Caveman Chess



Individual and Group Lessons

We handle lessons a little differently than most instructor-providers, and so encourage you to take some time and understand our lesson principles.

We are looking for students who enjoy chess and want to learn, and who don't mind doing some work to improve.  A chess coach is a great resource to have. Having a coach enhances the work a student can do - he/she doesn't replace that work.  We aren't expecting all of our students to be serious - but we do expect them to take their time and our time seriously.

A coach provides a player opportunties for quicker and more objective evaluation of the player's strengths and weaknesses as determined based on the coach's experience.  In addition the coach can then, due to his/her knowledge, quickly point the student toward a course of study that will help improve specific areas of the player's game.  But in the end - the student must still study.  A coach can determine the nutrients you need and prepare a good meal, but the player still needs to "eat the meal."

We break up lesson "sessions" by anticipated group size and by the anticipated duration of sessions as follows.  (Sessions are a group of lessons - a session of 10 lessons, for example.)

Lesson Group Type Anticipated Group Size Anticipated Session Duration
Individual 1 Continuing
Group 2-4 Continuing
Class 5 and up Continuing
Lecture 5 and up 1 time
Seminar 5 and up Brief series (probably 5 or fewer)
Camp 8 up to 200+ 1 week, typically 3 lessons and other events daily

The larger group activities (Classes, Lectures, Seminars, and Simuls) are covered here.

Lesson Duration

Lessons are 55 minutes.  Students are expected to be on time, as there may be back-to-back lessons scheduled.  If there is a very occasional last minute issue, we will try to reschedule the lesson.

Lesson Scheduling

It is anticipated that lessons will be one time per week, at the same time each week.  We understand that students - and instructors - may have other family, business, etc., concerns that may sometimes conflict with lesson scheduling.  We will always try to be flexible with scheduling with at least 72 hours (and preferably one week) notice.

Lesson cancellation with less than 24 hours notice by phone or email will still incur the full lesson charge.

Instructor Preparation Time

There is preparation involved for each class, before and after the class.  Our lesson pricing includes time for that preparation.  As a result, you'll see that our pricing is based on a range, rather than on a specific amount.  Preparation time can include things like diagnostics of what concepts to focus on next with respect to a player, researching the appropriate games or examples to teach the concept, and producing materials for the student.

Pricing is therefore somewhat - but not necessarily solely - related to a player's strength.  As a person grows as a player, they often need to work on "less global" aspects of their game - and the related preparation will typically take more time.

Because preparation time for a student can change over time, pricing for that student may also change over time.

Instructor Travel Time/Lesson Site

Our general policy is not to travel for Individual or Group Lessons.  (There is a greater expecation of travel for classes, lectures, seminars and simuls.)  If travel is necessary, lesson pricing will include an additional fee for travel time.  Ad hoc travel should expect ad hoc fees.

Lessons are typically held at our chess studio, in Park Ridge, IL.  We are located near major expressway exits.

Discount for Lesson Blocks

There is generally a discount for prepaying for lessons in a block.

Evaluation Meeting (Free Initial Meeting)

Our initial meeting is a combination lesson and an initial evaluation.  This meeting will typically be 90 minutes (although you should allow 2 hours), and there is no cost to the potential student. The outcome of this meeting will be a letter/email to the student (or parent) in which we:

  • Accept or reject the the applicant student
  • Note some general aspects of the evaluation
  • Establish initial objectives for the first few lessons
  • Outline the initial pricing for lessons.

Why or Why Not Group Lessons?

Our approach to group lessons is to keep them as individualized as possible.  We accomplish this by allowing players who have similar learning needs to form a group.  We keep the groups small so that there is still significant interaction between each student and the instructor.  Even so, there is some loss of individual attention, but there can also be significant cost savings for the student.  However, costs are not simply divisible by the number of students since there is still individual diagnostic and preparation time, and certain increased difficulties in simultanesouly working with multiple students.

Group lessons can also possibly be beneficial because of the interaction between the students in the group.

At times it will become clear that students in the group may need to address particular issues separately.  If so, we will notify the student of that, separately.

The primary reasons FOR group lessons are cost savings per student and mutual student involvement.

The primary reason AGAINST group lessons is some loss of individualized instruction.


As noted, lesson pricing may vary based on travel time and preparation time.  Below are examples of typical pricing assuming no travel time and typical preparation time.  Please note that all pricing below are typical situations.

Number of Students Typical Pricing Typical Range Discounted Per Lesson Price
(per Typical Pricing)
Block of 10
Discounted Price per Student
1 $80 $70 - $90 $70 $70
2 $140 $130 - $150 $120 $60
3 $170 $150 - $200 $150 $50
4 $190 $170 - $210 $160 $40


For more information, contact us via the contact page.  Also see our upcoming events page.