How To Find Chess Coaches

A chess coach can provide invaluable insights, strategic tips, and personalized guidance to enhance your game. However, finding the right coach who understands your learning style and goals can be a challenge. Here’s a detailed guide on how to navigate your search for the ideal chess coach.

Understanding the Role of a Chess Coach

A chess coach is not just someone who is proficient at chess, but is an individual who can teach the game effectively. They can analyze your games, pinpoint weaknesses, provide suitable study material, and guide you to improve your overall chess understanding. Let’s look at how you can find such a coach.

Identify Your Needs:

Start by identifying your specific needs. Are you a beginner seeking to understand the basics, or are you an intermediate player aiming to improve your rating? Do you need help with openings, endgames, or tactical play? Identifying your requirements will help you find a coach who specializes in those areas.

Online vs. In-Person Coaching:

Determine whether you prefer online or in-person coaching. Online coaching offers greater flexibility and a larger pool of coaches. Sites like and offer directories of coaches from around the world.

In-person coaching can offer more personalized attention and the opportunity to engage with local chess communities. Check local chess clubs or schools for recommendations.

Check Credentials and Reviews:

Look at a prospective coach’s credentials. A title (like FM, IM, or GM) can be a good indicator of their chess ability. However, remember that a great player is not always a great coach. Look for someone with coaching experience and positive student reviews.

For instance, a coach like WIM Fiona Steil-Antoni, who, apart from being an accomplished player, has significant coaching experience and positive reviews, could be a valuable guide on your chess journey.

Set Up a Trial Lesson:

Once you’ve shortlisted potential coaches, set up a trial lesson to see if you’re comfortable with their teaching style. An effective coach will communicate clearly, listen attentively, and provide clear goals and feedback.

Discuss Goals and Expectations:

Have a frank discussion with your prospective coach about your chess goals and expectations. This will ensure you’re both on the same page and can collaborate effectively.

Consider the Cost:

Coaching fees can vary widely depending on the coach’s qualifications and experience. Decide on a budget that you’re comfortable with, keeping in mind that the most expensive coach isn’t necessarily the best coach for you.

Ask for Recommendations:

If you’re part of a chess club or know other chess players, ask for their recommendations. They may provide insights that you won’t find online.