GM NigelD Lichess coach picture

GM Nigel Davies

Dad, FIDE Senior Trainer, owner, GM, author and video presenter. 35 years coaching experience at all levels.

LocationSt. Helens, UK Earth
LanguagesEnglish (US)
Hourly rate£40 per hour using my booking system (£50 otherwise), but please contact me first.
AvailabilityAccepting students

About me

Thanks for visiting my Lichess coach page, you can find reviews by students at

I'm an International Grandmaster born in 1960, who lives near St. Helens in the UK. My profile picture has me standing next to a canal at Salford Quays with the ITV offices on the other side. THIS is where they make the famous and long running UK soap opera, 'Coronation Street'!

These days I work as a full time chess coach and author, teaching out of my web site which has hundreds of hours of online video to supplement private lessons. I have had 22 books published and made 46 DVDs.

Playing experience

I do still play in tournaments when I can, but in recent years I have not had the time. Some notable results are as follows:

British U21 Champion (1979)
FIDE Master title (1980)
International Master title (1982)
British Rapidplay Champion (1988) in the strongest ever event, ahead of Short, Speelman, Nunn and many other GMs.
International Grandmaster title (1993)
Winner of 15 International Tournaments

I made a 2850 performance in Crewe Rapidplay in 2019, so I can still play...

Teaching experience

I am a FIDE Senior Trainer as well as being a GM. I have been teaching chess for 35 years to all levels.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s I worked with several future stars; Matthew Sadler went on to become a GM and British Champion and both Darshan Kumaran and Ronen Har-Zvi were won the World U16 Championship (1991 and 1992 respectively) and became GMs. I was also Gad Rechlis's second during his excellent performance in the 1990 Manila Interzonal and was in Jon Speelman's team during his 1988 victory over Nigel Short.

From the mid 1990s I worked mainly with club players, starting out by offering a game assessment and lessons before offering a correspondence course which was subsequently published by Batsford as 'The Power Chess Program'. In 2014 I moved my teaching syllabus online and in video form (

I am also a chess parent, teaching my son and taking him to tournaments since 2010. He has maintained his love of the game into adulthood and is continuing to make great progress.

Other experiences

Besides chess I have a keen interest in tai chi and qigong, usually practicing for one to two hours every day. Although I took up these arts for health and relaxation, in 2016 I became an official TCUGB instructor and then taught a class in a leisure center for several years. I will teach more if the opportunity arises, though the main problem is in finding students who will practice consistently enough to improve.

In 2020 I gained a first class BSc (Hons) degree in Computing, my third year project being entitled 'Predicting Success in Competitive Chess' by using patterns in FIDE rating data. The data indicated that young players need to maintain a strong interest in chess throughout adolescence to make real progress which means they need to enjoy the experience! I have a general interest in artificial intelligence and the potential it has for challenging traditional assumptions.

As a hobby I am also a keen table tennis player, but only good enough to get into the lower divisions of the local league. Still, this is something I really love doing, and the perspective it offers helps me better understand chess players who want to improve.

Best skills

The main reason to take lessons with me is that I have extensive experience as both a player and a teacher; I know what skills are required and can clearly communicate how to go about putting them in place.

Teaching positional play and planning is my main strength, not least because it is rare to find these topics taught effectively elsewhere. I am also good at diagnosing strengths and weaknesses and if asked I will also try to provide a realistic assessment of the kind of improvement someone can expect to make and what sort of work/time scale will be needed to do it.

Although lessons with me might seem expensive they are less than many other GMs who are not also experienced trainers. I have also prepared an extensive syllabus of video material and pgn files that can be used to supplement private lessons or on a stand alone basis. Many of my students take a lesson every month or two, using my guidance but working mainly on their own.

Teaching methodology

Lessons can be booked at and are conducted via Zoom screen sharing; after each lesson you will receive a pgn file of the material covered.

I try to steer students towards an understanding and plan based approach rather than them trying to use memory; I see this as being particularly important with regard to opening selection, plan based openings can help foster a player's positional understanding. Ideally I will work with someone over a period of years, I have a number of long standing students who continue to develop their game with my guidance. I have also had people come to me for a single lesson and an improvement plan.

You can expect a strong focus on core skills such as tactics, strategy and endgame technique. There is an expectation that students will need to practice if they want to improve, I use external resources (eg together with the material I have at