Skills Worth Learning

Chess has been around for thousands of years, computers less than a hundred. Chess requires nothing but a board and analog pieces, computers much more than that. And yet, both skillsets are remarkably similar. They both tap into some universal analytical processes that are larger than both disciplines.

I came to Premier Chess as a web developer with little more than a basic knowledge of chess. But, working with Evan and seeing the way that his chess expertise affects every decision that he has to make, I’ve come to appreciate the common ground.

At the end of the day, both chess and programming can be boiled down to two main skills: planning and coordination. A chess player has to at all times be aware of every single piece’s position, its options, and how changing one object on the board restructures the larger picture. It is a game of relationships between all of the pieces on the board and how to most efficiently utilize those relationships to achieve a goal.

Substitute the word “pieces” for “variables” and the word “board” for “program” and you’re talking about coding. Coding is about seeing a goal, picking your tools, and using them to execute that goal. It requires a combination of big picture thinking and coordinating smaller aspects down to their most basic levels.

Of course, the obvious difference is that chess is a competition while programming is generally an individual endeavor. But, chess’s competitive nature makes it the equivalent of lifting weights for that kind of thinking. Having an opponent and pushback makes the coordinating process that much harder.

Playing chess won’t teach you how to code; but it will teach you a way of thinking that will make coding infinitely easier to learn, especially if you start training those mental muscles at a young age.

Premier Chess Visits Baltimore to Give Local Students A Championship Day

The Maryland Department of Labor was please to unite with Premier Chess and National Scholastic Chess Foundation on an event to inspire the next generation of leaders in Baltimore, MD. The Maryland Department of Labor partnered with Booker T. Washington Middle School to create the BTW Chess Club to give the middle school students an opportunity to receive mentorship, new skills and hope. The group is comprised of seven students, all sixth graders, who were initially novice players and have since become quite skilled. On Monday, May 13, 2019, the BTW Chess Team had a surprise visit from National Chess Master and Owner of Premier Chess, Evan Rabin and National Scholastic Chess Foundation Director of Operations, Robert McLellan, along with Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford; Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation Acting Secretary James Rzepkowski; BTW chess club creator, Maryland Department of Commerce Secretary Kelly M. Schulz; BTW Chess Club organizer, Summar J. Goodman and club founder George Anderson.

Principal Misha Scott was pleased to welcome to delegation as she has witnessed the growth of the students both socially and academically during the time they were involved in the chess club. The impressive delegation coordinated a surprise visit to the school and later, a luncheon to encourage the students to strive for excellence despite external challenges that many adolescents face. 

The students had a wonderful time. They had an opportunity to discuss their plans for the state of Maryland with the Lieutenant Governor, future career goals with the Secretary of Commerce,  and job creation with the Acting Secretary of Labor. The quickly finished lunch for the chance to challenge Evan Rabin in a game of chess..

The BTW Chess Club came about when then Labor Secretary Kelly M. Schulz was speaking with Police Office George Anderson about ways to engage students at Booker T. Washington Middle School which is located within blocks of the agency. Being a champion chess player, Officer Anderson naturally suggested a chess program. It was created for employees to give back to the community where they worked. Anderson, along with Summar J. Goodman established a partnership with the school to provide chess lessons to interested students during their lunch breaks. After several weeks, the Booker T. Washington Chess Team was formed. The students are enthusiastic about the game of chess and are looking forward to competing in tournaments in the future. 

Bored of the board?

I know everyone reading this post has played chess, and chances are that many of you have also played chess electronically on your mobile devices or even a computer. I know I have!

Image result for chess on the phone

Choosing to play chess electronically isn’t always my first option, but hey, it’s the perfect way to pass time when waiting in line etc. However, having my eyes glued to that small screen becomes boring after a while, the physical excitement of moving the pieces and being able to see the whole board isn’t the same when you are just clicking and tapping away.

Image result for online chess laptop

What if I told you there was a version of chess available electronically that added a little spice to the game, in order to make up for the lack of physical interaction with the chess board.

Image result for auto chess

So here is the pitch, a game which includes a chess board but instead the number of pieces one has can vary by the round, and based on the current net worth in gold of the players, as well as the pieces no longer follow traditional moves and literally attack each other.

Image result for auto chess

This is called, “Auto-Chess,” and has been adopted by many major gaming companies such as Valve and modded into games such as Dota 2, and is also available on it’s own under multiple names, on both the phone and computer. The recent release of these games for electronic platforms is taking the gaming and chess community by storm! How unlikely!


Daniel Mascola

Operations Intern

Lessons from Mountain Jam 2019 at Bethel Woods

In February of this year, Mountain Jam announced that it would be hosting its 15th Annual Music Festival, at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.

Our CEO National Grand Chess Master, Evan Rabin, was lucky enough to be able to attend. As someone who lives and breathes chess, Evan took away would he could from the songs being performed, and the specific lyrics of the artists, and ultimately applied them to chess.

Jay Blakesberg, famous photographer, said, “a dead concert is where I first learned that it was OK to let loose, experiment, take risks creatively, and reap the rewards that came by stepping outside the boundaries of convention.” For Evan, he interpreted this is it’s important to get outside of your comfort zone and try new openings and middle game styles to improve in chess.

David Lembert, another artist, said, “What struck me immediately, thought, was the sensation of being among thousands upon thousands of happy people.” For Evan, this was similiar to the effect chess had his students.


As JRAD played” Saint of Circumstance and Joe Russo song, “if this isn’t ain’t the real thing, then it’s close enough to pretend..”, this translated to that if you don’t know the opening of the game well, just go by your openings principles and logic.