Practice in Chess ?

Chess requires consistent practice and an objective state of mind to keep on getting to the next level. Unlike other sports where presuming that you’re the best may give boost your self-confidence and push you to greater heights, doing so here is probably going to do more harm than good. I’m not saying that believing in you is bad, on the contrary we should believe in ourselves but similarly to other activities, doing something over and over again will get us to where we want only if we employ the right methodology. But which training technique is going to make us improve and should we all have the same approach to become stronger players ?

Opening knowledge is quite primordial when it comes to getting a decent middle-game position and our comfort level with the position we get. For instance at club level the dragon is quite popular at and the likelihood to reach some Tabiya is pretty likely. So you’re an e4 player and you’ve noticed that you’ve been getting this exact same position in the Sicilian and you decide to do some homework, which is a wise thing to do since the Dragon is a dangerous opening.

After a while you memorize a couple of more moves and you go back to your local club and end up with a nagging edge around move 20. But how did that happen ? Remembering moves and just re-playing a line in which White ends up with a slight advantage has allowed you to get good position out of the opening but now what ? And is this chess is supposed to work, just pure memorization ? Anyway your clock is ticking and we must dive back into the game as the you’re out of the opening in even deeper water.

Now you and your opponent traded a few more pieces, you’re a pawn up but the position looks even more unclear to you as you’re not familiar at all with this situation since you’ve never played so good against Jeffrey. Then what are the conditions to be considered an experienced and knowledgeable competitor who is able to convert some sort of advantage into a winning endgame. Well since there are less pieces at this point of the game brute calculations and forced lines should be popping in and out out of your brain. Whether it’s figuring out the best way to bail out of a dangerous situation where your opponent’s pieces are dangerously aiming at your King or thinking through how to rightly put in motion the combination of moves that will allow you to simplify the game into a simple and much better endgame, calculation will be a big part of the equation.

At this point your clock is ticking down to a few remaining minutes and you’re struggling to even remembering if you know how to win this rook endgame. A pawn up but it’s your king is somewhat far away from it and your opponent’s King is getting closer and closer to your only hope for winning. Well in times like that experience may be of importance as far as not feeling overwhelmed by the time pressure and just losing your ability to play right, but more importantly your knowledge of endgame is quite primordial, and nothing better but to do endgame puzzles for that.

What Are Some Of The Components Of The Chess Scenery ?

The Candidates Tournament is approaching as we’re getting closer to the end of the year. It will be held in Russia in March-April of 2020. There are several ways to qualify for this throughout various tournaments and other invitations based on statistics and past achievements. For instance Fabiano Caruana is already in since he was the 2018 Word Championship pretender. On the other hand whoever wins the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament, which is actually being held at the Isle of Man, will also secures himself/herself a spot for the Candidates. By the way whoever wins the Candidates Tournament will be challenging the Word Champion for the title of the strongest chess player.

While the end of the year is arriving, qualifications are becoming more and more scarce. In fact two seats will get taken by the top two finishers of the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix, which takes a huge spotlight on the chess world. Indeed the FIDE Grand Prix is series of four chess tournaments and only the strongest players get invited. There is still Hamburg (4-18 November) and Tel-Aviv (10-24 December) left to be played but at the moment Shakriyar Mameyderov and Alexander Grischuk have gotten the most points.

Finally there is a wild card (who is eligible based on past results in some of the qualifying tournaments and picked by the organizer, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is at the moment qualified to be the wild card) and whoever has the highest rating average will also make it there (Anish Giri right now). Obviously the top two finishers at the 2019 World Cup, Teimour Radjabov and Ding Liren, have the right to compete for the 2020 FIDE Candidates. Also it is important to discern the Grand Chess Tour with the FIDE Grand Prix. The 2019 Grand Chess Tour regroups a series of 8 tournaments (rapid, blitz and classical events) in which the prize fund is quite major ($1.75 million this year as its 5th Edition increased the participants to 12 and the tournaments to 8). This ongoing event allows specific players (this year the top 3 finishers of the 2018 GCT final standings, top 4 FIDE rated as of January 1st, top 4 based on the average of the 12 monthly FIDE classical ratings for the period from 1 February 2018 until 1 January 2019 and one nominee by the Grand Chess Tour Advisory Board) to play on the International scenery of Chess and get well compensated for their time, while the FIDE Grand Prix, despite having quite a substantial prize pool, rewards the top 2 finishers by allowing them to participate in the Candidate Tournaments.

Who do you think is going to be playing Magnus Carlsen at the end ?

An Interview with Chess Instructor Kola Adeyemi

Q & A with Kola Adeyemi:


B: I would love to start with hearing about how your general experience was.
K: I’ve known Evan for quite a while now, upwards of 10 years when we went to Tanzania. When he reached out to talk to me about the opportunity to teach chess there, I thought it was an amazing idea. We ended up staying with Make a Difference Now, a program with a guesthouse right next to Mt. Kilimanjaro during a seven-day period. During the day we would make it to the school, teach for a few hours, and make it back to the house. For me, the most rewarding part of the experience was seeing the kids pick up something new and actually want to do it. By the end of the week, we had kids playing chess at a beginner level, but more than that was the notion in their eyes that they were going to take the skills they learned and develop it beyond the singular week that we had with them. I also think they learned a new activity over which they could bond, create a society and even a school. We ended up nominating a kid to be the president of their chess club and he took that duty with honor. I’m pretty excited to see what comes back when Evan goes again with the rest of the team.
B: What was the initial reaction when you were first introducing them to chess? Were they happy to learn it at first? Was it confusing to them?
K: Initially, the kids were unsure what it was. Upward of 50 kids participated at the height of the class and maybe four of them had seen the game before. Initially, we just wanted to make sure they understood what we were saying so we tried getting participation at the beginning. It was hard to break their shells, given our foreign nature and their lack of experience with the game. But I think that Evan did a great job getting them to participate – getting them to play in games and to see what chess would look like. He tried to explain to them why chess could be good for them academically. I think that by the time we got to the third day of the seven-day period, we finally had broken the kids out of that shell. From then on, it was more of the kids asking questions and figuring out the rules of the game.
B: How much time did you spend with them on a daily basis?
K: That was a function of their schedule, because we tried to jam our chess lessons in during the time they have their normal activities. I would say we had maybe three or four hours on average per day. As you can imagine, teaching someone who has never played chess before with roughly 20 total hours throughout the week was challenging. As you would expect, some people picked it up better than others. By the end of the week, we had created some followers and players of the game. We thought that by creating that community around chess, we could encourage the kids to continue to teach each other chess. We tried to create this kind of environment of competition to spur their desire to be better.
B: You mentioned Make A Difference Now as the program that you stayed with. What role did they play in the entire program?
K: MAD is a phenomenal organization. From what I had heard about them before I decided to go, I was already deciding if I wanted to physically attend the trip or to just donate to MAD itself. Charissa has a strong passion for what she’s doing, and it very much shows. In their case, along with housing us, providing us with a driver and making it feel like home for us, they partnered with Evan to bring us there, identifying the fact that learning chess would be beneficial to the students in Tanzania. Second, they interacted with the school to make sure that they were open to the idea, and lastly they prepared the school to receive us. It was helpful to have MAD staff be there with us on certain days to introduce us to some of the kids. In terms of facilitating the entire process, it was excellent, but they also set the whole thing up.
B: Were there any language barriers when you were there and if there were, how did you overcome them?
K: We found that in Tanzania, most of the kids spoke satisfactory enough English to understand what we were saying. I would say that as is usually the case, when you have someone from an English speaking country go to these places, you have to slow down how quickly you speak. It’s not that they cannot understand what you’re saying; it was mostly just a matter of making sure that we were speaking clearly and slowly enough. We encouraged them to stop us and ask us questions. We used a lot of repetition, continually saying that when you start the game, you need to have three objectives.  You must control the center, the castle and to develop your pieces. That way, when we got around to actually playing the game, some of these rules were actually a chorus in their minds.
B: What kinds of concerns did you have initially before attending the program in Tanzania, and how were those concerns pacified? Did any of them stay prevalent?
K: My biggest concern was whether or not the program was going to be well organized. In my mind, I was hoping that we’d be going there to teach the kids and that they would be excited to play the game. My concern was quickly removed upon my arrival – you can tell from the beginning if something is well organized. Upon entering the MAD home, we immediately conducted an orientation with some of the staff. It was very clear that they had planned out the entire schedule for the week. When we made it to the actual school, I can tell you that these kids were very well behaved, beyond their age. One of the jobs of a chess instructor is to make sure the kids are listening, but this wasn’t an issue. It’s just a testament to the preparation that the organization had, because they really knew that we were coming.
B: How many other volunteers came with you and Evan?
K: Besides Evan and myself, we had two other people from the US, and one other guy who was actually local. When chess players move to different cities, they like to get an idea of where chess is happening. He came to teach English at one of the local schools, but he had done a search about where he could teach chess and an advertisement from MAD came up about Evan coming to teach chess in the area. He joined us and volunteered his time to teach the kids. That made about five instructors total for the week, which was a good number, but if were to expand to other schools, it would certainly be helpful to add more.
B: If you were to go on the program again, what would you change this time around?
K: This question would depend on if we were sticking with the same school. If we did, I would want to do a lot of question and answer sessions, just to get a sense of some of the mental errors that the kids have been making over the last few months. I remember when I was first learning chess, I would castle the wrong way on the queen side. I would want to make sure that issues like this were out of the way. I would also like to introduce teaching material, or at show the kids where they could go to in order to read up on more strategies about the game. Because the kids don’t always have access to the Internet, it may be a bit difficult; but we could certainly share that with the teachers of the school and have them print out some of that material for them. I certainly benefited from encyclopedias when I was a kid, going to high school in Lagos, Nigeria. I remember going to the library, just looking for any materials that I could get. Lastly, I think the program could benefit from the kids being able to interact more with the instructors once we leave the country. Whether that means playing online with us, asking for advice, or having a pen-pal relationship, some kind of mentorship present could be very helpful. Starting with a new school, trying to find a way to break the aforementioned shell more quickly would be helpful.
B: Where do you see this program going in the next few years?
K: My perception was that this is only going to get bigger. Sure, it is starting in Tanzania, but it can become regional. It could be broader; it could be across the continent itself. I think my main excitement comes from the kids being able to understand that there are different ways to interact with the outside world. The ability to play in chess tournaments outside of Tanzania, to get better and to actually represent their country at an Olympiad is a very exciting prospect. I know that Tanzania doesn’t have as many strong players, so there is a great opportunity. There is also a possibility for sponsorships and tournaments. I am hoping that there is a way that these kids could be connected to schools in the US. I know a lot of schools and colleges here who have chess scholarships, and I know that there are many students in Tanzania who would definitely benefit from that opportunity. This could only get bigger, and I’m really excited to see where it goes.
Apply today at https://www.gomadnow.org/events/2019/7/11/teach-chess-in-africa while spots are still available!

Chess as a Sport in Kiryat Ono!

Chess as a Sport in Kiryat Ono!  

08/21/18 

by Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin 


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When I was walking with two Dutch sisters from my hostel in Eilat, Israel, the younger one asked me what non-chess players will often ask- “Is chess a sport?”. I told her there is no correct answer but that it is a mental sport as a day of playing chess can certainly exhaust you. On Saturday, August 18th, that was definitely the case as I played in a 40-game blitz marathon at the Kiryat Ono Chess Club.The time control was G/4 with a two second increment, which is standard for FIDE tournaments. Most blitz tournaments in the United States do not have a time delay, which makes flagging your opponent more likely. With the increment, one still needs to move fairly quickly but generally manage to win if he has an easily winning position.
While a relatively low percentage of the entry fees were given back in prizes, the organizer Oded was welcoming and great at catering to the player’s needs. Getting to the tournament was difficult as Israel’s busses do not run on Shabbat. Karat Ono is located 20 minutes Northeast of Tel Aviv. Oded helped me find a way of getting there. It took a few tries of people to find a nice parent who lives close by to where I was staying to pick me up. The co-organizer gave me a copy of his tactics book; in return I gave him a Premier Chess pen, which was purchased by NG Slater Corporation.
Unlike any tournament in the United States where participants need to run out for food in between rounds, we enjoyed a smorgasbord of vegetables, hummus, tahini, pizza, cookies and more. There was also an unlimited supply of coffee and tea to keep our engines running.
Of course, what was most different about this tournament than any other one I’ve ever played in was the exorbitant amount of games! We began at 10:00 AM and did not finish until around 9:00 PM. We didn’t have any breaks except for a 20-minute pizza break at 4:00 PM.
I started out strong, winning my first three games. I then drew two games and lost two. After that, madness began and I honestly could not keep track! I was one of about a dozen masters playing in the event. The tournament was more about stamina than anything else.

In the second half of the tournament, everyone started looking like zombies. In the 39th round, I literally hung 3 pieces within a span of 4 moves against a “B” player… two moves later she missed a simple “blueprint” checkmate in 2. “Blueprint” is a term coined by the late National Master and Author Bruce Alberston, for checkmating patterns in which a player does a simple maneuver without checks. There were other pieces on the board but you can get the gist of the checkmating pattern here; white checkmates in two moves.

What sets stronger and weaker players the most is the amount of consistency. Obviouslly stronger players will typically win. Statistically a player who is 100 points lower rated then his opponent will score about 25%. In this tournament, those who conserved their energy did the best. In the last six games, Grandmaster Ram Soffer lost three games due to fairly elementary blunders.
In the end of the evening though, Grandmaster Rom Soffer and Valentin Goikn won the tournament.  I tied for 9th place with WFM Michael Lahav. 

See final standings here. 

Winners Circle

Tying for First in the USA Chess Tour Brooklyn Championship!

by CEO National Master Evan Rabin 

with Organizers IM Milos Scekic, GM Vladimir Romanenko and Ekaterina Romanenko
In Action against Christopher Tyau from Hawaii!

When you think of the big chess tournaments in the United States, you think of one organization, Bill Goichberg’s Continental Chess Association. A bulk of the major tournaments, including the World Open, Chicago Open and Philadelphia Open are run by them. However, Goichberg does not have a monopoly; several other organizers, including the Charlotte Chess Center and USA Chess Tour are starting to organize big money events. This past weekend, I had the honor of participating in and tying for the first in the U2200 section of the USA Chess Tour’s Brooklyn Chess Classic this past weekend. 

Don’t let the name fool you; the tournament took place in Manhattan. USA Chess Tour is organizing championships for each of New York’s 5 boroughs, but they are all taking place at the Stewart Hotel on 31st and 7th Avenue in Manhattan. The tournament had nice conditions with chess sets and clocks supplied. Every round they raffled off Amazon gift cards and magazines, courtesy of American Chess Magazine. The winners of each section took home large trophies, in addition to prizes. Since there was a small turnout, a large percentage of participants took home money. 
The tournament was flexible with two 2-day accelerated schedules, one for the early birds starting at 9:00 AM and another starting at 1:00 PM for those like myself who wanted to sleep in. 
I had a fast start to tournament, going 4–0 in my first four games. In round 5, I drew IS 318 Alumni National Expert Mubassar Uddin, who ended up tying for first with Jelvis Arrandela Calvelo and I. In round 6, I outplayed the top seat of the tournament National Master Noah Thomforde-Toastes. 
Here is my round 3 win against Expert Eden Diano:
Going into the last round, I was a full point ahead of the field with a score of 5.5/6. Calvelo and Uddin both had 4.5 points; therefore a draw or win would secure the match. Psychologically this can be a difficult situation as it is very tempting to play conservatively to the point where you are too passive. 
In Calvelo’s game against Uddin in round 4, he played 1.d4, d5, 2.c4, Nf6?!, which is a dubious move that gives white an easy advantage with a big center. I looked into online databases and saw he played this Nf6 moves several times. Therefore, for the first time in a long time, I played 1.d4 instead of my usual 1.e4. He then shocked me by playing 2. C5, the Benoni defense. Fortunately, I used to play the black side of the Benoni so knew the theory pretty well and got an advantage. However, I eventually made a few errors and blundered a pawn in some of the tactical complications and went on to lose. 
Too be honest, never did I ever feel so bittersweet about tying for first in a tournament. On one hand, I had a great tournament and won a nice $933; on the other, a few simple stakes costed me almost $700. Clear first place was worth $1600. 
Nevertheless, I am certainly happy I played in this inaugural event of the USA Chess Tour. I look forward to playing in the “Queens Championship” at the Stewart Hotel December 7-9: https://usachesstour.com/1st-annual-queens-classical-chess-championship/ They also have an amazing IM-GM tournament coming up November 1-5: https://usachesstour.com/gm-and-im-norm-tournaments/ 

First American World Champion Since 1972?!

First American World Champion Since 1972?!

Image result for fabiano caruana magnus carlsen

This Friday, November 9, World Champion Magnus Carlsen will take on Fabiano Caruana, the first American challenger since Bobby Fischer in 1972 in the first game of the 2018 World Championship Match in London!

In 2016, I had the opportunity to attend one of the games of the match Magnus played against Challenger Sergey Karjakin in our home turf of New York City. I even had the honor of getting on Norweigian television as I stood by Magnus’ manager Espen Agdestein during the press conference!:

http://www.vgtv.no/#!/video/134450/mann-forvirrer-direktesendingen

One day in 2000, my former teach Alan Kantor took me to the tournament, warning me that as a 1000-rated player, I would likely lose all of my games. After losing eight or nine straight games, I saw an eight-year old kid and thought to my self “Wow- I could finally win a game in this tournament”. I started playing against him and he blundered a queen. Sure enough I ended up blundering one back and went on to lose the game. I asked him what his name and rating was; he shockingly told me he was “Fabiano Caruana” and had a rating of 1833. At the time, I heard of his name but didn’t know what he looked like.

Since that day, I had the pleasure of watching Fabiano grow up a chess player in New York. Gary Ryan, the co-organizer of our 1st Annual Grace Church School and Brooklyn Friends School Grand Prix, was one his first teachers.

One day many up and coming juniors, including GM Robert Hess, GM Marc Arnold, Fabiano and I were running around, letting off some steam between rounds at a Marshall Chess Club tournament. Fabiano’s father Lou told him he couldn’t hang out with us and had to prepare for the next game.

A year or two later, Fabiano was already a strong master and moved to Europe to take chess on as a full-time career. I do have the honor of being able to say I drew him in one action game at one of his last few tournaments at the Marshall before he moving to Europe when he was already a master: http://www.uschess.org/msa/XtblMain.php?200410164710-12743305.

In 2006, I saw Fabiano at the Eastern Open when his dad Lou expressed how that was one of the few tournaments he would play at the U.S at the time as it was mostly 1 game per day.

In 2015, Fabiano returned to the United States, living in St. Louis and has been the top player in the country.

To date, Fabiano has played Magnus in 33 classical games. These were the results:

-10 Magnus wins
-5 Fabiano wins
-18 draws

The match, which will last from 11/9 to 11/28, will be directed by Stephane Escate from France.

Time Magazine, NY Times and The Guardian have already covered articles about match; let’s see how much the major publications cover the match as it begins.

While you can follow the mainstream media, you can also keep up with the match via these four platforms:

1) www.worldchess.com

2)Revealing the Power of Chess to the World of Business & Finance/ World Championship Update, 11/15

3)https://www.twitch.tv/chessbrah

4) www.facebook.com/premierchess

Let’s go Team Fabi!!!