I won first place in the tournament with 6/6 points. Steve Miletzky, a Curan Ahlers LLP Attorney who has yet to miss a Premier Chess blitz tournament, won second place. Our instructor Nader Goubran won the U-2000 prize.
What do headstands and downward facing dogs have to do with your Chess performance? Maybe more than you think, this unlikely pair might just you the competitive edge needed to take your chess game to the next level.
What is Yoga and why is it so popular? Yoga is a 5,000 year old, ancient practice from India. The word Yoga means to yoke or bring union to. In the West Yoga is mostly practiced in its physical form but Yoga is far reaching and includes many different philosophies and practices.
Due to our stressed out and sedentary nature, the physical practice of Yoga has become increasingly popular in the West. Practitioners often experience therapeutic benefits such as less muscle tension, decrease in stress, better sleep, and more energy.
As a private Yoga instructor in NYC; I have helped CEOs, doctors, lawyers, and many other wonderful professions take their Yoga of their mat and into their everyday lives.
Below are 3 therapeutic benefits of Yoga that can also improve your chess game!
Concentration- Practicing Yoga is not only training your body but also your mind. Yoga heavily encourages the practice of mindful breathing. Anytime a practitioner loses the breathe count, they are encouraged to redirect their thoughts back to the breath. This creates a clear more focused mind. This very simple tool can be used both on and off the yoga mat to encourage clear focused thought in moments that may feel hard or overwhelming, like a difficult Chess match!
Reduces Stress- Do you ever get nervous before a big game or match? An overactive nervous system is probably to blame. When you perceive a situation as somewhat of a risk your body can kick your nervous system into overdrive. Your heart beats faster, your muscles contract, and your palms feel sweaty. This adrenaline rush can work to our advantage in some situations but for chess a game that requires skill and critical thinking for longer periods of time, it’s best to keep the nervous system in a more balanced response. Yoga teaches us more control of our body and our responses. The practice of learning poses that are difficult or seemingly beyond our reach, while practicing mindful breathing and focus re-educates our nervous system response. Learning Yoga literally changes our boundaries and fear response triggers, keeping our nervous system in a more balanced response.
Improves Posture- Everyone can agree that confidence is key, it’s one of the few mindset hacks that truly works at tackling any difficult task, like winning a chess match. But did you know, that our posture affects our biochemistry, mood, and ability to feel confident and powerful. Unfortunately for many of us it’s not just as simple as remembering to sit up straighter. Postural misalignments happen over years and are often accompanied by muscle atrophy and tightness. This means the right muscle must be activated again while other muscle groups must be lengthened. Many Yogis often find their posture improves because Yoga moves the spine in multiple directions opening the chest, upper/lower back, and legs while simultaneously strengthening the abdominals and paraspinal muscles. This means Yoga may be the answer if you want to walk into any chess match presenting yourself confidently!
Most importantly just like chess you can take the skills you learn in Yoga into your daily life. Regardless of what you are mastering in your chess game, Yoga can provide an overall more centered and purposeful life.
By- Alli Bradley, Private Yoga Instructor and Founder of Private Yoga Soho
My name is Elechi Kadete. I am running for Cambridge School Committee so that I can use my skills as a financial analyst and grant administrator to make a difference in the lives of all our children. Cambridge currently spends over 25K per year on each student. The School Committee needs someone with the educational background and experience to responsible manage these funds.
Furthermore I am an avid chess player, and former president of the Brandeis Chess Club. I realize how important the game of chess can be in the development of a child’s mind. Especially in the augmentation of strategic and cognitive skills. With your support I plan to introduce the game of chess to the Cambridge Public Schools especially in the form of early education programs.
Evan, thanks so
much for taking the time to talk with us about yourself and Premier Chess. To
start, how did you come to be where you are today?
I owe it chiefly to my teachers. It was because of mentors who went above and beyond their role and subject that I learned as much as I did and discovered as much about myself as I have. In the world of chess– I suppose it’s fitting to start with chess– in the world of chess, my most recent mentor was Grandmaster Leonid Yudasin. He was a competitor in the Israeli chess scene, ranked 7th in the world. What I learned from him, while pertinent first to chess, was no less critical when applied to the rest of my life. I learned small but crucial maxims. If you have the advantage in a game, don’t rush; run out the clock. Blunders are most easily made when you think you have victory in your grasp. Overconfidence will narrow your sight and make you blind you to what you otherwise can see.
The greatest lesson Grandmaster Yudasin taught me was to control my emotions. Emotions too can cloud judgment and so when you first sit down to a game – when you greet your opponent and see the board lay before you, at that moment, there is only the game. (If you are interested in working on emotional composure, Nilcee Schneider is a meditation and wellness coach and also offers Reiki sessions.) I’ve since learned that for any sport, this advice is heeded by the best of contenders. From Simone Biles to Magnus Carlsen, they see the (spring)board in front of them and nothing else.
You said Grandmaster Yudasin was your most recent mentor. Who else has helped you on your way?
David MacEnulty is a valued friend and mentor. From him, I learned hope has no place in chess. The only time for hope is at a dead lost position, because hoping or wishing means denying a core truth of chess, that only you, yourself are responsible for your actions. To rely on anything else is to deny your own autonomy and ability. Kevin McGee, my Vice President at Oracle, used to always say “Hope is a town in Arkansas.” Grandmaster Bill Lombardy is someone who has meant a lot to me. He was never officially my coach, but I have learned a great deal from him all the same. From him, I learned to continually evaluate and reevaluate my and my opponent’s position. Who has advantage and why? And how can it be lost? Grandmaster Lombardy asked me to pick one great player and examine their full games again and again. I picked Michael Adams and to this day, I still study his matches. He also taught me the value of holistic mentorship. As a teacher, your role is not simply to pass on the expertise of your specialization, but to help connect it to greater life lessons. Everything is connected and chess is no exception.
Thanks so much for speaking with us, Evan! We’ll see you again for Part II of this interview series soon.
Dementia is a horrific illness. From the outside, you see a person who was once so vibrant and strong reduced to an echo of who they once were. Alzheimer’s is often called ‘The Long Goodbye’ and it describes it well. And yet to fall victim to it must be indescribably worse. The mental faculties you have taken for granted the whole of your life become unreliable and that which was once certain is replaced with uncertainty and fear.
Sorry. This is not what you want to read on a blog about chess, but chess is the reason for this entry’s somber intro. A study was published in June examining whether chess could be a preventative measure against degenerative mental illnesses. (A shoutout to Dr. Alex Vasserman DMD who first showed me the paper.) The initial hypothesis was not particularly radical; there are existing studies demonstrating that stimulative mental exercise can deter and delay the progress of the disease, and what is chess if not the epitome of mental exercise? Nonetheless, this study is valuable for examining the precise impact of regular chess practice on dementia-vulnerable populations. While might be obvious that chess is a mentally-demanding game, it is worthwhile to understand some of the science behind it. Chess encompasses a number of key areas of cognition: memory, short and long-term, critical thinking, and visual–spatial ability. By engaging these multiple areas of the brain simultaneously, chess can be a preventive factor when these areas might otherwise atrophy from disuse. There is still much research to be done on both the neurodegenerative diseases and preventative measures, but this study is one more great step to understanding and doing away with dementia.
So consider making a weekly chess game part of your routine, if nothing else it’s great fun!