If there is a question not addressed here,
please take a moment to email me to let me know. 

How does it work, in general?

The process generally goes like this….we talk on the phone about what your basic goals are. Then we figure out if you’d like to try one lesson or sign up for a series of 5 or 10 lessons (the series come with a nice discount). After that, we come up with a mutually agreeable day of the week and time of day for your lesson(s). I recommend at least one lesson a week. Then I’ll take your credit card payment over the phone (see the question, How is Payment Made). We talk about using Skype or Zoom, and I collect your email address to send the link for your lesson. If lessons will be in the San Francisco Bay Area, and lessons are to be in person, we’ll pick a mutually agreeable place to meet.

How should I prepare for my first lesson?

Know Your Goals; both your short- and long-term goals, to ensure you and Keaton are both aligned with what you want to get out of the lessons.
Also, it helps if you are familiar with using Zoom or Skype – neither are difficult and Keaton will show you how to do what’s needed once the lesson has started, but still helpful nonetheless! Click here for Technical Guidance.

How do I log in for an online lesson?

When it comes time for your lesson, about 5 minutes beforehand, on a laptop screen-size, or larger, open your browser (Chrome, Firefox, MS Edge) and go to the email that displays the Zoom or Skype link provided to you. Click on the link. Click here for technical guidance.

How is payment made?

I use Stripe as my merchant account processing gateway, one of the most secure in the business. I take many other payment types - just ask! Your payment info is not stored on the website. Payment must be made before lessons begin.

What is your Refund Process?

I don’t want unhappy students. If you change your mind before that first lesson even begins, I’ll refund the full amount. If you sign up for a lesson series but don’t complete them, the discount is not earned so I convert the lessons taken to regular price, and prorate the remainder.

I’m a fairly casual chess player but I’m interested in entering a tournament – what tips do you suggest I take to prepare?

You’ll need to make sure you’re familiar with the rules of playing in a tournament, as they are different than casual chess (ex: chess clock). I recommend watching some tournaments to see how it works (search online, there are many places to watch a video); even read some books. Also solve tactics each day for a week or two before the tournament; it’s better to solve 5 or 10 tactics that are difficult for you rather than a big handful of easy ones that teach you nothing. Be sure to enter the type of event that suits you.  

Where should I concentrate my study time?

In general, beginners should pay attention to the endgame to learn basic techniques and get to know how the game ends. Intermediate players should focus on finding interesting strategy in their opening and middlegames. The goal is to be balanced in strength between the opening, the middlegame, and the endgame. For all levels, find weaknesses and work on those. A chess coach like me can help you locate your weaknesses!

I want to learn (or get better) at playing chess – do I need to have a high IQ or be good at math?

There are not many studies conducted proving this one way or another. Having math skills to play chess is strongly exaggerated. However, people with ordinary IQs can learn and improve, playing chess on a high level. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, everyone can learn, and everyone can improve, especially with coaching.

Where can I get some tech help using Zoom or Skype?