Parents and Teacher
My goal as a chess coach is to make the royal game both
instructional and fun for everyone. In particular, I teach chess because I
enjoy sharing my knowledge to eager students. If the student becomes
excited, then so do I. When teaching no longer is fun, then logically I should
Click here for my Ten Goals for Chess Lessons.
Since I work with a large number of students and have others
on a waiting list, I must establish certain guidelines. I donít intend to spoil
anyoneís fun with a long list of rules. This document outlines my expectations
for students and also what you can expect from the teacher.
All students and parents should
read this contract carefully before the first chess lesson. If you
donít understand the rules, then donít hesitate to ask what I mean. Iíll try to
keep it simple.
I tend not to be an overly strict person. If you break a
rule, then likely I will simply talk to you about it. Please do not take
advantage of my kindness. For repeated or severe violations, I reserve the
right to issue sanctions, including extra homework or special assignments,
temporary suspension of lessons and, in the worst case, termination of our
- Be prepared to learn. Make sure you are
awake! Minimize all distractions at your house. Focus and give undivided
attention to your chess lesson.
- Know how to have fun. Lessons will be easier
for you and me if you are in a good mood. I donít mind an occasional joke
(in good taste) as long as you donít overdo it.
- Show up on time. I expect to start lessons
close to the agreed time. Plan on logging into ICC five minutes early!
Note that I do not usually phone students with reminders. Instead, I will
wait for you up to 15 minutes and then may start something else.
- Practice. It is a waste of time for students
to learn chess theory without playing games. Practice makes perfect! You
should play either standard (G/15 and slower) or 5-minute blitz games each
week for at least a time equal to the length of your regular lesson. I
recommend playing on ICC. Students may also fulfill this requirement by
playing rated games at a weekly chess club. If you are very busy one week
(e.g. school projects or tests) then you should make up for missed
practice the next week.
- Homework. I assign specific homework from
time to time. I expect my students to complete their homework without
reminders. I do understand that older students are often busy with school
and will respect that when setting due dates for chess homework.
- Always be respectful. This may be
self-explanatory during lessons, but it also applies at tournaments. I
expect you to be friendly and polite towards all chess players, including
your opponents, tournament directors, other adults and even your peers.
- Obey ICC rules. Beware: I am an ICC
administrator! I expect my students to set a good example for others to
follow. Do not break rules by being disrespectful or cheating.
and teenage student obligations
- Supervise the above. Make sure that your
child is ready for lessons at the correct time and has completed the
weekly practice and any homework.
- Maintain communication. Feel free to
contact me with chess related questions or concerns at any time. I also
welcome feedback on my lessons.
- Cancellations. If your child canít attend a
lesson, please let me know; I hate preparing for a lesson that doesnít
take place. Ideally, you can email me at least 48 hours in advance so that
I may schedule someone else during your time. I understand that last
minute conflicts do occur, but I still appreciate a brief email or even a
phone call. I allow students to miss one lesson without notice or two
lessons with less than 48 hours notice every six months. If for any reason
you miss more, then I expect to be paid as usual.
- Payments. I allow students and parents to
pay two different ways. The first is to buy chekels on ICC by a secure
credit card transaction (1 chekel = 1 dollar). At the end of each lesson,
you offer me a payment. The second is to mail a check at the end of each
month (or first week of next month). This requires you (and me) to keep
track of the number of lessons. Click on this link for
further instructions. Please let me know if you wish to make special
arrangements to pay.
- Make chess exciting. Students learn best
when they have a good time. Hence, it is my job to explain a variety of
complex chess concepts in an interesting way.
- Prepare for lessons. My lesson preparation
draws from material that I have accumulated over the years and from new
sources, including the studentís own games. I tailor each lesson to the
skill level, strengths and weaknesses of the student. After each session,
I record some comments to track what we covered and generate ideas for the
- Lead by example. One difference between
many other chess teachers and me is that I am an active tournament player
seeking to improve further. I feel first hand the joy of a well-played
game or the agony of defeat and students can learn from my experiences.
- Maintain a lesson schedule. I coordinate
the schedules of all my students on the weekly schedule posted on my
website. Since I have many students, some scheduling conflicts are
inevitable. In this unfortunate case, I grant priority based on seniority
(how long you have been my student) and chess skill (advantage to higher
- Always be punctual. Thatís my job. Even if
I will be a few minutes late, I will try my best to let you know by email
or phone call.
- Cancellations. Yes, I do sometimes need to
cancel lessons. I will do my best to notify students and parents by email
well in advance. Typical reasons for cancellations include: chess
tournaments and travel, some ICC league tournament games, family
obligations and once in a while even a short break from all chess
activities. I try to spread these cancellations out over different days,
but weekend students will naturally suffer a disproportionate share of
- Fpawn Blog. My chess blog contains updated lesson
information, interesting chess news, results from recent tournaments, a
Player of the Month and a detailed list of upcoming local tournaments.
- Tournaments. I frequently attend adult
chess tournaments together with my students and provide advice, comfort
and game analysis when time permits. I also have experience as coach at
both state and national scholastic championship events. Contact me if you
are planning to attend a tournament to see what plans I might have.