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.