How Can Chess Prepare You for a Disaster?

By Beth Rowan, Founder of Evergreen Ally

To succeed in chess, you must decide up front whose game you want to play – yours or your opponent’s? If you don’t open strong and set up your play early, you may be relegated to merely defending your pieces from being taken.

The concept is the same in emergency preparedness.

Home disasters and crises do happen (hello, Coronavirus). The only thing you can control is how to deal with it. Will it be panic-hoarding toilet paper or confidently behaving to manage the situation?

My business, Evergreen Ally, customizes emergency preparedness & disaster recovery plans. I learned through a family tragedy how tough it is to rebuild your life after losing everything. Put simply, I help people identify the holes in their planning. I then educate and design safeguards so that they can navigate emergencies better.

It’s about being preemptive.

Here are 3 top tips to winning chess, from the United States Chess Federation, and how they align with optimum emergency preparedness.

1. Have a plan.

While the goal in chess is, of course, to win the game, it doesn’t just happen. A player must set up the board and initiate sequential moves that result in gaining the winning pieces.

When facing a disaster or crisis, having a plan improves the chances for survival and a quicker, less costly recovery. Without planning ahead, one is merely reacting and dodging hurdles, like a weaker chess player losing pieces. The weaker player knows he will lose, it’s just a matter of how big the loss will be.

 

2. Make the best possible move

Chess matches are timed, so each player must be strategic while using the least amount of time per move. They practice in order to excel at remaining calm and focused on maximizing each move’s advancement.

Staying calm and focused are also goals for an emergency plan. Once the likely hazards are identified and the best course of action learned, then you should practice this course of action.

The effects of panic are often overlooked. Who behaves intelligently under distress? When facing a new crisis, would you feel confident following someone else’s lead? Who will make the best decisions for your family’s safety and protection?

Without time to evaluate your options, how can one be assured they are making the best move?

3. Know what the pieces are worth.

Chess pieces have different movements and values. Players orchestrate their ‘team’ to work together to achieve a win. Understanding which pieces are more powerful and which can be sacrificed are important nuances for beating an opponent effectively.

In disaster preparedness, it’s vital to know your protections and risk levels. Do you live in a flood zone but are not covered for flood damage? Do your business contracts include a business interruption clause? Does a family member have mobility difficulties that could make fleeing a fire problematic?

Learning the reality of your coverage after a disaster event does not leave room for maneuvering. Addressing questions like a) How much money are you willing to lose? and b) How much disruption can your household endure? are vital, yet very individual.

A sound emergency preparedness plan involves household continuity, personal safety, financial security, and legacy planning that together achieve a speedy and beneficial recovery. Avoiding proper planning in any one of these areas can, essentially, be devastating.

Learning these fundamentals are a life lesson for anyone – even if you aren’t a chess grandmaster.

Beth Rowan is the founder of Evergreen Ally, Inc., providing customized Emergency Preparedness & Disaster Recovery Planning. Peace of Mind, Delivered.

Click here to learn more about Evergreen Ally

It’s All About the Endgame

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

When I first started learning chess my main point of focus was openings. Generally openings are often a starter point for new chess players. Unfortunately many new players like myself forget to learn the endgame as well. This can lead to a game loss as we see in this game between Henry Terrie, playing as white, and International Master Emory Tate, playing as Black. What at first seems like a draw one of the players manages to play a fantastic endgame and take the win. (Emory Tate, May He Rest in Peace, pictured on the right).

The game begins with the English Opening. Terrie plays c4 a powerful move. This opening was first played by English Chess Champion, Howard Staunton, which is how it earned its name. Tate then responds by  playing d6. This move may appear odd as many would combat this move with e5 by taking control of the center which is what Tate does on the following move.

As the game progresses it is a bit hard to tell who is in a better position. The board seems to be in a relatively open state so it would appear that Terrie has the advantage with his two bishops over Tate’s two knights.

Eventually the game reaches a point where each player has six pawns and a rook. Unfortunately for Terrie his pawns are in a worse position as he has stacked pawns. Terrie plays Rd5 offering a Rook trade and an opportunity to unstack his pawns. But then suddenly Tate plays an impressive move. Before scrolling any further try figuring out Tate’s winning move.

Tate then plays Rd1+ sacrificing his rook. Terrie is forced to take the rook with his king and then Tate plays hxg2. Terrie is unable to move his king back to f1 due to the black pawn and resigns as Tate is about to earn a queen. This game shows how important it is to study the endgame. A game that could have ended up in a draw ended up as a win for Tate due to his ingenuity. It’s important to not just explore the beginning and middle of a game, but the end as well.

 

Chess in the Olympics?

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

The last time the Olympic Games were cancelled was in 1940. Japan was going to be the first non-Western country to host the Olympics. However, after Japan declared war on China the games were cancelled.

It has been 80 years since then and the Olympic games have once again been canceled due to the virus. Although the games are not completely cancelled, they will be postponed to a later date.

After the Olympics in Tokyo, the next Summer Olympics is to be held in Paris, France in 2024. A few new sports were proposed to be added to the Olympic Games, one of them being chess.

Recently a campaign was launched to include chess in the Paris Olympic Games in 2024. Due to the campaign FIDE has decided to advocate for chess by nominating it for the Olympic Games. The sports director for the Olympic Games in Paris had criteria for chess to be allowed as a sport. That Chess has a tradition in France and that the game must speak to the youth of France.

However, this is not the first time FIDE has advocated for chess to be a part of the Olympics. Unfortunately chess is not recognized universally as a sport as it does not involve any actual athleticism.

Hopefully with this new criteria proposed by the French Sports Director for the Olympic Games Chess will become a part of the Summer Olympics.

The Chess Champion’s Defeat

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

We are going to take a look at the Lindores Abbey Rapid Tournament. The game we will be looking at is between Magnus Carlsen, playing as black, and Hikaru Nakamura, playing as white.

The game opens up with a Ruy Lopez, 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5. Here Nakamura moves his knight out to attack Carlsen’s pawn on e5. Carlsen fires back by protecting his pawn with his knight. Nakamura then moves out his bishop to B5 putting pressure on Carlsen’s knight, the sole defender of Carlsen’s pawn on e5.

Carlsen then moves a6 applying pressure to Nakamura’s Bishop and Nakamura pulls back with Ba4. Carlsen plays Nf6 and Nakamura Castles. Carlsen then plays Nxe4 taking Nakamura’s pawn. Nakamura follows up with d4. Nakamura is trying to open up the e file as Carlsen’s king is in the open while Nakamura’s own king is safe.

Eventually they get to this position and Nakmura moves c4 applying pressure on the d5 pawn. With the d5 pawn gone the black Knight on e4, which is holding center control, is no longer protected.

The game continues and we reach a unique position. According to chess commentator and chess Grandmaster, Simon Williams, Magnus then makes an error in his moves with Nb2.

Williams then mentions how great a game Hikaru plays after Magnus makes this move. The game progresses and the players trade queens at one point. Magnus takes the pawn on e5 with his rook and Hikaru follows up brilliantly with Rxa6. If Magnus plays Rxa6 in response Hikaru threatens checkmate because of his pawn on e6.

Unfortunately Magnus is unable to turn this position into a draw and after a few more moves he resigns. Even the best players make mistakes and that is how they learn. At Premier Chess’s camp, students are encouraged to look at the games they lost to learn from their mistakes and to play better next time. If you would like to learn more about our camp and how your child could become a better chess player please click here.

The Carlsen Invitational

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

When the World Chess Championship was cancelled many chess players were upset as the tournament happens every other year. Magnus Carlsen was looking forward to playing against the champion of the tournament. Unfortunately the tournament had to end due to the pandemic.

Carlsen decided to take some initiative by creating an online tournament open to only the most elite players. Eight of the strongest chess players in the world were going to compete for a $70,000 first prize.

Many chess events had to be cancelled due to Coronavirus so Carlsen was trying to make up for the cancellations. He called the event the Magnus Carlsen Invitational and it was the first online professional chess tournament. Carlsen faced down Hikaru Nakamura in the finals and took home the first place prize, while also keeping his title as World Chess Champion.

Chess is playable on an online platform and Carlsen has managed to pull in many wins. He is now  in the top ten sports earners for 2020, the first chess player to ever achieve such a feat.

While most sports are unable to be played online, chess is easily accessible on an online platform. Chess is also broadcasted online on Twitch. Click here and you can keep up with our events and US Chess National Master Evan Rabin’s online games.

Here are our upcoming events.

3 Exciting Virtual Camp Updates


After finishing week 1, we have 3 exciting updates regarding  virtual camp: 

1) Since we got some inquiries from middle schoolers, we decided to make camp PreK- 8th Grade.

2) We added an extra west coast afternoon session each week from 2:00 PM to 5:00 PM PST. East coast kids are also welcome to join if they’d like an evening option.

3) Since some families inquired about discounts for registering a few weeks at a time, but couldn’t commit to full summer, we also added pricing for bundles of 5 weeks; see details on our registration page

In other news, camp next week will feature Music with Randi

Check out our recent podcast episode with Randi’s mother Dayna Karron.

Can you do your job in Space?

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Ariel Piekes, an IP attorney, wanted to enlighten his colleagues on how passionate they were about their profession. He asked them “can you do your job in space?” While this is meant to be rhetorical it is thought provoking. National Master Evan Rabin, the CEO of Premier Chess immediately knew his answer was “yes.” Doing your job in space is no menial task. Being separate from the rest of the world is an arduous task, but it can be done. Someone who is so devoted to their work and passionate about what they do would be able to accomplish such a task.

Chess would be a difficult board game to play in space. With a low amount of gravity the pieces may have trouble staying in place so a magnetic chess board might be ideal. Although this question is not meant to be taken literally  last week two Russian astronauts aboard a space station played against a chess grandmaster who was on Earth. The astronauts had an electric chess board with them and they played against Sergey Karjakin. They did this in celebration of the first Space-Earth chess game played 50 years prior.

The astronauts managed to end the game in a draw against the grandmaster showing that one can function well while in space. While this story strays from the point it does show the reality of chess in space.

The question also proposes how far one would go to continue their passion. Imagine your profession was no longer able to be performed from Earth, but could only be done in space. Could you envision yourself going onto a space station for months to continue your dream? This would require sacrifices, but most of us sacrifice so we can continue our passion.

To really see how passionate you are about your profession ask yourself this question: Can you do your job in space? This may illuminate for yourself how passionate you are about what you do.

A Reflection on Virtual Camp Day 1

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Premier Chess began its virtual camp yesterday and it was great! The day began with an introduction where the kids got to know each other. After that Brian taught an interactive lesson with the campers on Paul Morphy’s famous Opera House Game

The game opened up like this:

Brian then asked his students what is the best move for white. As answers were given Brian explained what would happen if that move was made. Finally Noah answered that the correct move for White would be dxe5. Now if Black plays dxe5 White takes Black’s queen, Black takes White’s queen and then White’s Knight takes Black’s pawn on e5. This move allows for white to get a “free” pawn and it would look like this:

Brian then showed that Black does not take White’s pawn and instead plays Bxf3. White follows up with Qxf3 and then Black plays dxe5 and White is no longer able to capture Black’s pawn.  White then moves Bc4 and now Black is in trouble.

The kids quickly noticed the trouble Black was in and knew if they stood by Black would be in checkmate the following turn if White moved its Queen to f7 where the bishop would be protecting it. The kids decided to move the Black Knight to Nf6 which prevented White from winning the game. Everyone really enjoyed the lesson and the students got into the game as it went on and were excited to help make a move and then analyze that move.

Later in the day the kids played in a tournament on Lichess and they thoroughly enjoyed that. Every so often Brian and Evan would take breaks with the kids so they could stretch and move around. The kids seemed to really enjoy playing and learned a lot as well.

Chess and Indian Dance Classes

by Shai Hecker, Operations Intern
“On the surface, chess and dance seem to have little in common. Chess players sit. Dancers move. Yet chess and dance are both life-long hobbies, feature similar technology, have gender imbalances, may be considered a sport or art, use business skills, and facilitate meeting new people.” 

During our virtual camp, our instructors frequently lead stretching and excercise breaks. If you are looking for more physyical activity for your child, consider Virtual Bollywood Dance Classes for Kids this Summer with Ajna Dance.

This summer, learn Indian dance online with the experienced teachers of our proud education partner Ajna Dance Company.  Their fun and engaging classes teach a combination of Bollywood, Bhangra, and Classical Indian dance. They introduce students to dance techniques, including hand gestures and footwork, building toward a choreographed routine that is presented at our end-of-term virtual dance showcase.

Elements of storytelling and facial expressions, plus the high energy and positive music make this style unique and appealing to students of all ages. Join us this summer to dance, celebrate culture, and stay active! Ajna will be donating 10% of summer class proceeds to The Conscious Kid in support of racial justice.

Classes are open for ages 4 to 15. Summer Semester begins the week of July 6th and spaces are limited.

For the full summer schedule, more information, and to register, please visit www.ajnadance.com/kids-classes.

A Polish Grandmaster in America

by Shai Hecker, Operations Intern 

Samuel Reshevsky was born on November 26, 1911 in Poland. His family moved to United States when he was just a young boy and he played in exhibitions all around the country.

In 1922 Reshevsky competed in the New York Masters Tournament where he obtained his status as a chess prodigy. During a period of his time in America Reshevsky did not attend school and his parents faced charges. Reshevsky took a break from playing chess competitively while he went to school and then began playing again.

Interestingly as an orthodox jew he refused to play chess on the Sabbath and he scheduled his games around that. Rashevsky was an outstanding player and was well respected by the American Chess Foundation. In those days the American Chess Foundation was the only tax-deductible organization in chess. The American Chess Foundation clearly favored Rashevsky and many say that the only purpose of the foundation was to support Rashevksy and his impressive chess skills.

Supposedly during a tournament, Rashevsky’s wife called  down an opponent’s flag even though she was not competing. Rashevsky said that according to the Torah a wife may act on behalf of her husband. It seems that Rashevsky had a strong connection with his religion which helped guide him in his life.

Although he never won the World Chess Championship he was always a strong contender. He won the US Chess Championship eight time tying him with Bobby Fischer and he is still known today as one of the greatest chess players of all time.