Regular competition in a chess club can help a player improve in his or her abilities in the royal game. Learning to improve quickly, however, is more likely from private lessons with a good tutor, a chess-instructor specialist, in combination with playing experience.
Chess Coach Jonathan Whitcomb of the Salt Lake Valley, Utah
I’m the author of several nonfiction books, one of which is Beat That Kid in Chess, for the raw beginner who wants to learn to win in the royal game. Recently I’ve begun offering my services in private or group chess lessons in the Salt Lake Valley.
If you live not too many miles from the city of Murray, Utah, I can drive to your location, to your home or to a public library or park convenient to both of us. If your playing strength is less than about 1600 or so (in USCF rating or equivalent ability in chess competition), I can very likely teach you to improve: You’ll be able to win more games.
Private Chess Lessons
It will not be a mechanical process, with me lecturing you and telling you what to think. We’ll begin with a free getting-acquainted session in which you will learn about how I teach and I will learn about where you stand in your chess abilities. After that free meeting, you can decide how to proceed: private chess lessons, group lessons, or some other course of action.
If you choose to take private chess lessons (at $25 each), instruction will be specifically created for your individual needs, according to your desires to learn and your present skills in playing chess. Puzzles will be chosen or created for your unique situation, your ability to play the royal game. This is most likely to give you the fastest way to improve in being able to win chess games, winning more than you have in the past.
Jonathan Whitcomb, chess coach in Utah
Comparing Chess to Tennis and Other Sports
Chess requires mental effort, more so than a sport like tennis, but in a narrow sense. In playing tennis, the brain is challenged greatly and constantly; playing chess also challenges the brain, but more deeply. With tennis, you may anticipate where your opponent will hit the ball into your court while you are hitting it yourself, but you’ll probably never try to imagine anything as deep as the following:
- If I hit it shallow on my left, he may hit deeply on my left
- I might get there in time to hit it deeply to my right
- If he then returns it weakly to my center court I can get there in time to:
- Smash it quickly to my left but he will be too far to my right, so:
- He will be unable to return the ball well, hitting it out of bounds to my left
Something like the above steps can be seen by spectators, over a period of time. But the player who is about to hit the ball in the first of the above steps will not imagine everything through step five, not even close to it. Yet that level of calculation is common in chess games, especially in games between experts. In that sense, chess is more mental.
Tennis lessons and golf lessons are very popular, helping many beginners in those sports. Yet how important is practice, the process of swinging the tennis racket or golf club as you contact the ball! But are private lessons even more important in the game of chess?
Importance of Chess Lessons
When you have a private chess lesson, I will not teach you how to hold a chess piece and how to move it from one side of the board with a smooth motion of your arm. Contrast that with lessons in tennis and golf: How to hold something and how to move it are so critical, and how! I suggest lessons are even more important in chess than in sports.
The best chess lessons will open your mind to what is possible on the chess board. Yet they will do more. The steps to winning a game can be learned and mastered, when the lessons are supplemented by practice: playing chess games. As you alternate between the private lessons and practical experience, you will quickly learn to win more often.
Call me for more information, if you live in or near the central cities and communities of the Salt Lake Valley in Utah: 801-590-9692. If you live further away, we may still be able to arrange a convenient location to meet. Feel free to send me an email.
I began offering my services as a chess tutor in Utah, with private lessons in the Salt Lake Valley for $25 per hour.
The following communities in the Salt Lake Valley can easily be visited by the chess tutor Jonathan Whitcomb . . .
- Cottonwood Heights
- West Valley City
Jonathan Whitcomb, an active member of the Harman Center Chess Club in West Valley, Utah, is the developer of the NIP system of chess instruction (nearly-identical positions) and the author of the book Beat That Kid in Chess.