A Reflection on Virtual Learning from New American Academy Charter School

“As we come to the end of our academic school year, I wanted to not only thank Premier Chess for providing the highest quality of chess instruction to our students, but to also share the impact that chess has had on our community via the chess club. The children absolutely loved it!  Unfortunately, after only one brick and mortar session, we went virtual because the World changed for us all.  
Initially our concerns were that students wouldn’t be engaged enough to log on and continue their instruction. But to the contrary, the transition to online chess instruction was nearly seamless due to not only the quality of instruction, but your introduction to our students to Chess Kid.  What a wonderful supplement this online program has been for them as they have taken to it like fish to water!  It enabled our students to apply all that Brian and Lucca taught them.  Chess Kid helped to build virtual bridges between theory, practice, and most importantly…community.
COVID-19 forged a devastating reality for many New Yorkers, particularly, residents of Brownsville/East Flatbush Brooklyn which is where our school is located.  Additionally, we have yet to see the degree of financial hardship our families will have to endure because of this pandemic.  With that being said, any assistance to continue building our chess program at TNAACS would be greatly appreciated and will have a tremendously positive impact on our students and their families.
In closing, we look forward to our continued partnership with Premier Chess, getting more kids online using Chess Kid, and growing our chess community.”

Transition to Virtual Learning

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern 

As the pandemic progressed schools quickly switched to an online platform. Kids are no longer able to attend class in person and many parents are looking for online resources to keep their kids engaged. Although most schools have successfully managed to transfer to an online platform many camps have failed. Many kids who were going to sleep away camp no longer have that option. Camp is an important part of kids growth, but camps generally involve being in close proximity to other which does not work in this climate.

Many parents are wondering what they are going to do with their children as many camps are closed. Fortunately we are also moving to an online platform to help stimulate your kids minds. It is as important for your kids to attend camp on an online platform  as it is for your kids to attend school online .

This summer we are excited to host a virtual camp from June 15 to August 28.

Camp will be led by CEO National Master Evan Rabin, who has 15 years of teaching experience and manages programs in 80+ schools all around the United States, including Grace Church School and New American Academy Charter School.

Camp will be open to all students K-6; we will cater to students from Beginner to Expert levels.

Camp will feature live lecturestournament style gamessocial opportunitiespuzzle competitions and more.

Players will be placed in groups of 8 kids based on their age and chess experience.

This is tentative schedule for each session:

-1/2 hour: Social Play with Feedback

-1 hour: Live Lesson

-1 hour: Tournament Style Game

-1/2 hour: Group post-mortem game review

-We will take stretching and exercising breaks to keep students mentally prepared.

Cost:

  • Half Day Week = $175
  • Full Day Week = $299
  • Entire Summer Half Day = $1750(Equates to 1 Free Week)
  • Entire Summer Full Day = $2990 (Equates to 1 Free Week)

Questions: Reach out to Evan Rabin at evan@premierchess.com or  (917) 776-1306

Register here.

We are excited to share this opportunity with you and we are really excited to begin camp next week!

Larry Evans Versus Samuel Reshevsky: A Throwback to the Past

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Samuel Reshevsky was a Polish Chess prodigy who became a chess grandmaster. Although he never won the World Chess Championship Tournament he did win the US Championship eight times. Here we have a picture of a young Samuel playing against multiple opponents.

Larry Evans was an American chess player. However, he only won the US Chess Championship five times. In addition to being a chess grandmaster, Evans was also an author and over his lifetime he wrote several books on chess.

In 1963 these two grandmasters played against each other in the US Chess Championship in New York. Reshevsky played as black and Evans played as white.

The game began with 1. d4 Nf6 2. c4 e6 3. Nc3 Bb4 4. e3. Here we see Samuel playing the Indian Defense. The Indian Defense allowed for white to take control of the center of the board and then Black will ultimately destroy White’s presences in the center. When Samuel moves his Bishop to attack Evans’ Knight and hinder his board presence Evans responds by pushing up his pawn so that his bishop can get out and take control.

By the 12th move it seems that Reshevsky’s Indian defense did not work as well as he would have liked. Evans still has a strong presence in the center. Evans pieces have more access to the board while Reshevsky’s pieces are caged in.

Midway through the game we see that Evans has two bishops while Reshevsky has two knights. In general knights are stronger in closed positions while bishops are stronger in open ones. It seems here we have a more open positions and thus Evans is in a better position.

They eventually get into this position where they are now in a closed position and Reshevsky’s knight has the advantage of a closed position.

Reshevsky goes Re2+ Kh1 Qxg3 Qg8+ Kxg8 and then Rxg7+ which results in a stalemate. It seems that Rashevsky had the upper hand at the end here and perhaps there was another way to prevent a stalemate.

Although I am no grandmaster, National Master Evan Rabin hosts a lecture every Sunday from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM and he could provide insight into the unfortunate ending of this game. Click here to learn more about Evan’s lectures.

 

The 2020 World Championship Candidates Dilemma

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Since 2014 the World Chess Championship has been held every other year. The winner of the 2020 tournament would compete against Magnus Carlsen, the current world champion, in a championship match. Since the pandemic started all sporting events have been canceled except for chess. The chess tournament at the time was likely the biggest sporting event! Radjabov, a Russian chess player was worried about the virus. He asked FIDE if they could possibly postpone the tournament due to the circumstances. His request was denied and he was replaced by Vachier-Lagrave.

Radjabov was worried about the virus. He felt that if he was sick he would not be able to concentrate as well and would not be able to play at his full potential. FIDE respected his decision, but he was then replaced by another player. Then on March 17 the Tournament began.

Unfortunately midway through the tournament Russia announced restrictions on air travel which was where the tournament was being held. FIDE had to scramble to get all the players out of Russia before the flight restrictions were put into place which they did successfully.

During the tournament many of the competitors complained about the atmosphere. They felt they could not play their best while the rest of the world was facing a pandemic.

Once the tournament was canceled for the time being due to the pandemic Radjabov’s situation came into question. He decided not to participate in the tournament due to the virus and FIDE ultimately canceled the tournament due to Covid-19. Its unclear what will happen with this situation, but there will surely be lawyers involved.

Even though people are distancing due to the pandemic you can still play chess online against anyone around the world. Other sports cannot be played online, but chess can which allows for this incredible game to grow right now. Check our Twitch channel for frequent lessons and playing commentary.

 

Match against DIG- A Reflection

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

On June 2, 2020, Premier Chess’s students gathered on Chess.com to compete in a tournament against the DIG chess team. Before the tournament began Evan had a Zoom call with his students where he gave a short lesson. 

He began with 1. e4 e5 2. Qh5. He then asked students what candidate moves were available for Black. His students saw that White was attempting Scholar’s Mate so they decided the best course of action was to protect the black pawn on f7. His students nominated three candidates: Nc6, Bd6, and Qf6. Qf6 protected the pawn, but it also prevented Black’s knight from advancing. Bd6 prevented the black pawn on d7 from advancing. Nc6 was the best decision as it did not hinder the movement of other pieces. It not only protected Black’s Queen, but it also protected its pawn and gave Black a better position. 

Evan told his students that they should take their time before making a move. It was important to remind them to make a blunder check before finalizing a move. Evan and the DIG coach matched students  by their rating so that kids of similar experience were playing against each other. When the tournament began the kids playing were quite excited as many had never competed in a tournament like that before. Each student played two games against an opponent before reporting back their scores. 

Everyone was very excited about the tournament and the kids seemed to enjoy the tournament on the Chess.com website. After students were done with their games they were able to watch other games and learn from other students and their chess tactics. It was an exciting experience for everyone and it was a great way to play chess competitively and enjoy it at the same time. We ended up losing match by a narrow margin (20-16 DIG) but we look foward to playing DIG and other chess companies in matches soon. 

Teaching Chess

-by Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

I began learning chess at around six years old. My father taught me how the pieces moved and that was about it. Every weekend my brother and I would sprawl out on the carpet play and play with our Scooby-Doo chess set.  In elementary school I went to chess camp and honed my skills even further. Then me and my brother had a bright idea. We were going to start our own chess class.

 

I was only 14 at the time and my brother was 15, but we managed to recruit some younger kids from our community for our chess club. Every Sunday night 3-4 kids would gather in our house and play chess as they munched on pretzels or whatever snack we had gotten that week. We began teaching in 2013, but by 2014 we had amassed a steady group of 10-12 kids every week.

We had created the club on our own with no help from our parents. The club was a great success for several years. We would pair kids up by experience and then we would help the students analyze their moves as the game went along. After 30 minutes of playing either me or my brother would teach a short, interactive lesson before letting the kids have some free play.

The club members grew an appreciation for the game and I did as well. I learned how to play the game better, but also how to teach chess. Eventually one of our top students managed to beat me in a game of chess. Even though it was disappointing to be beaten by one of my students, I was proud that he improved.

Even though we knew how to play chess we had no experience in operating a business. It was difficult in the beginning as only a few kids joined the club and it took time to get more students involved. We would post in our community list serve to promote our club which helped generate interest. We did not know much about pricing so we kept the price relatively low so more kids would join.  Occasionally students would get bored  and we would have to take breaks or play different variants of chess such as monster chess or bug chess. Overall it was a great learning experience and it helped me understand how to manage a business.

Although we no longer operate our chess club, it inspired me to pursue my love for chess even further.