FIDE Trainers' Seminar: My Experience

03.18.17 On March 3-5, 2017, the first Internet-based FIDE Trainers' Seminar was held in cooperation with ChessBase. Originating in Hamburg, Germany, the three-day training covered a variety of topics and prepared participants for an exam which, along with other factors, determined the FIDE title they would receive. I took the seminar and will share my experience and impressions in this report.

The first Internet-based FIDE Trainers' Seminar was held on March 3-5, 2017.

The FIDE (Fédération Internationale des Échecs or World Chess Federation) Trainers Commission was established in 2009 with one of its goals being the introduction of a system of trainer titles and licenses to improve and codify various levels of chess instruction.

The current Commission consists of the Chairman GM Adrian Mikhalchishin, Secretary GM Efstratios Grivas, and three Councilors: GM Uwe Boensch, IM Jovan Petronic, and GM Arshak Petrosian.

The five trainer titles conferred by the Commission are: FIDE Senior Trainer (FST), FIDE Trainer (FT), FIDE Instructor (FI), National Instructor (NI), and Developmental Instructor (DI). Evaluations based on highest FIDE or national rating, FIDE titles, seminar attendance, published material, experience, and performance on the written exam are used to determine which title the seminar attendee will receive.

Although over fifty FIDE Trainers' Seminars have been conducted, this one was the first Internet-based seminar. Organized in cooperation with FIDE, the European Chess Union (ECU), the FIDE Trainers' Commission (TRG), the German Chess Federation (BCF), the Berlin FIDE Trainer Academy (FTA) and ChessBase, the seminar attracted participants from twenty-two national chess federations. The list of federations and number of participants from each if more than one (indicated in parenthesis) are as follows: Argentina, Azerbaijan (2), China (2), Cuba, Denmark, England, Germany (3), Hungary (3), India (2), Lebanon, Mexico, Morocco, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, Peru, Romania, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Turkey and United States of America (2).

One of the greatest parts of the seminar was conversing and being (albeit virtually) with chess teachers and trainers from around the world.

The 300 euro seminar fee included a downloadable copy of ChessBase 14 and a six-month membership to The interactive lessons were conducted on the playchess server and via YouTube. There were a number of technical glitches and certain planned workshops were cancelled. Nevertheless, a wide variety of topics were presented.

Martin Fischer of ChessBase began by introducing us to some of the training features of ChessBase 14 and explained how to host training sessions using a account.

IM Jovan Petronic presented an overview and history of the FIDE Trainers Commission. German GM Thomas Luther discussed physical and psychological factors in chess competition and highlighted the following key awarenesses for carrying out an attack: tactical skill, going 'all in', correct conditions, superior development, premature attacks, and optimism. GM Arshak Petrosian gave a high-level oral treatise on Rook endgames with many fascinating examples. GM Mikhail Gurevich spoke on basic plans and thinking in the endgame.

Grandmaster and Chairman of the FIDE Trainers Commission Adrian Mikhalchishin gave multiple far-reaching lectures on topics including trainers' common mistakes, chess literature, the Soviet system of chess improvement, and my favorite workshop of the seminar, The Role of the Classics.

GM Mikhalchishin explained that, in considering classic games, every top player has his or her own specialty. For example, Rubinstein was the greatest master of the 'exchange technique', Botvinnik was a master of 'centralization', and Alekhine was the greatest player in developing opening initiative. These player's games provide extraordinary instructive examples in their own favorite methods.

Mikhalchishin showed how his own win over the legendary David Bronstein in Tbilisi in 1980 was influenced by the classic game Geller-Petrosian Moscow 1963.

Here's the Geller-Petrosian game with notes by Mikhalchishin. He happened to study this game about six months before playing his game with Bronstein in 1980. Mikhalchishin said that Geller's 11th move Bb5! made an impression on him and, although not consciously remembering it, he recalled 'something from deep inside' when faced with a similar position vs Bronstein.

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Now the game Mikhalchishin-Bronstein Tbilisi 1980 in which Mikhalchishin plays 11.Bb5!! based on an intuitive feeling generated from his understanding of the Geller-Petrosian game.

Some of the further highlights of Mikhalchishin lectures were:

1. Classical games present basic ideas which are better to build a foundation on vs modern games that tend to be more complicated and unclear.
2. According to former World Champion Vasily Smyslov, all tactical elements are based on: checks, double attacks, pins, and unprotected pieces.
3. One of the greatest games of chess was Smyslov-Stein in the 1973 Soviet Team Championship.
4. The three players most important to Mikhalchishin were: Bronstein, Smyslov, and Botvinnik.
5. What is intuition? Unconscious knowledge or as former World Champion Vishy Anand stated, "Intuition is the first move I see in a position."
6. What is a plan? An attack on a weakness.
7. What is the calculation of variations? The assessment of the effectiveness of a plan.
8. Makagonov's Rule: If no tactics are 'on' improve your worst piece.

And many more entertaining and enlightening pearls of wisdom.

I would highly recommend either an online or in-person FIDE Trainers' Seminar to anyone interested in teaching and learning more about chess. For more information visit the official website of the FIDE Trainers Commission.

At the conclusion of the seminar I was recommended for the FIDE Instructor (FI) title.


Congratulations, Dan. Now we need FA and IA.


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