Keep It in Your Circle

By National Master Evan Rabin

Dealing with new school situations and navigating COVID while still having to work is overwhelming so many new things to consider. Just like with chess, being strategic on what your next move will be in navigating the process on is key, and  for  many families, it’s childcare. Moms and dads need first-hand advice and insights to vet sitters, find the right day cares and get the real scoop on nursery schools. Getting quality info to navigate this process can be tough… and access to an established network in your new community can make all the difference in the world.

“When it’s new it can feel completely overwhelming,” says Liza Maltz, founder of Have a Nanny, Need a Nanny, a site that connects families looking for in-home care and support referrals. “Where do I look? Who do I talk to? What—or who—is the right fit?” Too often, she says, this can be paralyzing to families. “Sometimes you get frozen—it’s a lot to think about and you’re bringing a stranger into your home.”

Community, she says, is central to overcoming these hurdles and finding that right fit. Her members-only site connects parent to parent, with direct care recommendations and referrals in New York City and beyond.

“Whether it’s a nanny, housekeeping, dog walker, baby nurse, tutor, sports coaches , trainers—it’s always best to go right to the source,” says Liza. “Ask that mom or dad what their experience has been like. What is that nanny’s take on discipline? How do they deal with healthcare? Is the tutor reliable? Was the coach encouraging ? You could interview someone and ask, but it’s so easy for that nanny or tutor to say what they think you want to hear—ask that mom or dad and they’re not going to say something just to appease you. They’re going to tell you the truth.”

This direct connection, Liza says, is especially important for families with specific wants or requirements. If your child has special needs, for example, by connecting with other special needs parents you can dig into a nanny or sitter’s experience and how she reacts to common challenges.

“Ask how that sitter works with a child on the spectrum,” says Liza. “Or maybe you’re welcoming baby #2 and want to know how a sitter really manages days with a toddler and an infant.” They’re considerations, Liza notes, that are critical to care success—but it’s all very hard to vet when you’re just interviewing a childcare provider or checking her self-supplied references.

Determining your unique care needs 

Childcare, though, is just one care consideration when either heading to a new community or starting a new way of life amid a pandemic. Once in the ‘burbs, many families are in search of tutors, dog walkers, housekeepers and even specialized support like drivers, personal chefs, elder care and baby nurses. And once easily able to drop off in the morning many parents who still have to go into the office will have kids home 2-3 days or fully distance learning.

“We’re also seeing a huge spike in homeschooling conversations,” Liza says. “Parents don’t know what’s happening in September and want to plan ahead—they also don’t want to have their kids in and out of school all year. So they’re creating home school pods, hiring former teachers to teach their kids—and they’re leaning on their extended communities for recommendations.”

How to find the right care in for your family. 

No matter the care you’re looking for, when tapping into your fellow parents for recommendations and referrals, Liza has a few suggestions. First, she says, be mindful of where you’re getting insights and intel—and direct is always best.

“Before COVID-19 I’d tell people to meet up in-person—now I recommend a video call,” Liza says. “If someone really loves their nanny or baby nurse and wants to see them go to a great family next, that mom or dad will happily meet up for a cup of coffee or jump on a quick Zoom call.” Don’t just talk on the phone, she adds—you might not be chatting with a real reference. “It could be a friend of that sitter—or the sitter! Go face to face and you avoid that.”

During that conversation, Liza advises, take the opportunit3y to dig into specific priorities and preferences—what’s most important to your family when it comes to care.

“It’s about aligning on values,” Liza says. “What’s most important to you and your family — does this sitter sync? For me, for example, I didn’t want a nanny who treated my baby like a ‘baby. I didn’t want him constantly held all day. I wanted the nanny playing with him, on the floor, engaging him. So during interviews, those are questions I would ask: was the nanny constantly holding the baby, or was she really engaging the baby?”

No matter your values, though, there’s always one question Liza recommends asking: “what’s something that bothered you about this particular nanny? Because let’s face it, you can have a best friend in the world and there’s something they do that ticks you off. Find out what that one thing is now, and see if you can live with it.”

Ultimately, choosing care for your family—be it childcare, tutors, dog walking or, simply, someone to clean your house—is a major decision. The more streamlined you can make it—and the more often you can get it “right” the first time, the easier you’ll be able to transition into your new town. And we find many members join for one reason but end of staying if they might need help in a pinch!

“You want the mom saying, ‘Oh my G-d, have I got the nanny for you. You want the person who works, but who’s also aligned with your expectations,” Liza says. “That only comes when you tap into a community—when you ask other parents. On my site, only parents can list nannies—and they do so because these moms and dads are invested in finding an amazing new family for their sitters. That, to me, is extremely telling. Those are the nannies you start with.”

In addition to referrals, Liza will be offering a ton of free webinars for parents including everything from parenting specialists to lawyers and pediatricians check out haveananny.com events page and sign up for their newsletter to stay in the know.

Become a member of the #haveananny #needananny community here. Use code  ELITE  for $10 off a one year membership

Liza Maltz is a Birth doula & the President and Founder of Haveananny.com a parent to parent referral service focused on streamlining the process of finding a caregiver , by interviewing other parents . When shes not helping families in the delivery room and running haveananny.com , Liza enjoys NYC and all it has to offer as well as spending time with her son and two small pups!

Virtual Chicago Chess Tour Match 1: Defeating the Legendary JJ Lang


On Wednesday night, I defeated the infamous Chicago Chess Blitzer JJ Lang in a 10 game 3-2 match on Lichess.org.

JJ splits his time between studying as a Stanford PHD student, rapidly improving in chess and teaching. You can learn more about him on this Perpetual Podcast episode. Stay posted for his upcoming appearance on our podcast.

I had some decent opening preparation for the match, guessing he would play the Nadjorf; however, the lines I organized were not deep enough. I had no idea as to whether he would play 1.d4 or 1.e4 as he played lots of games with both starting moves recently.

In the first game of the match, he played 1.e4 and I played my pet 3…c5 in the Caro Kann advanced variation. As I saw in a previous game, he played 4. Nf3 which is less common than the typical 4. dxc5. I ended up developing a strong attack but blew it away with 21…fxe5, which gave white lots of counterplay. Eventually I lost in a topsy-turvy endgame.

We then had our first Nadjorf of the night, when I did develop a strong attack and advantage but JJ escaped with a draw.


In game 3, he just straight up utterly destroyed me:

At this point, I definitely wasn’t feeling optimistic about the match as I started .5/3.  If there is one thing I learned through from playing lots of matches and 936+ tournaments, is that one  of the most important assets of a strong chess player is the ability to keep his cool after a mistake within a game or a loss. I can’t tell you the amount of times I would make one mistake in a game, blowing away my advantage to get an equal position, making another to get a worse position and shortly thereafter, blundering to lose.

Similarly, I will never forget my tragic 2005 World Open experience.  As an expert at the time, I was excited that I accidentally dropped below 2000 and was able to play in the U-2000 section and play for the ‘big bucks’.  As I didn’t have much planned that summer, I spent the week before with intense chess study, several hours a day. I remember my friend and study partner Rob Garcia repeatedly told me that week to just relax and play decent chess and I would do fine but I ended up overwhelming myself. In the first game, I did OK and won. In the second round, my friend Robert Guevera showed messed up with the round time and showed up to the round with 2 minutes and no time delay! You would think I would just make normal moves and flag him but shore enough I got so excited and hung my queen. Even then I had some chances as he was so low on time and he ended up winning a heartbreaking game. Had I kept my cool afterwards, I would have plenty of time to recuperate and win money in the 9 round event, but at the time, a lost to me had a domino effect… before I knew it I was 2/8 and withdrew before the last round. This time around the block with JJ was different though……..

It definitely wasn’t due to some mistakes (on both sides), but I ended up going 5-0 in the second half and won the match! See all the games of the match here.

Do not miss out on the action as I take on Chicago Chess Blitzer Remi Adekola in my second 2020 Chicago Chess tour match. Here is some footage of Remi and I playing some Skittles at the 2018 World Open.

US Chess National Master Evan Rabin vs Remy in some skittles at World Open!

Posted by Premier Chess on Sunday, July 8, 2018

This time of course, the match will be virtual; those who watch the live commentary and music on our Twitch stream  and email evan@premierchess.com with their address will get complimentary Premier Chess custom masks.

How Self-Care Helps Chess Players

by  Lara Hocheiser, Founder of Flow and Grow Kids Yoga

As a yoga and mindfulness educator and colleague of Premier Chess’s CEO Evan Rabin, I have had the pleasure of seeing amazing overlap in our fields. Chess and yoga can bring us mental and physical flexibility, self-awareness, and positive thinking to overcome a tough chess match or a hard life moment.

Now in the times of COVID with normal out the window, chess players, like all of us, need some self-care.

So how does self-care impact a chess player?

In Chess, the need to focus and pay attention is critical. Too many nerves can impact abilities negatively.

How self-care help chess players:

Daily self-care will help chess players create healthy boundaries so they can be well-rested and focused.
Self-care practices can help improve chess players’ posture and physical fitness, both lending themselves to better endurance in chess matches!
Breathing, mindfulness, and yoga all help chess players stay mentally flexible, aware, and light-hearted enough to deal with loss!
Positive affirmation can help chess players kick negative self-talk and doubt

Please subscribe to the FREE #selfcaresaturday newsletter from the Flow and Grow Kids Yoga team for a weekly dose of self-care perfect for any chess fan, parent, educator, or child!

#selfcaresaturday by Flow and Grow Kids Yoga starts September 5. Sign up to reap the benefits!

#selfcaresaturday FREEBIES include:
Weekly email introducing topic
Videos explaining how to do an activity that helps us deal with challenges
A FREE downloadable poster, coloring, or worksheet
FREE yoga and mindfulness activities

Click here to subscribe.

Our goal with #selfcaresaturday is to spread LOVE and WELL-BEING <3, so please invite anyone you may know who could also benefit from joining our #selfcaresaturday community! Sharing is caring!

Four Times to Trade

by National Master Evan Rabin 

Four Times to Trade

Would you be so happy if I were to give you a $5 dollar bill now, if you knew that I was going to take a $5 bill from you a second later? I’d imagine not; it would just be a fair trade. That said, in the event, there is an ice-cold soda in the machine that you’d like to purchase and I had five $1 bills, you’d probably want to trade your $5 bill for my singles. In terms of material, our bills were essentially the same, $5 for $5, but in this situation, the exchange was valuable for you.

Beginner chess players often make the mistake of trading whenever they have an opportunity. To the contrary, just like every move needs to have a purpose, every trade should gain a positional benefit. The four most common times you want to trade are:

1) Material Advantage


Would an army of 100 soldiers consistently win in a war against 99 of them?  The one extra solider would not make much of a difference. However, one soldier will likely not manage its own against two. Likewise, in this position to win easily, it makes most sense for white to trade rooks when he will be easily winning with knight and pawns vs black’s lonely pawns.


2) Liquidation

When your opponent has a lead in development or the initiative, it makes sense to start trading pieces to lessen his advantage. For example, in this position against from Buenos Aires 1927, Jose Capablanca had a slight development advantage against Alexander Alekhine, with his Rook on the open d file, against his awkwardly placed bishop on d8. Had Alekhine played 1…Be7, would double his rooks with 2.Rfd1 and have a positional advantage. Instead, he played 1…Ne4, which led to an exchange of pieces and equality.

3) Better Pawn Structure

In this position from his game against Harry Golombek (Stockholm 1952), Tigran Petrosian played 1.Qd5, offer a queen trade as white has a better pawn structure. Black has three pawn islands to white’s two (a, c, e-h vs a-c and f-h). This trade had led to a better endgame. Had white played 1.f3 to block the check, black would have played 1…f5, followed by 2…Nd6 and could have drummed up some counterplay.

4) Less Space


In this common position from the French Defense Classical Variation, black often plays 1. b6, with the idea of exchanging his typical French bad bishop via Ba6.

In conclusion, trading can be a double-edged sword; sometimes it is good and others it is not. One should always look at the ramifications of a move, especially when it leads to a substantial transformation like a trade does.

A Collection of Children’s Chess Books

by Paula Willis

Chess is a game of strategy.  When you want to teach someone to play or learn yourself, it makes sense to have a strategy in place.   You can learn from someone, watch YouTube videos, or what my son and I found most helpful was using the book “Starting Chess”.

Starting Chess is an inspiring introduction for complete beginners. This paperback book covers everything a young player needs to know, from how to set out the pieces to special moves and tactics. Lively illustrations of snooty queens, cheeky pawns and wise old kings bring the game to life, while simple diagrams make examples and puzzles clear and easy to follow. This new Internet-linked edition also contains descriptions of fun and informative chess Web sites to visit.

This book has been an amazing resource, one that we keep nearby to reference as we learn more strategy to gain more skill.

Another fantastic resource is “My First Chess Book”. This hard cover spiral bound book is similar to “Starting Chess”. 

Meet the characters that make up a chess army and learn how to fight your first battle in this friendly introduction to the game. My First Chess Book is written clearly and simply, with entertaining examples, making it the perfect starting point for young children .  This book makes a handy refresher guide for parents and grandparents.

Maybe you have down the basics of chess, like my sons. “The Usborne Book of Chess” is a great next step.

This fascinating activity book covers all the essentials, helping children learn the basics and practice different strategies to become a master of the game!

 

Whether you’re new to the game or looking to teach someone how to play, let one of these books be a strategy. You’re sure to get a checkmate!  Click here to purchase any of these books.

Paula Wilis is a homeschooling mom of five.  As an Usborne Books & More Consultant, her mission to encourage families to connect by reading together.  Follow her on Facebook at A Beautiful Story.  She can be reached at: writeabeautifulstory@gmail.com.

Managing Social Media Accounts

by Benji Grinn, Marketing Intern

Hello readers!

I just wanted to give you a little insight on what I do as a Premier Chess intern.  Part of what I do, is to manage some of our social media accounts, like Facebook and Instagram.  This new experience has allowed me to expand my knowledge of social media in general and taught me quite a few new things.

For instance, I learned to use separate social media accounts and separate devices for business and for personal use.  If I did not do that, it would result in the conflation of messages and notifications for Premier Chess and with that of my own personal use.  So, it is important to note that as a social media manager, more than one electronic device should be used.

We here at Premier Chess are a well oiled machine in terms of how we work together.  For instance, on a given day, Ceo and Founder Evan Rabin will instruct one of my fellow interns, Eliana, to design a flyer for an upcoming event.  After she makes the flyer, and it is approved by Evan, I then upload it to our instagram and facebook accounts.

Another aspect of managing social media accounts is consumer relations and new customer acquisition.  This involves messaging many people and responding to their comments.  Over the course of two months at Premier Chess this summer I have probably reached out to thousands of people!  In doing so, it is important to keep conversations open and to not close dialogue.  Responding with questions often accomplishes this objective.

Currently, our instagram account has more than eighteen hundred followers and our facebook account has nearly 8500 likes.  We are looking to expand even further, and I think all of you would enjoy the content on those pages.

Here are the link to our Instagram acount: https://www.instagram.com/premier_chess/

Here are the link to our Facebook acount: https://www.facebook.com/premierchess/

Catur

My name is Eric Curtis. I am the CEO of American Catur LLC and inventor of a new board game called American Catur for ages 5 to Adult. It is a new 5th generation Chess game with a whole new twist. I am currently a resident here in San Diego and am reaching out to schools, chess clubs or Chess lovers to collaborate! This isn’t to take you from chess, it just gives you a new option to enjoy it more and helps children’s Teamwork skills!

Here are the exclusive features of American Catur that enhances the original game of Chess:

  • Number of players 2, 3 or 4

o   1 vs. 1 – head to head

o   1 vs. 2 – average or above average vs. two new or novices’ players

o   2 vs. 2 – team challenge (Team players can exchange strategy with each other (no outside help))

  • 4 Rolling Dice 8 and 6 sided

o   Highest roll goes first and selects color

  • If player chooses white pieces, board would need to be rotated for the white triangles to be facing them

o   Launching Nuclear & Gas projectile chips

  • 1 Earth Board

o   18×18 Squares broken down into triangle spaces for pieces and chips to travel on

o   2 rows inner and outer perimeters for the projectile chips to be launched

  • 96 Projectile Chips

o   Stationed on the outer and inner perimeter of the Earth Board

o   SquareSpaces outer

  • Hydrogen Nuclear – “Eliminates” two or one piece when landing on and doesn’t return
  • Biological Gas – “Captures” two or one piece when landing on becomes a POW and can return

o   TriangleSpaces inner

  • Atomic Nuclear – “Eliminates” the piece it lands on and doesn’t return
  • Poison Gas – “Captures” the piece it lands on becomes a POW and can return

o   Removal projectile chips – Coast Guard remove triangle Spaces projectile chips by jumping over them and Navy remove Square Spaces projectile chips by jumping over them

  • 60 Pieces

o   King – President/ Queen – Army/ Bishop – Air Forces/ Knight – Navy/ Rook – Marines/ Pawn – Coast Guard

  • Type of Games

o   American Catur standard Play

o   “Chance” in where all primary pieces are set up randomly except for the coast guard

o   Traditional Chess (Minus the extra pieces)

o   Checkers by using just the Projectile Chip

You can also visit the website www.americancatur.com for more information.

Playing American Catur opens up the children’s Teamwork skills that can be likened to two compounds, almost essential to modern life. It’s the glue which keeps a team together, a bond which promotes strength, unity, reliability and support. This game helps Teach the Children the importance of Teamwork that it is the oil that makes the teamwork. It can enable smoother movement towards targets, can prolong forward momentum, and can help teams to overcome obstacles as they learn to work together.

 

Ajna Dance Company

Classes available for kids, teens and adults. Ajna’s virtual fall semester begins September 12th. Learn Indian dance online with the experienced teachers of Ajna Dance Company. Our fun and engaging classes teach a combination of Bollywood, Bhangra, and Classical Indian dance. We 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 to dance, celebrate culture, and stay active!

For the full fall schedule, more information, and to register, please visit ajnadance.com.

Ajna Dance Company

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Benefits of Chess

By Eliana Bane, Marketing Intern

Many acknowledge chess to be a mentally challenging game that incorporates problem solving, memory, and strategic thinking. While there is a dispute whether chess causes higher IQ scores or one to be more intelligent, there are other very positive benefits from chess.

The first benefit is helping prevent and reduce
dementia. The National Institute of Health published
an article that proves how ​Alzheimer’s​ is prevented
through the game of chess. The article states,
“​Researchers have found a link between playing
chess and reducing the possibility of developing dementia, AD, and other debilitating mental illnesses. The ​New England Journal of Medicine​, in the article published by Coyle [​5​], reported that individuals older than 75, engaged in leisure activities including chess, were apt to delay developing signs of dementia when compared to people who did not play”. This is an incredible breakthrough in the medical world. Chess allows patients to exercise brain muscles and engage their memory to play chess, causing them to remember more.

Alzheimer’s​ is a medical condition primarily based on loss of memory. Chess improves memory by developing a natural feeling of using strategy and tactics throughout the game. Techniques are so ingrained in the player’s mind that they are integrating the strategy they know and the memories of these plays.

In addition, chess improves the concentration of students. In 2016, it was estimated that over six million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, and that number is constantly on the rise (1).

A study was conducted to test 14 children that suffer from ADHD. These children were taught chess for certain periods of time and were tested before the chess lessons started and after the chess lessons to see if their concentration levels or skill increased, and it did. The children’s attention span increased and their skill level significantly developed as well.

Chess provides a development and increase in different subjects. The benefits of this game are incredible!

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/data.html#:~:text=The%20estimated%20number%20of%20children,ch ildren%20aged%202%E2%80%935%20years

The Grand Final Featuring: Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

The final part of the Carlsen World Tour is nearing its end. Magnus Carlsen is up against Hikaru Nakamura. Nakamura is the only player who has managed to win an event in the Carlsen World Tour other than Carlsen. The players finished their fourth set today and Carlsen managed to tie up with Nakamura. Let’s take a look at one of their games which can be found here. Carlsen is playing as black while Nakamura is playing as white.

The game begins with 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6. This looks like the Ponziani Opening, a popular opening, but then Nakamura moves 3. Bb5 turning the opening into the Ruy Lopez. The Ruy Lopez is one of the most popular opening in the game of chess. Carlsen the moves his knight to Nf6 initiating the Berlin Defense. Carlsen is putting pressure on Nakamura’s undefended e pawn forcing him to make his next move 4. d3.

Eventually the board state starts to look bad for Nakamura. Carlsen has managed to infiltrate Nakamura’s defenses as seen on the right and Nakamura is unable to defend against Carlsen’s queen. Although Carlsen is not able to directly attack Nakamura’s king he is putting on a lot of pressure. The g and h files are unprotected by Carlsen, however he has managed to trap Nakamura’s pieces on the other side of the board.

Nakamura finally concedes at this point in the game as Carlsen manages to slowly push up his pawn with the help of his king. His pawns are in a much stronger position than Nakamura’s which allows him to take control of the game and win.