

I join the chorus of envy. No way could I justify the cash outlay for something like this. Regular coaching should definitely provide benefits, although I have never done it.
I am going to try the learning ladder at FICS though.

Slightly offtopic ( apologies ) can anyone point me to a resource for dealing with the problem of disconnectors in online play?

FICS appears to have a brain-dead policy of penalizing those who disconnect and those who are disconnected from equally.

Obviously you can't really complain about a free service, but maybe there are better free ones out there
in this regard?

12/22/2006 11:56:00 AM  
Blogger Pale Morning Dun - Errant Knight de la Maza said...

That sounds really cool. Face to face instruction would be ideal. I've done ICC stuff and at first I was way into it, but eventually realized some of its limitations. I now use it for when I have some curiosities about the game.

For example, I knew my upcoming opponent played the Trompowsky as white, and I wanted a good basic defense. Predrag and I went over the ideas for two hours. The end result was that I drew against a much higher rated opponent. A success in my opinion and time well spent.

Coaches are great for endgame study as well. A lot of endgame situations can be broken down into basic themes, but these are not very often discussed in books. A coach can really help. When Predrag showed me how "to build a bridge" in a Rook and pawn vs. Rook endgame, I felt like I had been revealed a dark secret. Very cool.

12/23/2006 01:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Remember me mentioning that book about openings? About learning to understand the ideas and such instead of theory? Well, ChessBase has got a great review about it. So if i did not tickle your interest, maybe ChessBase will ;-)

12/24/2006 02:53:00 AM  
Blogger Blue Devil Knight said...

Edwin: thanks for the review. If Watson pulls it off that'll be great. I look forward to reading it in a local bookstore to see if it's worth buying.

12/24/2006 12:17:00 PM  
Blogger Sancho Pawnza said...

You will love it!
He is a very nice guy, and from what I have seen from his students he is an excellent teacher.

12/25/2006 05:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, sounds great. Looking forward to your followup post.

12/26/2006 04:33:00 AM  
Blogger GM- Grande Merda said...

Good luck with your teacher. I´m sure that you will improve very fast.

12/26/2006 01:29:00 PM  
Blogger Victor Reppert said...

I met Jon Schroer about 25 years ago when he was playing a Futurity tournament in Arizona.

12/27/2006 05:45:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any excuse to post a picture of Mr. Personality warrants a hearty THUMBS UP comment!

1/02/2007 03:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much did it cost?

8/11/2013 11:43:00 AM  

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