My Five Whys

By Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin 

My business coach Richard Pierce inspired me to think about my 3-5 whys that drive me to succeed  in business and life. If there’s one thing I have learned about goalsetting over the years, its that one of the best ways to be to achieve one’s goals is to be transparent to build accountability. Therefore, here I am talking openly about what I want, personally and professionally in order from highest to lowest priority:

1) Family

There is truly nothing that is more important to me then my family. I don’t listen to anyone more than my one living grandparent, my grandmother Roberta, my dad’s mother. While friends come and go, my family lives on forever.

2) Judaism

at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

In order to constantly grow in all of my endeavors, I am inspired by Jewish roots. Ever since my Taglit Birhright trip in 2008, I have wanted to learn more about Judaism and Israel.  In 2011, I studied abroad as a Masa participant at the Tel Aviv University. Since then, I’ve been to Israel twice and have been active with several Jewish organizations, including the Tremont Street Shul in Cambridge, where I led the 20s 30s group for a while, Jpulse, JICNY and Manhattan Jewish Experience, where I am now in the senior fellowship program.

3) Friends 

I would never be able to grow, run a business, or have much success if it weren’t all my friends, including these great gentleman at Guitar Guide Guru CEO Mike Papapavlou and Courtland Long’s wedding:

Mike Trugman, health coach 

-Mike Papapavlou

Michael Deutsch, Founder of Hands on Hoops Skills 

What I love about these friends in particular, as we are both dear friends and education partners.

4) Business

They say if you love what you do, you do not work a day in your life; it’s true! While rarely a goes by that I do not do any work for Premier Chess- business development, teaching, thinking about upcoming events, blogging, etc., I rarely view it as busy work. As demonstrated in my recent interview with Jim Eade, there is nothing I love more than teaching business and life lessons to students of all ages and skill levels through the game.

5) Travel 

When I was on a flight home from Mumbai in January 2015, I decided to make a commitment to travel to at least one new country every year. Since then, I’ve done that every year until 2020:

2016- Iceland

at Bobby Fischer’s grave in Selfoss, Iceland

2017- England, Belgium and The Netherlands

Euweplein in Amsterdam, named after former World Champion Max Euwe Photo Credit: Carmit Azoulay









2018: Tanzania (for 1st Annual Make a Difference Teaching Chess in Africa trip)

2019: Jordan, Italy, Switzerland 

Playing chess against Julius Ceasar in Rome!

Unfortunately I don’t know if I will be able to go to a new country this year due to COVID-19 but, god willing, I will go to at least two new countries in 2021.

I love travelling to experience new places, meet people and try unique foods. I have been to 25 countries and played tournaments in 11. Learn about my travel tips in this US Chess article.

Family. Judaism. Friends. Business. Travel: Those are my five whys. What motivates you? 

Mindfulness, Meditation and the Art of Chess

By Francine Steadman Krulak, Founder of BuddhaBooth 

Mindfulness can be thought of as the practice of filling our mind with the present, moment by moment. Pushing out all of the other external forces of daily life that would seek to control our conscious thought process.

Meditation is the process by which we use mindfulness to help center our thoughts, often by focusing on one specific object, thought or activity to train attention and awareness, and achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm and stable state.

These are two concepts that can seem foreign to many people in the year 2020 when every moment of every day seems to be in a state of perpetual flux. Yet, the very obstacles that would seek to impede our achievement of this higher level of mental clarity are also the reason they are so important. Meditation and mindfulness have been proven throughout the ages to offer countless benefits to both mental and physical health.

Our team views meditation and mindfulness more as an art form than as an activity. And there is no artist that stands to benefit more from solitude than a chess player. While “game” is the word most commonly used to describe chess, it is more of an artform or sport of the mind. Professional athletes are known for leveraging the power of meditation prior to a major sporting event and then draw from that focus for the duration of the match. The same holds true for writers, painters and sculptors before they sit down at their medium of choice to bring a vision to life.

by Bruce Rolff

Chess players are no different. The entire match is won or lost in the mind of the opponents; one wrong move or momentary lapse in focus is all it takes to suffer an insurmountable setback. The more mentally prepared a player is prior to sitting down at the board, the better their chances of being victorious. Conversely, the more relaxed and focused a businessperson or student is, the more effective they will be at tackling the tasks at hand.

Alone, BuddhaBooth and chess currently offer countless users ways to focus and tap the inner power of the mind. But the combined partnership of the two can open a new world of possibilities.

Business Lessons from the Queen’s Gambit


By Ezrin Raja, Phoenix Lifestyle Coach 

What does it take to be the BEST IN THE WORLD? 🏆

Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit ♟️

Is a must watch for BUSINESS OWNERS..

To be the best 🥇

In life and business:

You will need certain qualities 📝

Here are 3 important ones: 

You should start adopting:


🎯 If you don’t believe you can, you’re setting yourself for failure

🎯 Start the day with a winning mindset and you’re in a better position of becoming successful


📊 Whilst it is important to have a strategy, what’s more important is having one that is flexible

📊 2020 has taught us to be flexible, resilient and your strategy needs to be the same


💯 You’ll have days when things don’t go your way, but that doesn’t mean you need to stop and pack it in

💯 Keep going, you didn’t come this far to only come this far

Is Queen’s Gambit Worth the Hype?

By Kameron Toliver

“The Queen’s Gambit”  is worth the hype. I am usually skeptical on chess movies, but this one is so much more than chess. The movie tackles many touchy aspects of life that are relatable in these times such as:

Being an introvert
Dealing with death
Revisiting your past
Losing your parents or loved ones
Choosing your own path
Finding your passion

And much more.

As far as the chess goes this is without a doubt the best chess atmosphere in any mainstream chess media. I enjoyed all the small details like all the players bringing different boards, different “sections” at the tournament like open and beginner, and the fluent use of descriptive notation. All the sounds are spot on. I appreciated the audio and visual silence during the actual chess games. Cinematic action and fancy camera cuts with music really don’t fit here. The playing scenes are made perfectly, even down to the player telling a spectator to shhhh! I really miss live chess and this movie makes me even more excited to get back on the road and play. Most of the games are real games with some modification with input from real life world champion talent. For all the chess fans the chess banter is spot on. Chess players know how it is to talk all the chess lingo, slang and verbiage to each other and have non chess players be as confused as ever. Non chess players be like: What is a Najdorf? Isn’t Sicily some place in Italy? What type of dog is Caro Kann? However, the way the movie sets it up is approachable and it does not feel forced or overbearing for non players. This movie has the right amount of chess or anyone.

One thing that bothered me the first 3 episodes was her ability to not lose any games. Any chess player knows how much it sucks to lose and that losing is a huge part of the growing process. Many times i lost a tournament and had to drive home only hearing the sound of the windshield wipers… its part of the game. Personally, (and i know they have to follow a book) I would have had Beth lose the state championship one time, then come back and win after working hard. Everything felt too easy. I was happy when she got beat by Benny because that is what happens in chess, you lose. Chess is not easy even with immense talent.

On a personal note I did shed a tear when Beth found out that the person who taught her chess had passed away, and had been saving her news paper clippings and magazine articles. It shows how much of a positive impact being a mentor, teacher, coach can be towards kids (and grown ups!). Always appreciate that coach or teacher from the past because they are always rooting for you to succeed if you know it or not.

My favorite part is the ending. The scene where all her friends come back together to help her during an adjournment is a magical moment. You don’t have to go at it alone in life…nothing wrong with getting help even in your biggest individual moments.

Overall the show is a must watch for chess player and non chess players. The show is very fast paced after the middle of the first episode and is easily digestible in one sitting.

Read Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin’s review of Queen’s Gambit here.  Kameron Toliver is a member of the Detroit Chess Killers; check out our podcast episode with Dee Wildman, the founder of the team.

Premier Chess Client Avatar

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin

Client Avatar: Companies with 50+ employees, schools and individuals that are concerned about professional development.

The Problem: Organizations and individuals that lack critical thinking, intuition, judgement and confidence skills.

The Solution: Premier Chess’ team of 48 instructors, led by National Master Evan Rabin teaches business and life lessons through corporate classes, school programs, group classes, private lessons and more, virtually and in-person.

Check out the 80+ organizations that currently partner with us.

Email for more information.

Book a Meeting here:

Queen’s Gambit: Historical Accuracy, Inspiration and Girl Power

By Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin

The “Queen’s Gambit” is one of the most common chess openings, in which white temporarily sacrifices a pawn, with the intent of building a strong center.

Along with the Ruy Lopez, the Queen’s gambit is one opening that is often played in top-level grandmaster games. However, in 2020, the terms takes a different meeting as thousands of adults around the world have been inspired to start playing the game, inspired by the Netflix web series “The Queen’s Gambit”. There has been an enormous surge in the search for chess sets. We have gotten several inquiries for lessons everyday since the series came out. This series of seven episodes has been incredible because of its historical accuracy, inspiration to succeed and demonstration of girl power

After watching two episodes of the show, I had to GoogleElizabeth Harmon” to see if she was a real chess player or not. While I am a chess master, I am not an expert in the game’s history. To learn more about that, consider reading Sunil Weeramantry, Alan Abrams and Robert Mclellan’s book “Great Moves: Learning Chess Through History”. The show’s chess advisors former World Champion Garry Kasparov and National Master Bruce Pandolfini did a great job demonstrating to Scott Frank and Allan Scott how to make the film accurate, chess-wise. The amount of chess movies that have the king and queen set up incorrectly, the board set-up sideways, etc. are crazy. Not only was the board always set up correctly, Kasparov and Pandolfini helped orchestrate some of the games and through some chess history into the mix.





Chess players will notice elements such as Chess Review, the precursor to Chess Life and the inclusion of the famous 1858 Paul Morphy vs the Duke of Brunswick/ Count Isouard game. Shelby Lohrman, Director of American Chess Equipment, thinks that one of the players portrayed at the US. Open, was inspired by 6-time U.S Champion Grandmaster Walter Browne, who unfortunately passed away in 2015. While the film series is not based on a true story per say, there is some definitely reminiscence about Bobby Fischer’s Cold War victory against the Russian Grandmaster Boris Spassky at the 1972 World Championship in Reykjavik.

Part of the reason Queen’s Gambit has been popular with chess players and non-chess players alike was the producers’ ability to put in elements of inspiration that everyone could relate to. I love attending Sir Paul McCartney shows, having now been to three of them at Citi Field, Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, partially because of his ability to arouse audience members, ranging from older adults, who enjoyed him in the Beatles‘ heyday in the 60s and 70s, to young children. While I unfortunately cannot attend concerts for a while, I can rely on the screen and provoking features like “Queen’s Gambit.”

Elizabeth Harmon grew up in the Methuen home, an orphanage in Kentucky. How many orphans/impoverished children do you know that have had rose to international fame? I personally do know a few, including our podcast guest Pastor Bill Wilson, Founder of Metro World Child, who was abandoned by his mother on a street corner at the age of 12 and has now helped 200,000+ kids around the world with food, education and much more. Many of the students Make a Difference Now sponsors, some of which we get to work with in Tanzania every summer, are starting to give back and change the world. For instance, one of their oldest students Revo Tesha recently graduated from Duke University and is now working for Thomson Reuters in Boston.

Revo and I at Duke University in March 2020, shortly before COVID-19 halted travel

Likewise, the fictional, yet realistic Elizabeth Harmon, rose through the ranks to win major tournaments, including the 1967 U.S Championship.

The film series helps revoke the stereotype that chess is a masculine game. While the truth is that the majority of chess players remains male, there are lot of great initiatives that organizations like US Chess Women’s Committee, Girls 2 Grandmasters, Philadelphia Chess Society are doing that are encouraging more female participation. For more insights into gender variance in chess, see our podcast episodes with Grandmaster Susan Polgar, Women’s Grandmaster Jennifer Shahade, Linda Diaz and Lisa Cunningham, ESQ.

Elizabeth Harmon is vocal against male/female segregation. When she plays in her first local tournament in Kentucky, she refused to play in the women section and ended up getting first place in the open section. Like many female chess players, she had the challenge of balancing her beauty and relationship desires with her chess career. At points she had every chess player’s dream, a relationship with another chess player. While critics have disdained her reliance on drugs and other realistic negatives in the movie, the statistics show how strong of an influence her character has been on chess players, both experienced ones like these who worked with Garry Kasparov and Jen Shahade last week, and new ones that are getting into the game.

All PR is good PR!

Yesterday I had a meeting with Alexandra Atkin, founder of Intention Education. Towards the end of it, I shared how was I was a Grateful Dead fan and showed her my dancing bear wallet. When she was surprised that I was into the music 20 years before my generation and said she was not a big fan, I explained to her she just did not join the bus yet! The Queens Gambit has already been the spark encouraging many people to play the game; it is now time for YOU to join the bandwagon and rise through the ranks like Elizabeth Harmon.



Quads at The Hudson Chess Tournament, This Sunday

By Robert Mclellan, Director of Communications and Development at National Scholastic Chess Foundation

The NSCF is pleased to announce we will be having an over-the-board tournament in a most spectacular location! Quads at The Hudson will be held this Sunday, November 15 from 9 am to 3:30 pm.

This is a live over-the-board tournament. Spacious heated covered outdoor playing area allows for social distancing. Individual tables. Limited participants. Face masks required. 

There is a separate skittles area and a separate parent waiting area. Coffee service and snacks from the food truck on premises. PLUS the restaurant opens at 11:30 am. The food is delicious.

The weather promises to be wonderful. The Hudson, 348 Dyckman Street, New York NY 10034, is located in beautiful Inwood Park , overlooking the river. Free parking and just a 10-minute walk from the A train Dyckman Street station.

For this event, we are limited to just 48 participants with USCF Ratings 900-1800.

First Come, First Served.Advance Registration only.

Register here!


Offense in Jobseeking and Chess

By Jacob Levy, Founder of Searchable Work

I help jobseekers and small businesses identify opportunities OUTSIDE of their network by utilizing the LinkedIn algorithm.

I also help jobseekers/SMB’s go on the offensive by strategizing with original content creation and showing your subject matter expertise.

I support people/small businesses with disabilities, too with content creation and finding desired clientele.

Tip: Look at jobseeking like a game of chess:

More offense➡️target decision makers➡️add VALUE to their content➡️ build your own original content to support your strengths

Less defense➡️pressing “submit” only➡️waiting➡️stress/anxiety

Development of a Chess Expert and Programmer

By National Expert Brian Wilmeth

I recently started managing another programmer after being the sole programmer for my company for a long time. Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin asked me for some similarities between programming and chess. Here are my thoughts:

I learned chess at the tennis club after my tennis lessons. In the beginning I would lose pieces easily and fall for the four-move checkmate repeatedly. I usually took about 3-4 times of the same mistake over and over to register that I was doing something wrong.

Let’s contrast that to the time I started programming which was during my junior year of high school. My favorite part of programming was drawing colors to the screen in the form of pixels. This is how most games are done. You could say I had a love for the gaming part of programming.

Later on I decided to tackle the harder stuff and I got a book on programming video games…

I gave up. It was too hard so I did not revisit that until my senior year of college. With chess I never gave up on it and started entering tournaments when I went to high school. Unfortunately, I played a lot less chess when college started.

Why did I give up? What causes anyone to give up in a pursuit of something they enjoy? It was too hard for me I think. Video game programming seemed too hard and reaching beyond my chess rating of 1900 seemed too hard.

What do I mean by too hard? Well in the case of video game programming, I worked from a book. I figured in order to learn this I need to get through this book. Is that really true? Perhaps there was another way. Perhaps my limited thinking of how this must be done was creating the feeling of too hard.

In the case of chess I started to analyze openings very deeply. I looked at how to play against the Grunfeld Defense and looked into that opening very deeply.

I wanted to play as good as the computer. During this time of trying to perfect my anti Grunfeld I thought chess was too hard. Perhaps I was just approaching it wrong? The Grunfeld was just a small part of chess and yet I was putting all my energy into that.

Now I approach chess and programming differently. I have goals that I feel comfortable with in both of them. How good do I want to be? I’m not looking to be a world champion chess player or the best programmer. For chess, reaching a specific rating would be nice and for programming, releasing a Nintendo Switch game would be nice.

Now that I am clear on what I want from these two pursuits, I am less likely to fall in the trap of hating the process, which could just be a sign that I am not clear about what I want and I am going in the wrong direction. In any pursuit, one should be clear of what he wants out of it and he will enjoy it more and get farther.

National Expert Brian Wilmeth manages our virtual classes and program at New American Academy Charter School. He is also a programmer and web designer. He recently did some consulting for KWR International. To learn more about his programming services and coding classes, send him an email at .