Hi, my name is Ono

I am an Adult Improver, chess blogger and chess coach.

Some say I’m obsessed with chess.

You might know me from my blog on Lichess (TheOnoZone), the #chesspunks on Twitter, or from my appearances on chess podcasts (including my own):

If you're an Adult Improver too,

then do you ever find yourself:

  • Struggling to find the time to train your chess skills + expand your chess knowledge,
  • Frustrated about the lack of progress, hitting plateaus or improving slower than you'd like,
  • Confused about what to do next when there is still so much chess to learn?

As an Adult Improver myself, I totally get you.

And as a chess coach, I'd love to teach you the same methods that have helped me and my students make consistent progress as Adult Improvers.

If you've already received a free trial lesson, click here.

Can you imagine what it would be like if...

  • You were able to analyse your games better
  • You made less one-move blunders
  • You gained more insight into your thought processes
  • You had a clear overview of your knowledge gaps so you always knew what to work on next
  • You got your rating up from beginner to intermediate
  • You had an always-supportive chess coach by your side to encourage you every step of your chess journey
  • You developed a daily habit of chess improvement that was sustainable and fun
  • And you did it all while maintaining a balance with the other responsibilities in your busy life?

Here's what one of my students has to say about my chess coaching:

Who is it for?

TheOnoZone 1:1 Chess Coaching is currently available for Adult Improvers rated <1100 FIDE or online equivalent: <1600 Lichess rapid/classical, <1300 rapid.

Obsessed Starters

You're so excited about chess. Get a head start as a beginner so you don't make the same mistakes I made. There's no need to reinvent the wheel - get on a study plan that works straight away.

Dedicated Players

You've definitely caught the chess virus and often find yourself playing Blitz on the toilet or show other symptoms. Let's find the biases in your thought process and get you to the next level.

Serious Improvers

Chess is life. Or at least a part of your life that you find important. You've set some serious chess goals and are doing everything you can to reach them. You don't have to do it alone.

“Ono is a fantastic chess coach.

He manages to create a fun but focused atmosphere and gives in-depth clear explanations and analyses.

He quickly understood where my strengths and weaknesses were and tailored his lessons and my training accordingly.

If you want to learn chess effectively and have a bit of fun on the way, there is nobody I could more highly recommend.”

- Stefan Kania

"I wish someone had told me about this guy 12 months ago.

You will not find this kind of quality coaching at anywhere near this price. If you've been thinking about getting a coach, you are not going to do any better.

Just like with standard one-on-one coaching, Ono and I meet online for a chess lesson each week. In addition to this, he checks on my progress, spends time preparing a full lesson for the week, and gives feedback on the games I play between meetings by voice message.

In other words, you basically get a full-time coach for the price of an hour a week.

Having looked for a good coach for over a year now, and striking out many times, I'm just excited to find one this good. Ono is the man.”

- Ché Martin, host of the The Dark Squares podcast

Working with a chess coach close in rating to you is beneficial

because I speak the same language you do.

What are my chess lessons like?

My aim is to guide you towards discovering your own biases, so you can work through them and bring a clear thought process to your games.

During our 1:1 lessons, we will focus on thinking techniques and understanding your thought process during the game. We'll use your recent chess games, which both you and I will have analysed prior to our lesson so we can go even deeper during our meeting. Together we will find patterns in your decision-making to gain insight into what you were thinking during certain moments of the game.

This way we’ll be able to identify your mental triggers, biases and obstacles, and eliminate your weaknesses - replacing them with efficient thought processes.

  • Is fear forcing you to defend against ghosts?
  • Did an unexpected move from your opponent cause you to misevaluate the resulting position due to the negative feeling it induced?
  • What exact thought process malfunction led to you hanging your queen?
  • Why are you playing certain types of moves too quickly or too slowly?

By finding recurring patterns in your thought process and becoming aware of them through my guidance, you can systematically improve the practical aspects of your play - aka your chess skills. In short, I take your thought malfunctions and prompt you to discover and replace the negative mental triggers that come before your (recurring) mistakes.

Sometimes I also prepare a theme for your lesson based on your latest games, to zoom in on a particular bias or pattern; like 'creating micro-plans' or 'favourable piece exchanges'. Moreover, I’ll explain (or remind you of) general chess concepts; e.g. ‘not moving the same piece twice unnecessarily in the opening phase’.

There is no point in me teaching you the things you can teach yourself.

Obviously, I acknowledge that chess knowledge provides an essential and solid foundation on which we base our decisions in the game. This knowledge must be acquired. However, I believe it's a waste of valuable lesson time to focus on teaching you the things you can teach yourself by reading chess books or watching chess videos.

Think of things like basic tactical patterns, opening and endgame theory, strategic themes, pawn structures, and the list goes on (and on, and on, and on). Learning the Lucena position for example is not something I would include in our lessons. If it is something that came up in your game and it was clear you didn’t understand it, I will point that out and direct you towards the relevant external learning resources for you.

You’re always welcome to ask me chess knowledge questions, and I’ll be happy to answer them as your chess coach. You'll also get a roadmap of where to find the most effective learning tools to suit your particular learning style - whether it’s books, online tools, chess courses, podcasts, lectures, videos or all of the above. No more Chessiverse “where to start?” overwhelm.

You'll follow a unique study plan + build sustainable chess training habits.

Your study plan is based on the time you have for chess, your learning style and your chess goals. It’s custom-made for your chess improvement to work through the basic chess concepts systematically so you have no big holes in your chess understanding. Anyone can acquire knowledge on their own, but we often need someone to bring structure to our chess journey and hold us accountable to do the work.

And that’s exactly what I’ll be there to do in providing and making sure you do the homework and follow your chosen training plan. I am also available to clarify anything about your homework assignments whenever your questions come up.

My strategy for both myself and my students is a two-fold approach: knowledge acquisition + skill-building.

As Adult Improvers, we should systematically learn chess knowledge to give us a good foundation in chess understanding, whilst simultaneously analyzing our slow games to work on our thought processes and improve our decision-making techniques. I believe that deep introspection and remaining in conscious control of your thoughts and emotions during a game are the keys to improving your practical chess skills. This focus comes through in all of the lessons I teach, as well as in my own chess improvement.

In my first chess year, I played mostly rapid games and gained 500 points. I now continue to play rapid games and have added 2 classical games per week. I continue to make progress and my current peak classical rating is 1868. Despite these rating gains, my primary focus is on process-oriented goals.

You achieve these goals by following proven efficient methods, that fit your rating and learning style and allow you to build consistent habits you can stick to over time. This is why it's important to choose a chess coach who works with your schedule: your chess training has to fit into your life.

You won't just get chess lessons...

I'm here to support you in all things chess 24/7 🕑

- my student Dawn on her blog 'An Older Woman's Chess Journey'

TheOnoZone 1:1 Chess Coaching

Get a fulltime chess coach specialised in Adult Improvers who knows what it takes to improve your chess within your busy life while having a good time

  • Private 60-minute chess lesson every week or every 2 weeks where we analyse your games + dive into your biases and knowledge gaps
  • Lesson preparation based on your recent games
  • Homework assignments customized to your learning style to build sustainable habits
  • Personalised study plan to reach your chess goals
  • Continuous (voice) message support for all things chess, holding you accountable + motivating you


Adult Improvers coached


Podcast Plays


Study Plan Downloads


Blog Views

Why choose me?


Easy to understand

As an Adult Improver myself, I know it can sometimes be very overwhelming to try and grasp new concepts. It's also very hard to get new insights and have breakthroughs on your own.

This is why I always make sure to communicate at your current chess level so you can easily understand what I'm sharing. I'm told this is something my students find invaluable and were often missing in experiences with other chess coaches.

Life > chess

Of course, you need to invest time into chess to improve. Just like with any other endeavour in life. But I understand you might have limited time available - because you're an adult with a life.

The good news is: if you keep putting in the work, improvement is inevitable!

So the way I see it, the amount of hours you (can) invest in your chess won't determine if you will improve, but rather when you will improve. But improve, you will!


Focused, fun + patient

I’m obsessed with chess and I also really like teaching. My teaching style is focused but casual, and I try to make it as entertaining and exhilirating as possible for you (which is quite simple, because it's chess!).

I'll always be patient with you, my lessons are a judgement-free space. Also, I'm a nice guy - so don't worry if you're nervous.

24/7 Support

I'll always encourage you with honest and positive feedback to keep you motivated. I'll inspire you to do the work and hold you accountable to reach your chess goals.

You can message me whenever you want in between lessons - even if it's every day. This is not just good for your chess improvement, it just feels good as well to get support in the solitary pursuit of chess improvement.

Personalised for you

Every student gets a completely personalised approach. I never work with fixed templates and I prepare each and every lesson diligently - this usually takes me as much time as the lesson itself.

From your study plan to your homework and everything in between: it's all tailored to your needs, goals and preferences.

How do I know if your methods will work for me?

You don't have to guess: I offer a 60-minute trial lesson to all prospective students to see if we are a good match.*

You don't have to guess: I offer a 60-minute trial lesson to all prospective students to see if we are a good match.*

*Of course, you have no obligation whatsoever to continue with my chess coaching after this first trial lesson.

“Ono helped to get me up to the next level.

He offered me useful advice that I felt was very appropriate to where I currently am. He understands that chess is a hard game and all of the feedback that he gave was constructive, measured and appropriate. He was able to offer a fresh perspective to the games I played and think about them in a new light.

For example, in the game we discussed in our last lesson, I thought it was due to a tactical blunder. But the lesson taught me that the bigger issue was that I made some wrong strategic decisions. By thinking more about pawn structures I could have arrived at a plan that would have had a much better chance of winning the game.

My overall feeling is more confidence and more belief in myself to achieve my chess goals.

I am pleased to recommend Ono’s services.” - Kevin

My Chess (Coach) Story

So I'm Ono and this is my website (although my wife built it for me). As you can probably tell, I’m very passionate about chess.

Then I discovered that I also like teaching it, and my students actually improve and like my teaching style as well. It really is my dream job.

My own experience working with a coach who had a slightly higher rating than me at the time inspired me to start my own chess coaching career. I was very impressed by how much it helped me to work with someone who understood where I was at and knew what I could and couldn’t see when I looked at a chessboard. Someone who spoke the same chess language as me, so to speak.

I have a real understanding of where you are at as a fellow Adult Improver.

I know what it feels like to be where you are now because I remember it vividly. I was there, not so long ago in my chess journey. And I know what it takes to pull that rating up to an intermediate one as fast as possible.

I currently teach beginners and post-beginners rated <1100 FIDE or online equivalent

(<1600 Lichess rapid/classical, <1300 rapid)

I improved my chess not through any particular talent or skill for the game, I simply found and developed the right methods through rigorous research and experimentation. Then I worked hard and effectively in the limited time that I did have as a busy adult with much more than just chess in my life and on my mind.

I believe that anyone can continually improve in chess to reach their goals with the right routine and guidance.

Through my own chess journey so far, I learnt how Adult Improvers like me and you can best absorb the necessary chess knowledge and gain the necessary chess skills. Our chess journeys are at times very different from the ones that most chess coaches who are Masters (or higher) have walked in their lives.

I don’t take any prior understanding for granted and can explain things from the empathetic place of having been there myself not so long ago.

I’m available throughout the week for my students to discuss games, answer questions about homework, and provide extra clarity to the concepts you are studying.

With me as your chess coach, you’ll get someone who’s excited to be watching and checking your online games. I charge a monthly chess coaching rate (you can choose weekly, biweekly or monthly lessons) which allows me to guide you in your chess journey outside of our lesson times as well.

I’ll be supporting you every step of the way. I’ll pick you up after a bad game, hold you accountable to show up for the work and celebrate your victories with you - I’m there for everything chess in your life!

What my students are saying:

What my students are saying

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the trial lesson completely free?


No need to give your credit card details, or to continue chess coaching with me afterwards. All I ask is some details about your recent chess games so I can prepare your trial lesson to be tailored to your chess needs.

Book your free trial lesson here.

What exactly is included in TheOnoZone 1:1 Chess Coaching?

You can choose between Weekly Lessons or Biweekly Lessons.

However, TheOnoZone 1:1 Chess Coaching includes much more than just chess lessons. You won't just get a chess teacher, you'll get a fulltime chess coach.

How much do you charge?

For your first trial lesson, I charge absolutely nothing. Make sure to grab a free spot in my calendar by signing up here.

If you choose to continue your chess coaching with me after the trial lesson, you can choose between Weekly Lessons or Biweekly Lessons with all TheOnoZone 1:1 Chess Coaching features included in the price. You can find my monthly rates here.

I have another question. How can I reach you?

Feel free to contact me by sending an email to I'll get back to you as soon as possible.

So yes, I’m definitely obsessed with chess. You too?

Don't miss out on getting better more effectively + efficiently.

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