My Five Whys

By Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin 

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

1) Family

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

2) Judaism

at the Western Wall in Jerusalem

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

3) Friends 

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

Mike Trugman, health coach 

-Mike Papapavlou

Michael Deutsch, Founder of Hands on Hoops Skills 

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

4) Business

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

5) Travel 

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

2016- Iceland

at Bobby Fischer’s grave in Selfoss, Iceland

2017- England, Belgium and The Netherlands

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









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

2019: Jordan, Italy, Switzerland 

Playing chess against Julius Ceasar in Rome!

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

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

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

Mindfulness, Meditation and the Art of Chess

By Francine Steadman Krulak, Founder of BuddhaBooth 

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

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

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

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

by Bruce Rolff

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

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

Premier Chess Client Avatar

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin

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

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

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

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

Email for more information.

Book a Meeting here:

Introductions We Want

By Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin

I  would love the following introductions for Premier Chess :


-HR directors and team leads at companies with 50+ employees

-parents with kids ages 3-18

-adults who may want to learn business life lessons through chess.

Offense in Jobseeking and Chess

By Jacob Levy, Founder of Searchable Work

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

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

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

Tip: Look at jobseeking like a game of chess:

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

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

4 Ways We Help Non-Profits

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin 

As we expand our partnerships with more companies, schools and individual clients, we find it is more important than ever to give back to the community.

These are the four primary ways we do that:

1) Virtual Fundraisers

We are donate 1-hour virtual group lessons for students of all ages and skill
levels to schools and non-profits. Organizations including Rabbi Levi Welton’s Young Professionals organization  and The Filipino School of New York & New Jersey, have recently raised hundreds of dollars through our fundraisers.


2)Silent Auction/ Raffle Donations 

We have donated lessons and silent auction/raffle items for 200+ virtual and in-person fundraisers all around the world. If you have an upcoming fundraiser anywhere in the world, we’d love to donate a virtual group class for up to 10 children or adults, valued at $400.  

3) Silent Auctions at Our Own Tournaments 

Unfortunately due to obvious circumstances, we haven’t ran any in-person tournaments in an a while; however, we have raised thousands of dollars for many great non-profits, including Chess in the Schools, Make a Difference Now, and Metro World Child at our events in the past and looking forward to doing so again in the future when possible.

4)Pro-Bono Teaching

We have limited resources available for pro-bono classes and workshops.

Some examples have been:

If you are a high school or college student or an adult, apply to join us on our 3rd Annual Trip, July 11-18, 2021.

Elective at Metro World Child Summer Camp 

Classes at Pompano Beach Treatment Center and Blair Middle School in conjunction with NSCF 

Virtual Class with Pingnatuk Chess Club in Alaska 

Lessons from Jodi Samuel’s Chutzpah, Wisdom and Wine

by CEO National Master Evan Rabin 

On or off the chess board, every move must have a purpose. In September 2016, I travelled with Masa Israel to the IAC Conference in Washington DC. At the gala dinner, my friend Garrison Corben and I had trouble deciding on a table to sit at and randomly chose one that seemed to have an interesting mix of people. At the very least, I thought it was random; it turns out Hashem had other plans. Once we started introducing ourselves to the others at the table and mentioned to Alisa Adler that I recently moved back to New York, she said she would love to help me and that I had to meet her good friend Steve Eisenberg. A few minutes later Steve came by the table to say hello to Alisa and said he would take care of me moving forward. A few days later, he set me up with Shabbat plans and meals for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot. I also began joining his weekly Torah classes and other Jewish International Connections in New York (JICNY) events. In 2017, I had the honor of participating in Steve’s Israel Recharge trip, which Alisa co-led. Since then, I’ve also become good friends with Steve’s co-founders of JICNY, Jodi and Gavin Samuels. Through Jodi’s recent book Chutzpah, Wisdom and Wine, which was one of the major topics of our recent podcast, episode, I learned several key lessons including, one needs to always focus on the positives of every situation, the world is narrow bridge and that we all need to give back to our communities. 

Jodi has explored the world and has seen probably more than anyone I know. She grew up in South Africa, where she experienced being held up in gun point, lived under rocket attacks in Israel and has traveled to almost hundred countries and has seen some of the most bizarre situations. One fun fact about her life that was shocking to me, is despite the fact that she raised three kids, not once has she changed a diaper. I have a hard time believing that! It take’s someone like Jodi and her chutzpah to get a stranger on the plane to change her baby’s diaper.

On a more serious note, Jodi has had the challenge of raising her youngest child, her daughter Caila, who was born with Down syndrome. When she was born, several people felt bad for the family and she and Gavin thought quite the opposite. Jodi explains how they thought if they could open up their home for anyone, frequently having Shabbat meals for 40+ people, it would be impossible for them to not accept their own daughter. 

I have personally never seen a person with Down syndrome or autism be angry. While Caila and the family have had lots of challenges, they were inspirational, never letting Down syndrome stop Caila from succeeding in life. Jodi and Gavin fought tooth and nails for her to be accepted to mainstream schools in New York and Israel. She has developed friends and a strong sense of humor. For instance, one day Jodi sent her to her friend for Shabbat lunch. Caila overheard that Jodi’s friend suggested they carry a change of clothes just in case she had an accident and Jodi insisted that it wasn’t necessary. Shortly after, Caila scared the host by joking that she had an accident, when everything was clear.

Until today, Jodi always has struggled about whether or not Israel is the place for her. Yesterday, Jodi shared on Facebook how her elder daughter Temira got her papers to enroll in the army, what Jodi describes as the one piece of mail that comes in on time in Israel. She wrote, “I keep getting reminded I do live in Israel, in spite of all my protests!” On one hand Jodi has struggled living in Israel, having to deal with people shouting, lots of bureaucracy, nosiness, security concerns, etc. Furthermore, Israel did not provide nearly as many resources for Caila: “In order to match what Caila was getting- for free- in New York’s education system, we spent thousands of extra dollars a month to get tutors and therapies to get her the support she needs to be in a typical school environment” (194). 

It is Jodi’s chutzpah, shameless audacity, that has kept her to stay in Israel. Her kids and husband Gavin have adapted to Israel well. Inspired by the third weekly torah portion when God commands Abraham to leave his native homeland, Jodi’s “life motto is Lech Lecha. Go. Or just do it. And that we did, with no wavering. When I decide to do something, it’s all or nothing.” While we can all have challenges, it’s important to be persistent and always attempt to finish what we started.

When I studied for a semester at Tel Aviv University in 2011, I definitely missed home at times and experienced some of the items Jodi did on a small scale. I once lost my debit card and it took several weeks to get a replacement one from New York. Thankfully, my friends helped out and lent me some money short-term and I got by but it was definitely a little nerve wracking, being in a foreign country without any access to cash. While some day Jodi Struggles, “love is the overriding reason that compels [her] to stay… Seeing how [her] children are thriving, watching Gavin draw from the Idealism of this life, [she] is [in Israel] because of love” (267). While a chess player may be annoyed by a mistake or a loss, he needs to learn from that and maintain focus for his next move. My grandfather Jack Rabin’s first cousin Fay made Aliyah to Israel from the US. 40 years ago and her whole family followed, thanks to the Law of Return, which allows all Jews to gain Israeli citizenship without questions. While Israel has its challenges, it is astonishing to be able to go to sites of our ancestors like the Western Wall and the burial sites of our matriarchs and patriarchs in Hebron. 

If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us, it is how one person can create such a big impact on the world, either positively or negatively. One person consuming a bat in Wuhan, China essentially influenced the entire world to be in lockdown. However, while connectedness in this regard has been venomous, it can also be a blessing. While many of us have been Zoom fatigued, we should be grateful that this time has been an opportunity to stay connected with people around the world. For instance, I recorded my podcast episode with Jodi, while I was in New York and she was in Jerusalem. 

I have been to 24 countries and each one, I have met people through chess, Jewish and music communities. Learn more about my travel in this US Chess article. Jodi has travelled the world extensively and has hosted 10,000 members from 40 countries to JICNY events and her own Shabbat dinners. While people have come from different backgrounds, they have all got along as Jodi writes, “ Many of our deepest lifelong friendships began at our Shabbat table, stretching to our days in outback New York Zealand all the way to New YOrk. We can be very proud of the 126 married couples  as of this writing whose relationships began at one of our JIC events, the first of which were a Beligan and a Hungarian Jew who met in New York. This dear couple and their children now live in Israel and they were regulars with us for many Shabbats a year. Stories like this make the risks of hosting the masses worth it. (248). I am an active JICNY participant and perhaps will be added on to this list of 126 couples, god willing! 

The chess world is also a narrow bridge, as I have friends throughout the world from chess. When I played in the 2019 Vesuvio International, I met a guy who played a tournament in Las Vegas. It turns out his first round opponent Brian Solomon is a good friend from Boston, both from the chess and Jewish communities. 

Jodi also teaches the importance of tikkun olam, giving back and making the world a better place, as exhibited by the great success of JICNY. Unlike many other non-profits, JICNY does not have any high-paid non-profit executives on staff. At the same time, the organization  keeps busy with “two-hundred plus events.. annually with only one paid employee who works twenty hours a week”(250). In addition, the Samuels family has been involved with Shabbat of a Lifetime, “an organization that matches non-Jewish tourists  with Israeli families for a traditional Shabbat dinner…  It is a real-life example of how our connection with thousands of years of a rich and beautiful heritage enable Israel and the Jewish people to survive, even thrive “(251). Unfortunately anti-semitism and ideological warfare still exsists today; one of the best ways for us to fight both is leading be example. Rabbi Levi Welton and Rachel Farjado have taught me the importance of teaching the 7 Noahide laws, which apply to all non-Jews.

In order to build a community and prevent hate, as discussed in this podcast episode with Rabbi Levi Welton and Reverend Gregory Livingston, we need to truly live as one and teach others about our communities. For instance, non-observant Jews and gentiles alike see Shabbat as restrictive; they do not realize it is quite the opposite as observant Jews are the only ones who are not glued to their phones and restricted to technology on Shabbat and holidays.

Likewise, education can stop misconceptions about chess players. For instance, there is a rising population of women playing the game and it is not as much of a nice industry as most people think it is. When I go to networking events, people are often shocked when I state Premier Chess is one of many chess companies in New York. 

Outside of community events, Jodi and Gavin has done a lot of work as Down syndrome advocates. She has developed and maintained the Facebook page Caily’s World and writing the Metroimma blog. As marketers teach “AIDA”, awareness is essential, as it is that which leads to interest, which leads to desire, which leads to action. With that in mind, Jodi and Gavin have also spoken at many events and provided mentorship to other families with Down syndrome.

As we learn in life, it is imperative that we give back to others. Chess has been my passion since I was 7 and I made master when I was 20. While I enjoyed the first few years of my career in enterprise sales, selling technology solutions to financial institutions, retailers and state, local and education institutions for Oracle and Rapid7, I couldn’t be happier to have returned to my true passion, managing chess programs, where we teach business and life lessons to students of all ages and skill levels. Give your self a favor today and buy a copy of Chutzpah, Wisdom and Wine today so you can be motivated to make the best out of every situation, build communities and give back, utilizing your true passion

3v3 Team Chess League



by Dan Pelletier, Podcast Guest

There is a new 3v3 Team Chess League this Fall. Matches will be played once a week online. Matches will be Wednesdays at 5:45pm, Thursdays at 4pm or Saturday mornings depending on each teams availability. Fifteen minutes per player with no delay. Every team will play ten matches and then the top four teams make the Semifinals.

There will be four divisions:

Beginner: USCF Unrated-500
Intermediate: USCF Rated 500-900
Advanced: USCF Rated 900-1300
Elite: USCF Rated 1300 and up

The league will start in early October, 2020. $100 to register individually and be placed on a team or $270 when registering as a team.

Click here for more information.


The Chess Masters of Youtube

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Youtube was founded only fifteen years ago and it is one of the largest streaming sites on the internet. Youtube allows for people to share their videos online with the rest of the world.

Anyone can post a video on Youtube about relatively anything. Through Youtube many incredible chess players share their games with the public allowing people to learn chess from the greats.

Magnus Carlsen is the World Chess Champion at the moment. If you take a look at his Youtube channel you will notice that many if not most of the videos barely feature him. Although he has 342,000 subscribers, Hikaru Nakamura has much more of a presence on his own channel.

Nakamura is one the best chess players in the world and managed to beat Carlsen in the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challange. Although he is not the top player in the world he is able to connect with his fans through his Youtube channel. Haftor Bjornsson, a famous icelandic strongman and actor, has appeared on his channel to play chess against the chess grandmaster. Nakamura knows how to excite his fans through his videos and maintains a great channel.

Premier Chess recently created its own Youtube channel. Our channel will feature lessons, games with commentary, podcast episodes, and more. From there you can learn more about the game of chess and became a better player.

Take a look at our new Youtube channel here.



Those are seven words I would use to describe our beloved instructor National Master Lev Khariton, who tragically passed away on Monday, November 18 from a stroke. In addition to teaching for us in Jersey City and Manhattan at Jersey City Global Charter School, Waterfront Montessori, Embankment School and Grace Church School, Lev was a jack of all trades, as a father of 3, beloved husband, translator, poet and much more.

My friend Steve Eisenberg, founder of JICNY, emphasizes how one should not judge another person as he has no idea what the other is going through. On Thursday, November 15, Mr. Lemuer Perez, the principal at Jersey City Global Charter School called me, asking if Lev was coming in. It is against our company policy for an instructor to “no-show” to a class so my first reaction was “Oh-no; how can this be?”. Lev did not pick up his phone; I tried calling him several times and by Sunday night I haven’t heard from him. I then checked his daughter’s Facebook page and was shocked to see “Please pray for my father, Lev Khariton” and knew some thing was wrong. When I messaged her, she said “My father had a stroke. He had brain surgery. He is in critical care…” The next day, he passed away.

In February 2018, I needed a replacement Jersey City Instructor so our mutual friend Expert Fedor Khrapatin referred Lev to me. While he obviously has a great knowledge of chess and teaching experience, I was frankly hesitant to hire him at first since he was older and I didn’t think he’d relate to some of the younger children. I knew he would be great for adult classes or private lessons but not necessarily beginner students under the age of 10. However, since he came as a referral from someone I trust more than most people in the chess world and we had a nice interview, I decided to give it a shot. The students at each of the schools he taught, including some Kindergarten and 1st graders, truly loved working with him. When I told the Middle Schoolers at the Grace Church School Elective the other day that he passed, several kids became emotional and said they would be serious in chess in his honor.

I have had the privilege of watching Lev teach a few times in the classroom at Jersey City Global Charter School, Grace Church School and Embankment School. In each class, Lev would instantly grasp the attention of every student, abiding by David Macenulty’s declaration that every single student in a class should be learning. Two years ago I had the privilege of co-teaching a a kindergarten class with David at Dalton. One day he called on a boy to answer a question and the child said “but I didn’t raise my hand.” I laughed when David replied” Is there a rule that a teacher is not allowed to call on a student when he doesn’t raise his hand?”. No child left behind!

In addition to being a loyal, empathetic teacher, Lev was a fascinating guy. I will never the forget the time I agreed to have lunch with him at the local Mexican joint near Jersey City Global Charter School, a few hours I was to present at the Open House. I thought we’d grab lunch and I would have a few hours afterwards to to do some work before going to the school; I was wrong! I was too intrigued learning about his poetry, travels in Russia, Israel, France and the United States ( he’s lived in all four countries), books and experiences teaching former World Champion Mikhail Botvinik English. I had new clue that the guy I hired was so famous.

14 months later, I unfortunately found myself in Staten Island at his funeral, showing you can not take life for granted. To show my gratitude for living each day, I recite the “Modeh Ani” prayer, which thanks Hashem for being alive. His son, brother, college roommate, other friends and I spoke about different aspects of his life; however, we all expressed how he loved teaching and was always compassionate. The rabbi spoke about how it says in the Talmud that a good person is one who controls his anger. Rabbi Mark Wildes, Founder of Manhattan Jewish Experience, shares how the Ramban suggested that we can all become as good and righteous as Moses. While Lev easily could have went into depression after many hardships, including having to work in a dirty hospital for little money, he always realized the glass full. While he may have not passed away with millions of dollars to distribute in his will, (talk to David Weiss of Matt Nolfo and Associates if you need one of those), he was a happy man, who made a difference in the lives of his family, friends, colleagues and countless students.

As we continue to grow company, we will always miss Lev, who was an integral part of our team; I am forever grateful to Fedor Kharaptin for introducing the two of us, as Lev became a great colleague, friend and mentor. I will always remember our lighthearted conversations when he’d laugh when I’d throw in random words in Hebrew and Russian. These are three ways to commemorate Lev:

Lev Khariton
(NM) Lev Khariton playing Chess