Tuition space

Tuition compared to coaching

Like many clubs Peterborough Chess Club offers a tuition service where beginners are helped to reach intermediate level, and intermediate level players are given some guidance on how to improve.

Tuition is not the same as coaching, which may be considered direct preparation for tournament play. Normally coaching would be a paid activity, and there would usually be tangible signs that coaching works in some success in tournaments.

Tutition does not have the same criterion for success as coaching and therefore is not suitable for remuneration at club level. Those who engage in the tuition process are unpaid volunteers. Chess players may no sign of improvement even though they have passed through hours of tuition.

Tuition is never obligatory but, as part of a general process of matching players of similar chess ability, tuition serves a social function within the chess club and within the chess community.


The Club offers tuition/monitored play at every Thursday session 18:15-19:45, except 3rd Thursday
with formal tuition (18:30-19:15) on 2nd and 4th according to level.
Assisted preparation with chess tutor Sam Caraway
Two sessions of analysis of Cambridgeshire Closed Tournament 2023 (Wansford, November)
May 30: Below 1500; June 13: Above 1500.

The Team

In the season 2023-2024 these members are engaged in the tuition process:

In the chess year 2023-24, from March
Beginner-intermediate sessions: 2nd and 4th Thursday of month (James Conlon, substituting for Fred Davies).
Other Thursdays: 3rd Thursday is no longer suitable for tuition (pressure of space).
Other Thursdays (5th Thursday): no formal tuition, but tutors are present for supervised games.

The Beginner-Intermediate programme (started Thursday October 12): Summary and Schedule

What tuition offers

In the chess world of the 2020s inevitably there will be mention of ratings. Tuition does not make rash promises of improving ratings. Ratings depend on playing no fewer than 30 rated games. Online such feats may be achieved by playing many rapid-play games. However rapid-play games are usually won by taking advantage of the blunders of opponents and success therein may not be a guide of general chess ability.

The current beginner tutor uses as guide to chess the revised work by David Pritchard. This book lays out clearly the three stages of the chess game: Openings, Middle Game, End Game. After learning the moves and understanding how the game ends, the beginner learns to make the pieces work together for the succesful outcome. The beginner also learns tactics that help make an advantage that may eventually decide the outcome, so the tutor will often speak of material and position.

Tuition usually takes place in the first hour of club meetings before the main games, internal or league/cup, take place, because the tutor may need to speak above a whisper.

Book "The Right Way to Play Chess" by David Pritchard, revised and updated by Richard James, Robinson, 2008. (Parents of chess-playing children may read with interest Chapter 10 "Teaching Your Children".)

Other resources: