From tactics to training games to analyzing games, Spencer has been a great coach for both me and my son. He's got a great personality and knows how to drive home key concepts so that they 'stick'. Spencer has a wealth of knowledge on openings, middlegame technique (with a focus on tactical decisions/calculation) and end game theory. He works well with children who are learning chess. My son has progressed a good amount since starting lessons and is starting to reap the benefits in USCF tournament play. I would suggest Spencer as a coach for anyone looking to gain new ways to view the game or polish their existing skill set.
NM Spencer Finegold
Perform simple concepts perfectly, only then can you execute complicated concepts well.
I am USCF Nation Master Spencer Finegold. My first tournament was when I was four years old. I've been teaching professionally for about nine years.
You may know my father, GM Ben Finegold. Also my Grandfather played against Fischer in 1963. My uncle is an NM as well, also my mom achieved WIM. Chess is pretty big in my family.
I currently live in Saint Louis, Mo and recently started up a YouTube channel.
My first tournament was in 1995. I was only four years old but achieved two wins out of four. I played a lot until I was 11. When I started taking chess more seriously, at age 17, it only took me a year to go from U1400 to almost 1900. I slowly crept up to expert and finally, in 2012, pushed my USCF over 2200 for the Master title. My peak is 2239 USCF.
My best win was as White against IM Martha Fierro in SPICE Cup. I also drew GM Sergey Kudrin, as well as the late former US Champion GM Walter Browne.
My first chess camp I taught was nine years ago, I was only 17 at the time. I've taught, directed and organized countless summer chess camps. I also have taught in many after school programs in the Saint Louis area. My main source of income is my private lessons. I've been teaching private lessons consistently for nine years. I teach online as well as in-person.
I've taught children as young as four years old privately, as well as in classes. I also have many adult students. Their strength range from pure beginner (where I had to teach piece movement) to USCF expert (2000).
My strength as a player is in calculation. I try to make my students calculate things out before playing them on the board. Forcing variations are the most important, so combining my training with regular tactics training (such as the tactics trainer here on lichess) will make you a powerful calculator.
As a teacher I am very versatile. I'm able to identify my student's strengths/weaknesses and tailor my lessons appropriately. I try to pin-point what will make my students stronger most efficiently.
Typically lessons will consist of looking at student's slow tournament games, or games played on lichess (especially if they are slower time controls). Once I get a feel for my student's strengths/weaknesses, I will put together some positions with a common theme, from my own games or GM games, and have the student try to figure out the situation. If you don't play too many games in real life against strong players, I may play a training game and analyze it with you for a lesson.
Overall my emphasis for people over ~1400 will be on calculation. Almost zero time will be spent on openings for people U1800. We will study the opening while analyzing the student's tournament games. Otherwise it is difficult to remember and wastes precious time. For lower rated players the lessons will be more about middle game concepts and simple endgame technique. Whatever your rating, make sure you compliment my lessons with tactical training of your own. Then you'll be able to out-calculate your opponents more easily.