The Full Stack Approach to Chess Improvement

The last few days I was in Tampa to kick off our new program at Tampa Day School  ,walked by Pineywoods and was impressed by the full stack of servies that they offer. I know some great real estate brokers, lenders, title representatives, mortage brokers and insurance agents, who can be seen on our partners page. To the contrary, I never heard of a company that offered all of these services. Similarly, I worked at Oracle, which took pride in offering the full technology stack with hardware, database, applications, consulting, and more:

Likewise, for top chess improvement, we recommend that individuals, schools and companies take a full-stack approach. To get better in chess, it is best to have a good mix of group classes, private lessons, self-study and tournament practice. Here is more detailed list of suggest full-stack approach for each vertical:


  1. Group Classes: Good way to pratice with coach and other players, will be a mix of lectures, practice games, puzzles and more, can be part of school program, virtual group classes , or other option.
  2. Private Lessons: Work 1-1 with a coach, usually weekly- best way to get individualized learning plan, prepare openings, study middle game themes and fundamental endgames,  review tournament games, etc.
    1. Self- Study: As much learning you do with coaches, privately or with a group, there is no replacement for self- study. All players need to review their games, do chess puzzles and learn opening, middlegame and endgame fundamentals.  There are lots of great resources out there, incuding good-old fashioned books, Lichess and ChessKId.
  3. Tournaments


Administrators will often ask me “What does your program look like”, not realizing, we currently serve 80+ schools and no two contracts look alike. While this not feasible for every school, given budget constraints, this what the full-stack chess program looks like:

  1. Curriculum Classes: Chess teacher visits each classroom, all students in school (or a set of grades), gets exposure to chess.  
  2. After-School Program: Open to students who want to learn more advanced strategies and get ready to represent school at tournaments
  3. Professional Development: Instructor classroom teachers how to teach, prepare them tio supplement chess program and allow kids to practice when chess teachers are not there.
  4. Coaching at Tournaments: Instructor travels with students to help prepare for games and analyze them afterwards.


Lunch and Learns: Allows companies to start a chess culture, provides networking opportunity between different lines of business and a productive break from work.

After-Work Events: Allows for extra chess practice, can be weekly, monthly, etc; higher the frequency, the better, will include lectures, games with feedback and more.

Competition: League play, tournaments and  more. Check out the Global Corporate Chess Championship, organized by Florian Helff.

While a full-stack-approach is the best way to achieve rapid chess improvement, we realize it is not feasible for all indivudals, schools and individuals, based on time and economic constraints. It is best to start with a little bit of programming and expand as resources permit. For instance, we have several schools start after-school partnerships with us and later begin curriculum classes. To learn more about what solution is most feasible for you, book some time to chat with yours truly. 

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