Insights from the first KCF European Trainers Conference

by Tiberiu Georgescu (originally appeared in ChessBase)

8/4/2023 – The inaugural KCF European Trainers Conference brought together around 150 trainers from more than 25 countries. The distinguished speakers, including Michael Khodarkovsky, Ivan Sokolov, Adrian Mikhalchishin, and Garry Kasparov, shared their expertise, enriching the conference with valuable insights and experiences.
Photos: Lennart Ootes / Anastasiya Karlovich / Kasparov Chess Foundation


The inaugural KCF European Trainers Conference, hosted and sponsored by the esteemed Kasparov Chess Foundation, in collaboration with the European Chess Union Trainers Commission, the Kasparov Chess Foundation Adriatic and the European Chess Academy, kicked off with great enthusiasm. The event brought together around 150 trainers from more than 25 countries across four continents, and took place at the prestigious Westin Hotel in Zagreb, the same venue as the Grand Chess Tour’s third stage — the SuperUnited Rapid & Blitz.

The moderator, Grandmaster Cristian Chirilă, a trainer himself and director of the program at the Missouri State University, USA, set the stage for an engaging and insightful conference, introducing a lineup of distinguished speakers who are renowned in the world of chess coaching and organization.


  • Michael Khodarkovsky – Training the young players
  • Ivan Sokolov – Training the professionals
  • Adrian Mikhalchishin – Women in Chess

Keynote speaker:

  • Garry Kasparov – Trainers’ role in modern times

Kasparov Chess Foundation

Honoring the Kasparov Chess Foundation’s Legacy

Commencing the conference, the attendees celebrated the 21st anniversary of the remarkable Kasparov Chess Foundation, which has played a pivotal role in discovering and nurturing exceptional chess talent.

The first speaker: Michael Khodarkovsky

Michael Khodarkovsky delivered a compelling presentation that offered valuable insights into building a robust multi-level organization and fostering healthy growth. With a focus on the journey of their organization to the top of the chess world, Khodarkovsky shared his experiences, highlighting how they overcame key challenges and achieved success. Notably, he emphasized the personal connections formed with students, particularly those from the Foundation’s Young Stars program, showcasing the deep bond that goes beyond their chess achievements. Additionally, he provided insights into their student selection process and discussed the objectives and approach they employ to assist young players.

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