Guide: How to find a brilliant Chess Coach

Disclaimer: This is not an article that is written by someone who will sell you anything. 99 % of the “chess online coaching” articles are written by companies that will push you to purchase their services.

This isn’t.

This article is written by someone who has experience in choosing a chess teacher online & offline – and that is willing to share this information with you (for free). Hope you enjoy the article – and appreciate the honesty. 🙂

Prior to writing this article, I have, over the span of a year, hired three different chess teachers. They all have a quite different “profile”. You can read more about the different coaches in the list below.

In my opinion, trying different teachers makes me more suited to write an article like this.

I know what you should look for in a chess teacher – and, more importantly, what you should avoid.

These are the “profiles” of the people I’ve hired:

  • One Filipino guy that taught me chess online (15 USD/hour & ELO = 2000)
  • One guy from my city in Norway that met me in a chess bar and taught me chess (50 USD/hour & ELO = 2100/2200)
  • I also hired a grandmaster through a “premium platform” that taught me chess online for one class only (150 USD/hour & ELO = over 2600)

So what did I like the best? What type of chess teacher should you look for? And was it really worth spending 150 USD for one hour with a grandmaster!?

And most importantly: where can I source good chess teachers online or locally in my area?

All these questions will be answered in this article. 😉

Online or offline?

First things first.

The very first question you need to ask yourself is: do you want a teacher that teaches you chess online? Or do you prefer to meet someone in a bar, in a cafè, in a library or somewhere else?

I have tried both. And to be honest, I prefer to be taught chess online.

Let me explain you why.

Advantages of online chess tutoring

Learning chess online is not only an advantage for you as a student. It also helps the teacher to prepare more in-depth and more specific lessons.

Platforms like Chess.com and Lichess.org can help you to set up different puzzles in seconds. If you did it physically over the board, each situation would take 20-30 seconds to set up.

Example:

These are three of the features me and my online chess teacher have used a lot. Super helpful! Photo: Chess.com screenshot.

Below are just some of the advantages that I can come up with right away when you learn chess online:

  • You can hire cheap teachers from third world countries
  • The flexibility of moving the pieces online is 100 % more time-efficient
  • You can easily work on chess puzzles that are generated in seconds on Chess.com & Lichess.org
  • You don’t have to travel anywhere

To be honest, I love online tutoring in chess. I hate online tutoring in almost all disciplines and topics, but with chess…it’s so good. 🙂

However, there are a couple of disadvantages I would mention:

  • If you (or your coach) have an unstable connection, there might be communication problems
  • Meeting someone in person will always create a nice connection

Best platforms to find your chess coach

My first teacher was recommended to my by a friend.

The second one was found on a platform that I saw some advertising for on TV.

The third one came to me after I posted a job listing on Upwork.

In other words, I don’t have much experience with these “hire a chess coach” websites. But I will try to give an overview of what’s out there.

Top 3 platforms for finding a coach

Upwork

  • Freelancer platform
  • Hourly rate: 15-100 USD

Private Chess

  • Professional teachers
  • Hourly rate: Unknown..?

Chess.com

  • Big variety of skilled and unskilled teachers
  • Hourly rate: 5-100 USD

These are great places to start.

If you have other websites that you know work well, please let me know in the comment section below the article.

Three different segments of chess coaches

After spending hours of looking up various chess teachers, I believe it’s possible to divide them into three different categories:

  • Premium teachers
  • Mid-range teachers
  • Cheap chess teachers

Let me give you a realistic picture of what you can expect from each category in terms of price, quality and progress.


Premium Chess Teachers

  • High-ranked IMs or Grandmasters
  • Charge between 100-250 USD per hour
  • Suits students that have already passed the 2000 ELO rank

Mid-Range Chess Teachers

  • International Master or above
  • Spends a lot of time teaching chess – both online & offline
  • ELO: ~2000-2200

Cheap Chess Teachers

  • Typically work online from low-cost countries like South East Asia
  • Teaches online
  • ELO: ~1800-2100
  • Price: Between 5-15 USD/hour

What chess teacher did I find most useful?

Well, I’m not gonna lie. It was an honor to have a grandmaster trying to teach me the different variations of the queen’s gambit. But it was nothing more than that.

Moreover, it wasn’t really fun spending 150 $ on 60-65 minutes with the guy.

My best overall experience was with my teacher from the Philippines. He has long experience in teaching beginners like myself. In addition to that, he was always patient and brilliant at explaining different aspects of the game.

Also, it helped that he was so affordable that I could always book him for two hours straight.

In conclusion, I would say that you do not need to hire a chess teacher that has any title (International Master [IM] or Grand Master [GM]) if you are below ELO = 2000. Once you become better than your coach, you can consider hiring someone like Magnus Carlsen to take you to the next level…. 😉

PS! I promised not to flog you anything in this article. And I’m not gonna do that. But a lot of people have asked for the contact details of my chess teacher in the Philippines. If you are interested: leave a comment below and I will mail you his contact info.

15 USD/hour is a bargain for a professional chess coach. 🙂

It’s especially cheap for someone like this guy! He is polite, great at teaching…and I’ve learned so much from him.

Relevant links from other forums

Believe it or not: I am not the only person that can give great advice on choosing a chess teacher.

Books and chess board recommendations

The reason why I wrote this article was because I saw the amazing numbers of my previous chess articles.

I have written and published two of them on Sustainability Matters in the past:

Frankly, I would especially recommend the one about chess books. I have personally seem quite extreme growth in my ELO rating over the last year. And I can thank these books for that:

Brilliancy
Penguin Random House Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Chess puzzles
Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games
Psychology
The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery
Penguin Random House Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games
The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery
$7.99
$23.99
$19.95
Brilliancy
Penguin Random House Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
Penguin Random House Bobby Fischer Teaches Chess
$7.99
Chess puzzles
Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games
Chess: 5334 Problems, Combinations and Games
$23.99
Psychology
The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery
The Amateur's Mind: Turning Chess Misconceptions Into Chess Mastery
$19.95

Quicky summary

Finding someone that will teach you chess isn’t hard. You will always find someone.

But to find someone good and affordable is much more difficult. I have done my best in this article to explain the steps I took to to find my dream coach.

And I believe that you can do it as well.

FAQ

✅How much does it cost to hire a chess coach?

I have paid everything between 10$ – 150 $. It all depends what you are looking for.

Honestly, I do not see the point in paying more than 10-15 $ for a good chess coach if you find him or her online.

✅Can I find a chess teacher in my area that I can play against?

Absolutely. I would recommend that you look up your local chess club. There are many high-rated chess players that are willing to take a part-time job as a teacher.

✅How do I know which parts of the game I should focus on?

Your teacher will tell you that.

During your first lesson, it’s quite normal that you play several games against each other. While playing these games, your teacher will analyze which mistakes you do – and therefore what you guys should focus on.

My Filipino teacher was brilliant at that. He was very early in highlighting a couple of things in my games that I did wrong. And once I had spend some time on improving those, my ELO sky-rocketed. 🙂

94 thoughts on “Guide: How to find a brilliant Chess Coach”

  1. Avatar

    I am very interested in the contact info for a coach. I am a beginner ie I have played for years but made little progress !! There was mention of a great coach in Manila. I am in the US. Thank you. N.

  2. Avatar

    Thanks for posting this – exactly the information and insight I was looking for.

    I’d also love to get the contact information of your instructor if you don’t mind.

    1. Avatar

      Hi Chris, of course – I’ll do that for you. 🙂

      Check your e-mail shortly.

      Best regards,
      Amund

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