During his stay in Skerries where he came to play in the last round Martín gave us three coaching sessions. In the first on the Friday night (6 May) in the Coast he helped us analyse our games. He did the same on Sunday after the match. On Saturday he showed us 2 - 3 games which involved an exchange sacrifice, in positions where the knight clearly dominated the opposing rook. During the visit he explained his intention to begin Remote Coaching Videos, initially by invitation, to experiment with the format.
Alice O'Gorman is a stong player, rated over 2000, who has played for Ireland in international events. She gave a great talk on active play. She was well prepared and geared the first half towards juniors. Judging by their attention and participation they enjoyed it, as did the adults in the second half. Like many strong players she made it seem so easy to find good moves, using some basic principles.
First she showed us how to assess a position to see who is better, based on
In looking for good moves Alice said we should look first at forcing moves: captures, checks and threats, as these give our opponents the least choices and make our calculation easier. She showed us how to look for weak points and how to forge a plan to find moves to take advantage of these weaknesses. Her preparation for the talk used positions and games that she has on lichess, which we can access here: Active Play. It is worth studying while her words are fresh in your mind as some of the games do not have moves shown. I will attempt to remember some of the lines she showed us and publish them here later. For example in Chapter 1 in the lichess study, who is better and why, based on the principles above?
Martín came from Spain to play for us against Dublin on 31 Jan 2023. Just before we drove to the game he gave a talk entitled Chess Lies, to a select few that could make it by 5 pm.
Martín saw our club website from his home in Albacete in Spain. He liked what he saw of our club, our activities, the atmosphere and our proximity to Dublin and the airport, and decided to e-mail John. After some contact by e-mail and Skype and some games online against us in the club he joined us just before our league match against Drogheda on Saturday 12th Jan 2019. He played board 1 and won in fine style. He coached some of our members before the match for an hour, and the same afterwards and on Sunday for three hours. The focus was evenly spread on endings, tactics, pawn structures, plans, strategies. Some of these were illustrated by analysing our games from Saturday. We showed him Joe May's on Friday, Café Jacques on Saturday and the Mill on Sunday as well as many scenic walks around our beautiful town as well as putting him up. The players greatly enjoyed his talks, insights and witty analogies like "lying" on the chessboard. Intuition, pattern recognition, the principle of two weaknesses and other concepts gave us a fresh reminder of the complexity and beauty of the game we love and fight with at times. Hopefully it will give us new energy and ideas for the future.
In September 2014 and Autumn 2015 we got FIDÉ Master David Fitzsimons to give us three coaching sessions from 8 pm to 10.30 pm in the club. These were very instructive and interactive and judging by the response were enjoyed by players of all ages and levels. In 2014 he covered numerous topics including classic games, how to outwit your opponent with opening preparation and how to calculate in highly tactical positions. In 2015 he discussed how to react when you lose a piece or are considering sacrificing a piece, and other tactical attacking themes.
David has kindly sent on the database of games and positions he used to coach us in some of these master classes. You can play through these games and see how much you remember by clicking on the links below. We may publish solutions to the puzzles at a later date. Use the back button of your browser to get back to this page. To select different games or positions click on the links below the board.
In May 2018 David finally achieved his third IM norm. As his FIDÉ rating has already been over 2400 this qualifies him to become one of Ireland's few international masters (IM). Congratulations to David!