Here you'll find a list of General FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions). Don't forget to check the FAQ Categories on the right.
Ok, I'll explain it as simply as I can. When I was around 16 or 17, I didn't have anyone to guide me as far as my chess career was concerned. I didn't know how strong I was, how far I could go, whether I should choose one tournament or another, what things needed to be polished in my play, how to train properly and so on. It was hard to make career decissions, thing such as going to uni, getting a job, taking up the Sveshnikov Sicilian or just talking to someone who really understood how one feels when he loses a game of chess at a critical moment. I really did miss having some kind of guidance at that age (and later on, as well!). This doesn't mean that I would have followed blindly what that person told me to do, but I would have been the happiest man in the world if I could have had the chance to get advice from someone who knew what he was talking about... I've met some of the best players in the world, I've taken part in 3 World Junior Championships, I've written a free electronic book for beginners, played in more tournaments than I can remember, coached people of all levels and ages for more than 20 years, worked at some of the best schools in Sydney, answered more than 10 thousand posts at my forums, and I do something related to chess every single day of my life. If you think that can be of value to you, then you should seriously consider hiring my services as a chess counseller or adviser: I love the job and my fees are pretty reasonable.
If I were your chess counseller, in this particular case I would recommend that you don't abuse the opportunity that you've been given! (smile) .
It depends. For something serious that requires a bit of thought, either email or via our forum are best. Both voice and online chatting are the equivalent of "blitz chess", if you know what I mean.