About Waldemar Moes
Waldemar Moes is a professional Dutch Chess Federation qualified chess trainer and the founder of Better Your Chess. Renowned for his unique teaching style he helps ambitious club and tournament players from around the world to increase their playing strength. He specializes in solving problems in the area of competitive chess for intermediate and advanced players (ELO 1400-2000).
Waldemar is also a passionate chess player himself. Among his successes in simultaneous displays are wins against IGM Jeroen Piket and IGM Genna Sosonk0, and draws against IGM John Nunn and IM Hans Böhm. In official club or tournament play he has beaten countless chess experts but also IM Chiel van Oosterom, FM Gonzalez De la Nava Amad, FM Sybolt Strating, FM Sjoerd Plukkel, FM Peter Boel and drawn with IGM Karel van der Weide, IM Alvir Alco and IM Jorden van Foreest. At the Amsterdam Eijgenbrood tournament of 2012, IM Piet Peelen awarded Waldemar the beauty prize for his victory in the fourth round over Jelle Wiering. The game contains a stunning long term sacrifice resulting in a crushing king side attack.
Waldemar also likes to lecture and blog a lot about the royal game. At chess.com he has been a top blogger since the summer of 2014.On his YouTube channel BetterYourChess he regularly gives his take on the chess news and analyzes games of world class players.
The Start Of My Chess Life
When I was 8 years old, during a visit to my grandparents, my father decided to teach me how to play chess. At first he kept beating me, but rather soon I sometimes had the better of him. Since it had aroused my interest, we decided to visit the local chess club in Baarn where we lived at the time. I became a member and remember well my very first game. I had to play a junior competition game against none other than the late Prince Johan Friso van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg, who sadly passed away in 2013 after having suffered the consequences of a skiing accident.
I didn’t stand a chance. We played a classical king pawn opening with 1.e4 e5 in which Friso developed his king’s bishop to c4 and his king’s knight via f3 to g5. I didn’t see the disaster coming and allowed the well-known knight fork on f7 losing at least the exchange. He obviously knew more about the game then I did! Needless to say I ended up losing that game. But something in me was triggered. I also wanted to learn more tricks like that!
I decided to step up my game and practice more. So I played in school, with friends from the neighbourhood and also with my father and grandfather. I’m glad to say that in that year I managed to win the junior competition with a convincing 16,5 points out of 18 games!
Unfortunately back in the day the local chess club did not really spent too much attention on teaching, training or supporting young rookies like me. There was a teaching method in place that was supported by the Dutch Chess Federation but at the club the main focus was on playing and having fun. Throughout the years I did manage to get my “pawn” and “rook” certificates, but had lost interest after five years, most probably because of a lack of challenge. So, I decided to quit my membership and pursue other things.
One of those things was playing the piano, a passion I still hold very dear to this day, and probably will till the day I die (you might want to listen to me playing Liszt over here). But Caïssa was out of my life, until… When I was seventeen in school we had to read books for all our language subjects. Next to Dutch Literature I also had to study German, French and English literature. My schoolmates and I were not always very keen on reading voluminous novels and we normally looked for novels that were both digestible and allowed for our reading list.
You may have guessed it, for German I ran into Schachnovelle by Stefan Zweig. Even though there is not a single chess technical detail in the book, the story about a man that decided to take up chess as a means to stay sane and survive his imprisonment in a German war camp, simply fascinated me. I a later stage of his life, after having recovered his freedom, the man travels the seas only to discover that the official world chess champion is on board as well. To cut a long story short, it comes to a show down and the two play a very intense match. In the end our main character is winning, but instead of putting away the match he loses his sanity after all.
It was then that my father showed me a number of chess books that had been stashed away and hidden in the attic. I couldn’t believe my eyes! There were some books by former world champion Max Euwe and also quite a few by one of his seconds IM Hans Bouwmeester, who both are famous chess teachers and writers here in the Netherlands. I felt like in a candy shop and devoured everything! I was thoroughly smitten with Caïssa and also signed up with the local chess club again…
The Rest Is History As They Say
Ever since I read Schachnovelle I have been a passionate chess player and trainer. Over the course of about 25 years I have played around 1500 serious competition and tournament games and continue to do so with great passion.
Tournament chess has taken me to many interesting places. For instance The Isle of Man, Liechtenstein, Bad Wiessee and Vienna to name a few. Chess is also great for making new friends, because we all speak “chessish”!
I now live in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and am a member of the Baarnse Schaakvereniging and of Zukertort Amstelveen. In Baarn I have trained both youngsters and adults a lot and in the coming season I will be giving a lot of training in Amstelveen. I have also taught chess in elementary schools and at community centers in the Amsterdam area.
At the end of 1999, shortly after I had passed my exam for Chess Trainer A (Royal Dutch Chess Federation), I was approached by that very same foundation asking me to start teaching trainer courses myself. I felt honored and proud to do so, so over the next few years I did two Youth Trainer courses and three Chess Trainer A courses, with only one participant failing.
In the year 2001 I recorded eight chess teaching episodes for Dutch National Television. The episodes were shown on prime time and repeated the week after on Saturday mornings. That was great fun to do! Setting was the courtyard of the medieval castle in Wijk Bij Duurstede and I had two little seven-year-old “co-hosting” pupils, a boy and a girl. She was dressed as a white queen, and he was dressed as a black king. The boy’s name was and still is Robin van Kampen, who has now become one of the leading Dutch Grandmasters. I still haven old video and am in the process of digitalizing it. Check back some other time to see it!
During the season 2002-2003 I published six articles on Psychology in Chess in the Royal Dutch Chess Federation magazine Schaakmagazine. This side of chess has always interested me enormously, and you might notice that when you study my materials.
Over the years I frequently got frustrated over my chess. Man, did I blunder! I still do nowadays, but less often, and the impact of my mistakes is normally less than it used to be. It was time to look for a trainer or mentor with whom I could discuss these and other chess related matters.
I am fortunate to have trained with quite a number of strong titled players. There are a few that I want to discuss in more detail. At first I worked with the aforementioned IM Hans Bouwmeester who also happens to be a good pianist so we had a click in two areas. Having repesented The Netherlands on many Olympiads and other occasions, Hans is always full of stories from the past, not in the least about Max Euwe, our 1935 Chess World Champion whom he has seconded on many occasions. From him I learned the love for the great masters and for chess “as a profession”. We also focused on openings a lot. In my article “How To Build A Chess Opening Repertoire – Part III: How To Live With It” I describe his system of studying openings.
Another IM I have worked with a bit more recently is Jop Delemarre. From him I learned more in area of chess understanding such as vulnerability and activity, the Capablanca Rules or the division of tasks in the endgame. Unfortunately after a year I saw an inexplicable decline in my playing strength and I lost all appetite for playing our beloved game. I decided to take a “chess sabbatical” and stopped with training and competitive playing.
After half a year of “chess silence” I slowly felt the juices flowing again and returned to competitive chess. But this time around I decided that it was up to myself to once and for all figure out this game! I did research online teaching materials from others such as Igor Smirnov or Andrei Istratescu, but realized that the only person who knows himself best and “can bring it all together” was me, myself and I. I am proud to say that in this most recent period I reached my highest ever ELO (2071) all by myself. But most importantly I also discovered new things about understanding, approaching and studying the game.
At the moment I am not receiving any formal training myself, but there is someone who I can and do revert to quite often, IGM Karel van der Weide. Van der Weide is a strong GM with a lot of international experience, winning several strong tournaments. He has also been coach of the national Dutch women’s team. We met in the year 2003 during a tournament in Bad Wiessee, Germany. We have travelled to many international tournaments since and we have become good friends. Every now and then I he is my sparring partner when it comes to chess technical or psychogical matters.
Finally I want to mention world renowned IGM Yasser Seirawan, who I have been fortunate enough to meet on a number of occasions, the last being an exclusive training for a number of players from my chess club Zukertort Amstelveen.
Already back in 2008 I started my first chess blog Chessedelic.com and in 2009 its sibling BetterYourChess.com was born. Many of you may know me already from back then. But as life normally demands of most mere mortals, I had to work “normal jobs” and could not give my online endeavors the attention I wanted. However, in the spring of 2014 I decided to make a bold move. I quit my day job and decided to chase a long cherished dream: that of becoming an independent chess trainer and entrepreneur. I now have a better opportunity to share with the world something I believe is worth sharing. In the beginning of 2014 I merged both Chessedelic.com and BetterYourChess.com into one platform and the vehicle for my activities is now my company Better Your Chess.
Better Your Chess provides a range of high quality teaching materials and offers memberships to aspiring chess players who want to improve their game. Next to that I also offer private or group training and lectures. I’m fortunate to have had a good school education. Therefore I can offer my services not just in Dutch, but also in English, French and German.
Nobody knows what the future holds, but I have some dreams. At the moment I thoroughly enjoy being a chess trainer and entrepreneur. I want that to grow, be a success and last a long time. In the mean time getting stronger at chess wouldn’t be such a bad idea either But the ultimate goal is connecting with you, The Chess People, and creating value that helps you to get on top of your game!
I hope my story inspires you in one way or the other. Best of luck with your chess career! And feel free to leave a comment if you have any questions.
P.S. "Better Your Chess" was formerly known as and part of "Chessedelic.com". You may still find references to this old blog name in the materials, but you may read "Better Your Chess" instead. All photos of me (if not mentioned otherwise) are made by Anoushka Moes The music in most YouTube videos is by Audionautix.com