My Favorite Quotes from Garry Kasparov’s “How Life Imitates Chess”

By Olga Inglis, Premier Chess Manager of Business Development 


  • “You must always be aware of your limitations and also of your best qualities.”
  • “The ability to adapt is critical to success.”
  • “Being too far ahead of your environment can be just as bad as lagging behind your competitors.”
  • “Only when the environment shifts radically should you consider a change in fundamentals.”
  • “Avoid change for the sake of change.” (Learn more about transformational moves in this blog post by National Master Evan Rabin).
  • “Long-term success is impossible if you let your heat-of-the-moment reactions trump careful planning.”
  • “Sometimes the teacher must learn from the student.”
  • “It is so important to question success as vigorously as you question failure.”

Strategy and Tactics at Work

  • “You should have a solid and well-developed position before going on the attack, is applicable to every field of battle.”
  • “Trusting yourself means having faith in your strategy and in your instincts.”
  • “The worst enemy of the strategist is the clock.”
  • “The best plans and the most devious tactics can still fail without confidence.”
  • “Courage is the first of human qualities because it guarantees all others.”


  • “Like the weatherman’s forecasts, the further ahead you look, the more likely it is you will miscalculate.”
  • “It is still impressive how many poetical blunders derive from “obvious” assumptions.”
  • “It doesn’t matter how far ahead you see if you don’t understand what you are looking at.”
  • “The key to calculation is understanding its limits.”


  • “Chess, along with music and mathematics, is one of the few pursuits in which superior ability and originality can manifest at a young age.”
  • “Just about every young star in any field can give credit to a determined parent giving talent a push.”
  • “I believe it’s essential to push the boundaries and constantly widen the angle of the lens we use to view the world.”
  • “If you daydream a little about what you’d like to see happen, sometimes you find that it is really possible.”
  • “Fantasy must be backed up by sober evaluation and calculation or you spend your life making beautiful blunders.”
  • “The more you experiment, the more successful your experiments will be.”


  • “If critics and competitors can’t match your results, they will often denigrate the way you achieve them.”
  • “Be suspicious when these criticisms emerge right on the heels of a success.”
  • “Steady effort pays off, even if not always in an immediate, tangible way.”
  • “I am a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it (Thomas Jefferson).”
  • “I believe that if opportunity isn’t provided at a young age, it can be created later in adulthood through discipline and imaginative involvement in the pursuits we care about.”
  • “It is critical to know what motivates you, to find out how to push yourself that extra mile.”
  • “Through practice and observation, you must take an active role in your own education.”

MTQ:  Material, Time, Quality

  • “Being told the value is one thing, but only experience really teaches you what those values signify in the “real world” of chess.”
  • “The worst type of mistake was one produced due to a bad habit because it made you predictable.”
  • “This game serves as a testament to my philosophy of preferring time over material, favoring dynamic factors over static factors.”
  • “And I might add that in everyday life, “victory” can simplistically, perhaps a little romantically, be defined as happiness.”

Exchanges and Imbalances

  • “The cold blooded investor knows that getting something now is better than nothing later.”
  • “In chess as in life we total up the pluses and minuses in a position, then go to work figuring out how to improve our side of the ledger.”
  • “The first law of thermodynamics tells us that the total amount of energy in a system is constant, that if we move energy into one area, we lose an equal amount from another.”
  • “Physics also tells us that “ordered systems lose less energy than chaotic systems.”
  • “This is why a company that is in financial trouble should never gamble on a risky venture.”


Phases of the Game

  • “All the study and preparation in the world can’t show you what it’s really going to be like in the wild.”

The Attacker’s Advantage

  • “Many bad decisions come from wanting to just get the process over to escape the pressure of having to make the decision.”
  • “I like to say that the attacker always has the advantage.”
  • “‘Buy the rumors, sell news.’ Anticipation of something’s happening can be more powerful than the event itself or, put another way, is inseparable from the event itself.”
  • “If you don’t stay aggressively in front, you will quickly be left behind.”
  • “Just like Darwinism in nature, innovation is quite literally about survival. We have to keep evolving, and that means staying aggressive instead of standing still.”
  • “Pushing the action gives us more options and a greater ability to control our fate, which creates positive energy and confidence.”

Question Success

  • “I lost because I was overconfident and complacent.”
  • “This is what I call the gravity of past success. Winning creates the illusion that everything is fine.”
  • “Constant reinvention is a necessity in fast-moving areas such as manufacturing and technology.”
  • “Regardless of the methods we use to motivate ourselves, we have to create our own goals and standards and then keep raising them.”
  • “Finding ways to maintain our concentration and motivation is the key to fighting complacency.”
  • “Perhaps you should create your own “happiness index,” which can be as simple as a mental or actual list of things that motivate you and give you pleasure and satisfaction.”
  • “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

The Inner Game

  • “South American liberator Simon Bolivar said, ‘Only an inexperienced soldier believes that all is lost after being defeated for the first time'”
  • “To believe the casino is to do little more than to follow superstition.”
  • “No matter how great his chess skills, he lacked the people skills to be a self-promoter and fund-raiser.”
  • “Overthinking can distract us from our concrete objectives.”

Man vs. Machine

  • “It’s a bad habit to become over reliant on one skill or way to doing things just because it has in the past worked well for you.”
  • “Successfully avoiding challenges is not an accomplishment to be proud of.”


  • “The result of trying anything is either failure or success. If you wish to succeed, you must brave the risk of failure.”
  • “Detecting trends, preferably before anyone else, is often based on intuition and intangible elements.”

Crisis Point

  • “Crisis really means a turning point, a critical moment when the stakes are high and the outcome uncertain.  It also implies a point of no return.  This signifies both danger and opportunity.”
  • “Instead, real success depends on detecting, evaluating, and controlling risk.”


  • “What we make of the future is defined by how well we understand and make sense of our past.”
  • “My personal map is full of gray areas, and its outer borders are never entirely complete. Most important, I have learned not to fear those unknown territories.”
  • “Whenever I’m faced with a difficult path, her words inspire me: “If not you, who else?””
  • “How success is measured is different for each of us. The first and most important step is realizing that the secret of success is inside.”






From Torah Classes to Joining Premier Chess Team

By Olga Inglis,  Manager of Business Development, Premier Chess

Photo Credit: Alexandra Vainshtein

 “What we make of the future is defined by how well we understand and make sense of the past.” 

– Garry Kasparov

In May of 2019, I wanted “to make sense of the past.”  When my dear friend Sabina Veksler suggested that both of us attended Steve Eisenberg’s Monday Torah class, I was all for it.

Sabina is a personification of Tikkun Olam.  She can jump-start Jewish Philanthropy, structure a sustainability bond, and hand-deliver a hot Passover Seder Dinner to a friend and her children in the eye of pandemic (it was delicious).

I heard that Steve’s boundless passion and enthusiasm captivated every student in the room.  I got to experience it myself.  In addition to teaching, Steve did and does his best to help people.  His desire to improve people’s lives is genuine and thus far-reaching.

Authenticity is a beautiful, magnetic thing.  By meeting Steve, I met amazing people who opened their doors as well as their hearts to me.  Remarkable Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald was one of them. He taught me that love is so powerful that it opens up new dimensions in our minds and our hearts, and that the real source of power is in interdependence, not independence.  Rabbi Buchwald’s words came straight from the heart.  And as we know, “words from the heart enter the heart.”

I met Jeff Koblenz, CPA, a kind and vibrant Real Estate and Insurance Professional, gifted educator, who upon finding out about my chess passion, introduced me to Evan Rabin, National Master and CEO of Premier Chess.

Evan Playing a Tournament in Kiryat Ono, Israel in August 2018

Evan is a go-getter. He is self-motivated, energetic, and his enthusiasm is contagious.   Evan’s life is a simultaneous exhibition ranging from school programs, corporate classes, private lessons, camps, podcast, and everything in between. I don’t know where he finds the energy or the time.  Somehow he does.

Evan’s custom tailors his chess program for all walks of life and age ranges.  My daughter’s first formal introduction to chess was through the Premier Chess Winter Camp.  She fell in love with the game.  His 144th podcast episode features Israeli Grandmaster Victor Mikhalevski.  Victor says that love for the game is vital to success in chess.  This is where I find Premier Chess both special and unique.  Evan’s approach is both rational and emotional.  Premier Chess’s ability to infuse the game with passion is extraordinary.

Tomorrow will be a new day, a new set of questions and uncertainties.  Some things will be within my control and many will not.   My chessboard will be in the usual spot, on the shelf to the right of my piano.  And what a joy it will be to see both of my children,  staring intently at the chessboard, choosing which piece to advance, which to sacrifice, and most importantly, having fun.

Evan Rabin Introduces The First All-Ivy League Chess Invitational

By Marty Katz, Founder of Connectors 360 

Evan Rabin, is a passionate exponent of chess and the Founder of Premier Chess, an organization that teaches chess to families and employees.

He was looking to demonstrate the fun of playing the game. He was convinced that chess is a great way for people to use their intellectual and creative juices particularly during the pandemic when so many people are constrained to their homes.

Marty Katz, a brand messaging consultant, Founder of Connectors 360, and member of the Columbia University Club of New York,  had an idea.

What if Evan could create the first All-Ivy League Chess Invitational Tournament?

This online chess tournament would include many non-Ivy League schools and would reach the large community of both players and non-players in the metro area. It would be open to anyone interested in chess.

The Columbia Club supported this idea and is now setting up on-going tournament play.  Evan will be joined by other chess masters who will lead the teaching and playing portions of the event.

The All-Ivy Chess Invitational has been embraced by both experienced and novice players as well as observers of all ages. See footage of the event here.




Evan Rabin Finds a New Use For Chess

By Marty Katz, Founder of Connectors 360

Evan Rabin, is the Founder of Premier Chess, which teaches chess to professionals as well as families.

His problem: during the doldrums of the pandemic and recession, his sales were flat. Not many people were interested in this diversion.

He met Marty Katz, Founder of Connectors 360. Marty is a marketing consultant and specializes in brand messaging.

Marty suggested that instead of framing his business strictly as a place to learn or play chess, Evan should address business leaders to show them that chess has a role that could benefit them:

Business leaders have many employees who are reluctant to try new things. They are afraid of being judged by their managers and colleagues if their ideas aren’t successful. This makes innovation –- the lifeblood of growth – the responsibility of only a few top-level execs.

Knowing this,  Evan positioned chess as a way for people to learn how to develop strategies, manage risk and generate creativity in their approach to solving problems and finding new opportunities. Managers and employees would all benefit.

Evan began communicating this new use of chess and its value to business leaders. They saw how chess could improve their employees’ performance and signed up for his programs.

Out of a low point, Evan found his own innovation to get the outcomes he wanted.

Life Skills Through Chess

By Janie Teller, Founder of The Study Shack

There is a lot to be said about how chess provides many life skills that young students need as they grow and develop. Playing chess results in better brain function, improved memory and cognitive abilities, strategic thinking, and attention improvement. All of these benefits are directly related to the practice of chess, both in real-life and virtual environments, which means that chess could be the answer to how to help your child both in and out of the classroom.

By allowing them to flex their brain functions and cognitive skills, children are better prepared when it comes time to get ready for school assignments, statewide assessment, and college preparation. Especially as students struggle to focus during remote schooling, the skills that chess develops  – improving critical thinking, problem-solving, and concentration – can especially beat down any obstacles that remote schooling incurs.


Three Types of Transformational Moves

In my previous blog post “Three Ideas for a Race Against Time” , I wrote about how a player should divide a game’s time control by 40, the average number of moves in a chess game, to determine the rough amount of time he should spend per move. However,  one needs to know the types of transformational moves that require more analysis. Before making a , sacrifice, trade or pawn move it is important to spend extra time, considering the long-term ramifications. After these moves, the positions will never be the same:


Despite what many players believe, one can not make a sacrifice based on his intuition. As Jim Egerton writes about in Business on the Board , a player needs if to get a good return on investment in the event that he makes a sacrifice.

In this position from the Gioco Piano, white should most certainly not sacrifice with 4. Bxf7+. On one hand, he will get a little bit of compensation because black will have an exposed king after 4….Kxf7. However, his slight disadvantage in king safety will not be nearly enough of a return to equate the black’s 3 point surplus in material.

To the contrary, let’s take a peak at this example from the well-known Paul Morphy vs the Duke of Brunswick Game that took place in Paris in 1858:

In this position, Former World Champion Paul Morphy played 16. Qb8+.  Like many chess educators, I have shown this game to hundreds of students over the years. Most beginners will see Qb8+ as a forcing move but will quickly discount it as we discuss black can play 16..Nxb8. However, Morphy did play 16. Qb8+! as after black is forced to play 16…Nxb8, he had the follow-through of 17. Qb8#.  One should only make a sacrifice if he absolutely knows that with best play from both sides, he will get sufficient compensation.


One of the most common mistakes beginners will make is trading at almost opportunity. One should not exchange pieces just because “it is a fair trade”. Once a pair of equally valued pieces gets removed from the board, the game will never be the same. Let’s take a look at a common example from the Scotch Opening:

In this position, white just played 2. Nxd4…. should black respond with Nxd4, forcing white’s queen to come to the center with Qxd4? He should not as the queen would be active on d4 and there is no good way to take advantage of the queen being out too early. To learn more about when it is worth trading, read this prior blog post.

Pawn Moves

A pawn move may not seem like such a big deal; however, we need to remember that pawns never move backwards! If we move any other piece forward, it can always move back but pawn moves are permanent. As I remind students like a broken record, every pawn move makes a weakness!

In this Sicilian position, one of black’s main options is playing 5..e5, the Sveshnikov Variation. While it is its perks, gaining an initiative by creating a lot of threats, it is a risky as black will have a long-term backward pawn on d6.


While every move should have a purpose and it is important to never let your guard down, there are some critical positions, when you need to spend a lot of time. When you sacrifice, trade or move a pawn, make sure you get a good bang for your buck! Game on.


Queen’s Gambit Mania Swag

By Jac Zagoory, Founder of Jac Zagoory Designs 

It is fascinating how a miniseries can change culture and influence the markets of the world. The Queens Gambit has turned the average home body into a chess master wannabe. Now, everyone is on alert to what the Chess community has known all along—Chess is engaging, challenging and fun!

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