To achieve a won game in chess is hard.  To win the "won" game is even harder.  This is called technique in chess.  My lessons teach you technique.

I have been teaching professionally seriously for over 30 years. It is my view that if a player can learn the endgame well in chess then he or she will perform well in tournaments. As a player I win the majority of my tournament games in the endgame. I find that even strong players are uncomfortable in this stage of the game. My lessons are geared towards giving the student a deep understanding of basic and advanced endgame strategies. It is a horrible feeling to reach a won game in chess and then throw the win away because you did not understand the winning technique.

Openings that are best suited to your style are covered but not dwelled upon. Before a tournament we will review your opening setups but as a rule we do not spend a lot of time on them. Openings are best learned from experience and books that the serious student does on his own.

Another teaching technique of mine is to give the student a position that is slightly superior to mine. The student is then required to win this position against me. In these exercises I try my best to either win, draw, or make the win as difficult as possible. It may take the student many tries before the win is achieved. When the win is accomplished another position with the same theme is given to the student, but with increased difficulty.

It is my belief that students learn from doing, not just listening. If they can beat me in a slightly better position, then they should definitely be able to win in a similar position in a tournament against their peers. You can tell a person all day how to swim, but until you throw him into the water he will never learn.

My lessons can sometimes be frustrating. I will quickly find your level of play and try to build from there. I also incorporate a lot of tournament type conditions in my lessons in order to give the student experience in pressure. It is better to go into tournament battle with knowledge of chess notation, clock management, etc. than to experience it first hand at the tournament. For example a lot of players lose in tournaments because they are not used to score keeping or the constant pressure of a ticking clock.

Students also bring all of their tournament games to me for analysis. Together we review the games and try to point out all mistakes as well as good moves. This is a great technique in improving one’s play.

My lessons are 1 hour in length.  Most students take one lesson per week, while others take two lessons per week.
 
I give lessons at my office if you are in the St Simons Island area. For students that do not live in the St Simons Island area I use the Internet. I have Internet students all over the country so it does not matter where you live.

All of my Internet lessons are given on the queen server of the ICC. You do not have to be a member of the ICC to take lessons there. You can sign on as a guest.

My lessons have many parts to it. I have various positions, combos, and exercises. Everything is geared towards teaching you how to compete in tournaments. Whether or not you go to tournaments is up to you. If you just want to use your knowledge to play better on the ICC or with friends is also up to you. It is necessary knowledge that you NEED to know when you go into a tournament game. The combos we work thru together. We discuss the various options and explore the possibilities. In positions I do NOT help you. You must find the answer on your own. I will not be with you during a game and even if I were I could not help you. I must teach you how to think chess.

The exercises are certain positions where you will always have an advantage. Each exercise has several parts, each with increasing difficulty. In each part you MUST win against me. A draw will not get you credit. Once you win against me we go to the next stage of the exercise. These exercises teach you technique in chess. Technique in chess is the hardest thing to learn. Technique means winning a won game. All great players have good technique. When your opponent is losing he is at his most dangerous!

In all parts I NEVER let a student win. He will earn it I assure you. You may be one move away from winning but if you slip up, it will mean, start over!

Since I have no idea where your level of skill is at the beginning your first few lessons may (or not) be easy. As we continue, they will become more and more difficult. In some lessons you may complete many positions, combos, and exercises. Sometimes, as my students get more and more into the lessons, they don't get any for weeks! Even though it might be easy for you at first and we cover things you already know, I would be doing you a disservice if I did not cover everything.

Please feel free to ask me any other questions you may have.

Great to always start a new student! I look forward to hearing from you.

Donny Gray
National Master

Chess Lessons
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