I'm Alex. Born in Spain, but grew up in Ireland.
Current Irish Champion and four-time member of the Irish Olympiad team (2010, 2012, 2014, 2018).
I was awarded the title of 'International Master' in 2011. I hold a Law degree, but today I dedicate myself full-time to chess.
My main focus right now is individual coaching. Famed trainer Mark Dvoretsky has said that "it is no less interesting to be a trainer than to play oneself" and I share this sentiment. I greatly enjoy the training process and the student/coach relationship.
I have played against some of the best players in the world, including:
Veselin Topalov (former World champion)
Peter Svidler (winner of the Chess World Cup in 2011 and seven-time Russian champion)
Judit Polgar (former top 10 player and world's strongest female)
Best results include a draw against Veselin Topalov (2768) [Match vs Irish team, 2011], a draw against Ivan Cheparinov (2677) [Kilkenny Masters, 2011] and a win over Maxim Rodshtein (2698) [Chess Olympiad, 2012]
I first played for Ireland in the World Youth Championships (u-12) in 1999 and since then have represented my country on more than twenty occasions. Additionally, I have experience playing many of the strongest international tournaments such as Gibraltar and Cappelle la Grande.
Schools coach since 2002.
Extensively worked with Irish juniors since 2005.
Official coach of the Irish junior team in the World Youth Championships 2010.
Given multiple seminars to the Cork Chess Club, one of the bigger clubs in Ireland.
Besides regular coaching, I also have chess channels on Youtube & Twitch. My channels aims to be friendly, instructive and entertaining.
Friendly and adaptable approach suitable for different levels and playing styles.
As a coach, I work with students to correct their mistakes. Not only the ones that they're aware of but, importantly, the ones that they do not suspect they are making! This is a key benefit to hiring a chess coach that, in my experience, many students are not aware of before our work begins.
Classes are interactive and engaging. I will ask you questions throughout. This helps you stay focused and ensure that the concepts studied will stick with you.
Different students have different characters. I think it's important to respect this and work in such a way as to study chess in a way that will be fun and effective not just for the 'typical student' but, much more importantly, for the individual student.
I am happy to tailor a training program to your specific needs, following an assessment of your chess goals, strengths, weaknesses, and the time & energy you wish to dedicate to chess.
To evaluate your starting level, we will spend the first couple of classes examining your recent slow time control games. I will look at key themes from these games, and build test positions to get a feel for how you see the game. i.e. to know what level of understanding you possess.
If you decide to continue with regular lessons then we will deal with specific topics in more depth.
Note that if you have a specific area that you wish to work on then we can also work on specific areas (e.g. opening theory, middle game strategy, endgame study)
Homework is provided. This generally takes one of two forms. A book that I consider a must-read (I believe that all serious chess students must read the classics) or specific training exercises designed to reinforce the themes covered in class.
Classes are done via Lichess (study feature) and a VOIP client (Skype or Google Hangouts).