Upper West Side Activities With Guitar Guide Guru And Hands On Hoops

Mike, Evan and Michael met and became business partners. Premier Chess has linked up with many different people and Mike found his way onto our pathway around a year ago, just about right after he decided to switch from teaching guitar to make Guitar Guide Guru a full-time gig. On the other hand Michael has been teaching really young kids to play basketball, and recently ended up reaching out to us.

Mike who runs Guitar Guide Guru thinks that guitar made him a happier person and that’s the reason why he’s chosen to make it a career, after figuring out who he was and what he liked doing the most. Anybody can want to express themselves at one point or another in their life, and wanting to play some sort of instrument is pretty common. So what’s a better way for your kids, or your own self, to have a unique direction that guitar would grant you? To each his own, and playing music helped Mike to find a good direction, and to experience life without so much bitterness that one’s lack of interest in schools can withhold. After a while and looking back at it, it’s maybe not just fate that has brought together Guitar Guide Guru and Premier Chess, just as how Mike ended up working around the one instrument that he’s spent so much time playing with as a kid, but maybe positive circumstances and a lot of effort.

Basketball is great too, and that’s perhaps why Michael, from Hands On Hoops, decided to teach it to our youngest generations of young minds. Those transferable skills, that one can utilize later on, for his, or her own life, are what’s enabled us all to become more productive and happier member of our society and different communities. How were we supposed to understand what work, or fun were without experiencing both in a short amount of time? That’s what seems to be Michael’s philosophy with basketball. Why not having fun and learning how to understand both fundamentals and pivotal skills that will probably facilitate everybody’s life and make us a more successful and well articulated community?

If you want to experience what it’s like to meet us all at once, you should join us at Barnes and Nobles next Sunday, where each of us will be present sharing with you what’s our work like, and how you can also be apart of your child’s development into becoming a chess master. It will be on 2289 Broadway, NY 10024, and will start at 4 PM, just click here.

A Successful Partnership
Michael Deutsch, Mike Papapavlou and Evan Rabin

What goes on around your community?

How do we know what communities are for, or just how to define one? I see this a lot in and around school classes : “What is a community?”. In fact as a teacher, I’ve gotten used to hear out plenty of different figurative speeches from various program directors, or just school principals, indicating that “Chess should be included” in as many school programs as possible, or that working around kids is some sort of blessing. And how can someone not agree on that!? Chess should benefit anyone’s upbringing into a fully fledged person, or chess player into a fully grown player. But as far as being able to determine whose school districts, and which charter schools should have access to an informative, educational and lively chess program, that’s not so clear. Well in my case, growing up in a suburban area of France,  school funding didn’t have much to do with my access to the culture or the game. Not that my school didn’t have proper internet equipment, or just school furniture, but school principals back then didn’t know, nor understood much about chess. But that was back then.

Figuratively speaking, there is nothing holding back schools to have a chess program or not. It’s simply a matter of social-economics, or perhaps just economy. I’ve taught in different parts of the city and, and I can’t say that I’ve ever seen a child, student or teacher, not appreciate anything related to the class that I’d went to teach.

Obviously chess doesn’t have to be everywhere for any schools to be considered somewhat adequate to its students. But in my case chess helped me a lot pass on time during weekends, and just regular school days too. I mean there are a lot of schools picking up chess as extra-curriculums as well as regular class hours, and that’s maybe why there has been a lot more young and talented chess players from the U.S lately.

 

 

Rating Points On And Off The Board

Let’s say that there is someone who’d be rated around 2000, and who’d want to improve at chess and so to feel a certain increase, in any way, shape or form, in his or her own chess rating. It’s probably normal to feel as somebody whose rating is probably not quite right, or high enough. Like we might have already witnessed a chess player saying that “ratings don’t matter” or that chess blitz is just “more fun”,and not that both statements aren’t just merely emotional and perhaps associated to the fact that usually, the “chess player in question” is just a mere expert, but perhaps that the reason why 2300+ rated players are more likely to consistently outplay 2000+ rated ones are primary associated to the amount of time one’s been putting into learning about his/her game. So let’s say that for someone who would feel like ratings are justifiably used and even more importantly, somewhat representative to his or her understanding of the game, then there might be a specific “chess routine” to develop around our daily habits to be able to better ourselves, through Chess.

  • Puzzles matter

I’m not a great fan at looking at a diagram for hours and going over lines that might never actually occur, but that’s not the main source of my reasoning that leads me into believing that doing puzzle isn’t really the thing that’s going to impact my rating, in any meaningful way at all. As a 2000 player, I try not to rely too much on them but they still come in handy to convert a dominating middle game position into an actual winning endgame.

  • What is winning and what is not?

Based on my rating I might think that I might outplay a, let’s say 2100+ player, right? I mean as far as being 100″ USCF ratings points over my USCF ELO” I could still end up with the more “convenient middle game”.

Well,I believe that whether or not you can memorize plenty of chess openings, chess endgames or just generally chess patterns, tactics show on and off, and it’s not too much about how many diagrams you can shove into your brain cells, but it also comes down to what kind of “chess routine” one follows.

  • But “What Is Chess Routine”?

Well (FM) Mike Klein pretty much said that it’s really not so much about what you know or what you enjoy doing, it’s also what goes on around you and what makes you into what you’ve become. The DOE might allow a certain amount of money, that might benefits one’s learning access into becoming a proficient chess player or not, but as far as being apart of a chess club, or  a school district’s project, you don’t have to just rely on the city’s initiative to naturally hand out money every now and then.

In our case we might once in a while, try out a certain Gambit and beat a 300- lower rated opponent in a certain opening we don’t know so much about, but that doesn’t mean that one truly master it.

That’s why we’re trying to level out the different kind of access one might get as far as being able to learn about chess, rather that just deliberating whether or not one could just get. So there is nothing wrong with practicing puzzles every now and then just to kind of hope to improve on how much we could get done during an actual “OTB” game.

 

 

 

Chess Growth, Culture And Tour

Writing helps me do things. As a chess player I could sit around all day, watch a few opening videos, play a couple of online games and go through a dozen of pages related to a specific material I’ve meant to look at. Now that I have a platform to share my passion on through an actual audience, I tend to not feel like evading responsibilities as much and I have probably been somewhat more responsive to my environment and my community.

Last week I had the chance to have a short conversation with Mike Klein about his upbringing as a chess teacher and an ambassador of Chesskid. You can find most of what we went over right here (click on it). We tried to have a structured timeline in which every posts could be associated with 3 different topics. Monday was meant to be “Chess Growth”, Wednesday was going to be “Chess Culture” and Fridays ones were to connect to “Chess Tour”.

Today is Friday, for most readers, and on that day we want our audience to be able to read an informative, and insightful article remotely or wholly related to Chess. For example Stacy Jacob, a lawyer quite knowledgeable about the immigration policies, told us how asylum seekers tend to be pretty much moved around like pawns.

Next would be Monday, a day during which we aspire to deliver technical articles on the strategies that revolve around the actual game of Chess (openings, endgames and more). This can always vary, as adaptability isn’t a trait that’s only required to become an understanding player, but also a wise individual and an intelligent employee.

Finally comes Chess Culture. The chess community is going through changes quite frequently. Sometimes with its rules, and occasionally with its federation(s). So we want to educate ourselves as well as others  with everything surrounding these matters! Premier Chess is unbiased so keep that in mind when reading our Blog posts, but if you can’t agree that the any QGD like games aren’t boring I won’t be of any help.

How Does Chesskid Empower Scholastic Chess? With (FM) Mike Klein!

It’s no easy task to stay relevant in the Chess Business nor World, for more than a decade if not just years. Kids grow up, mentalities evolve, for the better or for the worse, but Chess remains one of the most marvelous and perplexing sport. And nobody understands this better than Fide Master Mike Klein, who has been playing chess since he was four years old, and “can’t remember not being able to play chess”. In fact Mike was North-Carolina’s best Junior player, and went on to become a successful and prolific chess teacher as well as chess ambassador of chess.com’s growing interface : Chesskid. What are the shifting behaviors from the components of the Chess Culture and Sport that he’s noticed, and why his association with Chesskid is decisive in bridging the social-economic gaps around the access to Chess educative and learning resources?

Like many others, M. Klein ended up in New York City, trying to follow his passion, and started out working with Chess In The Schools by 2001. Back then he was just a competitive chess player and had no idea what teaching was really like. That’s why he was a perfect recruit for this organization, since Chess In The Schools’s trademark is to basically fabricate professional instructors out of non-teaching chess enthusiasts who just want to understand how teaching work. As as a matter of fact, Mike thinks that if it was not for all that training, he wouldn’t have been as successful as he is today.

In retrospective “there wasn’t many different powerhouses around the U.S” while “nowadays we have really strong programs in Texas, Florida, California, Arizona, Seattle. But back then, even though it was the National Championship each Spring, it was really just a question of which New-York-City school will win.” However he kept on practicing, playing, improving and eventually becoming a FIDE Master, which for those who don’t know, is just one step away from International Master. Even though “Fun Master Mike” didn’t have a lot of “big tournament wins”, he kept up with chess throughout his youth, successfully taking over North Carolina’s high-school chess division, remaining its champion for five consecutive years (1993-1997).

Fast forwarding Master Mike moved back where he grew up to start his “own chess teaching organization, called Young Master Chess and over the years that grew to about 15 schools.” Eventually he started using the Chesskid’s website which wasn’t as completed as it now is, and part of that reason was Mike Klein’s original experimenting with the platform, and spontaneous communicating to its developers. He “was giving the website so many ideas, for features and how to improve, that they eventually they basically hired” him to work on the back end of their product, and develop it into the subtle and ingenious program that it’s become.

Introspectively “nowadays if you’re not a master by ten, then you’re no one” and “there’s probably a chess club in the majority of the elementary schools in New-York-City”. That being said practice makes perfect but daily practice makes better. So “even if you’re in an active club, in order to improve at anything you need to do it more than once per week[..]”. That’s why Chesskid’s role is even more primordial now that Scholastic Chess has become a thing. However kids tend to quit the game when they get to Junior-High or High-School just simply because they’re not as absorbed, challenged and satisfied with the Sport as they were when they first picked up Chess. In some cases they go to their weekly Chess Club, but after a couple of years, their leaning curve slow down and they move on to a different sport.

“Chesskid is just trying to be an auxiliary resource for kids that are already getting coaching once a week, but also to be the main resource if you’re in an area of the world that has no chess culture. We’re trying to level the accessed information just like Magnus Carlsen did, playing online growing up, but for kids.” Perhaps not every chess scholar thrives to become a profusely accomplished chess player, and turn into the next youngest American Chess Master, but “whenever you’re good at something you’re much more likely to stay with it”. Try it out yourself and create your kid his/her own Chesskid account. You can also unlock special features, and support Premier Chess by getting a discounted Gold Membership, just follow this link! We are currently in the process of handing over free Gold memberships to all of our students. Thank you Chesskid, and (FM) Mike Klein for your time and consideration.

Fide Master Mike is a great teacher
(FM) Mike Klein teaching a ChessKid lesson

A Profile Of A Chess Player.

Shernaz Kennedy fell in love with chess when she was four years old. Her family introduced her to chess, perhaps as a lark, never really expecting a small child to understand the complexities of the board, but that proved to be their blunder! Like every child she loved to play, she loved the lure of competition, and chess had it all. What the four year old could never imagine was how chess would take her to grand places and eventually even introduce her to her idol Bobby Fischer, and then bring her right back to her beginnings of chess, but this time as a teacher.

Shernaz’s family continued to encourage her love of chess no matter where her father’s career took them. She made friends through her chess teams and while competing in tournaments and, despite the general discouragement of female players, she competed in some of the most prestigious tournaments internationally. Shernaz competed in the 1986 Chess Olympiad and earned the title of Woman’s International Master in 1987.

As we think of her many accomplishments, we remember how it all started when she was just a four year old at home, playing around with family. Shernaz has always felt that chess is best when shared and learned early. She looks upon chess with the fresh perspective every chess player must embrace when approaching the board: every opponent is new yet familiar, every match is there for the win, and which strategy will be my lucky charm today! So she took her smile, confidence, and winning strategy to schools in New York City hopeful she could teach other children the joy of chess, the joy of tenacity, the joy of sportsmanship, and the community. She recruited her good friend, NM Bruce Pandolfini. At that time Bruce was the manager of the world renowned Manhattan Chess Club at Carnegie Hall. They worked side by side as Shernaz focused on the children and Bruce managed the business intricacies of creating National Champions. They remain a wonderful team. Schools welcomed their focus, commitment, and creative approach and soon recognized the value they brought as their students became more involved and advanced in tournament play.

Today Shernaz is the backbone of Top Level Chess. Top Level Chess emphasizes the many components of the sport of chess from the life skills of critical thinking, sportsmanship, and logical thinking, to the strategic skills of openings, middle, and end game conundrums. Recognizing that each child enjoys and appreciates different aspects of chess, Shernaz has developed a team of coaches who can coach the next champion or the avid player at any level. This team includes Grandmasters and National Masters and teachers. Top Level Chess provides programs to after school programs in its own space, online, and privately. Shernaz coaches her students at the top tournaments: The Cities, The States, The Nationals, and The World Championships, but you can also find her competing with her own team. Shernaz remains in love with chess!

On that note, we are glad to be partnered with Top Level Chess and encourage you to be apart of this association, by signing up your children to their upcoming tournament at the Churchill School, on November 16th (click here for page event). Our CEO, (NM) Evan Rabin, actually learned chess through Shernaz as a second grader at the Churchill’s Elementary School.

(WIM) Shernaz Kennedy
(WIM) Shernaz Kennedy still is an active and strong chess player

A Game Review From One Of Our Readers.

Chess requires practice, and blitz can be part of that. We’ve probably already all heard someone saying that playing quick games is the best way to get worst at chess, or at least not to improve and grasp fundamental concepts that are required to reach new heights. But that’s not entirely true, playing a couple of short games is just as valuable as studying or analyzing other’s games. Indeed we don’t always have so much opportunities to play slow-paced tournament because those usually take at least a couple of days to come about. Moreover serious USCF rated chess events only occur a couple of time a year all over America. On that note one of our beloved readers provided us with one of his latest blitz game, so we could do a quick review and share it with you all. You can do likewise by emailing us too !

[pgn]

[Site “MCC”]
[Date “2019.10.25”]
[Round “7”]
[White “Ian”]
[Black “Michael”]
[Result “1-0”]

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 {This move order offers Black quite a lot of alternative. Of
course it depends how comfortable you are playing certain openings, nevertheless
giving your opponent that much choice may be unsound if you’re not aware of it.}
2…c6 3.Nc3 d5 4.Nf3 dxc4 5.e4

(5.a4 {This is another popular move and here Bf5 and Bg5 seem to be played quite often at the really high level.} 5…Bf5 6.Ne5 Nbd7 7.Nxc4 Nb6 {Here White has also tried Ne3 and e3} 8.Ne5 a5 9.f3 Nfd7{[#]} 10.e4 Nxe5 11.exf5 Nec4 {Doesn’t look like the preferable option} 12.Qb3 Nd6 13.g4 g6 14.Bf4 gxf5 15.O-O-O {And I would take the White side of this game.})

5…b5 6.a3? {With White, you want to move your a pawn to a4 and not e3, so this misstep should allow Black to play more aggressive.}

(6.e5 Nd5 7.a4 e6 8.axb5 Nxc3 9.bxc3 cxb5 {[#]And White tried to play Ng5 followed by Qh5 in many games, leading to interesting complications in the middle-game.})

6…e6 7.Be2 {I would play Nb.d7 possibly moving it again to b6 next move. Quickly developing my minor pieces to perhaps strike in the center with c5 for instance, undoubling my pawns and opening lines.} 7…a6 8.O-O Bb7 9.Bg5 Be7 10.e5 Nd5 11.Bxe7 Qxe7 12.Qd2 h6 13.Ne4 O-O 14.Nd6 {Having planted an octopus knight within Black’s
territory doesn’t make his position feel right.} 14…f6 {Feels a bit flimsy but Black’s solid position can justify such a provocative move.} 15.Nh4?! Rd8? {Instead Black should have just captured on e5 forcing trades.} 16.Ng6 Qc7 17.f4 Rxd6 18.exd6 Qxd6 19.Bf3 Nb6 20.Rae1 N8d7 21.Bg4 f5 22.Bh3 c5 23.Rd1 Be4 24.Ne5 Nd5 25.g3 Nxe5 26.dxe5 Qb6 27.Bg2 Bxg2 28.Qxg2 Rd8 29.Qf2 a5 30.Rc1 a4 31.Rfd1 Qc6 *

[/pgn]

A Lawyer Tells Us How Chess And The Immigration Policies Can Be Compared.

Chess is pretty often compared to many things, but are analogies with chess and other various subjects really relevant ? Perhaps not always, but lawyer Stacy Jacob draws us a really pertinent description of the overall immigration laws and justice system in which she puts side by side the divergence of the immigration policies and the consistency of the rules of chess.

Ms. Jacob previously worked within the Department of Juvenile Justice (now called ACS) at which point she identified the sport as a great tool of redefining some of the youth’s strategic approach on their perception of any situation. In fact it forces players to keep an objective mindset along the games to better their chances of thriving and winning. Moreover anyone involved with regularly playing the game will benefit from a physiological well being, for instance Stacy noticed that chess allowed young people in detention to “refocus their energy onto something more positive and constructive that consistently helps with their brain development and their ability to think in a more strategic fashion.”

Today she concentrates on immigration law and she’s been successfully overcoming its constant modifications. Indeed if we take a look at it over a period of 30 years we’ll see that “the forms changed, the processes changed and there’s a certain adaptability that is necessary when working with the immigration system”. At this point I’m sure you see where this is going. Yes ! Similarly to a chess game, asylum seekers for instance seem to be “moved about like pawns, like chess pieces, and not necessarily appreciated for what their contribution is”. And that is why thinking like a chess player could allow you to somewhat catch up with the ramifications of the politics and the laws, by recognizing your role on that board, sometimes sacrificial, even though “every member is important from a strategic point of view”. We’re not saying that Gambits are bad and we all know that Magnus Carlsen played the Benko when he was a teenager, but as he ever lost against one ? Maybe on a bad day.

Unfortunately “from the government perspective not every member is treated with that necessary respect, so in some ways the immigration system ends up looking like a chess game for better or for worse. An attorney will have to fully understand the aspect of immigration to understand how they can help their clients the best.” Moreover there are many particular chess opening just like there are different types of immigration, and “if a person is doing asylum and their expertise is in asylum then they’re called up to understand all aspects of that and keep current with any changes”. In like manner if you play the King’s Gambit you better have opened a book or two before moving your King to c1 or you may lose your cool at some point.

Now “fortunately with chess the rules generally don’t change unless you adopt something special for anybody else or you say we’re going to set a timer to it, or some specific general aspect of it, somebody may agree to change, but the rules are the rules and you can depend on that internationally. Unlike immigration it is not an internationally dependent matter. If you go to a different country their rules of immigration are going to change. Chess is chess whether it’s in Russia or Malaysia or America, for the most part. In our country, how we do immigration is very specific to our needs” and the way chess established its own set of universal rules centuries ago, without adjusting any of its core values and principles, demonstrate a certain coherence and cohesion with the worldwide community that’s grown around this amazing sport while the continual revisions of immigration laws demonstrate the absence our absence of stability compared to how do do chess in America.

Practice in Chess ?

Chess requires consistent practice and an objective state of mind to keep on getting to the next level. Unlike other sports where presuming that you’re the best may give boost your self-confidence and push you to greater heights, doing so here is probably going to do more harm than good. I’m not saying that believing in you is bad, on the contrary we should believe in ourselves but similarly to other activities, doing something over and over again will get us to where we want only if we employ the right methodology. But which training technique is going to make us improve and should we all have the same approach to become stronger players ?

Opening knowledge is quite primordial when it comes to getting a decent middle-game position and our comfort level with the position we get. For instance at club level the dragon is quite popular at and the likelihood to reach some Tabiya is pretty likely. So you’re an e4 player and you’ve noticed that you’ve been getting this exact same position in the Sicilian and you decide to do some homework, which is a wise thing to do since the Dragon is a dangerous opening.

After a while you memorize a couple of more moves and you go back to your local club and end up with a nagging edge around move 20. But how did that happen ? Remembering moves and just re-playing a line in which White ends up with a slight advantage has allowed you to get good position out of the opening but now what ? And is this chess is supposed to work, just pure memorization ? Anyway your clock is ticking and we must dive back into the game as the you’re out of the opening in even deeper water.

Now you and your opponent traded a few more pieces, you’re a pawn up but the position looks even more unclear to you as you’re not familiar at all with this situation since you’ve never played so good against Jeffrey. Then what are the conditions to be considered an experienced and knowledgeable competitor who is able to convert some sort of advantage into a winning endgame. Well since there are less pieces at this point of the game brute calculations and forced lines should be popping in and out out of your brain. Whether it’s figuring out the best way to bail out of a dangerous situation where your opponent’s pieces are dangerously aiming at your King or thinking through how to rightly put in motion the combination of moves that will allow you to simplify the game into a simple and much better endgame, calculation will be a big part of the equation.

At this point your clock is ticking down to a few remaining minutes and you’re struggling to even remembering if you know how to win this rook endgame. A pawn up but it’s your king is somewhat far away from it and your opponent’s King is getting closer and closer to your only hope for winning. Well in times like that experience may be of importance as far as not feeling overwhelmed by the time pressure and just losing your ability to play right, but more importantly your knowledge of endgame is quite primordial, and nothing better but to do endgame puzzles for that.

What Are Some Of The Components Of The Chess Scenery ?

The Candidates Tournament is approaching as we’re getting closer to the end of the year. It will be held in Russia in March-April of 2020. There are several ways to qualify for this throughout various tournaments and other invitations based on statistics and past achievements. For instance Fabiano Caruana is already in since he was the 2018 Word Championship pretender. On the other hand whoever wins the 2019 FIDE Grand Swiss Tournament, which is actually being held at the Isle of Man, will also secures himself/herself a spot for the Candidates. By the way whoever wins the Candidates Tournament will be challenging the Word Champion for the title of the strongest chess player.

While the end of the year is arriving, qualifications are becoming more and more scarce. In fact two seats will get taken by the top two finishers of the 2019 FIDE Grand Prix, which takes a huge spotlight on the chess world. Indeed the FIDE Grand Prix is series of four chess tournaments and only the strongest players get invited. There is still Hamburg (4-18 November) and Tel-Aviv (10-24 December) left to be played but at the moment Shakriyar Mameyderov and Alexander Grischuk have gotten the most points.

Finally there is a wild card (who is eligible based on past results in some of the qualifying tournaments and picked by the organizer, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave is at the moment qualified to be the wild card) and whoever has the highest rating average will also make it there (Anish Giri right now). Obviously the top two finishers at the 2019 World Cup, Teimour Radjabov and Ding Liren, have the right to compete for the 2020 FIDE Candidates. Also it is important to discern the Grand Chess Tour with the FIDE Grand Prix. The 2019 Grand Chess Tour regroups a series of 8 tournaments (rapid, blitz and classical events) in which the prize fund is quite major ($1.75 million this year as its 5th Edition increased the participants to 12 and the tournaments to 8). This ongoing event allows specific players (this year the top 3 finishers of the 2018 GCT final standings, top 4 FIDE rated as of January 1st, top 4 based on the average of the 12 monthly FIDE classical ratings for the period from 1 February 2018 until 1 January 2019 and one nominee by the Grand Chess Tour Advisory Board) to play on the International scenery of Chess and get well compensated for their time, while the FIDE Grand Prix, despite having quite a substantial prize pool, rewards the top 2 finishers by allowing them to participate in the Candidate Tournaments.

Who do you think is going to be playing Magnus Carlsen at the end ?