Podcast on Chess, Education, Business and Life

NLP Trainer Susan Holman and I recording Episode 4

Hello Premier Chess fans. I am excited to announce, thanks to inspiration from Adam Shuty, owner of Atomic Total Fitness ,I started a brand new podcast. Check out the recent episode of Adam’s podcast that I was on here. 

On podcast, I will have frequent guests and discuss chess strategy and business and life applications of the game.

The first four espiodes feature:

1) Introduction to I, Evan Rabin, CEO of Premier Chess and the company

2)Interview with Michael Deutsch, owner of Hands on Hopps Skills

3) Interview with American Youth Table Tennis Organization team

4) Interview with NLP Trainer Susan Holman

What types of podcast would you like to learn about on podcast? Who would you like to see as a guest? Email your ideas to evan@premierchess.com.

Latvian Gambit

by Matt Grinberg, Founder of Alamogordo Chess Club

I was thinking about the Latvian Gambit recently.  I used to play it regularly and had good success against higher rated players.  Unfortunately it didn’t seem to work so well against lower rated players.

I think the problem for higher rated players was that they knew a little about it, but not as much as me.  So they would play the most aggressive moves for a while, but wouldn’t know how to follow up.  On the other hand, lower rated players just played natural moves and got a good position.  Eventually I gave up on it.

But, if you haven’t ever tried it, you will find it a fun opening.  It is worth trying, especially against higher rated players.  But first you have to have some idea of what you are doing.

The Latvian Gambit starts with 1. e4 e5, 2. Nf3 f5!?.  It is questionable whether the Latvian is really sound.  You don’t see Grandmasters playing it, but it is popular among many amateurs with an adventurous spirit, or who just want to take their opponent out of “normal” lines.  It is also popular in correspondence play.  The main strategic idea for Black is to plant pawns on d5 and e4, then use his dominating center and open lines to stifle White’s play and launch an eventual counter attack.  Black will frequently give up his g and h pawns or even his rook on h8 to lure White into wasting valuable time.  White’s strategy is to either prevent or undermine Black’s center and exploit the weakening of Black’s king side.  If White doesn’t get too caught up in trying to punish Black by winning material, he gets the better game.  But if White isn’t careful, he can often find himself blown away before he knows what hit him.

The intent of this primer is to give the non-Latvian player a brief over view.  I have borrowed heavily from five sources:

1. “Latvian Gambit,” Ken Smith and John Jacobs, Chess Digest, 1977

2. “ECO C, Second Edition,” Paul Keres (Aleksander Matanovic, Editor), Chess Informant, 1981

3. “Latvian Gambit,” Kon Grivainis, Thinkers Press, 1985

4. “Chess Assistant 16,” Convekta Ltd, 2018

5. “New Developments in the Latvian Gambit,” Chess Enterprises, 1998

Keep in mind that this is just an over view.  There are oodles (a technical term) of interesting side variations for both sides.  Let your imagination run wild!

1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 f5!? Black aggressively fights for the center, but is it worth weakening the kingside?  This is played about 10 times more frequently in correspondence chess than in over the board chess.  I guess correspondence players are more daring.

<At move 3 White has several choices. 3. Nxe5 This is the main line and White’s only serious attempt at refuting the Latvian.  The defense is unquestionably difficult, but Black has resources.  In spite of extensive analysis over the last century, no refutation is in sight.  But first, let’s look at the alternatives for White.
  1. 3. d3?! This move is safe but insipid.  It causes Black no problems and blocks in White’s king bishop.  Black equalizes easily. 3… Nc6 4. Nc3 Nf6 5. Bg5 Bb4 6. exf5 d5 7. a3 Bxc3 8. bxc3 Black is at worst equal;
  2. 3. d4!? Better than 3. d3 since it doesn’t block in the bishop.  However, with a little care, Black still has no trouble equalizing. 3… fxe4 4. Nxe5 Nf6 5. Bg5 Be7 6. Nc3 d6 7. Nc4 O-O 8. Ne3 Nc6=;
  3. 3. Nc3 A good solid flexible move which gives White a slight pull, but gives Black no great problems so long as he is prepared to play the Schliemann Defense. 3… Nc6 4. d4 (4. Bb5 Transposing to the Schliemann Defense of the Ruy Lopez. 4… fxe4 5. Nxe4 d5 6. Nxe5 dxe4 7. Nxc6 Qg5 Theory says this is slightly better for White.  I’ll take theory’s word for it) 4… fxe4 5. Nxe5 Nf6 6. Bg5 Bb4 White is slightly better;
  4. 3. exf5 This move is tricky, but Black holds his own if he knows what he is doing.  White wins material if Black follows theory, but White may end up regretting the time wasted. 3… e4 This is the main line of this variation. (Black can also play 3… d6 when White transposes to a line of Philidor’s Defense. 4. d4 e4 5. Ng5 Nf6 6. Ne6 Bxe6 7. fxe6 d5 8. c4! It will be difficult for Black to both hold his center together and win back the pawn) 4. Ne5 Nf6 5. Be2 Be7 (The old move is 5… d6 6. Bh5 Ke7 7. Nf7 Qe8 8. Nc3 (Or 8. Nxh8 Qxh5 9. Qxh5 Nxh5 10. g4 Nf6 The outcome hinges on the fate of the knight on h8) 8… Nxh5 9. Nd5 Kxf7 10. Qxh5 g6 11. fxg6 Kg7 12. Nxc7 Qc6 13. Nxa8 Keres claims this is slightly better for White, but I would say it is about as clear as mud) 6. Bh5 Kf8 7. Nf7 Qe8 8. Nxh8 Qxh5 9. Qxh5 Nxh5 Again the outcome hinges on the fate of the knight on h8;
  5. 3. Bc4 This at one time was considered a refutation of the Latvian.  Now theory just considers it unclear.  It’s hard to argue with the idea of just ignoring Black’s silliness and continuing development, but it’s not that simple.  By far the most common move here is 3… fxe4.  Moves such as 3… Nc6 and 3… d6 are playable, but allow White to get a good position with no trouble.  Deserving some attention, however, are 3… b5!? and 3… Nf6!? 3… fxe4
  1. 3… b5 The Strautins Variation – but it has two holes in it. 4. Bb3White continues with the policy of ignoring what Black is doing – hole number 1. (4. Bxb5?! White obligingly takes the bait. 4… fxe4 5. Nxe5 Qg5 6. d4 Qxg2 7. Rf1 Nf6 Black has a fine game; 4. Bxg8This is hole number 2.  White gets a great game with simple, straight forward play. Rxg8 5. d4 fxe4 6. Bg5 Be7 7. Nxe5! g6 (7… Bxg5? 8. Qh5 g6 (8… Ke7? 9. Qxg5 Ke8 10. Qh5 Ke7 11. Nc3 d5 12. Qf7 Kd6 13. Nxb5# 1-0, Tomson, Hans – Padula, Angel, corr. 1971)9. Qxh7 Rf8 10. Qxg6 Ke7 11. Qxg5 White wins) 8. Bxe7 Qxe7 9. Qe2 White regains the pawn with a good position) 4… fxe4 5. d3! Nf6 (5… exf3? 6. Qxf3 wins the rook on a8) 6. Nxe5 Black has a bad position with no counter play;
  2. 3… Nf6 The Morgado Variation.  Black intensifies the struggle for the center. 4. Nxe5 Qe7 5. d4 (Not 5. Nf7? Qxe4 6. Qe2 Qxe2 7. Kxe2 d5!) 5… Nc6 6. Nc3 (6. Nf7? again fails to 6… d5) 6… Nxe5 7. dxe5 Qxe5 8. O-O fxe4 White is better due to Black’s lack of development and the exposed position of the king and queen on the half open e-file)

4. Nxe5 d5! The Svendenborg Variation (I’m not kidding).  This is the ultimate Latvian line.  Both sides follow their basic strategic ideas without regard to what the other is doing. (4… Qg5!? There has been reams of analysis on this line without any conclusion!  In practice White has done well in this line, but who knows?  I’ll just give the main line and let you draw your own conclusions. 5. d4 Qxg2 6. Qh5 g6 7. Bf7 Kd8 8. Bxg6 Qxh1 9. Ke2 Black can either try to find a safe haven for his king with 9… c6, or throw caution to the wind with 9… Qxc1.  In both cases the position is unclear) 5. Qh5 g6 6. Nxg6 hxg6 White now has a choice of which thing to take. (Also good is 6… Nf6 7. Qe5 Be7 8. Bb5 c6 9. Nxe7 Qxe7 10. Qxe7 Kxe7 11. Be2 Black has more space, but White has an extra pawn and the bishop pair) 7. Qxg6 White eschews the rook, but keeps the initiative. (7. Qxh8 As so often is the case in the Latvian, White grabs the rook at the expense of ceding the initiative. 7… Kf7 Black threatens to entomb the White queen with 8… Bg7. 8. Qd4 Be6 9. Bb3 Nc6 10. Qe3 Bh6 11. f4 Nf6 Black’s strong center and better development give him compensation for the exchange and pawn) 7… Kd7 (7… Ke7 is bad because of 8. d4!) 8. Bxd5 Nf6 9. Nc3 Qe7 10. d3 exd3 11. Be3 We have another one of those “clear as mud” positions

3… Qf6 Certainly unorthodox, but it serves well both defensively (preventing 4. Qh5+) and offensively (attacks the knight).  The down side is it takes away the best square for the king knight and the Queen may be exposed to attack.  There are two main continuations.

[A dubious sideline is 3… Nc6?! This is simply an attempt to bait White into playing 4. Qh5+, but if White sidesteps it, he has no problems. 4. Qh5 White “falls” for the trap, but gets the better game anyway. (4. Nxc6 White prefers to keep things simple. 4… dxc6 5. d4 Qh4 6. exf5 Bxf5 7. Bd3 White is a pawn up with a good position) 4… g6 5. Nxg6 Nf6 6. Qh3 (Or 6. Qh4 Rg8 7. Nxf8 Rg4 8. Qh6 Rxe4 9. Be2 Qe7 10. Nc3 Rxe2 11. Nxe2 Nd4 12. O-O Nxe2 13. Kh1 d5 14. Nxh7 Nxh7 15. Qh5 Kf8 16. d3 Nxc1 17. Raxc1 White has a rook and two pawns for a bishop and knight, and his king is safe (unlike Black’s)) 6… fxe4 7. Nxh8 d5 In spite of the extra rook and pawn, White faces severe problems in terms of space and development.  The position favors White]

4. Nc4 White retains the option of playing the d-pawn to d3.  This is the line that tests Black most severely.

[4. d4 Seemingly obvious, but not best.  The problem is that White needs this pawn on d3 to challenge e4 after the inevitable … fxe4. 4… d6 (The immediate 4… fxe4 is unplayable because of 5. Bc4) 5. Nc4 fxe4 6. Nc3 The usual move.  White has two alternatives.

  1. First is 6. Ne3 This is an attempt to control d5, but moving this knight four times in the first six moves just can’t be right.  Black gets a satisfactory position by continuing his development 6… Nc6 7. Bb5 Bd7;
  2. Second is 6. Be2 preventing the normal …Qg6, but Black does well with either 6…Qd8 or 6… Nc6)

6… Qg6 7. f3 exf3 8. Qxf3 Nc6 9. Bd3 Qg4 Keres rates this position as equal]

4… fxe4 5. Nc3 This is the key position in the current theory of the Latvian.  There are four commonly played answers by Black. 5… Qf7 This is currently considered to be Black’s best try, but it is still not quite sufficient.

5… Qg6 This used to be considered the “only” move. 6. d3! Bb4 7. Bd2 Bxc3 8. Bxc3 Nf6 9. Bxf6 gxf6 10. dxe4 Qxe4 11. Ne3 Qb4 12. c3 Qxb2 13. Rc1 Black has an extra pawn, but his lack of development and exposed king give White the better game;

  1. 5… Qe6 Black attempts to prevent d3, but it works for only one move. 6. Ne3 c6 7. d3 d5 8. dxe4 dxe4 9. Bc4 Black is behind in development, his e-pawn is weak and his king and queen are exposed to attack;
  2. 5… c6 This seldom played move is better than the above two queen moves because it immediately forces the strategically important …d5. 6. Nxe4 White plays for an advantage. (6. Ne3?! White plays it safe. 6… d5 7. d3 exd3 8. Bxd3 Bd6 9. O-O Ne7 10. Ne2 O-O=) 6… Qe6 7. Qh5 Best. (7. Qe2?! d5 8. Ncd6 (8. Ned6!? Kd8 9. Nxb7 Kc7 10. Nba5 Qxe2 11. Bxe2 dxc4 12. Nxc4 In this unbalanced position, White has three pawns for a knight and better pawn structure, but Black has a freer position.  The chances are about equal) 8… Kd8 9. Ng5 Qxe2 10. Bxe2 Bxd6 11. Nf7 Kc7 12. Nxh8 Be6 Black will eventually win the knight on h8, but the time wasted will give White the advantage) 7… g6 8. Qe5 Qxe5 9. Nxe5 d5 10. Ng5 Nf6 11. d4 White has an extra pawn and Black has no compensation.

6. Ne3 c6 7. Nxe4 White simply takes the pawn and defies Black to find compensation.

[7. d3 This is another move that was once thought to be a refutation. 7… exd3 8. Bxd3 d5 9. O-O Bd6 (Black cannot play 9… d4?! because of 10. Bc4 Qd7 11. Qh5 Kd8(Or 11… g6 12. Qe5) 12. Rd1 White is better) 10. Re1 Ne7 Now if Black can castle, he has no problems.  So White plays one of two sacrifices. 11. Nc4 (11. Nexd5 cxd5 12. Nb5 O-O! By returning the piece, Black gets a good position. 13. Nxd6 Qxf2 14. Kh1 Bg4 15. Qd2 Qh4 16. Qe3 Nbc6 17. Bd2 Rf6 18. Qg5 Qxg5 19. Bxg5 Rxd6 20. Bxe7 Re6 21. Rxe6 Bxe6 22. Bd6 1/2-1/2, Stevens – Bianchi, Guillaume (FRA) 2113, France 1995) 11… dxc4 12. Bxc4 Bxh2 Black returns the piece for equality. 13. Kxh2 Qxc4 14. Bg5 O-O 15. Bxe7=]

7… d5 8. Ng5 Qf6 9. Nf3 Bd6 10. d4 Ne7 11. Bd3 Be6 12. O-O Nd7 Black has a freer position, but not enough for the pawn.

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I note that there is no record of the Latvian Gambit being played by a World Champion.  However, there are three games known where it was played against a future World Champion – two against Jose Raul Capablanca and one against Bobby Fischer.  Capablanca split his two games and Fischer lost.

 If you want to give the Latvian Gambit a try, I’ll see you in the proverbial trenches!

Alamogordo Chess Club:  Plateau Espresso, 2724 Scenic Dr. Alamogordo; Monday from 4pm to whenever you feel like leaving.

Matt Grinberg, matt.grinberg@erols.com, (575) 415-3628

Halftime at 1st Annual Premier Chess and Top Level Chess Grand Prix


It is now half-time of our 1st Annual Premier Chess and Top Level Chess Grand Prix!  

Our first few five tournaments went by more quickly than we ever could have imagined.

Congrats to Mateo Uribe from PS 321 who is currently leading the Grand Prix with a fitting score of 64.  Julian Griffin from Buckley is the only child who has participated in all 5 tournaments so far, giving him a great multiplier, putting him in second place with 55 points. In third place, we have last year’s Grand Prix winner Aarav Roy from Jersey City Global Charter School . Can he catch up to win 1st place?

The top 10 players in Grand Prix will win prizes from American Chess EquipmentChess Kid and other great sources.

Here are the full-list of Grand Prix Standings after half-way mark:

Register today for our next tournament at Grace Church School on February 23, where we will be hosting a silent auction to raise money for Kasparov Chess Foundation .

Electrical Contracting and Chess

How would I compare the electrical contracting industry to a game of chess, easy

Start with a sales strategy                                                                        Start with a game strategy

Make your first move                                                                                Make your first move

Study and observe your client                                                                 Study and observe you opponent

Revisit your sales strategy                                                                       Revisit your game strategy

Sell to win                                                                                                   Play to win

Close the sale                                                                                            Win the game

-Ira S. Ketive, VP of Engineering at Absolute Electrical Contracting of NY, Inc.

ChessMatec by Grandmaster Boris Alterman

After co-directing our 4th tournament of 1st Annual Premier Chess and Top Level Chess Grand Prix  with Women’s International Master Shernaz Kennedy at Grace Church School this past Sunday, I had the privilege of meeting with Grandmaster Boris Alterman and his wife Luba Alterman. We chatted about our education businesses, my tournament experience in Israel, their upcoming meeting with Grandmaster Garry Kasparov and their app ChessMatec.
Here is Grandmaster Boris Alterman’s description of the game:
 is a fun, educational and interactive puzzle game, which teaches the basic rules, tactics and strategies of chess. You will have to beat the monsters and rescue the pieces in a game full of dangers and adventures. Our multi-lateral system enables to convey lessons in an active and exciting way to each student, making introduction to the game of chess easy and enjoyable, and allow each student to progress according to their individual starting point and pace.
Chessmatec is based on a trade-marked methodology. The Alterman Method has been developed over more than 20 years, and it’s a trade-marked approach to successfully teaching chess to kids as young as three.
Chessmatec has a proven track record.  The Alterman Method has been taught to K-3 kids for two decades, establishing it as the only comprehensive and successful kids’ chess program available in the world today.
And kids just love ChessMatec!
Our secret sauce is our high-end gamification, developed by talented developers.
ChessMatec is not just entertainment: it teaches kids chess fundamentals, honing their skills and strategy according to personal progress, reaching cognitive-demanding levels as advanced as decoying, deflection, annihilation of defense, smothered mate, mate in two and even mate in three.
All puzzles for the lessons were created by Grandmaster Boris Alterman and team of experienced chess teachers includes an integration of chess lessons and it’s the most advanced tool in learning and practicing chess in a fun and effective way.
BASED ON THE IN-SCHOOL EDUCATION PROGRAM “ALTERMAN CHESS”
— Super safe for kids (no ads, no personal data collection, no social features)
— 8 levels and 1500 mini games and puzzles.
— Play simplified and full chess game against Chess Engine.
— Entertaining and challenging.
— Get points for correct answers, gain ranks, track your progress!
— Synchronized access for all your devices (PC, Tablet or Smartphone

About ChessMatec App https://www.chessmatec.com:
ChessMatec app is a fun, educational and interactive puzzle game, which teaches the basic rules, tactics and strategies of chess. You will have to beat the monsters and rescue the pieces in a game full of dangers and adventures. Our multi-lateral system enables to convey lessons in an active and exciting way to each student, making introduction to the game of chess easy and enjoyable, and allow each student to progress according to their individual starting point and pace.
Chessmatec is based on a trade-marked methodology. The Alterman Method has been developed over more than 20 years, and it’s a trade-marked approach to successfully teaching chess to kids as young as three.
Chessmatec has a proven track record.The Alterman Method has been taught to K-3 kids for two decades, establishing it as the only comprehensive and successful kids’ chess program available in the world today.
And kids just love ChessMatec!
Our secret sauce is our high-end gamification, developed by talented developers.
ChessMatec is not just entertainment: it teaches kids chess fundamentals, honing their skills and strategy according to personal progress, reaching cognitive-demanding levels as advanced as decoying, deflection, annihilation of defense, smothered mate, mate in two and even mate in three.
All puzzles for the lessons were created by Grandmaster Boris Alterman and team of experienced chess teachers includes an integration of chess lessons and it’s the most advanced tool in learning and practicing chess in a fun and effective way.
BASED ON THE IN-SCHOOL EDUCATION PROGRAM “ALTERMAN CHESS”
— Super safe for kids (no ads, no personal data collection, no social features)
— 8 levels and 1500 mini games and puzzles.
— Play simplified and full chess game against Chess Engine.
— Entertaining and challenging.
— Get points for correct answers, gain ranks, track your progress!
— Synchronized access for all your devices (PC, Tablet or Smartphone

Active Rest

While riding an exercise bike at Atomic Total Fitness, my trainer Mike Murray was training me how to alternative between some intervals where I’d sprint and others where I’d take “active rest”. Naturally as a chess player, I overanalyzed his guidance to determine the rational of the paradox. By slowing down but continuing to pedal, one could keep exercising but conserve some energy. Likewise, one can lay down or solve 100 chess tactics; both are equally physically relaxing but one’s brain will be fried after the latter. When playing chess, it’s important to dedicate 100% of your energy to the game itself. My coach Grandmaster Leonid Yudasin used to frequently tell me to avoid playing tournaments when I had too many external factors on my mind- an upcoming test, trip, girl I had a crush on, etc.

How does one allocate that 100% of energy through out the game? A player needs to budget his time like he does with money. Two years ago, while I was helping Jonathan Corbblah coach his Trinity and PS 166 students at the New York State Championships in Saratoga, I was starting to get disappointed due to every chess coach’s nightmare- when all students run back to the team room 5-10 minutes after the round as they already finished their games. I’d ask most of them how much time they had left and they would say 50 or 55 minutes, when the time control was G/60 (60 minutes per player). Jonathan and I repeated to the students that that they should slow down but round after round, they would consistently rush their moves and finish their games way too quickly.

Soon, I realized as coaches, we needed to be more concrete with our instructions and teach them a decent way to manage their time. The average chess game is around 40 moves. Therefore, students should spend about 1.5 minutes on each move. If one is playing a tournament that is G/120, he should budget around 3 minutes per move.

To the contrary, this idea of dividing the time control by 40 should be used only as a guideline. In general, one should not make a move in under the per-move timeframe. While I tell students to even spend this amount of time on the opening moves, to get them in the habit of doing so, few top players will spend that much time on variations that they’ve played hundreds of times before. That said, some top players will- look at Grandmaster Alexander Ivanov. While he has played the Modern Defense several hundred times or more, you will often see him go into a 10 move think on move 1, 2 or 3. I once asked him why he thought so long in the first few moves. He then explained, while he does know the theory well, he usually wants to relax, gain composure, devote his energy to the game and try and remember any opening preparation that he may have forgotten.

We all know that one blunder can ruin a whole chess game. Therefore it is important to continuously focus just as Mike wanted to remain pedaling, even if more slowly than at other junctures. Each move one should follow a thought process, as outlined in my recent US Chess article.  However, one must differentiate critical positions, where there a lot of complications, e.g material imbalances, attacks threats, etc. In these positions, where the evaluation could easily swing by several points, it is important to spend as much as time as you need to come up with the best concrete solution.

As the MTA  says, you must always remain alert and “If you see something, say something.” Whether it be fitness training, playing a chess game, or running a business, its important to take breaks and relax but one should never put his feet on the brake entirely. As the Allman Brothers say, “The road goes on forever”!

The Root of the Problem

After losing a chess game, a beginner will often ask “Where did I go wrong?” The truth is most often a player will not lose a game because of 1 bad move. While it is true one major blunder can ruin a game, generally speaking a better player wins because he makes better moves to than his opponent on the whole. Tomorrow on the 10th of Tevet ,Jews observe a minor fast as it was this day in 3336/590 BCE when the Babylonian Emperor Nebuchadnezzar  layed seize of Jerusalem.  30 months later the temple was destroyed and the Jews were exiled to Babylon for 70 years. This fast day teaches us the importance of going back to the initial step, as taught by the Manhattan Jewish Experience.

At Kotel During Selichot Services in August 2018 When analyzing with my coach Grandmaster Leonid Yudasin, I would often state I lost a game because of a simple blunder. While such statements had some wait, Yudasin would force me to figure out each time specifically why I made such mistakes. More often than not, there would be clear answers, such as I was distracted thinking of something unrelated to the board, I got overconfident and misevaluated the position, etc.

Consider this game I played against International Master Max Cornejo in the 2012 Northern California Interational:

One can state I simply lost this game because I made a blunder,  making  20. Bxe6, an unsound sacrifice. I absentmindedly played the sacrifice, thinking I could either create a perpetual or take enough pawns to make the piece sacrifice work. However the two pawns I ended up getting piece were certainly not sufficient for the piece.

In reality, I made my first major mistake of the game several moves earlier  as I played 14. d4. I was in too much of a rush to open up my bishop on f1 and free the rest of the pieces. Had I played a3, with the simple plan of taking advantage of the queen being exposed on a5 by playing b4, I would have had a better position.

A few moves later, I allowed a domino effect by making a much bigger mistake. I should have not overthink my options and made a normal developing move like 20. Rad1 when white’s position would be fine. I should have reassessed the position and realized it was just equal.

Just like in chess, businesses should constantly re-evaluate their positions. Blockbuster collapsed because over time it failed to innovate like its competitior Netflix. No longer were its clients interested in going into the store and taking out a film.  Blockbuster should have performed more market research on its customer base and realize what changes would be necessary to maintain a decent market share. That is why yellow cabs today need to continue to develop technologies, lower cost, and become more convenient if they want to compete with Uber, Lyft Via, etc.

Similarly in negotiation, one will go nowhere with his opponent if all he does is repeat his side of an argument:

Person A: ”I need the $100 right now.” 

Person B: “No you do not.”

Person A: “Yes, I do.”

Person B: “ You most definitely not.”

Person A and B will get no where if all they do is essentially say “yes” and “no”. In Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher and William Ury explain the importance of focusing on interests, not positions. Likewise, in a chess game, one should not just look at where he blundered but figure out the fundamental mistakes/misevaluations he made that led up to the final losing move.

A Premier Chess Year in Review

Instructors, Friends, Family and Clients at our 2nd Annual Holiday Party

“And if you see my reflection in the snow covered hills
Well, the landslide will bring it down
Oh, the landslide will bring it down”

-“Landslide” Fleetwood Mac

On the whole, 2019 was a great year for Premier Chess and we look forward to seeing what 2020 begins. As I am in Boston for New Year’s Eve, I can’t help but reflect. These were some of the highlights of 2019:

1) Expansion to new schools:

We went from 41 school programs in the beginning of the year, to now 71; that is a 78% increase! These are three of the partnerships I am most excited about:

Achievement First Crown Heights Elementary School:

At Achievement FIrst Crown Heights Elementary School, we offer after-school club two days per week for two hours/day. While we started program 2 months ago, kids are progressing quickly as students learn several hours per week.  We already have several students that are beginning to think about tournaments.

Gan Yeladim

Gan Yeladim is a special program for three reasons:

1) It is the first school we partnered with in Connecticut so were able to expand in a new state.

2) While we have run Shabbat classes at NY Hebrew in the past, this was the first Chabad school we rave run a consistent school program at a Chabad school. Read about my experience playing chess at Chabad Headquarters here.

3) It’s a small word after all; the nephew of my good friend Alana Bloom of Bloom Chiropractic is in one of our classes there.

Archdiocese of New York,

As the preferred chess vendor  for the Catholic Youth Organization, we have continued to run curriculum and after-school programs at 20+ Catholic schools in New York City, Rockland County, Westchester, Orange County and Ulster County. We look forward to venturing into more Catholic schools and hosting the 1st Annual CYO Chess Tournament in the spring; stay tuned for more details.

2) Partnership with Top Level Chess:

Top Level Chess CEO Shernaz Kennedy is the one who got me into chess when I was in 2nd grade at the Churchill School. It such a pleasure to now partner with her to run a Grand Prix of 10 tournaments; we look forward to seeing everyone at our next tournament at Grace Church Schoolon January 12, where will host a silent auction to raise money for Metro World Child.

3) Personal Growth: 

I am excited to have recently gotten into a new relationship and have learn a lot more about Judaism through my 1-1 learning partner Yosi Merves, Rabbi Mark Wildes, Rabbi Josh Klein and others through the Manhattan Jewish Experience fellowship.

Of course, we can never forget one major loss we faced this year as our amazing Jersey City Instructor Lev Khariton passed away in November. See my tribute to him here. We would love to see you at the 1st Annual Lev Khariton Memorial Bitz Tournament on Monday, February 25, 2020.

These are my top 3 2020 goals for Premier Chess: 

1) Expand to 100 schools.

2) Have at least team in the top 20 of their division at a state or national championship.

3) Recruit at least 5 volunteer instructors for 3rd Annual Make a Difference Teaching Chess in Africa Trip , which will take place July 11-18.

Happy New Year everyone!

Grand Prix Results after 3 Tournaments

As we were approaching the beginning of 2020, we have completed 3 out 10 of our Premier Chess and Top Level Chess Grand Prix tournaments.

You can see the results so far here.

This is scoring system for Grand Prix:

1st Place Trophy- 3 points
2nd Place Trophy- 2 points
3rd Place Trophy- 1 point
Playing at 2 Schools- 5 points
Playing at 3 Schools- 10 points

* Score will be multiplied by the number of tournament child plays.

** In order to be eligible for Grand Prix points, a child needs to play in one of our USCF rated sections.

The big question is will anyone catch up with the leader Riley Thompson,  a student of my alma-mater Churchill.  If anyone can likely do it, it is Aarav Roy, the Jersey City Global Charter School student, who won last year’s Grand Prix.

The top 10 players in Grand Prix at end of year will get prizes. As of now, these are the leaders:

Riley Thompson  Churchill
Aarav Roy  JCGS
Fielding Williams  Saint Bernards
Mateo Uribe  PS 321
Jamie Abaramson Saint Bernards
Armistead Williams Saint Bernards
Julian Griffin  Buckley
Sam Rahall  NEST
Eliza Keller Summit
Zachary Gaw Steven Gaynor
Christian Gaw Steven Gaynor

You should sign up your child for our January 12th Tournament at Grace Church School and January 25th Tournament at Town School now for 2 reasons:

1) Your child can increase his Grand Prix standing, considering his multiplier will go up and Grace Church School is a new venue.

2) Both tournaments are good practice for City Championships February 1-2.