Ivan Markovic


Read Ivan's message to students and their parents

FIDE Trainer IM Ivan Marković is the Head of Calusa Prep International Chess Program and the Team Coach. As one of the most gifted juniors in the former Yugoslavia, he won the national U-15 (twice) and U-20 Championships, and took bronze in the European U-16 in 1988 (Saltsjöbaden, Sweden). His FIDE rating peaked at 2504 with one GM-norm, since he chose subsequent academic pursuits over a competitive chess career.

Ivan has a PhD degree in Education from the University of Belgrade. His doctoral thesis Methodic Aspects of Teaching Chess to Young Schoolchildren is based on his work in the field of Chess in Education. In 2006, he wrote the entire curricula and syllabi for chess as an elective subject in the Serbian primary school system, and co-wrote the official textbook and workbook “Ready, Set – Chess!” with WGM Sanja Vuksanović.


He had been teaching at the Faculty of Teacher Training in Belgrade (2007 – 2012), and in 2008 he began lecturing at the Faculty of Sport and Physical Education as well (2008 – 2010; 2016 – present). As the University of Belgrade chess team captain, he led his students to ten consecutive Transatlantic Cup matches against the University of Texas at Dallas (2006 – 2015, match score 5:5).

Ivan mentored Borki Predojević to U-12 and U-14 European and U-16 World Junior titles (read GM Predojević's testimonial here), and coached the Yugoslav national women‘s team (read GM Borislav Ivkov's testimonial here) to their silver medals in 1999 (Batumi, Georgia), which earned him the National Award for Extraordinary Contribution to the Development and Affirmation of Sport.

Areas of expertise and professional interest include coaching youth chess, curricular chess instruction, academic teaching, chess publishing and chess opening theory (former Deputy Editor‑in‑Chief at Chess Informant, co-founder and CEO at Chess Openings 24/7). In constant search of the possibilities of new time‑efficient training programs. Preaches chess fundamentals, deep preparation and positive outlook as more than halfway to victory. In addition to building cognitive skills and developing spatial intelligence, considers chess a perfect tool for raising social skills both in the classroom and during extramural school activities. Firmly believes in a holistic approach to chess: if FIDE (World Chess Federation) recognizes five key aspects of chess – as a game, sport, science, art and didactic tool – then why shouldn't we follow suit?

Watch Ivan on YT

GM Borki Predojević's testimonial:

“Ivan had been my chess coach and mentor for five years between 2001 and 2005. During that period I won two major international youth competitions (European U-14 in Chalkidiki, Greece in 2001 & World U-16 in Oropesa del Mar, Spain in 2003), eventually becoming the youngest grandmaster in the region after completing the final norm at the Chess Olympiad at Calvià de Mallorca, Spain in 2004. Over that period my FIDE rating saw an increase of more than 350 rating points, i. e. from 2207 in January 2001 to 2558 in October 2005. Details of the five-year program conceived by Ivan in 2000, and a comprehensive statistical analysis of my results during that span (e. g. my tournament success rate of 86.4%, i. e. 19 out of 22 successful performances in major events) can be found in a case study co‑authored by him, presented at an international scientific conference held in Vršac, Serbia in 2011.


Working with aspiring young chess players is definitely Ivan's forte, where his broad chess knowledge, methodic approach and constant support meet with his commitment to success. A true team player, he deeply feels that joint efforts produce best results – I can recall at least a dozen times when he felt that someone else had a valuable field of expertise, which would make that person better suited for a particular job. Ivan is trustworthy and reliable, and, with proper resources and support, he will simply deliver – based on many years of our working together, I have absolutely no reason to think otherwise.”

GM Borislav Ivkov's testimonial:

“In 1999 I became our national women's team coach, and I named [Ivan] my assistant coach. The ladies eventually took silver, and we were voted the Best National Women's Team by the Yugoslav Olympic Committee. His commitment to the cause was beyond belief, as he had been visiting the team members during the air raids for months, even if it meant crossing the Belgrade bridges, which had already been designated as targets by that time. He kept burning the midnight oil during the preparations, rarely having more than four hours of night's sleep. Just as importantly, he would come with boundless enthusiasm for imparting the knowledge to the players, exuding confidence and competence.”