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!

Chess and Art

By Matthew Nedderman

The Chess Players of 1876

 

In this painting, the artist’s father sits in a Renaissance Revival parlor of a Philadelphia home, watching a chess game between two friends. Eakins paid tribute to his father with a Latin inscription on the chess table’s drawer that reads, “Benjamin Eakins’s son painted this in ’76.” Over the mantel, a reproduction of a painting by Jean-Léon Gérôme, Eakins’ principal French teacher, hangs. In his painstaking spatial structure and exquisite detail, Eakins followed Gérôme’s scholarly lectures. The Chess Players was the first work from a living artist to be accepted as a gift by the Metropolitan Museum in 1881.

Portrait of Gustav Badin

In 1757, Louisa Ulrika of Prussia, Queen of Sweden, received a “gift” from Danish statesman Anders von Reiser – a 7-year-old African American boy. The queen had been reading French Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s writings, particularly those on the origins of man and society. She made the decision to raise the youngster with her own children. He grew up playing with the royal children, who were raised in a more confined environment than he was. Badin was allowed to talk to them in a natural way, even quarrel and tease them, which was considered scandalous at the time. He climbed on the thrones of the king and queen, calling everyone “you” instead of using their proper names, according to contemporary chronicles. 

      They renamed him Badin, the French word for trickster or joker, since he was originally known as Couchi. He was described as a bright, trustworthy, and self-assured individual. Despite knowing many of the royal family’s and court’s secrets, he never divulged anything and remained a staunch supporter of the royal family throughout his life. He’s dressed opulently in this picture. He’s jokingly looking at us, as if challenging us to a game of chess. With his left hand’s lifted finger, he is also admonishing us.

 

The Chess Game

This is one of Sofonisba Anguissola’s most famous paintings, and it also demonstrates that chess has long been a game enjoyed by both men and women. Three of Sofonisba’s sisters are depicted in the Chess Game: Lucia (left), Europa (middle), and Minerva (right)They are having a relaxing moment while playing chess, accompanied by the governess, who is watching the game. This servant appears to suggest the virtue of the young girls, as well as a contrast in age and class to the girls’ nobility. Giorgio Vasari saw the painting while visiting the family’s home in Cremona and was clearly impressed by Sofonisba’s talent. 

Queens Gambit Review Pt2 (Major Spoilers)

By Somaiya Ahmed, Summer Intern

Ep.2: “Exchanges” 

 

Episode Two of “Queens Gambit” takes us a few years into the future. Beth is now a teenager moving into her first home. She experiences insecurity trying to adapt to the changes of her new environment; however, she finds positive and negative ways to cope.  

 

This episode previews the beginning of Beth’s chess career while displaying her ongoing issues with addiction and loneliness. There is a lot of storytelling which calls for an array of camera shots to commemorate.

 

Down below I have analyzed three of my favorite shots from episode two, commenting on their cinematic elements. Check it out! Also don’t forget to check out the chess glossary too! 

 

Timestamp: 3:15

 

Beth and Jolene together, looking out the window. Jolene smokes a cigarette while Beth looks out endearingly. The lighting is cast towards Beth, spotlighting her viewpoint while Jolene is half lit. The two characters are positioned together in a wide shot. Feelings of nostalgia and hope are ever present as we watch the two grace the screen. 

Timestamp: 30:25

 

An overhead shot of Beth staring into the ceiling as chess pieces appear rapidly. Beth’s half lit face displays a sense of eeriness due to the unnatural splitting of light; however, the lighting communicates a supernatural event taking place. The cinematic and graphic work done here effectively constructs Beth’s mental world, a place in which chess dominates. 

 

Time Stamp: 52:21 

 

A haunting shot of Beth staring into a window reflection of her deceased mother. The camera racks its focus from Beths to the dreary look of her mothers eyes.The dim blue lighting is paired with a soft gaussian blur, providing feelings of melancholy. A shot that speaks of many feelings. 

 

Chess Glossary: click the hyperlinks to learn more about the chess terms and ideas mentioned in episode 2! 

 

Sicilian Defense 

 

Modern Chess Openings: Walter Korn (book)

Update on US Senior, Junior, and Girl Chess Championships

By Isabel, Summer Youth Intern

The chess community is bustling as of right now with so many different tournaments going. Besides the World Cup, the SeniorJunior and Junior Girls’ championships are all going on currently. All these competitions and championships are held in the Saint Louis Chess Club, located in the hub for chess in America, founded by Rex Sinquefield

 

With so much going on in the chess world, it can be a bit hard to navigate – but there’s no need to go anywhere else to know what is going on in the chess world currently. 

 

The Senior Championship begins July 15th and ends the 26th of the same month, 10 participants with a total prize fund of $50,000. One of the most notable matches in the senior competition consisted of Alexander Shabalov (most recent FIDE rating of 2521 and a rank of 604 worldwide) v. Leonid Sokolin (most recent FIDE rating of 2497 and a rank of 812 worldwide). Sokolin won the game as black in 58 moves. 

 

The Junior Championship lasts from the same date as the Senior Championship with a total prize fund of $20,600. With the same set up as the previously mentioned championship, one of the most noted matches took place between David Brodsky (most recent FIDE rating of 2455 and worldwide rank of 1229) v. Andrew Hong (most recent FIDE rating of 2474 and worldwide rank of 1019). 

 

The Junior Girls’ Championship is identical to the Junior and Senior Championships in dates and amount of participants, the total prize fund being $10,300. One significant match in this particular tournament had Annie Wang (most recent FIDE rating of 2384 and a worldwide rank of 2482) v. Susanna Ulrich (most recent FIDE rating of 1974 and a worldwide rank of 31055). 

 

The stiff competition each tournament offers makes for some interesting matches that actually keep you on the edge of your seat, even if they can be 2 hours long. The wide variety of different age groups and demographics that chess is available to makes this a worldwide sensation. Young children, the youngest being 12 years old, all the way to 80+ years old, participating helps this sport to stand out amongst the rest. 

 

Now you know everything you need to know about the chess championships!

Business on the Board

By Evan Rabin, CEO of PremierChess

In May, I kicked of a Premier Chess Program at a middle school at an impoverished neighborhood in Brownsville, NY by asking “Why Play Chess.” I got some typical answers, including “It’s Fun.”, “It helps you think” and “Competition is fun.” They were shocked how I explained the white and black plastic pieces could be used as a vehicle to help them get into high school, college and a good career. I then explained to them how chess has influenced me to become a critical thinker, get into enterprise sales at Oracle and Rapid7, cofound a sales outsourcing startup Pillar Sales and ultimately form Premier Chess, which teaches life lessons through the game for all ages and levels for organizations ranging from Thistlewaith Early Learning Center to Grace Church School to the law firm Kramer Levin to the nursing home Village Cares. If you’ve met with me recently, I’ve probably showed you my copy of Jim Egerton’s Business on the Board (2016), which illustrates the tactical and strategical lessons business leaders could learn through the game. Here are some of the highlights:

 

 

“Contextual leadership is ….Transformational in the Opening (Andrew Gove of IBM)…. Situational in the Middlegame (military leaders)…. Results-Basedin the Endgame (Bill Gates)”(15).A good leader has a blend of these qualities and could adapt to all of these qualities. The opening of a chess game is like a brand new startup that is innovative and changing the marketplace. In the middlgame, one has to evaluate the position given his success or lack thereof in the opening and determine whether he should keep the status quo or go for complications. Finally in the endgame, one has to take his advantage and convert it to a win as a sales rep needs to close a deal. 

 

To demonstrate the importance of transformational leadership, one could compare the first two months of my stints at Oracle and Rapid7. At Oracle, it took me 2 months to get a territory and another to get an official . To the contrary, at Rapid7, I knew on my interview process that I  was going to be on the State, Local and Education team and a few days after I started that I was going to cover the Northeast. Rapid7 used the basic opening principle of  “creating an organizational environment with every piece contributing in fewer than twelve moves.”(24). 

 

One also learns that each piece needs to have its own job and that every move needs to have a purpose. Every single move in the opening should be related to developing a piece, controlling the center or castling to make the king safe. My team at Oracle (which covered Infrastructure sales in Eastern Canada) illustrates this concept well as we divided and conquered with our expertise of sales. Another young sales rep Jake and I were the team experts on prospecting. We looked up to Mike for operations advise. Herb, who became promoted to our manager, was the expert on legal and pricing conversations. Diane was the “go to” for teaming agreements. 

 

Situational leadership occurs as chess players orchestrate their strategic plans and related tactics. Grandmaster Alexander Kotov says, “ It often happens that a player carries out a deep and complicated calculation but fails to spot something elementary right at the first move”(60). This is exactly why we tell students before making a move, they should also do a blunder check, making sure they don’t miss anything that is obvious. Sales people will often get “happy ears” and invest a lot of time into a deal thinking it would definitely come in without doing any basic research. I made this mistake when working a non-existent deal with a bio-tech company in Ontario while at Oracle. Without doing enough research about BANT in the beginning (Budget, Authority, Need and Timeline), I built great rapport with my champion at the company and decided to give them a loaner unit for a month. Towards the end, my engineer and I realized he was just trying to spin our wheels and use our engineered system for R and D. 

 

 

In World War II, Stalin and Roosevelt famously allied because they had the common enemy of Hitler’s Nazi Germany. Likewise,   “In 199 Elon Musk’s X.com and Peter Thiel’s Confinity were locked in a heated battle to be the first company to supply eBay with an electronic payment system…. Rather than risk the possibility of losing it all, its perfectly acceptable in chess to offer your opponent a draw.” Rather than neither party getting the solution first, Musk and Thiel decided to merge their companies.  

 

One of the craziest aspects of working at Oracle is the internal competition you face as a sales rep. In addition to competing with IBM, Dell, HP, Cisco, etc. Oracle servers reps have to compete with many of Oracle’s product lines, including the storage team, cloud team, etc. One of the biggest deals I closed at Oracle was for the 407  ETR, a privately owned highway, which goes from Ontario to Quebec. The client ws looking into one of Oracle’s flagship products, the Oracle Database Appliance, which has an option for additional storage capacity, and ZFS storage, which was sold by another team. Many of my colleagues thought I should work independently and try to sell the client the additional storage capacity so I would get a bigger deal size but in the end working closely with the storage rep proved to be valuable as we closed a deal for $600,000 CAD in servers and $400,000 CAD in software.

 

“Strategy is all ways there; it’s the tactics that come and go.” (60) In chess, it is not only important to understand all the different types of tactics but its important to be able to intuitively feel positions and see when tactics are in the air. Likewise, most professionals need to be able to develop a strong intuition and judgement skills. A sales person needs to know how to respond to  surprises on the phone, a lawyer needs to know how to respond to a judge in a trial, a managerial accountant needs to give quick advice on decisions like build vs. buy. Similarly, in a chess game, the player needs to decide whether he is going to develop his pieces normally or “buy” a lead in development by gambiting a pawn or two. Kevin McGee, a Senior Vice President at Oracle once told my team “You are usually not going to get a customer to buy something when he doesn’t need it but you could get creative and escalate timeline”.  I started trying methods like reverse timelining and developing  interesting price structures. 

 

“In business and in chess, you can beat your competition if you know your landscape better than your opponent.”(230). Both business and chess requires a combination of analyzing historical data and thinking of your own ideas on the board. 

 

When I was at Rapid7, one of the action items was looking at current and lost business opportunities in the pipeline. There was one opportunity with a a gentleman who manages IT for a county in upstate New York. My colleague who previously managed the account, wrote that the guy was waste of a time with no budget; he confirmed this in person. However, I took what he said with a grain of salt and reached out to the prospect. We built rapport and a few months later I closed a deal with him after he received Cyber Security grant from New York State. 

 

When students play openings and endgames they’ve already learned before, they will often rush and not pay enough attention. A few weeks ago I taught a private student a new line in the French defense (1.e4, e6.) I then had him regurgitate  the line and purposely played a slightly different move order, testing to see if he would notice the change. As expected, he quickly played the same response as in other variation and ended up quickly getting a big disadvantage. 

 

A player will also get a financial loss if they mishandle a threat. “Three scenarios can happen… [he] can underestimate the threat by not seeing it….nail the threat by understanding it and taking appropriate action to diminish any damage….[or] overestimate the threat by thinking the situation is the worst.” In each of these methods to respond to threats, a player can go wrong, whether in chess or business.   

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

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