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.

Nittel Nacht 5780

Last year before Gillie Shanowitz, Director of New York Hebrew, hired us to run our first Shabbat Class ( our next one is coming up on Jan 18, 2020), she was impressed about how many Chabad Shluchim (emissaries of the Lubavitcher Rebbe) I knew well.  Over the years, several Chabad Rabbis, including Peretz Chein of Chabad of Brandeis, Mendy Turen of Chabad of Springfield and Rav Shaye Gerlitzky of Chabad Tel Aviv University have become dear friends and mentors. Peretz has inspired me to abide by ufartazta, meaning to always get outside of my comfort zone. Mendy took me to Chabad Headquarters for the first time and allowed me to spend a full shabbat there with his family. Shaye inspired me to go to Slichot services at the Western Wall in Jerusalem last year, which turned out to be a life-changing inspirational experience.

When I explained to Gillie that “ I knew a lot of Chabadnicks for a non-Chabadnik, she said “I like everything you say except for one thing- ‘you don’t think you are a Chabadnik, but you are.”

Last night I had the honor of attending Chabad Headquarters at 770 Eastern Parkway for its annnual Nittel Nacht Chess Party .  As Jews were often forbidden from appearing in public on Christmas in the Middle Ages, Christmas Eve is the one day of the year that is a Chabad Custom to not study Torah. Instead, every year you can find Chasidic Jews and others of all ages playing slow and blitz chess games. The 30ish players that showed up last night ranged from absolute beginner to master.

After grabbing a delicious shawarma laffa and latke for dinner at Prime Avenue for dinner with Daniel Slavin and Michael Raphael, we headed over to 770 at around 8:00 PM. I played consecutive blitz games until 10:50 PM and went undefeated. However, I did play a few master level players, including Jeremiah Smith who joined us there.

It was great to see a familiar face, that of Expert Moshe Uminer, a friend used to frequently play at the Marshall Chess Club. We were both shocked to see each other; he also was pleasantly surprised when I told him I now put tefilin on almost each day. Nittel Nacht at 770 was a great experience because it showed the communal aspect of chess; no matter what age or background one is, he could participate. While a majority of participants were Chasidic Jews, they were most certainly open to people of other backgrounds. At the end of the Lubavitcher Renee was famous for saying “Labels are for shirts.”

Chess and Judaism are both opportunities to meet people. Wherever I travel, I look for chess and Jewish communities. For instance, when I traveled to Buenos Aires in 2015, I played and tied for third place in a blitz tournament at Club Argentino and observed Rosh Hoshana and Yom Kippur at Chabad of Palermo Soho. Learn more about my chess community ventures here. 

Gratitude for our 2019 Premier Chess Award Winners

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin

“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.”

John F. Kennedy

I am forever grateful for the instructors, clients, networking partners and friends who showed up at our Second Annual Premier Chess Holiday Party at Accupuncturist Dr. Anna Folckomer ’s office this past weekend.

When I started Premier Chess in July 2017 , I did not think we would be in 70 schools and companies, including the law firm Kramer Levin, within a period of 2.5 years. However, hard work does pay off and with the addition of Solomon Shechter Manhattan , we did cross the 70-school finish line last week.

While it was my second time hosting the event, it was my first time giving yearly awards. Congrats to the winners:

Premier Chess Couple of the Year: Dr. Anna Folckomer and Ted Griffith

Premier Chess Parents of the Year: My mother Cindy Arth and father Keith Rabin, President of KWRINTL

Premier Chess Support of the Year: My uncle Adam Rabin

Premier Chess Fan of the Year: Steven Mitlitzky, the only player, other than I, to have played in everyone one of our Blitz Tournaments

Premier Chess Student of the Year: Ryan Huang

Premier Chess Networkers of the Year: BNI Chapter 54

Premier Chess Phyiscal Trainer of the Year: Mike Murray of Atomic Total Fitness

Premier Chess Education Partners of the Year: Mike Papapavlou, Owner of Guitar Guide Guru and Michael Deutsch, Owner of Hands on Hoops

Premier Chess Assistant Instructors of the Year: Serena and  Markus Cuellar 

Premier Chess Instructor of the Year: Phil Rosenberg

Premier Chess Girlfriend of the Year: Mandy Gottlieb, who’s about to finish her masters in special education at Lehman College 

Without the support of these people and many more, Premier Chess would not grow, flourish and prosper.   I would like to thank our winners, and the rest of our instructors, partners and friends for making this a wonderful holiday season.

Why do Curriclum Chess Classes?

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin

Premier Chess currently teaches critical thinking skills, pattern recognition, healthy competition and more through curriculum classes to students in pre-school through high school,in schools including Summit School and PS 14.

“Chess helps with getting kids used to patience and stamina

Sheila Agalia, Principal of St. Peter’s School in Yonkers.

Here are several of the reasons curriculum classes are a great option:

Transferable Skills: Through teaching rules and basic strategy, we illustrate thought process,scientific planning, evaluation, coordinates and basic business lessons that will be useful in otherclasses, extra-curricular activities and everyday life.

Great Exposure to Chess– Rarely will an elementary school student inquire about learning chess if he is never exposed the game. Since in a curriculum class, all students needs to learn, all children will have a chance to learn. By the end of a semester, students will typically be able to play a legal game of chess with basic strategy and be ready to compete in tournaments.

Gateway to Club: Often curriculum classes will act as feeder into the after-school program. While curriculum classes will enable to students to get acquainted with the game, club will help them get ready to represent their school at tournaments.

This is what a typical 45-minute curriculum class will look like:

20 Minutes: Interactive Lecture

20 Minutes: Related Activity/ Free-Play

-5 Minutes: Clean-Up

To learn more, about our curriculum class options, please contact Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin at (917) 776-1306 or evan@premierchess.com.

Tribute to Jersey City

I grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, I rarely crossed the Hudson River to Jersey City until recent years. However, when I started Premier Chess 2.5 years ago, I realized many of the schools in Jersey City have never been reached out to regarding the idea of setting up chess programs. Soon after, Jersey City Global Charter School Jersey City Global Charter School became one of our first school programs. A few weeks after, the School’s Open House happened to be on the eve of Rosh Hoshana so I decided to go to a meal at Chabad of Hoboken. 

Recently we have noticed two tragedies in Jersey City:

1) On Monday, November 18 our wonderful instructor National Master Lev Khariton, who taught f/or us at Jersey City Global Charter School, Waterfront Montessori  , Embankment School  and Grace Church School ,passed away from a stroke, leaving behind his wife, three children and one grandchild. In addition to being an amazing teacher, Lev was a fantastic player,  storyteller, poet, entertainer and much more.

2) Several weeks later, as we approach the holiday of Hanukkah, we are devastated to hear of the terrible, anti-Semitic shooting and murder of six at the JC Kosher Grocery. Mrs. Ferencz, devoted mother, wife and a pillar in the community was gunned down in cold blood. The grocery which was their source of income now stands destroyed, raked by bullets and covered in the blood of innocents.

On Saturday at our 1st Annual Premier Chess and Top Level Chess Grand Prix Tournament #31st Annual Premier Chess and Top Level Chess Grand Prix Tournament #3, we will have a silent auction.  50% of the money raised will go to Lev Khariton’s family. The remaining half will go to JC Victims Charidy Campaign. If you have a product or service you can donate to auction, please email evan@premierchess.com.