Who can be a great teacher?

04/21/2005 – The highest title awarded by the International Chess Federation – FIDE (apart from that of world champion, intended only for a select few), is that of international grandmaster. Being a great teacher carries enormous honor and also a gigantic responsibility. Manuel López Michelone raises the question, what does it take to become a great teacher? The English GM John Levitt deals with this topic in his book “Genius in Chess” and has found a series of tests to measure chess ability and potential talent. At the end of his article, Manuel López Michelone presents us with an example to do the Levitt test. Let’s see how long you can do it! Plus… Who can be a great teacher? by Manuel López Michelone The highest title awarded by the International Chess Federation – FIDE (apart from that of world champion, destined only to a select few), is that of international grandmaster. In the world today there are no more than a thousand graduates with this award and in Mexico we have a total of four great teachers: Marcel Sisniega, Gilberto Hernández, Juan Carlos González and Carlos Torre (now deceased). In order to become a grandmaster, it is necessary to meet certain requirements that FIDE requires: two or three rules (specific performances in international tournaments) in addition to a rating of no less than at the time of obtaining the title, at 2500 Elo points. Who can be a great teacher? by Manuel López Michelone The highest title awarded by the International Chess Federation – FIDE (apart from that of world champion, destined only to a select few), is that of international grandmaster. In the world today there are no more than a thousand graduates with this award and in Mexico we have a total of four great teachers: Marcel Sisniega, Gilberto Hernández, Juan Carlos González and Carlos Torre (now deceased). In order to become a grandmaster, it is necessary to meet certain requirements that FIDE requires: two or three rules (specific performances in international tournaments) in addition to a rating of no less than at the time of obtaining the title, at 2500 Elo points. Being a great teacher carries enormous honor and also a gigantic responsibility. All those who have been able to face a player of this hierarchy know two things: (a) that the rival will do everything to win us and show why he is a great teacher and (b) that we want to beat him and thus put “his head” in our wall. Obviously the task is not easy and the reality is that the strength of a great master is such that rarely can a player of this category be defeated by someone much lower than his level. Although of course, surprises do happen. At the Carlos Torre in memoriam tournament a couple of years ago, Aníbal Muci, a relatively unknown local player, beat a grandmaster with more than 2,600 Elo points. The most curious thing is that at that time, Muci had no rating (he had stopped playing for many years), so to top it off, the grandmaster was officially defeated by a non-classified. Obviously this type of surprises is rare (hence the qualification of ‘surprise’), but no less worthwhile for that.

The important thing here would be to think: what does it take to become a great teacher? The answer is obvious in some respects: dedication, constant work, perhaps an obsessive mind for chess, search for the truth, etc. However, all these issues do not necessarily lead to the title of grandmaster. What else is needed? Jonathan Levitt, in his book “Genius in chess”, makes a brief review of the characteristics that chess geniuses have had, but even more so, he has speculated on chess talent and how to develop it. It is clear that the subject is complex, because chess geniuses simply are and we do not know the reasons for their extensive capacity on the board. It is said of Capablanca that he learned to play chess by watching his father play, that is, no one taught him the movement of the pieces, or of Sammy Reshevsky, who was a child prodigy.

Who can be a great teacher? by Manuel López Michelone The highest title awarded by the International Chess Federation – FIDE (apart from that of world champion, destined only to a select few), is that of international grandmaster. In the world today there are no more than a thousand graduates with this award and in Mexico we have a total of four great teachers: Marcel Sisniega, Gilberto Hernández, Juan Carlos González and Carlos Torre (now deceased). In order to become a grandmaster, it is necessary to meet certain requirements that FIDE requires: two or three rules (specific performances in international tournaments) in addition to a rating of no less than at the time of obtaining the title, at 2500 Elo points. Being a great teacher carries enormous honor and also a gigantic responsibility. All those who have been able to face a player of this hierarchy

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