Empowering Life Lessons: Insights from a Dedicated Chess Coach

Parents receiving an encouraging email from a passionate chess coach - helping develop the right attitudes both on and off the chess board

“I send these types of messages to assure my students’ parents that someone deeply commits to their child’s development both on and off the chessboard. While I can’t speak for everyone, I firmly believe this commitment is crucial for anyone aspiring to make a lasting and meaningful impact.

Student Privacy

To respect privacy, I’ve changed the names. Let’s refer to this student as Donnie.

Coaching Honors

First and foremost, I feel honored to coach Donnie, a person with an amazing heart. However, he encounters challenges that demand careful navigation:

  1. Stress Management: Donnie easily becomes stressed, leading to feelings of guilt and shame, and contemplation of giving up. Consequently, I urge him to cultivate a fighter’s spirit.
  2. Surface Scratching: Beyond stress, we face another hurdle. Donnie briefly examines moves and opponent responses, but not much deeper. In chess, the big rewards come from looking 2 or 3 moves ahead.

Challenges Unveiled

When these two challenges combine, here’s what occurs:

Initially, I present Donnie with a situation (easy, difficult, or in between), and he merely scratches the surface. Consequently, without delving deeper, he can’t perceive the answer. This results in stress and frustration fueled by guilt and shame. Subsequently, he states, “I don’t get it.” “I can’t see it.”

Turning Challenges into Triumphs

However, when I ask him to reconsider a move, go deeper, he rapidly finds the correct solution. Like many in life, Donnie is his own biggest obstacle. Hence, I encourage him to take baby steps toward calmness, deeper understanding, and persistence.

Daily Progress

To achieve this, he needs to work on this daily for progressive breakthroughs. My encouragement to both of you is to prioritize this daily. Set the bar LOW. Make small, achievable daily goals. When he achieves them, raise the bar A LITTLE BIT. Consequently, these baby steps will gradually transform into something significant. Before we know it, a transformed Donnie will emerge – a bold, confident, calm fighter who isn’t easily deterred, someone who keeps digging and seeks the truth in chess and life.


As always, thank you for allowing me to guide Donnie as his chess coach. – Jesse

Learn More About Summit School of Chess

For more information about our chess program and the positive impact we make on students like Donnie, visit Summit School of Chess at www.summitschoolofchess.com. We are a leading chess program in Denver, Colorado, serving the Greater Denver Areas with an exceptional team of coaches, bringing the joy of chess to thousands of students each year, regardless of age or skill level. Whether in person, online, private, group, tournaments, or summer camps – we do it all!”