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Currently I pay for lessons, and I surely see value. I've gotten from the low 600s to being able to give USCF 1200s a run for their money. It's not much, but it makes me pretty happy.

But I feel like a lot of coaching sometimes is just random topics with a lack of structure. I usually bring 5-7 games to my coach and we go over them, followed by extra things I should study to improve my weaknesses. I also bring up stuff I have read, for example in How to Reassess your Chess to get clarification.

Is there anything more I can do to better utilize my coach?

Thanks!

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Analysing one of your own games with a coach is one of the most important parts of work for a coach. To maximize the analyse-training effect you should always annotate your games before giving them to your coach. The reason for this is, that it makes it more easily for your coach to spot your weaknesses and therefore give you the right material to study. (very important if you don't live commentate all of your games in a meeting while going through them)

For your rating i would prefer a split of training time like this:

  • 65% tactics
  • 10% openings
  • 15% endgames
  • 10% positional & strategical plans

In the beginning this will often look some random topics with a lack of structure, but normally it isn't. (the percentage ratio will change when you get better)

From my coaching experience the book "How to Reassess your Chess" is far too complex and difficult to understand for your level. (i would leave it aside)

Also don't hesitate to ask your coach about topics you find uncomfortable. (e.g. how to play against this opening, how should i behave in positions like this one, etc.) -> He will get a feeling in which topics you are good or need additional training.

For saving time you should do tactic puzzles always on paper/in your mind, because in tactic puzzles it often takes more time to set up the board than to find a solution.

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I think you making good use of your coach from the sound of it. Perhaps you are not studying the correct books for your rating. And you should be heavy on puzzles and basic endgames; if your coach hasn't pushed you toward that there may be reason for concern.

  • I am certainly pushed towards tactics. No end games really. I don't hear very much about studying end games. Sometimes they come up in tactics however. I try to do around 20 minutes of tactics a day. Any more and I start getting burnt out setting up the board over and over again lol – user14142 Dec 10 '17 at 18:47

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