By Jonathan Whitcomb, chess teacher in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah
How can a less-experienced chess player improve the quality of his or her game? I suggest that two of the best methods are the following:
- Play many chess games against those not much stronger or much weaker than you are
- Record each game, then go over each one later, looking for ways to improve
That’s a simple two-step process, yet it can help you improve your chess performance. Much of my own early progress in learning to win chess games, back in the 1960’s came from regularly following those two steps.
The first method needs more explaining. When you play chess games against someone who is approximately the same playing strength that you are, those games will be less likely to discourage you or more likely to give you confidence. Against someone slightly stronger, you can learn from your mistakes; against someone slightly weaker, you can remember how you won games and repeat, in future games, whatever helped you win before.
Chess Lessons at Copperview Recreation Center
Chess classes in September of 2017—they cost only $25 for all four lessons in Midvale, Utah. Choose between the early-beginner and mid-level beginner classes for the very affordable group-lesson option in chess instruction. I don’t pretend to be completely objective in recommending this one-month course in the royal game: I will be the instructor in each of these chess lessons.
(Update: This class was discontinued by early 2018, because of too few chess students signing up.)
Private Chess Lessons
I also offer personal instruction in chess:
- Openings: What a treasure of choices!
- Middle Game: What adventures!
- End Games: worlds in themselves
- Tactics – how to win the immediate battle
- Strategy and positional principles
- How to win when you’re ahead
- How to draw when you’re behind
I charge $25 per one-hour lesson, except the first session is a free introductory lesson. Phone me at 801-590-9692. Also free is a copy of my chess book Beat That Kid in Chess , which is given to each student who chooses to take chess lessons (at least one paid lesson).
In 2017, I got back into tournament play by competing in three chess club tournaments, winning clear first place in two of them (in Sandy, Utah) and second place in the one in West Valley City. (All three of those competitions were in senior-center chess clubs.)
I (Jonathan Whitcomb) am both a tutor and an author of chess, having written the book Beat That Kid in Chess in 2015. I’m active in both the Harman Senior Center chess club and the Sandy Senior Center chess club . . .
The top three winners were:
First: Jonathan Whitcomb, 8½-1½ (7 wins, 3 draws, no loses)
Second: Grant Hodson, 7-2 (6 wins, 2 draws, 1 loss)
Third: Alan Bradbury, 4-5 (3 wins, 2 draws, 4 loses)
Last month I looked through the chess library in the Harman Senior Recreation Center, West Valley City, Utah. (The senior-citizen chess club meets on Wednesday afternoons, from 12:30-3:00.) I found 102 chess books, some of them published in recent years. What a treasure for the reader interested in the royal game!