Instructive Chess Lessons in Utah

By Jonathan Whitcomb, chess instructor in the Salt Lake Valley

Beat That Kid in Chess I wrote for the early beginner, the chess player who knows the rules of the game but little else about how to win. More recently, I began offering my services as a chess tutor in Utah, with private lessons in the Salt Lake Valley for $25 per hour. The following game I played against a teenager on June 30, 2016, at the South Jordan Public Library (southern Salt Lake Valley in Utah). I offer this game as an instructive lesson for beginners and for lower-ranked tournament players (and their equivalent unrated players).

1) d4    d5

2) Nf3  Nf6

3) Bg5  Nbd7

4) e3    e6

5) c3  . . . .  The natural move here would have been c4, but I was aiming for a special opening setup

5) . . . Be7

6) Bd3   O-O

7) Nbd2  b6   This move turns out to potentially work well for Black

8) Qc2   Bb7

9) O-O-O c3

10) Ne5  . . . .

Chess game between chess tutor Jonathan Whitcomb (White) and a teenager

After White moved Ne5 (Black may now move h6)

In the above position, White appears to have a potential threat: eventually winning Black’s h7 pawn after Nxd7.

10) . . . .  Nxe5  Black did not need to make this capture

11) dxe5  . . . .

Black will make a mistake: Ne4 (instead of Ng4, which would be better)

After White captured with dxe5; Black should now move Ng4

11) . . . .  Ne4?  White has three pieces pointing at the e4 square and will win a pawn there

Perhaps the teenager was thinking that I would first capture the knight at e4. He could then capture my bishop at g5. But I saw a way to win a pawn here, and it begins with White capturing the bishop at e7.

12) Bxe7  Qxe7

13) Nxe4  dxe4

14) Bxe4  . . . . White threatens to win another pawn, the one at h7

White threatens to win the h7 pawn

Black has lost a pawn but it is hardly a lost game

I recognized that my pawn majority on the king side was crippled. Even though my e5 pawn is valuable in cramping my opponent’s position, it is doubled in a particular way: If the rooks, queens, and bishops were gone, White would have no direct way of forcing the creation of a passed pawn. In other words, with the pawns in the above position, an end game would not necessarily give White a winning advantage.

Yet I now threatened to win Black’s h-pawn, for my queen and bishop are lined up against the h7 square.

14) . . . .  Rad8?  My opponent failed to see that threat

15) Bxh7+  Kh8

16) Be4  . . . . I did not want my bishop to become trapped with g6

17) h4    c5

18) g3    f5

19) exf6 e.p.  gxf6

20) Bxb7  Qxb7

21) Qe2   Kg7

22) g4    Rbd8

23) f3    Rxd1+

24) Rxd1  Qb8

25) Rd7+  . . . .  Black now needs to move Rf7

25) . . . .  Kg8?

26) Qd3  . . . .

Black now needs to move f5

Black needs to block the White queen by moving f5

In the above position, if Black moves f5, it may allow his rook to become activated. My opponent, however, underestimated the seriousness of my threat of Qg6+.

26) . . . . Rf7?

27) Qg6+  Black resigns

Checkmate cannot be avoided, and it will take very few moves.


Chess Lessons in the Salt Lake Area of Utah

What do you get in a chess lesson from a seasoned instructor? I can only speak for myself as a chess coach who uses the new NIP system of chess instruction: nearly-identical positions. The details in how your private lessons are organized—that depends a lot on exactly where you stand in your chess development, your ability to play well and win games (or not).

The first meeting between us, a getting-acquainted session, is free. You can learn how I approach chess instruction and I can learn something about what you want and what you need. If you feel good about continuing, then regular sessions will follow, at $25 for each one-hour lesson. Each one will be tailor-made for you, based upon your precise knowledge and abilities in chess.

I can drive to many cities and communities in the Salt Lake Valley, without charging any travel fee. The following are some of the places where I can meet with you, in your home or in a public library or public park (I live in Murray):

  • City of Murray
  • Cottonwood Heights
  • Taylorsville
  • Kearns
  • West Valley City
  • South Salt Lake
  • Holladay
  • Midvale
  • West Jordan
  • South Jordan

I can also drive to other locations in the valley.

For more information, call me at 801-590-9692 or use this email form. Thank you.

chess coach Jonathan Whitcomb

Jonathan Whitcomb, chess tutor in Utah, in an instructional video




Chess lessons in Utah

I live in Murray, Utah, and offer private or group chess lessons in the Salt Lake Valley. I’m the author of Beat That Kid in Chess, a book for the early beginner, but my lessons can be tailor-made for you, whatever your present skill in the royal game.

Utah chess instruction by Whitcomb

Your chess instruction will be precisely arranged according to your individual needs, to most effectively help you improve in your chess-playing abilities.

Chess Lessons in West Valley & Salt Lake areas

Whitcomb has taught chess to those of many ages: children, teenagers, and adults. He and his wife had a state license, for many years, for a large family day care in Southern California, before they moved to Utah in 2014, so Jonathan has more experience teaching chess to kids than to teenagers and adults, yet the age of the student is of little importance.


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