Long Term Coaching Relationships

The break between Hikaru Nakamura and his coach, Garry Kasparov, is getting a lot of publicity right now, with various speculations about how it happened. I don’t know anything about this apart from what little I’ve read in the news and I can’t say that I’m particularly interested. But what I can say is that in entering into a coaching relationship both student and teacher should be looking for something long term.

The reason for this is that with an art form like chess the best lessons and deepest skills are very much part of someone’s psyche; to access them you need to get to know your coach at a level at which you get to know how they think. So with Kasparov, for example, I see someone with a unique understanding of dynamic possibilities, something that Victor Korchnoi appreciated in the following amazing game:

Did Nakamura succeed in acquiring Kasparov’s unique perception during their month long coaching relationship? Apparently not, as in this interview with Daniel King he ascribed Kasparov’s success to ‘opening preparation’. And I can’t say that I’m surprised, he’d need a lot longer and a genuine relationship with his coach. Plus, of course, a coach who was willing to go beyond the opening with their studies.

Anyway, here’s my view of what a proper coaching relationship should be like, that of Beatrix and Pei Mai in Kill Bill 2. So click the lessons tab at your peril, though probably I won’t take you as a student anyway…


Author: NigelD

Nigel Davies is an International Chess Grandmaster living in St. Helens in the UK. The winner of 15 international tournaments he is also a former British U21 and British Open Quickplay Champion and has represented both England and Wales on several occasions. These days Nigel teaches chess through his chess training web site, Tiger Chess, which has articles, recommendations, a monthly clinic, videos and courses. His students include his 15 year old son Sam who is making rapid progress with his game. Nigel has written a number of chess books that are available at Amazon: