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Meet The MASTERS

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Misha Vilenchuk

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National Master

Top Accomplishment:

Winning the national Denker Tournament of State Champions in 2011.

Perfect for: Intermediate Players.

How I Teach:

I believe that the best way to work with a student is to make chess relevant to their existing interests. I have coached six students to grade-level championships, and many of them are ranked in the top 100 for their age groups.

Coaching: More than 12 years of experience at schools, other academies, and in person. I have instructed six students to Ohio grade level titles.

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Emanuel Vaglio

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Candidate Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Costa Rican National Champion Under-14, Under-16, and the Central American and Caribbean Champion in 2016.

Perfect for: Beginner Players.

How I Teach:

I like to share my knowledge with my students, make them see chess in another way, think deeply in different positions, make them know the importance of making pieces work altogether, and clarify any doubts they have.

Coaching: Experience with students 8 to 60.

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Alejandro Vega

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

2nd place in the national March 8 Cup (2005), many small-tournament wins in Cuba, Venezuela, and around Latin America.

Perfect for: All Players.

How I Teach:

I have been a chess coach since 2004, working with all categories of ages. Many of my students have achieved significant results in national and international events. Some of my students obtained FIDE titles. I have been coaching online since 2017 with great results with my online students, either online or over the board.

Coaching:  16 years of coaching experience, 4 years of coaching online.

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Christy Lamiel

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Women's National Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Playing on the Philippines Women's Team in 3 Chess Olympiads.

Perfect for: Beginners Players

How I Teach:

For the past seven years, I've been teaching one-hour daily private or group chess lessons. I teach my students how to study and provide them with resources that they can use on their own.

Coaching:  I have more than ten years of experience coaching individually. I have raised students to expert-level.

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Fabian Vivas

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

On the current Venezuelan Olympiad team, 5 times National Champion of Venezuela in different categories (U-10, U-12, U-16 and U-18).

Perfect for: Beginners &Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

Above all, I believe that you must always consider your student your friend, even if they are young. Although I've had the help of great coaches, my training has been mostly self-taught, so I know the most frequent mistakes in chess (both in the technical and in the competitive or psychological), so that we can focus training on correcting these mistakes.

Coaching:  I have 5 years of experience coaching individually, at academies and as part of the Venezuelan Chess Federation team during the Central American and Caribbean Youth Chess Festival in 2018.

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Zahar Efimenko

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Grandmaster

Top Accomplishment(s): 

I have been the World U14 Champion (1999), the Champion of Ukraine (2006).

Perfect for: Advance Players

How I Teach:

For the past 10 years, I have been teaching in a fun and supportive style. I focus on chess understanding, consistency, and encouraging you to improve.

Coaching:  I have been coaching since 2010, including serving as a "second" for World Champion Vladimir Kramnik, World Champion Ruslan Ponomarev, and Pavel Eljanov. From 2016-2019, I coached a young talented chess player from Kazakhstan - Zhansaya Abdumalik (World Champion U20).

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Marc Nazario

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

2014 Philippine National Junior Champion.

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players.

How I Teach:

I learned the game of chess on my own by the age of 8. Based on my experience, it is very important to know the students' strengths and weaknesses so we can progress in a much smoother pace.

Coaching:  8 years of coaching experience and helping students to acquire certain skill sets and goals in order to reach their achievements.

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Vini Rego

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Two-time Oregon State Champion, one time scholastic national champion and blitz national champion.

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

I prepare lessons that mold to each student's level, so every lesson is unique. I prefer to teach concepts piece by piece, from openings, to strategy, to puzzles. Since I got married, I dedicate time to my family, teaching physics, and coaching chess.

Coaching:  I have more than ten years of experience coaching individually, Many of my students already win state and national competitions.

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Ale Uzcátegui

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Many-times Venezuela champion, many-times subcontinental champion.

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

My training is based on the identification of the weaknesses and strengths of my students. 
Many times training is usually boring and no matter how hard you work, you feel that you are still stuck on the same level. My training will always seek a rapid progress in your game, but also that you enjoy each class and always being hungry to learn.

Coaching: I have been training children and adults for 6 years in my city with a level from 0 to 1900. They have achieved great results, rapidly increasing their rating, and have radically changed the way they view chess. Also I’m the trainer of the champion U12 of my state (Canary Islands).

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Cherry Mejia

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Women's FIDE Master

Top Accomplishment: 

Gold medalist at the 16th ASEAN+ Age-Group Chess Championships in 2015.

Perfect for: Beginner Players.

How I Teach:

I will teach you endgames, positional understanding, tactics, and strategy. I like to give homework after each session to help you improve!

Coaching: 3 years of experience at schools and other academies, with students aged 6-15.

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Steven Breckenridge

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Two-time Oregon State Champion, one time scholastic national champion and blitz national champion.

Perfect for: Intermediate & Advanced players.

How I Teach:

For the past 10 years, I have been teaching in a fun and supportive style. I focus on chess understanding, consistency, and encouraging you to improve.

Coaching:  I have more than ten years of experience coaching individually. I have raised students to expert-level.

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Edwin Urbina

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Two-time Oregon State Champion, one time scholastic national champion and blitz national champion.

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players.

How I Teach:

A passionate chess coach and a curious man who loves to make new friends all around the world, help other people to improve their chess skills, and make them play confidently by learning and understanding both tactical and strategical foundations. My ultimate goal as a coach is to make my student’s chess journey as enjoyable, fulfilling, and meaningful as possible at the time that I learn from them as well.

Coaching:  Over 10 years coaching students from the USA, Canada, England, Poland, India, Rumania, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Aged from 5 to 50.

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Yeison Gutierrez

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Venezuelan chess champion in categories Under-10, under-12, and 2nd place at the Pan-American Youth Championship in 2013.

Perfect for: Beginners Players

How I Teach:

I am a top Venezuelan player, and have played chess since I was 8 years old. In my experience, the best way to improve in chess is to be motivated, and to adjust the training to the student's style and expectations. 

Coaching:  I have 5 years of experience coaching individually, at academies and as part of the Venezuelan Chess Federation team during the Central American and Caribbean Youth Chess Festival in 2018.

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Maria Efimenko

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Women's International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Ukrainian Women's Champion Under-18 in 2011.

Perfect for: Intermediate & advance players

How I Teach:

Hello everyone, I am Maria Efimenko. I teach using methods developed by the Soviet chess school. I am one of the strongest Ukrainian players, and am a Woman International Master who has been playing chess for 15 years. I have students across the world. Here is my Wikipedia page.

Coaching:  More than 7 years of experience with students of various levels.

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Olya Penkrat

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Women's FIDE Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Multiple winner and medalist of the Republic of Belarus and international competitions, European Women's Championships (6th place).

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

I teach students through to stay motivated through a pedagogical approach. We learn practical, theoretical, and creative ideas - and love the game!

Coaching:  II have more than ten years of experience coaching individually. I am also a FIDE-certified chess trainer.

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Gabriel Salazar

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FIDE International Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Under-18 Venezuelan National Champion (2019).

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate players.

How I Teach:

I am an energetic 20-year-old who believe in being both a role model and a coach for children. I will support my students as will solve puzzles, learn openings, and improve their memory. Chess is a constant battle, not against your opponent, but against yourself!

Coaching:  I have more than ten years of experience coaching individually. I have raised students to expert-level.

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Bernie Galas

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Women's International Master

Top Accomplishment: 

Played (and playing) for the Women's Phillipines National Team.

Perfect for: Beginners, Intermediate, and advanced players.

How I Teach:

I want to combine my efforts and dedication with my student's and be successful together without leaving the fun, learning, and excellence in chess.

Coaching: 4 years of experience at schools and other academies, from young children to adults.

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Mike Benavides

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FIDE Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 
Centroamerican & caribean youth champion, southamerican youth champion, national U20 champion 2022.

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

I like to transmit all my knowledge to my students, answer all their questions and try to make sure that they are always learning.  I think that the best way to improve is to be disciplined, constant and passionate. But it is also important to have a coach who helps you to become a great player, athlete, and above all a great person.

Coaching:  I have been coaching for four years working with academies in Venezuela, and online students from the USA, Canada, India, Chile and Colombia whom I have helped to improve their game significantly.

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David Perdomo

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National Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Two-times National pre selection team junior categories. 
2010 National open champion.

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

The learning structure based on the characteristics of the student allows better results.
I follow projects based on realistic goals in the short, medium, and long term. I work on each element of the player both in chess and in psychology.

Coaching:  I have been coaching for 13 years working with students from Venezuela, Maldives, Mexico, and India.

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AJ Literatus

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FIDE Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Four-times National Age Group Chess Champion

Philippine National Games (Rapid) - 3-way tie Champion 

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

I assess my students' level of skill. Then I propose interactive lessons which will help them improve their games; from opening repertoire and strategies, middlegame planning based on structural understanding, and endgame techniques. I make sure to keep them on track by reviewing their games from time to time.

Coaching:  I've been teaching kids locally for almost 8 years, and by 2020 I started teaching foreign
aspiring kids online.

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Luis Medarde

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FIDE Master

Top Accomplishment(s): 

Degree on psychology with a specialty in early childhood education 

Won the Hong Kong International open in 2017 with 8.5/9

Perfect for: Beginners & Intermediate Players

How I Teach:

There are 3 keys to success in chess training: The student has to experience chess as much as possible, for which I always try to convey my enthusiasm for this game, learning must be active and study must be systematic: between classes the student must have work to review the knowledge acquired and deepen on them.

Coaching:  I have been teaching chess for more than 10 years, mainly in Spain and Hong Kong, but I have taught people all over the world

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