A Tribute to Scott Chaiet, Chess Teacher and Torah Student

Last week we lost one of the most enthusiastic chess players who ever exsisted, National Expert Scott Chaiet. A few weeks before the COVID-19 Pandemic began I was analyzing a game with Scott, our mutual friend Fedor Khrapatin and a few others late at night after a round of the United States Amateur Team East in Parsippany.

Scott Chaiet playing with his teamates (Fedor Khrapatin and Paul Song) at the Amateur Team East

He was so estatic about the game that I felt like he was sports commentator. He had a true passion for identiying beautiful combinations, art on the chess board.

Scott worked as an engineer for the Metropolitan Transit Authority for many years and recently retired. Over for the last few, he often told me he would soon retire and work part-time for Premier Chess. I told him “just tell me when and you will be hired.” Unfortunately, before he could do so, he shockingly had a heart attack and stroke and passed a few weeks later.

In addition to chess, Scott and I bonded over our common passion for torah study. Neither of us grew up wth observant Jewish families, who kept Shabbat or Kashrut. However, as adults, we both decided that we wanted to learn torah, Jewish laws, holidays, etc. in more detail. At the funeral, his rabbi spoke about how he started regularly going to morning services at the synagogue and asked to learn torah. It was due to him that the synagogue started offering a weekly class on Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of Our Fathers. Likewise, I learn a lot from many of mentors, including Rabbi Mark Wildes, Founder of Manhattan Jewish Experience, Rabbi Levi Welton and Rabbi Mendy Brukirer, Director of Outreach at Meor Manhattan.

Rabbi Levi Welton taught me how the Lubavitcher Rebbe compared a Jew to a pawn in chess.

The Rebbe playing with father.

A Jew naturally is of a lower status than Angels. However, when a Jew prays, he could rise his status above them. While a pawn is the lowest value piece (1 point), it could promote to a queen (9 points), above a bishop, or knight (3 points) or a rook (5 points). Scott was a certainly a pawn who promoted himself to live in heaven. While his body is no longer with us, his soul will live forever. Come celebrate his life in a memorial tournament on September 11, organized by Tyrell Harriott.

Farewell for the Summer

By Somaiya, Summer Youth Intern

Working for Premier Chess this summer taught me a lot about myself professionally and personally. As a photographer and filmmaker, I saw this job as the perfect opportunity to practice and improve my skill sets. My supervisor, Evan Rabin, made that vision possible by giving me meaningful work that equally challenged and intrigued me. 


After six weeks of working at Premier Chess, I have learned the following:

– how to pitch an idea 

– how to talk to strangers and handle rejection (when passing out flyers)

– how to network with industry professionals (build my LinkedIn)

– how to collaborate with my coworkers

– how to film and edit visual media for marketing purposes 


With all the skill sets I have garnered, I know I am ready to leap into whatever work awaits me next! 


For now, I would like to thank everyone I worked with for making this summer a great one for me 🙂

Farewell for the Summer

By Isabel, Summer Youth Intern

Working at Premier Chess has been such a wonderful, enlightening experience! I have learned so much in a short amount of time and will take what I have learned and apply it in my future endeavors. Things like business advice, workplace etiquette, and of course chess, were taught to me and my peers alongside learning how an operation such as premier chess works. The environment that was cultivated by Evan and my peers made it such an enjoyable and safe place. This was my first job and made a lasting impression on me, showing me a healthy work environment. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience working at this camp gave me and am sad to go. I consider this as a great lesson for me to learn from and a part of my life to look back on fondly. Goodbye, Premier Chess.

Farewell for the Summer

By Cinthia, Summer Youth Intern

Hello everyone, and goodbye! I am here to wish good health and prosperity on you all as this will be my last day working for Premier Chess. Overall, the networking experience as well as social training has helped me prepare for the mental turmoil of college. Gaining information of how business runs behind the scenes, and how interns such as I could help piece it all together. Evan was a great teacher to the other interns and I. We commend him on his good work in running a successful chess camp and providing his intellectual seniority on us all. If you are ever given the opportunity to reach Evan, please do so as you will not regret your time meeting such an individual. I truly enjoyed my time here and I hope you all will continue to support Premier Chess just as well when I first started. Thank YOU!

Thank You All for the Downloads on Our Podcast Downloads

Thank You For 3000 Downloads!

We would like to thank you all and show our immense gratitude for the support that you have given to the Premier Chess community. We have reached a great feat of 3000 downloads on our podcast with CEO and National Master Evan Rabin and cannot even begin to express how much that means to us. Premier Chess will continue to look to you all for support and provide all that we can to make your chess experience a little bit better. Thank you guys once again!!!

*** We also had the pleasure of winning Best Podcast 2021 by the Chess Journalists of America!”

What Makes Chess Players?

What skills and traits come to mind when you think of the people who make top notch chess players? Probably some combination of the following: problem solving ability, confidence, commitment to practice, learning from mistakes, strategic thinking, and of course, good sportsmanship and awareness of others. The best chess players don’t chalk up their wins to a lucky day. No way! Chess is truly a mental and emotional Olympics that takes a ton of advance focus and preparation.
Guess what? Those are the same skills and traits that make up put students on a path to success in their current classroom, in college, and beyond. Just like chess, the most successful and consistent students do not “get lucky” on the day of the test. Top notch students engage their minds in every step of the learning and test-taking process, demonstrating actions such as:
  • Actively participating when new content is delivered
  • Asking questions and engaging in independent practice
  • Completing ALL assignments to the best of their ability
  • Learning from mistakes and knowing that it’s okay and important to ask for help
  • Approaching multiple choice with a plan of attack
  • Including specific details on short response questions
  • Reviewing the test AFTER it ends in order to address misunderstandings
As an elementary school teacher myself, I am constantly in awe of ALL of my students, particularly after a year (and then some) of remote learning, uncertainty, and unfamiliar challenges! I also notice that the students who are passionate and engaged in mentally-challenging and demanding activities like chess, sports, dance, and music, are able to adapt and persevere when the content or the circumstances of learning are difficult. They know that success doesn’t happen overnight, that learning and demonstrating mastery of new skills takes practice and a lot of energy, and that oftentimes, it’s important to ask for some extra help. For this reason, I encourage you to keep up with chess! On top of that, next time you’re in class, about to start taking notes on something that you may or may not find as fascinating as a chess match, think about how you can harness the skills you’ve developed for the art of chess! I promise it will pay off, and make learning feel all the more urgent and interesting!
Thank you for the chance to share my thoughts. I am a third grade educator in NYC, and eager to offer my tutoring and homework help services!

Is Chess a Sport?

By Matthew Nedderman, Summer Youth Intern

Is Chess a Sport? and how is it related?

Chess players do not compete based on athletic ability, but elite chess players must be in superb physical form. Elite-level games frequently last 7, 8, or even 9 hours. If a player’s concentration wavers, the result is instant defeat. Anyone who has ever played chess knows how important it is to win. As the clock ticks down and the game becomes increasingly intricate, the experience of sitting across the board from a fierce opponent is as tense as it gets. Chess etiquette is incredibly essential. Players are expected to shake hands before and after each chess game. It is customary to wish your opponent good luck before the game and to thank them for the game afterward, regardless of the outcome. Chess has been recognized as a sport by the International Olympic Committee. While this accreditation falls short of recognition as an “Olympic Sport” that would qualify chess for inclusion in the Games, it does acknowledge the sport-like qualities of the game. Chess is considered a mind sport since it stimulates the mind, pushing people to achieve new intellectual heights while also honing critical thinking and problem-solving abilities.

If you are a big fan of the NBA or sports in general, there is a good chance you have heard about Klay Thompson. Klay Thompson plays for the golden state warriors who have won the championship in the last 5 years.  According to the Wall Street Journal, Klay Thompson became interested in Chess while he was in middle school. He enrolled in a chess elective as a “way to squander time,” as he put it. “It ended up being the best class I’ve ever taken,” he subsequently explained. Isn’t it wonderful if every middle school offered a chess elective? The chess-playing basketball player, who is 6 feet 7 inches tall, is now 28 years old. He’s been playing for 15 years, so that’s a long time. He also claims that he plays chess virtually every day. He plays Chess about as much as he plays basketball. Chess and basketball, according to Thompson, have certain parallels. The most significant is how momentum may be shifted by a single blunder. If a piece is blundered in chess, the entire game changes.

3 Questions to Always Ask when Your Opponent Makes a Move

By NM Evan Rabin, CEO of Premier Chess

3 Questions to Always Ask when Your Opponent Makes a Move 

Would you ever cross the street with out looking both ways? Would you ever make a business decision without considering what your competitors are doing? The answer to both questions is likely “no”, or at least it should be. Therefore, one should never make a chess move without considering why his opponent made his last move. In order to start one’s thought process, he should always ask three golden questions about his opponent’s previous move: 

1) Why did my opponent make his move? 

Firstly, a player should ask himself why his opponent made his previous move on a high level. Every single move a strong player makes has a distinct purpose. These are few examples of why:

-Threatens a piece 

-Develops a piece. 

-Helps develop another piece. 

-Responds to a threat

Contrarily to popular belief, most moves a strong player makes is not to make a threat. 

2) If my opponent had another move, what would it be? 

Often beginners will blindly continue with their plan without even realizing what his opponent played and what they are planning next. This gaffe will cause blunders as they will not see simple threats. If Player A attacks Player B’s bishop, it is very clear if Player A had another move, he would take the bishop. Therefore, in order for a move to be a candidate move, Player B needs it to stop Player A from taking his bishop. 

3) What changed about the position? 

I learned to always ask this question from our 75th podcast guest Grandmaster Alex Lenderman. While the first two questions are important to ask and address, one will rarely win a chess game, just by responding to all of his opponent’s ideas. When I once told a student that he needed to always consider why his opponent made his move, he told me that it is not good to be a reactionary. It is important to look at the nuances of a move and see how you can take advantage of the changes. 

For instance, in this position, black can initiate the Sveshnikov Sicillan by playing 5…e5…. What changed about the position?

A lot of beginners and intermediate players will play 6. Nb3 or Nf3, the so-called retreat squares. One who is a little more experienced will noticed that after 5…e5, there was a change in the position. Black created a backward d-pawn on d6. Therefore, it makes most sense for white to play 6. Ndb5, putting pressure on the weakness.

Moving forward, every time your opponent makes a move, don’t have the urge to immediately start thinking of your plan. Always ask your self “Why did my opponent make his move?”, “If my opponent had another move what would it be?” and “What changed about the position?”. Then you can start looking for candidate moves and eventually come up with the best move. For more about thought process, see this blog post.


Chess and Business

By Aden Ho, Summer Youth Intern

The Implications of Chess in Business 

The market size, measured by revenue, of the Business Coaching industry is $11.6bn in 2021. Billions of dollars spent on coaching, much of which can be learned via an ancient game involving plastic pieces and monochromatic squares. Playing chess is running a business in real time. Delegating work to employees, maneuvering adversity, evaluating how well pieces are doing, figuring out strategy, and finding threats are just a couple parallels between chess and business. 

Here are 7 strategies one can learn from the game of chess: 

  • Master the rules: Prior to participating, one must learn the rules. That’s also the way it is in business. If one jumps in without first understanding the dynamics of how things work — including consumer demand, market regulations, pricing techniques, and what have you — one is most likely going to fail. Which is why it’s important to start small and grow gradually, expanding reach as one gets more experienced. 
  • Looking ahead: Being able to forecast and make educated guesses about the future, the moves competitors will make, and market trends, is critical for the success of any business. The greatest chess players have always been able to see several moves ahead. 
  • The value of sacrifice: In chess, one often has to sacrifice a piece to gain the upper hand or even win the game. In the business world one may need to sacrifice their personal enjoyment for certain investments in their business. 
  • Being honorable: In chess competitions, there is something called “touch move.” It means that once one touches a piece, they have to move it and once one moves it, they can’t rescind that move. There have been quarrels at chess tournaments because a player made a move that the officials didn’t catch. Usually this player is able to get away with it if there are no witnesses and as such, become known as being dishonorable players. This is also what happens in business when one cheats their customers with false claims; word travels fast and one’s reputation will be hard to salvage. 
  • Patience is key: Chess is all about being patient and evaluating one’s moves carefully. Players need time to place their pieces in the proper position before they can attack effectively; a premature attack will backfire. This is very similar in business where one

must patiently stop oneself from making rash moves until everything is in place. One must conduct market research and feasibility studies first before risking their capital on any business. 

  • Anticipating your competitors moves: When making a move in chess, one must anticipate the probable responses from one’s opponent because they are planning to defeat you – just like you are planning to defeat them. In the real world, one’s competitors would react to your moves so one must be prepared for the counter attack. 
  • Play to win: In chess, one has to keep the ultimate goal in mind. If one plays emotionally or succumbs at the first signs of hardship, they won’t win. One has to be ready to make tough choices. Some people play conservatively. They hang on tight to their pieces and refuse to make sacrifices. That’s also the way it is in business. To achieve your goals, one has to stay flexible. Know when to make adjustments, whether in one’s product combinations, management techniques, or marketing efforts. Always keep your eyes on the big picture. 

You may not play chess actively, or even heard of it. But the strategies that you can learn from it are invaluable in business. Apply these strategies in your business and know that you are on the path to success!