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JM Anya Thurner - Chess Coach

JM Anya Thurner - Chess Coach

What do you think makes you a good coach? 
When possible, I try to involve the whole class in activities and puzzles so that every student is involved. I'm also patient with my students; I believe that showing them how their play could be improved is better and more effective than focusing on the fact that they have made mistakes.

What are your key strengths as a coach?
As I am still young myself, I know what worked best with those who taught me and my peers and am able to incorporate their methods into my own teaching. 

Why do you love Chess?
I love chess because it is so much more than it seems. At first glance it's just a board game but if you look a little deeper you'll find that it's a sport, an art, a science, and so much more. It's shockingly easy to get drawn into the placement of a couple chunks of wood.

When did you first learn to play?
I first learnt how to play when I was around four. My grandpa and dad taught me and so I always knew what chess was and how the pieces move but I didn't start playing tournaments until a bit later, my first rapid tournament being when I was 7 and my first standard and international tournament at 9.

Why do you enjoy working with kids?
I have always been drawn towards kids, but one thing which is more specific to teaching is when you're able to help a student find the answer to a puzzle. Their moment of realisation and their happiness at having solved the puzzle is an incredible feeling for coach and student alike.

What are your main Chess achievements? 
I've been a NZ representative overseas multiple times and currently have a conditional WFM (women's FIDE master) title from when I attended the Chennai Olympiad in 2022 and scored over 6.5/9 points.

How do you think chess helps kids?
Chess helps kids in many ways, not just in academics but in life too as it enhances decision making abilities, focus, and the ability to cope with pressure/stress (especially if they struggle with time pressure as much as I do!).


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