My Top Students

Professional TOP circuit

After 30 years at professional TOP circuit (reaching World TOP12 several times and having beaten classical time limit seven World champions), in 2013 I decided to fully devote myself to trainer/lecturer career.

During my trainer career I had the pleasure to recognize the talent and work with Alireza Firouzja, Jorden Van Foreest, Salem AR Saleh, Ivan Saric, Parham Maghsoodloo, Adhiban Baskaran... - to name the best I have helped bring their chess to a higher level.

The purpose of this academy it to help young ambitious players (using tailor made programs) bring their chess to the next level. Chess Clubs can of course inquire on a group lecture or aficionados may apply for a private lecture, but primary focus is helping young talented players pursue their dreams… In the days where streaming or ‘follow engine & pretend to know’ is (unfortunately) becoming a trend, I prefer to keep my focus on individual and recognizing his/her needs have a personal approach – producing results.

Alireza Firouzja
Alireza Firouzja

Alireza Firouzja

Grandmaster from Iran

Ivan Sokolov:

“In Alireza Firouzja I see a World Champion material!”
August 2016 after one of the first coaching sessions in Iran. At that time Firouzja was rated 2464 while now is number 13, rated 2759!”
Jorden van Foreest

Jorden van Foreest

Winner of the Wijk aan Zee 2021. leaving behind The World Champion Magnus Carlsen and the World No 2 Fabiano Caruana just to name few.

Jorden van Foreest:

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Ivan at several occasions.
Twice he was my coach at the World Juniors and also we had had some training camps together.
His deep understanding of the game, broad knowledge in any kind of opening as well as lots of exercises were all very beneficial to my chess.
In these days when everyone uses the computer Ivan always manages to give a different perspective by offering his often original and strong idea’s.”

Ivan Saric

Ivan Saric

European Champion 2018.

Ivan Saric:

“One of the best coaches I’ve worked with. What I liked the most was that I did all the training behind the board and I didn’t have access to the computer. This helped me to understand much better the essence of the positions we analyzed and to create a sense of where to place the pieces. Although I am much younger, he had more energy to work, especially after 5-6 hours of work. During the work, I realized what I needed to improve in my play in order to reach 2700 level from 2600 level, which I succeeded after a couple of years. If I have to point out any minus, it’s that he tricked me too many times during the analysis.”


Salem AR Saleh

Asian individual champion 2015.

Salem AR Saleh:

As a former student of Ivan Sokolov, I would like to share the fruitful cooperation we had from the end of 2013 until summer of 2016..
By the start of our cooperation my rating was 2500 and by the end of it it became 2620 winning Asian gold medal and more importantly played much better and more entertaining chess!
Let me share what in my opinion is the most impressive traits of Ivan Sokolov as coach.

1.Hard worker:
In our trainings Ivan was always full of ideas, he would combine modern games with classical ones, always comparing, checking and looking for fresh ideas with and without engines!

2.Extremely competitive:
Doesn’t matter which sport it is, Chess , ping pong or even football, Vania always plays for a Win!, always fighting till the end. I do remember our blitz matches, it was a daily challenge as we both hate to lose , we prepared for the games and analyzed intensely, arguing about estimations and trying to win even that battle over each other.
Due to his incredible fighting spirit, I became a better fighter!

3.Honest coach:
Ivan can be harsh and very critical, but that only shows his passion about the game and how much he cares about the progress of his students, this helped me determine my weaknesses and work to improve them.