Chris Goldthorpe Chess FAQs

In order to be ready for chess lessons, whether adult or child, one must be enthusiastic about playing chess, but also about learning to play chess well before the first lesson begins.

If a child thinks chess lessons are a bad idea, then typically the child is correct. Trust me!

The chess student should have time and be inclined to be involved with chess between lessons. Playing only family members exclusively will not be very beneficial the chess student.

Lessons should not be cancelled for birthday parties, or other social activities and events. Pick a day that will not be frequently interfered with by other activities.

The chess student need not wish to play in tournaments, but they likely will. If a child desires to play in competitions, please remember that their performance is their own, and it is good enough no matter the outcome.

The cost of chess lessons vary depending on student location, and how much work needs to be done for the student.

During the school year typical rates are from $30 to $75 per hour, with an average between $40 and $50.

You can realize a considerable savings by purchasing a chess learning series which gives you more lessons for your money.

Our chess instructors provide chess lessons for all of Palm Beach County and Broward County.

Please contact us for details regarding your specific location, and too schedule your chess lesson today!

Lessons take place in your home or office, and are typically weekly, at one per week for children, and could be more for adults.

Chess lessons are generally an hour for children under 7 years of age. Advanced learners might take 1.5 hours at a time (with a slight discount), or when a tournament is approaching, may elect to have additional lessons.

Yes! There are quite a number of details which must be negotiated directly with the school, however, a chess program is a great asset to a good school.

It is important to have a real chess program which includes professional scholastic classroom chess trainers, who are experienced in classroom administration. These trainers have knowlege and expertise to involve the school, and some of the participants in intramural competitions and state and national chess affiliations. See the School Chess Programs page.

Generally 6-7 years old is the best age to start your child learning chess. There are also many VERY bright kids under the age of 6 who can learn effectively from scheduled chess lessons, but many are too active, and not inclined to focus on one thing for an hour at a time.

I would say your child is ready if they ask for chess lessons, and they show the ability and willingness to sit, listen, and take part in learning.

Some kids answer questions so quietly, they are barley audible, and are often very easily intimidated. Parents naturally hesitate to put children into situations that scare them. Chess is a non-violent, non-intimidating way for children to interact with other children.

Girls often are more comfortable playing chess with other girls, but will learn quickly that girls can play chess as well as boys.

We are very experienced at helping children with ADD/ADHD learn to play chess, and stay focused in general.

The game of chess is a great way to build the confidence of a child, whether they win or not, which goes a long way in helping them overcome attention deficits.

We are very experienced dealing with such students, as long as they are relatively high functioning, and have reasonable use of language.

Autistic persons often have a near photgraphic memory, which is very useful in playing chess.

Some such students may need a parent or helper near by, especially if they are given to unexpected turns of emotion, resulting from frustration.

Some degree of developmental delay will not prevent a student from learning, and benefiting from chess, or enjoying it. However, if the student is truly very delayed, chess may not be productive.

It is important not to place expectations where they would likely cause disappointment. Students who do learn to play chess well, will be proud of their developed skill, and often ready to demonstrate it.

We train students who have a rating as high as USCF 1600. We are among the best instructors in the USA for such students, with a proven track record.

If you have a child or are an adult with with a higher rating than 1600, please contact us for an appropriate recommendation.

A rating is a number which tells how good you are at chess. The average rating is around 1400, with the standard deviation being about 350.

You have to be 2000 to be an expert, and 2200 to be considered a master. If you do not have an official rating, there is no need to worry.

For young players, if you are the equivalent of 100 times your age, you are in good shape.(Impossible for those of us who are older).

The USCF applies ratings, as does the ICC and FICS. Ratings from other sources are rather meaningless, and not a good basis for comparisons.

Blitz ratings are 400-600 points lowewr than the USCF rating would be. Get a USCF membership


The U.S.C.F is the United States Chess Federation. You can find all of the information you need about memberships on the United States Chess Federation website.

You will likely wait until you wish to join an actual tournament, as most organized school events require a USCF membership.


F.I.C.S is the Free Internet Chess Server. This is the only free site we recommend. You can sign up and download the sofware you will need.

If you have never done so before, and have a USCF rating of under 1200, we will analyze on of your FICS games for free. Contact us for details.

You do not need equipment for your first chess lesson. We recommend that you NOT buy any chess sets or boards until you meet with us, and find out which type to get.

The tiny hollow pieces sold in dollar stores are not suitable, and the expensive ones sold in gift shops and such, are not required.

For about $8 you can get the chess pieces, and for $6 you can get a board. For around $30 or less you can get a very professional setup.

You will eventually need a chess clock, as well as books tailored to the student. We will recommend the best place to get them at that time.

The content is tailored to students level, age, and temperment.

In general, students will learn how to conduct basic end games, and how to advantageous situations with very few pieces left (endings). They will learn specific sequences of moves to make for an effective start (openings).

Students will learn a number of basic tricks, which are called "Tactics", that will enable them to checkmate or win pieces. They will also learn general knowlege about playing chess, including what to do with more (or less) pieces, and what to do with a lead in development(strategy).

They will also learn how to play with (or against) various pawn structures, the key ideas of common setups, move sequences, and pawn structures. They will learn how to think in chess (and in life).

By learning and playing chess, students will hone critical thinking skills, and logic skills more thorougly than any other way.

Call for a phone consultation to discuss if lessons are right for the student in question. If so, schedule a time and date to begin.

You can cancel a lesson and not pay for it, if you give at least 7 days notice.

You can pay 1/2 if you give at least 2 days notice.

If you have purchased a block of lessons, there are no discounts, makeups, or refunds for missed lessons. It is like buying theatre tickets, or missing sessions of a college course. This is why such arrangements involve a discount.

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