Chess Lessons From a Private Tutor

By Jonathan Whitcomb, a chess author and coach in the Salt Lake Valley

Many of those who are now chess grandmasters were once students of private chess tutors. That does not mean that every beginner needs chess lessons to progress in his or her abilities in the royal game. Many top amateurs in chess clubs around the world never had private instruction, for they got most of their skill from practice and sometimes from a combination of practice and personal study. That common way of progressing in chess skill, however, takes time: often taking many years. In fact, some club members have played for decades, but they never get close to the level of an official chess expert.

I’m the author of Beat That Kid in Chess, and I now am available for teaching new students in the Salt Lake Valley. Chess lessons can be tailor made for each student, with the following levels of ability (beginner to average tournament level):

  1. Not yet knowing even the rules
  2. Knowing some of the rule but not all of them
  3. Beginner knowing the rules of chess but nothing else
  4. Having a little experience in chess but wanting to win more
  5. Having a skill level comparable to a rating of 300-800
  6. Having chess-playing ability comparable to 800-1200
  7. Rated or comparable to a rating of 1200-1500

Whatever your present skill, it probably relates to one of the above seven. Yet effective chess lessons need to be geared toward your own specific needs. That’s my philosophy on private chess lessons.

I would like to learn how you look at a chess position: why you made specific moves in games that you played. As I come to understand what you had in mind, I can much better guide you into knowing and understanding how the stronger tournament players think about chess positions. In other words, your private lessons will be constructed based on your needs. This makes it much more challenging for me but much easier for you to quickly improve in your abilities.

I know what it takes to progress from the beginner or lower-ranking player to a high rating in tournament competition. I’ve been through the process. It need not take many years, as it did for me and my associates who never had private chess lessons. You’ll probably be able to progress much faster with private tutoring sessions.

chess player Jon Whitcomb, long ago

Jonathan Whitcomb in the 1960’s in Pasadena, California

I had the above photo taken as a joke, when I was a teenager, but real games of chess I took very seriously, becoming the top player (out of about 2,000 students) in my junior high school in the mid-1960’s.

I never had private chess lessons when I was in my early-to-mid-teens—few players even thought of that in California in the 1960’s. Starting with chess books around early 1962, I began playing against myself and then against my dad, soon beating him in every game. In the eighth grade I was very active in my junior high chess club, playing first board when we competed with other schools in matches in Pasadena, California.

I was not especially talented in chess, probably no better than average, so how did I progress during my middle teenage years? It was a combination of two kinds of study:

  1. Recording my chess games for later study
  2. Reading chess books and going over the games of grandmasters

That eventually made up for the lack of private chess tutoring lessons, but it took years of work, longer than if I had been taking private lessons in chess.

Chess Tournaments

I won first place in the 1966 Pasadena Chess Club Junior Championship, my first tournament, winning all four of my games. Yet it took years of practice and study, and many tournaments, to obtain a USCF rating over 1900, around the year 1970.

Rated chess tournaments provide opportunities for you to compete with stronger players than you might encounter in your local chess club. But you need to be prepared, if you don’t want to lose most of your games (if not all of them). Private chess lessons can greatly help in that preparation for tournament competition.

Couple on Ensign Peak, Utah

Jonathan Whitcomb with his wife (Ensign Peak near Salt Lake City, Utah)

After my wife Gladys retired from her childcare business in California in 2014, we moved to Murray, Utah. I have been active, in recent months, in the Harman Center Chess Club in West Valley City, and I highly recommend getting involved in a local chess club.

I now offer a free introductory meeting for your evaluation of private chess tutoring lessons. I can meet with you at your home or at a convenient public park or library, and you can have a friend or family member present.

The regular lessons (after the introductory session) are only $25 each, with free chess materials included for personal study. In fact, a copy my book Beat That Kid in Chess will be given to you in your first regular paid lesson, and you do not need to commit to any more lessons. Just ask for the free book.

Call me at the phone number shown below, or contact me by email for asking questions about chess.



Jonathan Whitcomb demonstrating the Pirc Defense opening

Chess Tutor Jonathan Whitcomb, with Pirc Defense opening



Chess Tutor in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah

With many thousands of chess books available online, a beginner or intermediate player can feel overwhelmed and frustrated. . . . A better approach [than just choosing a chess book for yourself] may be individualized private chess lessons, formulated just for you, based upon your individual needs.

When a Chess Coach is Good

There is a perception that persists, that the best coach is the one who plays the best chess. However, the thinking processes of the newbie and the grand master are on two entirely different planes! . . . Imagine how ineffective it would be, for both parties involved, if a mathematician at NASA were to teach 4 year olds how to count.

Chess coach in Salt Lake area

[Jonathan Whitcomb] (who lives in Murray) is now offering private and group lessons in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah . . .

Chess Tournament for Children in Utah

The Utah state elementary school chess championship tournament was held on Saturday, March 14, 2016, at the University of Utah.


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