Chess for Seniors

Here are some of the reasons why seniors should learn chess:

1) Chess keeps one’s mind sharp as it is mentally stimulating.

2) Chess helps relieves stress.

 3) There is some research that shows chess lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

We have a great senior class as part of our fall virtual class series.  In addition, we are currently facilitating a workshop for high school students and seniors in Westchester, in conjunction with DOROT USA.

Questions: Reach out to Evan Rabin, CEO of Premier Chess at evan@premierchess.com or (917) 776-1306.
 

 

 

 

Why Taking Standardized Tests is Like Playing Chess

By Kenny Tan,  Founder of Kenny Tan Test Prep 

Taking standardized tests is a lot like playing chess.

  1. There are usually multiple ways to win. Just as there’s no perfect strategy in chess, there’s no perfect strategy for standardized tests. It varies based on individual personalities.
  2. We use process of elimination. Chess players consider the implications of individual moves just as test takers consider each possible answer.
  3. The ending isn’t obvious at the beginning. The end game in chess cannot be predicted by just examining the players. In the same way, solving a difficult test question often requires completing one step at a time.
  4. If you want to do well, you need a good coach. The best chess players are mentored by experts. The best test takers are taught by great teachers and tutors.
  5. You don’t need to win every time to do well. Just as your chess rating can go up if you win more often than you lose, you don’t necessarily need to ace every question to do well.
  6. The game is much easier with proper rest, nutrition, and preparation.
  7. You opponent can look formidable from afar and even more intimidating up close.
  8. Mistakes may hurt your pride but probably not cause permanent damage.

In what other ways might you compare a standardized test to chess?

Duda Breaks Carlsen’s 125 Game Unbeaten Streak

By Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin

World Champion Magnus Carlsen astonishingly played 125 classical games over the last 2 years without a loss…. until he Duda defeated him in the Altibox Norway Chess Tournament last Saturday. The game made it to widespread press as per this CNN article.

Here are some educational notes about the game:

-Magnus Carlsen played a Caro-Kann, not an opening he normally plays, definitely as a surprise weapon. He then also played a side variation with 3. Nf6.

-On Move 18, Magnus realized he was worse and decided to Play Rb4 with idea of sacrificing the exchange to mix up the position. It is often better to have a much worse position with complications than a slightly worse position without any complications.

-Despite a substantial material advantage, two rooks for bishop and three pawns (4 point lead), Duda had to remain alert and avoid lots of complications. Often students make the mistake of relaxing and not spending enough time in winning positions, when it is easy to make mistakes.

-One of the strongest suits of an elite player is his ability to come back after a loss; Magnus Carlsen got swift revenge against Duda the next day as he beat him in this 27-move game.  After eight rounds, he is currently in 1st place in the tournament, with a 1-point lead over Alireza Firouzja.

 

Move Your Pieces to the Center

 by Michael Whitehouse, The Guy Who Knows A Guy

I am a very simple chess player. I learned one axiom to guide my strategy, and it doesn’t win many tournaments, but it has worked very well in life and business. Even a little chess can make a big difference in life.

My axiom is that I want as much flexibility as possible. In chess, I never learned to anticipate my opponents moves, so I want as many options as possible. In life, you can never fully anticipate the future so I am well prepared.

I try to get my pawns up, my knights and bishops out to the center, and my rooks uncovered if I can.

If 2020 were a chess game, it would be a game of Nightmare Chess. The moves were unexpected, and the rules kept changing, yet I was able to adapt and thrive because I kept my pieces in the center of the board and my options open.

I had the opportunity to study karate at a great local dojo. Through it I learned key lessons on discipline and dramatically improved my endurance and energy. I didn’t know what that would do for me, but it put another piece in the middle of the board.

My wife started a diet which involved juicing in the morning. I joined her because it seemed like it might be another piece on the board. Four months later, I’m still doing it, and that combined with exercise has given me more energy to deal with whatever comes.

I met a business coach who offered to teach me some marketing strategies for coaches even though I wasn’t working as a professional coach at the time. I wasn’t sure how I’d best deploy those skills, but I took them because it opened up another set of moves in the future.

These are just three examples. Without having a firm plan, in July I put some of those strategies to work to try my hand at a coaching business. Two months later, I had signed up 7 clients. Some of those clients saw immediate improvement in their lives and business.

As I grow my programs and my business, I continue to look for opportunities to expand my options. Long term planning has never been my strong suit, but 2020 has shown us that adaptability is at least as important.

When a client comes to me who cannot afford my programs, I look for where opportunities may exist. Two such clients are now my apprentices, working for me by editing the revised edition of my book, promoting my workshops, and performing other key tasks in exchange for training. Even a client who cannot afford to pay can present an opportunity if you have a mindset to see it.

I never know where my next opportunity will come from, so I stay open to all of them. If somebody wants to meet to network, I’ll take a half hour call with them just to see what they have to say. One such call resulted in the opportunity to write this guest article on this highly prestigious blog.

If someone asks me to listen to a business idea or even a pitch, I’ll do it if I have time. More often than not, it doesn’t turn into much, but it only takes one great opportunity to open doors and change my life.

Too many people go through life jealously guarding their time, rejecting opportunities for fear of what might happen. I choose to embrace opportunities for fear of what I might miss.

I encourage you to open yourself to possibilities. Take that meeting. Take that course. Work with a coach. Take a chess class. Do whatever in your life will move another piece to the middle of the board. Give yourself options. You may lose a piece or two, but you can only win if you’re in a position to act when opportunity presents itself.

The Entrepreneurial Strategy You Didn’t Know You Needed

by Angela Kristen Taylor


When we think about building and growing a business, one of the first words that comes to mind is strategy. For most, their business strategy is built around social media, networking, a strong business
plan, and a goal of being the most productive version of themselves they can be. They may hire a coach or attend training, buy the best planner, set goals, and still struggle with getting themselves to perform
to their own expectations daily. Just like in a game of chess though, a truly functional strategy must consider all angles, all potentialities, and manage risk well.

So, what is the best strategy to becoming a truly productive and successful business owner?

First, we must consider all the angles. Productivity is rooted in emotion. It doesn’t matter how many coaches you work with, how many training programs you enroll in, how many books you read, planners
you buy, or videos you watch, if you feel yucky on the inside, you’re not going to do the things you know you’re supposed to.

This means you need to look at how you feel on the inside. Most entrepreneurs are building their own business out of a strong desire to not be under someone else’s control, partnered with a passion for
bringing something to the world (a product or service) that serves others by providing something the entrepreneur needed at some stage in their own life but did not have available to them or by having it introduced to them, it made all the difference. There’s nearly always a negative experience that serves
as a catalyst to the entrepreneurial vision and their desire to help others.

Entrepreneurs are driven by this emotion. But underneath all that passion to serve others is a deeprooted subconscious belief that they’ll never make it successful, no one will want what they have tooffer, no one will see it for what it truly is, no one will want to hear them or see them and no one will…
basically they fear rejection and abandonment. They fear loss. This comes from the exact negative experiences that created their vision to begin with. Working on building a business can be a constant roller coaster of emotions where one minute the focus is all high on positive strategy and the next it’s
low in self-doubt and negative self-talk. Their strategy becomes more desperate, more panicked, and less well-reasoned as their fears become reality- a form of emotional manifestation, what you think becomes what you experience.

Yet the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who understand this fact. You see them on social media posting about their early morning workouts, their healthy meals, and their time off with family and friends, engaging in experiences, often outdoors. They’ll talk about their pain, the negative
experiences that caused them to hit rock bottom and their difficult journey back up and onward. Most importantly, they surround themselves with a supportive team, they process all the potentialities of the game of life and manage their risk by eliminating loneliness and anything else that could bring their energy down. They keep themselves focused on creating positive emotions and see their negative experiences as only part of the journey.

But what about those entrepreneurs who are just starting out? The ones who are stuck all alone in their house, trying to build something important, but still doubting themselves daily. The ones stuck in their journey. How do they go from lonely solopreneur to successful team leader and business owner?
A new solution has just been introduced, allowing the currently successful to guide the struggling beginners and it’s a strategy that has the potential to create a huge ripple effect in the world as entrepreneurs with big visions, big passion, and big ideas aren’t stopped in their tracks by negative self doubt but instead are supported, encouraged, and held up by a community of peers.

Imagine a video game world, a virtual 3D environment where instead of showing up brandishing a sword and ready to defeat trolls and goblins, it’s a campus full of entrepreneurs, some there to teach and some
there to learn. A space where, in avatar form, you can walk into a room, sit at a table and work together with others on getting your next quarter’s social media strategy down. There’s a copywriter on hand, a
marketing strategist, a branding specialist, and customizable templates available. You can put your ideas up on a screen and get instant feedback from the experts and your peers. Think you’ll get more
accomplished this way? What about doing the same for every other aspect of your business you need to sit down and accomplish a task for?

Imagine feeling those low and negative feelings of self-doubt creeping in and so instead of following that rabbit hole, you jump into the virtual world and meet with a mindset coach, attend a guided meditation session, or jump into a support group meeting. Then once you’re feeling more positive, you attend a
training class, a workshop, or meet with some friends you’ve connected with in the space so you can just work side by side on your own businesses, occasionally asking a question, getting feedback, or
helping them with the same.

Because this space is focused on all the needs of entrepreneurs, there’s something there for all aspects of entrepreneurial life. It’s not just about business, because a true strategy is never just about the surface is it? It’s about all potentialities. Will a relationship issue prevent you from being productive?

What about working from home with kids, having trouble sleeping, or managing your money? Of course,
they will and so all those areas and more are covered in this space, in addition to all the business help you could dream of and getting the support of others who truly understand what you’re experiencing
because they’re experiencing it right along with you.

Like a game of chess, your strategy as an entrepreneur needs to be complete in order to win and you cannot just play haphazardly and expect to get ahead, and now there’s a place all entrepreneurs can go to win every single day. It’s called The Limitless Collaborative and it has been designed as a global space for entrepreneurs to work together, learn together, and grow together… because together, we are limitless.

For more information on The Limitless Collaborative, the upcoming virtual conference for entrepreneurs, and/or becoming a member of the space, please visit www.TheLimitlessCollaborative.com

A Collection of Children’s Chess Books

by Paula Willis

Chess is a game of strategy.  When you want to teach someone to play or learn yourself, it makes sense to have a strategy in place.   You can learn from someone, watch YouTube videos, or what my son and I found most helpful was using the book “Starting Chess”.

Starting Chess is an inspiring introduction for complete beginners. This paperback book covers everything a young player needs to know, from how to set out the pieces to special moves and tactics. Lively illustrations of snooty queens, cheeky pawns and wise old kings bring the game to life, while simple diagrams make examples and puzzles clear and easy to follow. This new Internet-linked edition also contains descriptions of fun and informative chess Web sites to visit.

This book has been an amazing resource, one that we keep nearby to reference as we learn more strategy to gain more skill.

Another fantastic resource is “My First Chess Book”. This hard cover spiral bound book is similar to “Starting Chess”. 

Meet the characters that make up a chess army and learn how to fight your first battle in this friendly introduction to the game. My First Chess Book is written clearly and simply, with entertaining examples, making it the perfect starting point for young children .  This book makes a handy refresher guide for parents and grandparents.

Maybe you have down the basics of chess, like my sons. “The Usborne Book of Chess” is a great next step.

This fascinating activity book covers all the essentials, helping children learn the basics and practice different strategies to become a master of the game!

 

Whether you’re new to the game or looking to teach someone how to play, let one of these books be a strategy. You’re sure to get a checkmate!  Click here to purchase any of these books.

Paula Wilis is a homeschooling mom of five.  As an Usborne Books & More Consultant, her mission to encourage families to connect by reading together.  Follow her on Facebook at A Beautiful Story.  She can be reached at: writeabeautifulstory@gmail.com.

The Grand Final Featuring: Hikaru Nakamura and Magnus Carlsen

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

The final part of the Carlsen World Tour is nearing its end. Magnus Carlsen is up against Hikaru Nakamura. Nakamura is the only player who has managed to win an event in the Carlsen World Tour other than Carlsen. The players finished their fourth set today and Carlsen managed to tie up with Nakamura. Let’s take a look at one of their games which can be found here. Carlsen is playing as black while Nakamura is playing as white.

The game begins with 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6. This looks like the Ponziani Opening, a popular opening, but then Nakamura moves 3. Bb5 turning the opening into the Ruy Lopez. The Ruy Lopez is one of the most popular opening in the game of chess. Carlsen the moves his knight to Nf6 initiating the Berlin Defense. Carlsen is putting pressure on Nakamura’s undefended e pawn forcing him to make his next move 4. d3.

Eventually the board state starts to look bad for Nakamura. Carlsen has managed to infiltrate Nakamura’s defenses as seen on the right and Nakamura is unable to defend against Carlsen’s queen. Although Carlsen is not able to directly attack Nakamura’s king he is putting on a lot of pressure. The g and h files are unprotected by Carlsen, however he has managed to trap Nakamura’s pieces on the other side of the board.

Nakamura finally concedes at this point in the game as Carlsen manages to slowly push up his pawn with the help of his king. His pawns are in a much stronger position than Nakamura’s which allows him to take control of the game and win.

 

 

Throwback to 2019: Riga Grand Prix

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

Let’s take a look at a game from 2019 played by Alexander Grischuk and Maxime Vachier-Lagrave. I will not be looking at the full game, but if you would like to see it you can find it here. Vachier is playing as black while Grischuk is playing as white in this game.

The game begins with 1. d4 Nf6 which is commonly known as the Indian Defense. Black is allowing white to gain center control with the ultimate purpose to completely undermine white’s position on the board. White then plays 2. c4 and the board looks a bit like the beginning of the Queen’s Gambit which is not the Indian Defense. However black responds by playing 2. g6 which turns it into the King’s Indian Defense. Black generally then follows up with Bg7, but that is not the case here. White plays 3. h4 and then Vachier responds by moving c5 which looks to be the Queen’s Gambit. This is different from the King’s Indian Defense as generally black moves the bishop into bishop, but Vachier does not.

By the middle of the game the board state is a complete mess. Grischuk’s king is unprotected and Vachier seems a bit confined to the left side of the board as seen in this picture on the right. It seems that Vachier is in a much stronger position as he has better pawn placement than Grischuck.

 

Grischuck’s unprotected king is eventually his downfall. Vachier takes advantage of the unprotected king and checks Grischuck repeatedly not allowing him to have any breathing room. If Grischuk had better protection for his king he would have had a better chance in the endgame, but because he did not prepare he ultimately lost.

 

 

Boris Spassky versus Bobby Fischer

We are going to take a look at one of Bobby Fischer’s games against Boris Spassky during the World Chess Championship of 1972. If you would like to view the full game check it out here.

In this game Fischer is playing as white while Spassky plays as black. The game begins with 1. c4 e6 Fischer then follows up with 2. Nf3 and Spassky responds by pushing his pawn to d5. Fischer then moves 3. d4 and we now have a position similar to the queen’s gambit. The purpose of the queen’s gambit is to tempt black to take the pawn on c4, which would allow white to have more control of the center. Spassky responds by moving his knight to the f6 square. He declines Fischer’s gambit as he would rather have a stronger presence on the board.

At this point in the game Fischer begins to take a more offensive approach while Spassky plays a more defensive game. Gameplay goes 6. e3 h6 putting pressure on Fischer’s bishop. Then 7. Bh4 b6 8. cxd5 Nxd5 9. Bxe7 Qxe7 10. Nxd5 exd5. All of a sudden much of the board is gone. Although Spassky’s king is more protected, Fischer has a much stronger board state with his two pawns on d4 and e3, and his knight on f3.

The game is altogether 41 moves so we are going to take a look at the final state of the game when Spassky resigns. Here Fischer plays Qf4. Both Fischer and Spassky have four pawns a queen and a rook. However, Fischer has a bishop while Spassky has a second rook. The game ends as Fischer has a much better offensive than Spassky does. Many chess games end in resignations, but how do you suppose this game would have ended?

 

International Chess Day

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

We are currently one day away from the Legends of Chess tournament so today we will look at a game played by Viswanathan Anand. The game took place in 2006 when Anand took on prodigy Sergey Karjakin. Karjakin became a grandmaster at the age of 12 making him the world’s youngest grandmaster, but will he be able to hold up against the world chess champion Anand?

The game opens with the Sicilian Defense which is 1. e4 c5. Play then follows up with 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. Nc3 a6. What started off as the Sicilian Defense quickly becomes the Sicilian Najdorf opening. Here Anand is playing as black and he plays a6 to prevent Karjakin from placing either of his knights or bishop on the b5 square.

As the game continues both players attempt to gain center control of the board. Karjakin uses his g file pawn to pressure Anand’s knight which is holding a lot of center control. Meanwhile Anand responds by sending down his b file pawn to pressure Karjakin’s knight on c3. Both of these knights are essential to center control as they both have access to squares: d5 and e4.

Then Anand makes a serious mistake as we see pictured on the right. He plays Nc7 allowing Karjakin to take his knight. However, as the game continues it appears that even though Karjakin has more pieces on the board Anand has a better end game.

 

 

 

The game ends like this with Karjankin conceding to Anand. This game shows the importance of playing a good endgame. Anand is able to pull through at the end and beat Karjankin who is up two bishops and a rook. Right now it is White’s move. How would the game end from here if it continued?

 

In addition to the Legends of Chess Tournament which is starting tomorrow, today is International Chess Day. FIDE was established on July 20, 1924. Every year on July 20th Fide hosts chess competitions around the world to celebrate the day. Unfortunately due to the current circumstances there no in person competitions. However, this year there will be an online event for chess players around the world. FIDE’s motto this year is “Teach someone how to play chess.” Perhaps in honor of the day you can teach what you know about the game to someone else and celebrate the international day from home.