Chess Lessons With a Tutor in Murray

By chess coach Jonathan Whitcomb

Introduction to this private chess instruction in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah (offered by the tutor Jonathan D. Whitcomb)

I am the author of the paperback book Beat That Kid in Chess, which uses the new method of chess instruction nearly-identical positions (NIP). As far as I know, this may be the first such publication that systematically uses this new teaching method for the royal game.

More recently I have begun offering my services as a chess tutor in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah, with one-hour sessions priced at $25, which is less than some tutors charge. I can drive to most cities and communities in the valley, with no travel charge. (I would love to have you come to my home for chess lessons, but my business license with the city of Murray forbids it, and I want to abide by the law.) We can meet at a public library or a park that is convenient for both of us, if you would not want to meet at your home.

What do Chess Lessons Entail?

Your tutoring sessions with me will be tailor-made for your needs, what you most need in progressing in your skill in chess. This is ideal for your progress but it makes it difficult to describe details of chess instruction in a blog post. It all depends on where you now stand in your practical knowledge and skills in the game.

Let’s take an example by supposing someone know the rules of the game and has played about 10-20 games of chess already. Suppose he had obtained some small skill in avoiding giving away free pieces frequently and that he sometimes notices when his opponent has made such a blunder. In other words, he sometimes make crude mistakes and sometimes catches opponents doing the same. Yet he is not nearly as consistent as even some of the weakest tournament players, and knows very little about basic chess tactics like removing the guard and pawn forks. That’s a good place to start in this example.

Chess coach Jonathan Whitcomb at Jordan Pines, Utah

Chess tutor Jonathan Whitcomb sometimes teaches by example

For a more-advanced player, it’s generally not the best use of lesson time for the student to just play chess with the tutor. When the student has already learned chess notation and has made it a habit to record his or her games, the instructor can go over the moves of those games with the student. With that said, sometimes playing a quick game together can help the student to concentrate and help the tutor to know how that student thinks about his or her moves or potential moves. This can sometimes be even more useful before the student has learned to record the moves or when appropriate chess competition is not easily obtained.

But in this example it might be best to teach the student chess notation and encourage the recording of almost every game played. Assuming the student plays chess regularly, the tutor would then be able to go over those games during the lessons. Perhaps the student might even remember what he was thinking in making particular moves. That would give a rich ground for teaching tactics and strategy and helping the student learn to improve.

What about tactics and strategy?

This is a good place to consider the difference between chess tactics and strategy. In winning most chess games, tactics are far more important than strategic ideas. Here’s an example:

Black cannot safely castle in this position

With Black to move, what is most important here?

The above position is taken from a game I recently played in my chess club in West Valley City, Utah. I had the black pieces and eventually won the game, but in the above position things are not necessarily so clear. Let’s consider two perspectives here: strategy and tactics.

Notice that two of White’s minor pieces, a bishop and a knight, are on my side of the board and that I have not yet castled. Is this the right time to get my king toward a safe corner by castling? Notice also that my bishop on that white square is stuck there, making castling on the queen side impossible for the moment and questionable in the near future. Is it then best to castle immediately, on the kingside?

That kind of reasoning, however, is strategic. That’s not the first way to look at the position, for tactics are often critical. This position is no exception, for notice that the black queen is being attacked by that white knight that’s on the right side of the board. Black must move the queen, regardless of strategic ideas about king safety. If the black king were in immediate danger of checkmate or a potential mating combination, that would probably need immediate attention. But the reality here is that the king is not in immediate danger.

Contact Details

Call me at 801-590-9692 with any questions you may have. You can also send me an email.

The first getting-acquainted meeting is free, with no obligation on your part. We can learn where we each stand, and you can then decide how to proceed.



Chess Lessons in Salt Lake Valley

Which of the following makes more sense for assisting your progress?

  • Buy a library of chess books and hope for the best
  • Take private chess lessons tailor-made for you

Jonathan Whitcomb does not discourage players from purchasing chess books; he’s a chess-book author. Yet he recommends taking individualized lessons . . .

Chess Lessons in Utah

What do you get in a chess lesson from a seasoned instructor? I can only speak for myself as a chess coach who uses the new NIP system of chess instruction: nearly-identical positions.

Chess Tutoring in Holladay, Utah

I’m a chess tutor in Murray, Utah, offering private and group lessons in many communities and cities in the Salt Lake Valley. (Lessons cost $25 per one-hour session but with a free preliminary getting-acquainted session).