Europe's youngest FIDE Trainer

by Sagar Shah
3/16/2019 – He became an IM at the age of 19. The next logical step would have been to work towards his GM title. But Armin Juhasz from Hungary had different plans. He decided to devote his time towards becoming a trainer. Working hard on the subject he was able to create a World under-12 champion, a Hungarian champion and much more. What attracted the youngster to the field of training at such a young age? How does he prepare and what according to him are the qualities that a good coach must have? IM SAGAR SHAH decided to find out. | Photo: www.theophoto.hu

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On this DVD GM Adrian Mikhalchishin presents games of the World Champions of the past to explain typical patterns and strategic concepts of these games and to show how grandmasters apply these ideas today.

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"My students’ success [is] more important"

Armin Juhasz

Training is an experienced man's job, at least that was the pre-conceived notion. Well, not anymore. Youngsters are taking up to the field of training players and their superior practical experience often gives them an edge over the grey-haired trainers. 

20-year-old Armin Juhasz, from Hungary, is the second youngest FIDE Trainer (FT) in the world. He is also the youngest FT in Europe and a full-time chess trainer from a very young age. The interesting thing is that Armin is an International Master, but instead of going for the GM title, he wants to train other talented youngsters.

Why?

We, ourselves, were curious and so we got in touch with the youngster for an interview that gives you insights into the world of "young trainers". How they work, how they function and how serious they are about their craft.


Sagar Shah (SS): Armin, you are just 20 years old and you are a FIDE Trainer. That makes you the second youngest FIDE Trainer in the world and youngest in Europe! Doesn't this feel odd?

Armin Juhasz (AJ): I know it is unusual for a young person like myself to receive such a prestigious coaching title. But I worked really hard for this. So let me just seize the opportunity to thank my family and my coaches for all their support. Hungary has long-standing chess traditions, and I am glad that I am able to contribute towards it. 

SS: You are also an IM. Instead of trying for the GM title, why did you decide to become a trainer?

AJ: To begin, I haven’t given up on the idea of becoming a GM. Personal development is essential for me. But at the same time, I find my students’ success more important than my own. I do my best to transmit my knowledge to them, to be with them at the crucial moments. 

Armin is an IM with a rating of 2375 and a career high (2016) of 2424

SS: Who is your inspiration to become a chess trainer?

AJ: There is no single source of inspiration, instead, I am indebted to many people who had a positive impact on my personal growth. My parents are teachers, so the idea of education has never been far from me. And there are others that I am grateful to: Michael Yip, Julia Horvath, Zoltan H. Kovacs, Jozsef Horvath, Janos Szabolcsi, Gabor Kallai, and finally my high-school teacher, Gabriella Duliskovich.

SS: Who are some of your best students and what are their best results?

AJ: I am proud to have coached several young players with such impressive titles as youth world champion, state champion and Hungarian champion. They include Vincent Tsay (U-12 world champion), Agoston Juhasz (U-14 Hungarian champion and bronze medalist at the World Rapid Team Championship) and Michael Zheng (U-12 Michigan State champion). And on a bit lower scale, I have many other successful students.

Trainer Juhasz with Vincent Tsay (standing) and Agoston Juhasz

SS: When you train your students do you use original content that you have prepared or from books? 

AJ: I almost always use materials that I prepare myself. I demonstrate a particular motif through recent examples. It is part of my job to purchase and study the new opening books, sometimes to spot mistakes in them. Finding mistakes became an advantage for me and my students during quite a few games.

SS: Which are some of your favourite books that you use while training?

AJ: My Great Predecessors is an absolute must for all serious chess players. Apart from this, I really like Positional Decision Making in Chess by Boris Gelfand and The Complete Manual of Positional Chess-Volume 1 by Landa and Sakaev.

SS: Do you make use of ChessBase software? How useful is it for you as a trainer?

AJ: Definitely. I send the material of each session in ChessBase format to my students. This is how I assign homework, too. ChessBase is extremely useful for anyone who is serious about chess.

SS: According to you what are the most important qualities that a trainer should have to be a successful one?

AJ: Being systematic (we proceed according to our plan, we don’t just improvise our lesson plans), friendliness (smooth communication between coach and student is essential), good memory, enthusiasm and conscientiousness (sometimes I realize I am working on a given material even in my free time). Let me add that a coach is also a human being who should earn his students’ general respect, someone who should set a positive example in all walks of life. 

Armin's elder brother Kristof is also an IM | Photo: Facebook page of Kristof Juhasz

SS: How important is fitness in chess?

AJ: It is certainly difficult to be successful without the necessary physical condition. If you have good stamina, you stand much better chances at the end of a long game. I had wrestling practices for three years, currently I run regularly, and I like tennis and soccer too.

SS: Who is the youngest FIDE Trainer in the world?

AJ: IM Dorsa Derakhshani is one month younger than me. She obtained her FIDE Trainer title in 2016. Let me just congratulate her, and I hope that we can successfully communicate to young players that professional chess is not the only option, there is a major demand for highly-qualified coaches as well.

SS: Can you share with us 1-2 most instructive positions according to you as a trainer that will be useful for ChessBase readers?

AJ: Sure! Let me share two of my own examples.

See analysis in the game viewer below!

 

 

Solutions and discussion

 

Click or tap the second game to switch


SS: What are your future plans?

AJ: As a coach, I would like to expand my chess school as much as possible, and I hope that several of my students will make it to the Youth World Championship. As a player, I’d like to contribute to the success of my current teams (I really enjoy playing at team championships) and I also hope to obtain my first GM norm in the not too distant future.




Sagar Shah is an International Master from India with two GM norms. He is also a chartered accountant. He loves to cover chess tournaments, as that helps him understand and improve at the game he loves so much. He and is the co-founder and CEO of ChessBase India website, the biggest news outlet in the country related to chess.
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