Alaska Native Cultural Charter School Does Skype Premier Chess Lesson!

On Thursday, January 17th Premier Chess CEO Evan Rabin taught 29 students at the Alaska Native Cultural Charter School Chess Club  through a 1-hour Skype lesson. Here is the feedback of Drea Farrell, the school’s coach: 

The session with you has been truly eye opening and inspiring for the players.  Chess notation is still a struggle but they understand the purpose of it and are doing it (not well yet but they are trying). They are able to play through a famous using only the notation now. That’s huge for us. They look at the moves now and wonder why these famous players played the games this way. Usually, the answer reveals itself a few moves later. Out of the whole session the Q&A was the most inspirational for them. 
Martin Karmun, a fifth grader, has really taken the things you said in our session to heart and has started putting them to practice. His younger is his most readily available opponent for him; so it has also affected her strategy. They are so talented. Having a ‘real life’ Master of Chess take time to speak to them about strategy, process, and chess notation was powerful.

The session with you showed them how large the Chess community is nationally; competitively. It gave them a perspective they could internalize. They related to you because of your age. Your history with Chess is one they can make their own. That stuck. It inspired a whole new goal to be achieved. Heck! You’re a ‘Chesslibrity’. 
As a coach, the session provided me with a new tool. An incredible valid tool. The thought process has forced the students to look at the board. They now look at the board from a perspective of what might my opponent do today, or tomorrow. They are very attuned to each other’s patterns of play. The thought process has encouraged them to think not only about what their opponent might do but how their day may affect their pattern of play. 

I am not that great a player but I know their patterns of play. The thought process has empowered me to be the coach that says,’Before you touch that ____ and move it to attack my ___, think about the fact that I have already anticipated your next move 2 moves ago.’ It’s like a magic trick!! They are amazed that I am using the thought process in this way. 

Some of my more obstinate arrogant players have been taken down a peg by lower level players because the games they are playing now are taking longer. Their opponents are thinking, anticipating, and strategizing in ways they are not used to.  Sportsmanship has. been a topic we have has to revisit  since your session. That’s ok. Sportsmanship is the foundation of our club. Arrogance is like a weed it will take if new measures aren’t applied to keep it at bay.

Overall, our session with you has inspired to learn more, set more goals, and become better students of Chess.

The Truth about Introvert Anxiety and Depression

By Dr. Michael Alcee

Stephen Hawking once said, “Quiet people have the loudest minds.” Like chessmasters who sort through a dizzying array of possible moves, these individuals regularly cycle through tons of inner processing, and need their proper time and space for refueling.  These introverts regularly need to go back home to charge up again before getting back on the road,  much like many high-performance electric cars out there today!  If you’re an introvert you’ve probably felt anxious or depressed and haven’t known why. You may have even been given these labels by others to help make sense of your experience.

While well-intentioned, this advice isn’t always helpful and may actually leave you confused and disappointed: ‘You mean there’s more that I have to deal with than just being an introvert?’

The sneaky reason for introvert depression and anxiety

For many introverts, anxiety and depression is the effect and not the cause. Wait, what??

On the surface, it’s easy for you, family, friends, and even counselors to think that anxiety or depression is your primary issue. If we zoom in closer, What really causes problems is not being tuned in to how you work best as an introvert. There’s a big difference!

Many introverts are anxious because they get so drained by social stimuli. Modern society makes it hard for introverts to find naturally available recharging spots to regroup.

It’s confusing to feel so different and even worse to be so often misunderstood by extroverted friends, family, significant others, teachers, and colleagues.

Why suppression leads to introvert depression

Introverts get depressed because they automatically suppress their natural style and feelings.

They do this to fit the expectations of others and our largely extroverted society. They easily lose touch with who they are from the inside-out, and mistakenly buy into society’s old scripts of them as loners or wallflowers.

Both of these conspire to form the lion’s share of anxiety and depression for so many introverts. The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way.

In my TEDxtalk,  I’ll show how you can move beyond your anxiety and depression as an introvert, kick start your self-worth, and feel like a ‘somebody’ again!

The Balance Between Staying Present and Looking Forward: A Lifelong Journey

By Laura Kovall
“If you take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.”
While training for my sixth marathon this past fall, on a unseasonably warm day in September, I was running the 18 mile tune up race sponsored by NYRR.  It was only 830am, it was about 80 degrees with the combination of sunshine and humidity, and as I was heading onto my last of the three loops, I started to think ahead.  I was on mile 12; how was I going to feel at mile 15, 16, and 17….
“No Laura,” I told myself.  “Stay focused.  One mile at a time.”
As a typical type-A goal oriented New Yorker, I am always looking forward.  I do not have a five or ten year plan per se; but I do spend a lot of time thinking ahead.  If I want to run a marathon, I need to get a training plan together.  If I want to grow my business, I need to be strategic in my marketing, my sales, my schedule and my planning.   As a parent, there is no shortage of planning events, after school activities, camps, as well as making sure there are the right clothings, shoes, apparel, food, snacks, gear…the list goes on. And on. 
And, we all know what happens when we make plans…
Finding the balance between making things happen and letting things happen is a lifelong journey.  Being in a state of flow is often when I have my best moments; my best ideas.  When I am running, I am able to tap into a meditative state, after about 20 minutes.  It is there when I am often most content and focused.  When I am training my clients, whether it be privates, livestreams, or in a group setting, while I have a general strategy and plan,  I tap into my intuition and will pivot depending on what they need.  
Being present is key; and yet, without any plans, any strategy, our lives would be chaos.
I remember when my daughter, Sophia, was only a few months old; it was the summer of 2012, I was working in the Intelligence Bureau of the NYPD as an analyst, and I was on maternity leave.  Often, while she was doing tummy time, or playing on her mat, I would just sit back and watch.  I wanted to see what she gravitated towards; what she- not me- wanted to do.  This continued to when she was a little older, in the playground.  And it has continued to today.  It was through observation, being present, where I was able to truly see Sophia.  And, it is also through seeing her, where I need to help guide her towards activities that suit her, and help her make decisions.  
About a year ago, I learned how to play chess.  As I now approach my 41st birthday, it wasn’t until I was closing in on my 40th year of life when I noticed that Sophia, then five, had taken an interest in the game by playing with my father.  As Sophia and I have now started to play together on a regular basis, I have noticed that chess is the perfect opportunity to practice the balance between staying focused in the moment yet thinking ahead.  It is exactly like training for a marathon; or working on any fitness goal.  Any move I make in the moment will affect the long run.  And, if I overthink or overanalyze, I will not be able to move, whether it be literally moving forward with a run, or moving a chess piece.  
And Sophia, now almost seven, notices this too.
“Mommy,” she will tell me.  “If I move my pawn here, then you will take my bishop, and then I can take your rook but if I do then you would be able to take my queen and if you do then I will lose because I don’t know how to win without my queen.”
While I appreciate Sophia’s inner monologue and understanding how she thinks, I have told her that is not good strategy to let her opponent know what she is thinking.  And now that she has started taking lessons with Evan and Premier Chess, I am sure that will change.  
Laura Kovall, a born and raised Upper West Side Mom, is a former CNN and ABC producer and NYPD analyst turned six time marathon runner and fitness entrepreneur.  Laura’s speciality is working with pre and post-natal moms, as well as figuring out safe, challenging, efficient fitness routines for the busy and traveling parents and busy person.  Check out her site:, and her fitness offerings

Personal Finances: The Importance of Chess Strategy in Life

by Andrew Anastasio, MSM Lead at DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation

Chess is thrilling, complex, and intelligently designed. It requires strategy, preparation, and confidence in your approach. It is about outsmarting your opponent and having complete control over your own decision-making. You have to trust yourself and your gameplan; if the person you’re playing senses weakness or notices a momentary lapse in concentration, they could strike quickly and promptly overmatch you. However, if you have done your due diligence and understand why longevity in your approach to chess is important, you will see vast improvements, make positive mental strides regarding your in-game decision-making and, hopefully, have a little fun while doing so.

It is in this way that chess and managing personal finances share some striking similarities. To manage your finances correctly, you must build a strategy, understand how to apply this strategy, and outmaneuver your opponents (namely bankruptcy, credit debt, and student loans) so that you can ultimately triumph. Personal finance is not a game of luck. Sure, we can’t decide our starting point in life, as we can our first move in chess. However, we can decide our subsequent moves, and to begin with an understanding of the dangers and pitfalls of mismanaging your finances is an excellent starting point. That’s where DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation comes in. We are a New Jersey-based non-profit whose mission is to educate the youth of our country and aid them in understanding what personal finances are all about. We believe that it is imperative that the high school students of today become the financially literate adults of tomorrow, and hopefully that they will be able to execute their own unique strategies when it comes to finances so that they can avoid financial ruin.

To introduce our financial literacy program we have designed an intensive, 60-hour curriculum known as the FitKit which can be taught in all public school systems and has been tailored to the individual needs of the students. Through the program, students learn an array of important information regarding personal finance. They are shown how to balance a checkbook, manage a bank account, and avoid credit debt and the dangers of utilizing rotating credit. They also have a little fun along the way; DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation offers online games and video content throughout the program to ensure the curriculum is interactive and relevant to our youth.

In chess, the necessity of preparation cannot be understated. As with anything competitive, practice makes perfect, and having an understanding of the fundamentals sets the Chess Masters apart from the amateur enthusiasts. The same can be said for managing personal finances. It begins with learning the basics, implementing what you have learned in a positive and constructive way, and then creating an idiosyncratic strategy that fits you individually. DoughMain Financial Literacy Foundation wants to help give students the jumpstart they need to lead financially successful lives that are free of unnecessary debt. That way, they will have more time to focus on improving that chess game of theirs.

An Interview with Simone Assboeck, Owner of Dance Together NYC

By Premier Chess CEO Evan Rabin 

E: Tell me a little about Dance Together NYC.

S: I love to create a community where people think they do not have rhythm and will find out that’s not true and they could happily navigate the dance floor. They can check something off their bucket list and fulfill a dream. They were nervous and didn’t think they could dance. My passion is to show that everyone is a dancer.

E: What ages and skill levels do you deal with? S: My earliest student ever was 2.5 in diapers. My oldest client was 75 years-old. The peak group is mid-20s to 60s. Range is from total beginners, never having step foot onto dance floor, to people who have taken classes elsewhere.

E: What types of dance do you teach?

S: I teach the whole spectrum of Latin and Ballroom dancing; e.g, Swing, Salsa, Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-cha, Hustle, etc.

E: How long have you been teaching dance?

S: I have taught for 15+ years.

E: Tell us a little about your own dance career. 

S: I started out Latin Ballroom back home in Cologne, Germany when I was 7 as a social activity. It turned into a competitive style when I was 11. When I came here in my 20s, I shifted my focus to perform more and choreograph based on songs.  

E: Tell us a little about the difference of performing and competing in Germany and the U.S.

S: One major difference was the financial aspect. In Germany, you didn’t have to pay admissions fees to the dance clubs, regional and national competitions. In Germany within a radius of 60 kilometers, I could compete in six different locations. When I came here, the competition was not as developed so I had to fly to all of the competitions and stay in hotels and pay registration fees.

E: Describe your teaching methodology. 

S:What differentiates me is that I try to design a curriculum according to their capabilities and learning curve and push them as much as I can without underwhelming them. I have a good intuition about what’s too much and too little. I have an analytical mind which helps me see where something needs to be corrected and how to correct it. My goal is to get you on the dance floor as fast as possible and to be creative.

E: What is the correlation of dance and chess?

S: To navigate the dance floor, you need to pre-think your next move. Even though you need to be specific, you want to think the big picture. Pieces have a way of moving but you also want to be open minded so you don’t need to make the same sequences of moves according to a recipe. You have to be a quick decision maker in both chess and dance. From a leader and follower’s perspective, you need to be in the moment and react accordingly. In documentaries, they teach chess players how to be relaxed and grounded. In dance, you can tense up as you need to rest in your mind to not get lost in the forest.

E: Tell us how you help students make quick decisions. 

S: We do breathing so muscles stay lose. We calm minds down by seeing ourselves in slow motion so we can become fast. To be fast, you need to slow down. In the beginning that could be difficult so I often stay slow down and throw in different moves.

E: What main lessons can chess players learn through dance? 

S: One lesson is to be physical in the flow. Even though you are sitting and thinking, there should be a flow.

E: What can dancers learn through chess? 

S: I think focus and concentration can help get the point across to your partner. You need to sharp, especially as a leader. Chess players forget their surroundings. It would be interesting to see how chess can expand to a group experience.

 E: is there anything else you like an add?

S: If you were to play a game as a group, give everyone input and see where this will go. It would be interesting to see how people can play without commenting.

E: Thank you. We do often actually do this in tandem simuls. If anyone has questions, what’s the best way to contact you?