NM Brian McCarthy
- Product Review (submitted on July 5, 2015):
- My son started playing rated tournaments in 2011 when he just turned 7. It took him 4 months to cross 1200 without a coach. He was then stuck at 1200 for half a year and it was pretty clear that he needed a coach. We didn't have access to a good coach for face-to-face lessons so I started looking for a coach on the ICC and chess.com. I wanted a strong player who can guide my son for an extended period but I also preferred an American coach so that we didn't have to worry about accent or cultural differences. The cost of the lesson was an important factor as well. Mr. McCarthy was a perfect fit. In the first year, my son gained 500+ points to cross 1700 and made #9 on the USCF top 100 list for 8 year old. In the second year, my son gained another 200 points and his highest ranking was a #5 on the 9-yo list. As a 5th grader, he also shared the State K-6 Champion title in one of the strongest states in the nation. Mr. McCarthy worked on all aspects of the game with my son but I think the systematic study of a few opening systems that my son liked was especially responsible for the initial progress. He would still get surprises in openings but most of the time, he knew his openings better than his opponents and he would get a big time advantage out of opening. Like many other talented young boys, my son tends to play too fast and many winning positions despite very specific instructions from Mr. McCarthy. I am sure it can be very frustrating but Mr. McCarthy would just calmly repeat his advices from board behavior to how to overcome the psychological pressure when faced with a much stronger opponent. Chess training can at times feel boring even for a talented top young player but my son always looks forward to his weekly lesson with Mr. McCarthy where he can talk about his games as well as the top tournaments. Kids are busy nowadays with many other activities and commitments. Whenever we need to cancel or reschedule, be it a baseball game or a school performance, Mr. McCarthy is always very accommodating which makes the lesson not feel like a major commitment. Many top junior players are home schooled and they have much more time to practice chess. My son is in full time public school and he is still involved with many other activities. Mr. McCarthy's guidance is why my son can still keep up with the best players in his age group. Best value on ICC, period.