Fpawn Chess Lessons

Online Training with a USCF Life Master

Michael "fpawn" Aigner earned the USCF titles of National Master and Life Master while playing at many top level the over-the-board chess tournaments in California, Nevada and across the country. I finished 2nd at the 2006 US Open in Chicago, thereby qualifying for the 2007 US Championship in Oklahoma.

Over the years, I also shared my knowledge with dozens of young students, mostly through online lessons. I enjoy the challenge of coaching older (4th to 12th grade) and intermediate to advanced juniors (rated 1000 to 2000+). Some of my students are nationally ranked for their age group and a few have won State, National, and even World Championships (view my Honor Roll). A number of these juniors attained the rank of master themselves before graduating from High School! A lucky few even earned international titles!


Teaching Philosophy

I strongly believe the best way to improve is by practice and learning from the inevitable mistakes. One of my lessons may take the form of a game between teacher and student, with takebacks allowed and much discussion. While a solid grasp of chess theory is useful, you only become a better player if you can properly apply your knowledge and experience in the competitive environment of a tournament.

Click here for my Ten Goals for Chess Lessons.

People inquire whether I teach opening theory. It depends on the particular student. In general, I prefer to dedicate time to all three phases of the game: opening, middlegame and endgame. Indeed, I consider the endgame to be a simplified middlegame and a laboratory for developing skills needed throughout a chess game. After hours of playing endgames against me, it comes as little surprise that my students are very resourceful during this important phase.

Online Lessons

I teach chess lessons on the Internet Chess Club (ICC) using what is called "examine mode". The teacher and student both look at a board and analyze through moves, both what was actually played and alternative variations. Teacher and student communicate using Skype, a free internet voice software. For added emphasis, the teacher can use arrows and circles on the ICC board, much in the same way that a sports coach would diagram a play. ICC membership and knowledge of the basic functions (or the ability to learn quickly) are mandatory.

After years of experience, I believe online lessons with a voice connection are about 90% as worthwhile as a face-to-face class. On one hand, a few students (young children) may benefit from face-to-face interaction. On the other hand, the online connection eliminates all of the transportation logistics.

Training Games

Think you can beat a master? In addition to formal lessons, I may be available to play training games with brief post-mortem analysis. I recommend this option for students with a minimum rating of 1600. Juniors rated over 2000 should contact me to set up a free sparring match (blitz or rapid).

Face-to-face Lessons

Students who live in Davis or nearby (e.g. the Sacramento region) may wish to meet in-person. Please contact me directly to discuss the necessary logistics.

Unfortunately, I do not travel out of town to teach. However, I do enjoy interacting with students at tournaments that I attend, mostly in California and Nevada. Depending on the round schedule, I may find time to review some games. Don't be shy!

Schedule and Fees

If you are interested, please consult my Teaching Schedule for availability. Most students take weekly classes for 60 or 90 minutes per session. Due to long term health problems (since 2010), I can only accept a limited number of students (no more than 2 per day). I would love to teach more...

Check out my standard Lesson Fees. Payments may be submitted online by Paypal or by mailing a check at the end of each month. For more information, please contact me at michaelNOSPAM@fpawn.com (remove NOSPAM from address) or online at ICC under the username fpawn.

If you are unsatisfied with my performance, please let me know so that I can try to improve. Within one week of paying, you may request a refund of your last lesson. Note that a refund will terminate our teaching relationship.

Student Questionnaire

Prospective chess students should email me Answers To These Questions. Thank you!

© 2016 Michael Aigner