WCM Christy Bernales - Chess Coach

WCM Christy Bernales - Chess Coach

What do you think makes you a good coach? 
Being a good coach requires more than great speaking skills. It also requires patience in listening to students. Coaching is not a one size fits all process. It is important to consider the student's strengths, weaknesses, opinions, and perceptions in order to gauge a starting point for moving forward. This also allows for a comprehensive and well-rounded approach to catering to the student's level of skill and knowledge.

What are your key strengths as a coach?
My primary key strength is my experience. I have been a competitive player in national and international tournaments. I know what it feels like to win, to lose, to be nervous, to be confident, to be uncertain, and to be decisive. I have more than a decade of exposure to Chess as my passion for more than anything in my life. The way I perceive Chess will be immersed in the circumstances of being able to handle pressure and withstand obstacles to maintain composure and perseverance for students to thrive.

Why do you love Chess?
Chess makes me think not just within the bounds of 64 squares across the board but also without any boundaries as there are limitless variations from the opening and middlegame to the endgame. It has taught me several life lessons of a fervent desire to continue fighting even in a losing position. It allowed me to channel my confidence to attain victory in crucial games. It gave me hope even in the most daunting times. Chess is my refuge, my safe space, my life's endless horizon.

When did you first learn to play?
I first learned to play chess when I was just five years old, my father was the one who taught me the game. The reason my father taught me chess was that he wanted me to become a varsity player so that I could earn a scholarship for my tuition. However, as I began to learn the game and started to play more and more, my father realized that I had a real talent for chess. I started to excel in the game. He never expected that I would become such a skilled chess player. Eventually, my hard work and dedication paid off, and I was able to become a part of the National Philippine Team.

Why do you enjoy working with kids?
I have also been a kid, a child full of dreams, a youngster of potential. And I believe that every child has the capacity to excel in their own unique way. But I want to be there as a guiding mentor each step of the way. I have experienced certain points in my life where I needed a certain kind of support. I intend to be instrumental, as a helping hand, in every success that they can achieve.

What are your main Chess achievements? 
My main chess achievements include being a three-time member of the Chess Olympiad team, representing the Philippines in international tournaments since the age of 11, earning my chess title at the age of 13, and being a former member of the Philippine Chess Team.

How do you think chess helps kids?
Chess is a mind game. But it also teaches people, from all walks of life, the rewarding concept of patience and calculated risks. In life, as in Chess, kids can be taught to maneuver past hindrances to develop strong character and persistence. This extends outside the game and is brought by children in everyday lifestyle and decision-making.

Aside from making them happy and occupied by distractions (e.g. social media and gadgets), Chess also gives kids a chance to become independent in thinking and decision-making, which are crucial components to thrive.


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