My Favorite Quotes from Garry Kasparov’s “How Life Imitates Chess”

By Olga Inglis, Premier Chess Manager of Business Development 

Strategy

  • “You must always be aware of your limitations and also of your best qualities.”
  • “The ability to adapt is critical to success.”
  • “Being too far ahead of your environment can be just as bad as lagging behind your competitors.”
  • “Only when the environment shifts radically should you consider a change in fundamentals.”
  • “Avoid change for the sake of change.” (Learn more about transformational moves in this blog post by National Master Evan Rabin).
  • “Long-term success is impossible if you let your heat-of-the-moment reactions trump careful planning.”
  • “Sometimes the teacher must learn from the student.”
  • “It is so important to question success as vigorously as you question failure.”

Strategy and Tactics at Work


  • “You should have a solid and well-developed position before going on the attack, is applicable to every field of battle.”
  • “Trusting yourself means having faith in your strategy and in your instincts.”
  • “The worst enemy of the strategist is the clock.”
  • “The best plans and the most devious tactics can still fail without confidence.”
  • “Courage is the first of human qualities because it guarantees all others.”

Calculation

  • “Like the weatherman’s forecasts, the further ahead you look, the more likely it is you will miscalculate.”
  • “It is still impressive how many poetical blunders derive from “obvious” assumptions.”
  • “It doesn’t matter how far ahead you see if you don’t understand what you are looking at.”
  • “The key to calculation is understanding its limits.”

Talent

  • “Chess, along with music and mathematics, is one of the few pursuits in which superior ability and originality can manifest at a young age.”
  • “Just about every young star in any field can give credit to a determined parent giving talent a push.”
  • “I believe it’s essential to push the boundaries and constantly widen the angle of the lens we use to view the world.”
  • “If you daydream a little about what you’d like to see happen, sometimes you find that it is really possible.”
  • “Fantasy must be backed up by sober evaluation and calculation or you spend your life making beautiful blunders.”
  • “The more you experiment, the more successful your experiments will be.”

Preparation

  • “If critics and competitors can’t match your results, they will often denigrate the way you achieve them.”
  • “Be suspicious when these criticisms emerge right on the heels of a success.”
  • “Steady effort pays off, even if not always in an immediate, tangible way.”
  • “I am a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it (Thomas Jefferson).”
  • “I believe that if opportunity isn’t provided at a young age, it can be created later in adulthood through discipline and imaginative involvement in the pursuits we care about.”
  • “It is critical to know what motivates you, to find out how to push yourself that extra mile.”
  • “Through practice and observation, you must take an active role in your own education.”

MTQ:  Material, Time, Quality


  • “Being told the value is one thing, but only experience really teaches you what those values signify in the “real world” of chess.”
  • “The worst type of mistake was one produced due to a bad habit because it made you predictable.”
  • “This game serves as a testament to my philosophy of preferring time over material, favoring dynamic factors over static factors.”
  • “And I might add that in everyday life, “victory” can simplistically, perhaps a little romantically, be defined as happiness.”

Exchanges and Imbalances

  • “The cold blooded investor knows that getting something now is better than nothing later.”
  • “In chess as in life we total up the pluses and minuses in a position, then go to work figuring out how to improve our side of the ledger.”
  • “The first law of thermodynamics tells us that the total amount of energy in a system is constant, that if we move energy into one area, we lose an equal amount from another.”
  • “Physics also tells us that “ordered systems lose less energy than chaotic systems.”
  • “This is why a company that is in financial trouble should never gamble on a risky venture.”

 

Phases of the Game

  • “All the study and preparation in the world can’t show you what it’s really going to be like in the wild.”

The Attacker’s Advantage

  • “Many bad decisions come from wanting to just get the process over to escape the pressure of having to make the decision.”
  • “I like to say that the attacker always has the advantage.”
  • “‘Buy the rumors, sell news.’ Anticipation of something’s happening can be more powerful than the event itself or, put another way, is inseparable from the event itself.”
  • “If you don’t stay aggressively in front, you will quickly be left behind.”
  • “Just like Darwinism in nature, innovation is quite literally about survival. We have to keep evolving, and that means staying aggressive instead of standing still.”
  • “Pushing the action gives us more options and a greater ability to control our fate, which creates positive energy and confidence.”

Question Success

  • “I lost because I was overconfident and complacent.”
  • “This is what I call the gravity of past success. Winning creates the illusion that everything is fine.”
  • “Constant reinvention is a necessity in fast-moving areas such as manufacturing and technology.”
  • “Regardless of the methods we use to motivate ourselves, we have to create our own goals and standards and then keep raising them.”
  • “Finding ways to maintain our concentration and motivation is the key to fighting complacency.”
  • “Perhaps you should create your own “happiness index,” which can be as simple as a mental or actual list of things that motivate you and give you pleasure and satisfaction.”
  • “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.”

The Inner Game

  • “South American liberator Simon Bolivar said, ‘Only an inexperienced soldier believes that all is lost after being defeated for the first time'”
  • “To believe the casino is to do little more than to follow superstition.”
  • “No matter how great his chess skills, he lacked the people skills to be a self-promoter and fund-raiser.”
  • “Overthinking can distract us from our concrete objectives.”

Man vs. Machine

  • “It’s a bad habit to become over reliant on one skill or way to doing things just because it has in the past worked well for you.”
  • “Successfully avoiding challenges is not an accomplishment to be proud of.”

Intuition

  • “The result of trying anything is either failure or success. If you wish to succeed, you must brave the risk of failure.”
  • “Detecting trends, preferably before anyone else, is often based on intuition and intangible elements.”

Crisis Point

  • “Crisis really means a turning point, a critical moment when the stakes are high and the outcome uncertain.  It also implies a point of no return.  This signifies both danger and opportunity.”
  • “Instead, real success depends on detecting, evaluating, and controlling risk.”

Endgame

  • “What we make of the future is defined by how well we understand and make sense of our past.”
  • “My personal map is full of gray areas, and its outer borders are never entirely complete. Most important, I have learned not to fear those unknown territories.”
  • “Whenever I’m faced with a difficult path, her words inspire me: “If not you, who else?””
  • “How success is measured is different for each of us. The first and most important step is realizing that the secret of success is inside.”

 

 

 

 

 

Three Types of Transformational Moves


In my previous blog post “Three Ideas for a Race Against Time” , I wrote about how a player should divide a game’s time control by 40, the average number of moves in a chess game, to determine the rough amount of time he should spend per move. However,  one needs to know the types of transformational moves that require more analysis. Before making a , sacrifice, trade or pawn move it is important to spend extra time, considering the long-term ramifications. After these moves, the positions will never be the same:

Sacrifices

Despite what many players believe, one can not make a sacrifice based on his intuition. As Jim Egerton writes about in Business on the Board , a player needs if to get a good return on investment in the event that he makes a sacrifice.

In this position from the Gioco Piano, white should most certainly not sacrifice with 4. Bxf7+. On one hand, he will get a little bit of compensation because black will have an exposed king after 4….Kxf7. However, his slight disadvantage in king safety will not be nearly enough of a return to equate the black’s 3 point surplus in material.

To the contrary, let’s take a peak at this example from the well-known Paul Morphy vs the Duke of Brunswick Game that took place in Paris in 1858:

In this position, Former World Champion Paul Morphy played 16. Qb8+.  Like many chess educators, I have shown this game to hundreds of students over the years. Most beginners will see Qb8+ as a forcing move but will quickly discount it as we discuss black can play 16..Nxb8. However, Morphy did play 16. Qb8+! as after black is forced to play 16…Nxb8, he had the follow-through of 17. Qb8#.  One should only make a sacrifice if he absolutely knows that with best play from both sides, he will get sufficient compensation.

Trades

One of the most common mistakes beginners will make is trading at almost opportunity. One should not exchange pieces just because “it is a fair trade”. Once a pair of equally valued pieces gets removed from the board, the game will never be the same. Let’s take a look at a common example from the Scotch Opening:


In this position, white just played 2. Nxd4…. should black respond with Nxd4, forcing white’s queen to come to the center with Qxd4? He should not as the queen would be active on d4 and there is no good way to take advantage of the queen being out too early. To learn more about when it is worth trading, read this prior blog post.

Pawn Moves

A pawn move may not seem like such a big deal; however, we need to remember that pawns never move backwards! If we move any other piece forward, it can always move back but pawn moves are permanent. As I remind students like a broken record, every pawn move makes a weakness!

In this Sicilian position, one of black’s main options is playing 5..e5, the Sveshnikov Variation. While it is its perks, gaining an initiative by creating a lot of threats, it is a risky as black will have a long-term backward pawn on d6.

Conclusion

While every move should have a purpose and it is important to never let your guard down, there are some critical positions, when you need to spend a lot of time. When you sacrifice, trade or move a pawn, make sure you get a good bang for your buck! Game on.

 

Kantor’s 7 Steps to Evaluate a Position

A few months ago I recorded a podcast episode with Business Coach Sharon Richter. One of the main topics we covered was how in business and in chess, you always need to know the rules of the game. We were not talking about about rules like “the bishop moves diagonally as far it wants” or “you need to file your taxes once per year”. To the contrary,  we meant that every few moves or days, you need to re-evaluate your position and figure out what the best plan is.  On the chess board, if one has a worst position, he should seek complications and if he has a better one, he should try to maintain the status quo. In order to evaluate a position and figure out who has a better position, how much, and why, one could follow my former coach, teammate and podcast guest National Master Alan Kantor‘s magical seven steps:

  1. Material : Who has more pieces on the board? Add up all the points. Assign a color an extra 1/2 point if he has the bishop pair versus his opponent’s knight and bishop or two knights.
  2. Pawn Structure : Look for items like doubled pawns, isolated pawns, pawn islands, holes, etc.
  3. Development: Who has more active pieces?
  4. King Safety : Is one side castled and the other not? Who has a safer king?
  5. Center : Does either side have a pawn in the center? Who controls it better?
  6. Space :Who has more freedom to maneuver his pieces? For instance in the French Defense, black often faces a big space disadvantage as his light squared bishop is stuck on c8.
  7. Attack/Initiative : Who is attacking? Who has more threats than his opponent?

When evaluating the position it is important to consider each step individually and then come up with the overall assessment.

Let’s look at a sample position:

Here is how the evaluate all seven steps:

1) Material: =

2)Pawn Structure: =

3)Development: += (White is slightly better because white has one more minor piece developed and black’s knight on h5 on the side of the board)

4)Center: =

5)Space: += (White has a substantial advantage in space as black has a French-like bad bishop on c8.)

6)King Safety: =+ (Black is slightly better because he is castled and white’s king is still in the center. While white is one move away from castling and that may change, it is important to evaluate the position right now. As he castles, he may lose slight advantage on development).

7) Attack/ Initiative: =+ (Black has a slight initiative as he is threatening to play Nxf4 and double white’s pawns.

Overall, the position is equal as white’s advantage in development and space, balances out black’s slight initiative and lead in king safety. White will quickly castle and try to orchestrate an attack on h7. He will likely retreat his bishop to d3 to create a battery. Black will try to get in an e5 break to open up space for his bishop.

In every game you play moving forward, make sure to evaluate the position as the opening transitions into the middlegame and every 3-4 moves thereafter. Use these steps and you will have a decent idea on what is happening in the positioning and be able to come up with a good plan.

7- Step Thought Process

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin 


Do you often blunder in chess? Are there times that you are stuck and have no clue what to do next? Would you like a scientific method that you can use to come up with the best move in any position? If your answer to any of these questions was “yes”, read on. Here are the seven steps of the Premier thought process:

  1. Write down your opponent’s move. 

  2. Ask yourself why your opponent went there. (Ask two related questions: “If my opponent had another move, what would it be?” and “What changed about this position?”)

  3. Brainstorm and decide on 3-4+ viable candidate moves. 

  4. Analyze each move further and decide what you think is likely the best move. Use Alexander Kotov’s tree method  and see which candidate move has the biggest return on investment.  (Process of elimination.)

  5. As World Champion Emmanuel Lasker used to say, once you see the “best move”, see if you can find a better move. 

  6. Do a blunder check, making sure you did not miss any tactics. Double check your work.

  7. Finally, make the move! Don’t overthink it too much as instincts are key.

Three Ideas for a Race Against Time

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin 

In 2010, Gary Patella and I saw an ACDC show as part of the Black Ice Tour. Anvil opened the show, playing their many great hits, including the famous “Race Against Time”.

Chess players are always in a race against against time as they have to deal with a game’s time control. Time controls range from bullet games which are 1–minute per player for the game to the classical (40 moves in 2 Hours+ 60 minutes for rest of game or something similar). What ever the time control is, here are three ideas that will help you manage your time:

-The divisor of 40 rule.

In 2017, I was helping National Expert Jonathan Corbblah coach his PS 166 and Trinity students at the New York State Championships in Saratoga. The students would constantly rush; we would often see a chess coach’s nightmare- when a student would finish a game and return to team room minutes after the round finishes. While Jon and I would repeatedly tell students to take their time, they would not listen.

I remembered a key pedagogical lesson I learned from my supervisor at Ramapo Country Day Camp . He shared how one summer, several counselors were having difficulty teaching a camper how to hit a baseball with the bat. They all kept telling him him to focus and keep his eye on the ball; however, the child was not making any progress. Then one counselor mentioned he needed to say something different if the kid was going to hit the ball and realized he was not holding the bat properly. After he walked over and adjusted his stance, the child began hitting the ball.

Rather than remind the kids that they needed to slow down, I had a revelation and told Jon an interesting idea in that we would encourage the students to take the time control and divide it by 40, the average number of moves in a chess game. That is roughly the amount of time one should use in a chess game. That tournament had a time control of 60 minutes per player, which means players should budget 1.5 minutes per move. When playing a 5 minute game, you should allocate approximately 7.5 seconds per move.

-The ability to not always search for the cleanest win.

A few weeks Grandmasters Fabiano Caruana and Rustam Kasimdzhanov hosted a fundraiser lesson for Tali Farhadian Weinstein, Candidate for Manhattan District Attorney.

One of the key lessons I learned from the event is when Caruana shared is one of the common mistakes players is make is that they always seek out the cleanest win. While it is important to calculate and find good moves (active rest is important), one does not always necessarily need to come up with the perfect move always. No matter how much a player thinks, even if he is World Champion Magnus Carlsen, he will never see as far ahead as our silicon friends. It is much better to have a position without complications with a computer valuation of +1 than one with lots of risk and a computer valuation of +1.5. Rather than always find the variation that leads to the mathematically highest advantage, it makes more practical sense to to gain an advantage and simply get into a position that is easily convertible to a win.

-Prepare your Openings.


I have a friend who is an expert player that has been trying to come a master for years. His calculation skills, positional understanding and endgame knowledge is about the same level as mine. His biggest challenge is that he will occasionally get into time pressure right after the opening or early middlegame. Just like an adult needs to learn to save a percentage of his salary, a chess player needs to save time for later in the game. While players rated Under 2000 should not spend a lot of time learning openings, they should know about 10 moves deep as white playing either e4 or d4, and as black against both options. While it is extremely important not to rush in the opening, even if you know it well, one should not invest too much time then.

Do not let a lack or surplus of time ruin your chances of winning a chess game. Now matter how much you study (learn about 11 book recommendations here) or practice, lack of time management can be detrimental to your performance. Use the divisor of 40 rule, the ability to not always seek the cleanest win and opening preparation and your time management skills will drastically improve.

 

Guidelines vs. Rules

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin

The king moves one space in any direction; that is a rule.

Develop, control the center and castle as soon as possible; those are a guidelines.

In a podcast episode with business coach Sharon Richter, we spoke about the important of knowing the “rules of the game”. Of course, in addition to how to move the pieces, we were also referring to the position evaluation and basic strategy. While one should follow basic guidelines like developing knights before bishops, trading when up material, etc., it is important to think at the board and not automatically rely on them. 

In this easily winning position, my student Luke decided to use the guideline to trade when you are up material and played 19…Bh3. While he did eventually win the game, it would have made more sense to think at the board more and realize that white has a king near the center that can easily be attacked. Better would have been to not rush to trade and play 19…. Bf5+.  A sample winning variation would be:

20. e4 Rad8
21. exf5 Rxd4+
22. Kxd4 Rfd8+ (winning a queen)

In the Sicilian Defense, there is often a tension with the white knight on d4 and black knight on c6. The general guideline tell us that you want to let your opponent be the one to relieve the tension; i.e, white does not want to play Nxc6 and black does not want to play Nxd4. However, in this position, Grandmaster van der Wiel played 7.Nxc6 against Grandmaster Ulf Anderson. His idea was to get some quick development and a strong attack….. Several moves later, they got to this position:

In this position,  van der Wiel played the crushing blow 15.. Nxd5 and found himself in a winning position. See the full game here.

This position arises from the 150 attack against the Pirc Defense, a variation I read about in Attacking With 1.e4, a book described in this post. According to basic opening principles, black should castle kingside in this position. However, if he plays 5…0-0, he will be walking into trouble. White will play 6. Bh6 and black will have a tough time defending against a quick attack after a simple plan of exchanging bishops, marching up the h pawn to trade on g6, and playing for mate. Black is much better off delaying castling with 5….c6.

One should distinguish guidelines and rules. Do not play an idea just because it is the type that a chess teacher would fundamentally recommend. Do not forget to analyze of the board and make the best move. Disability Lisa Cunningham, once shared how when on deadline and or trial, an attorney needs to learn how to take everything he knows about law and think on their feet. On or off the board, be confident, distinguish rules and guidelines and use your intuition and you will be successful.  

3 Ways to Build Confidence

By CEO National Master Evan Rabin 

Last weekend I was screaming on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. It was my first time in years riding a roller coaster and was certainly out on my comfort zone. The truth of the matter was that I did not have to scream; while the ride can intimidating, thousands of people take it each year and almost no one gets hurt. Later that day, I rode several other thrilling rides and I started to feel fine; the biggest challenge is taking that first big step! Confidence was a key topic of my recent podcast episode with Grandmaster Alexander Shabalov. On or off the chess board, here are three tips to become confident: the 50 point rule, repetition and self-reflection. 

 

On my first day working at Oracle, my sales trainer Bill Petersen taught an important business phrase: “Underpromise, overdeliver.” It is a lot better to forecast a smaller dollar amount of revenue and exceed it than the opposite. Chess players need to focus on appropriate expectations; one way to do that is use my famous 50-point rule. No matter what your opponent’s rating actually is, play as if he is rated 50-points higher rated than you. That way you give them a little respect and are not overconfident but do not get nervous and play passively.

On our last Annual Make a Difference Teaching Chess in Africa Trip, Luis Cuerdo asked a kid “do you know your name?” in front of the whole class. Confused as to why Luis would ask such a simple question, the student said, “yes, of course.” Luis thank asked the student what a a pin is in chess. While the student knew the answer, it took him a while to figure out how to explain it. It is not enough to the know what a pin or any other tactical theme is; it is important to review ideas many times to make sure they we know them, almost just as well as we know our name! Some good ways to repeat these ideas is to solve lots of puzzles and review whole games. You can find some good books for game collections here.

In this podcast episode, Elliott Neff shared how in chess you “win, draw” or learn.” There is no such thing as losing in chess. As long as you have a growth mindset and constantly self-reflect, there is no need to have any fears. One area I have always struggled with is last-round situations where all the money is on the line. Often a win will equate to a substantial prize and a loss will leave you with nothing at all. However, U.S Women’s World Champion Grandmaster Irina Krush recently shared on a Facebook post how you should treat each last round as any other as there will always be more last rounds. Compared to other masters, I have read very few chess games but I have improved in the game and gained confidence by playing in over 950 tournaments and reviewing all my games, by myself, with coaches and using the engine.

Draw the curtains I don’t care ’cause it’s alright
I will get by I will get by
I will get by I will survive
As the Grateful Dead teaches in “Touch of Grey”, if we set our mind to it, we can get by! The highest rated player in a tournament often will not finish in first place; the winner is usually the one who controls his emotions the most. As our close education partner Michael Deutsch tells his basketball students, they just need to say “we can do it” and the magic happens. Now, go ahead and use the 50 point rule, repetition and self reflection to be confident and win! 

Chess and ADHD: For Therapeutic and Educational Purposes

By Andrea Elrom, Certified ADHD & Executive Function Coach

The Pandemic has allowed me the luxury of watching way more Netflix and Hulu than I ever could have imagined. A year ago, I would not have seen this as a positive but now I can confidently say that it has opened my eyes into new worlds and has sparked interest in areas that I would have never taken the time to see.

“My Octopus Teacher”opened my eyes to a love story between a mollusk and a man on a journey of self discovery, “ Unstoppable” the one armed surfer who proved with determination almost anything is possible and “The Queen’s Gambit,” bring a focus to the game of chess.


As an ADHD coach and an Adder myself, this opened up an awareness to the incredible impact chess can have on the ADHD brain. Spending most of my coaching career on teaching and strengthening Executive Function skills, I am intrigued by the power that chess has on attention/concentration, decision making, problem solving, flexibility, sustained effort and self
regulation.

Why had I not thought of this before? I am always looking for ways to gamify Executive Function skills, to find interests to ignite the brain, find passion and increase self
esteem; maybe Bobby Fischer was on to something.


I do believe that the treatment for ADHD/ADD takes many shapes and sizes but one shape I am looking forward to getting acquainted with is that of the — king, Queen pawn bishop and other pieces of the board. Having had the pleasure of working with Evan and Premier Chess,
my son and I are awaiting the beginning of the
Winter Rookie class. I am not sure I will be the next Beth Harmon but  am anxious to learn how to focus and solve problems.

Although Chess will not take the place of medication, it may be a component of strengthening executive functions. 

Learn more about Andrea Elrom’s ADHD and Executive Function consulting here.

Gratitude for Coaches: Part 2

By Premier Chess CEO National Master Evan Rabin

Last week I wrote about the chess coaches that helped me make master and allow Premier Chess to be a company. On December, 6, 2020, Grandmaster Max Illingworth, asked “Which non-chess skills are the most important for playing your best chess?” in the Lichess.org Facebook group. To improve in chess, one cannot just learn more openings, middlegames and endgames; he needs to learn business and life lessons regarding thought process, confidence, health and much more. With that in mind, I would like to express gratitude to some of the other coaches that have helped my business and I: Levi Welton, Mark Wildes, Mike Papapavlou, Michael Deutsch, Joe Rojas, Richard Pierce and Nilcee Schneider.

Three years ago I was searching for every single Jewish event in the country, asking the organizers who was providing photography and marketing material, on behalf of On the Spot Photo Magnets. While 99% of my business focus is on Premier Chess, I still do actually have a relationship with that company.

One day I sent a cold email to Rabbi Levi Welton about a young professional event he was organizing on the Upper West Side. While he didn’t need photo magnets for the event, he offered me a complimentary ticket for the event. I went and the rest was history…. He and his wife Chavi are dear friends and 1`mentors. Levi has become one one of my go-to spiritual and relationship coaches. I already even promised him that the day I get married, he will be the one officiating! Through Levi, I know that sometimes you need to go with your instincts, on or off the chess board. He and our mutual friend Reverend Gregory Livingston happen to also be great podcast guests.

I also learn a lot from Rabbi Mark Wildes, The Founder of Manhattan Jewish Experience where I am in the Senior Fellowship program. Each week I learn for three hours, one learning the weekly torah portion with my 1-1 partner Yosi Merves, another learning various topics with Pinny Rosenthal  and last but not least a class with Wildes. While I am often exhausted after a long day during fellowship, which ends at 10:15 PM every Wednesday night, I am also motivated to mow through the inspirational material. A few weeks ago Rabbi Wildes shared how during his first year of yeshiva in Israel, he learned how little he knew about Judaism from his years studying in Jewish Day School as a youth. As chess players grow, the less they are often sure about the evaluation of a given position and the more they realize they need to learn.

I first met Mike Papapavlou two years ago through the Astoria NY Entrepreneurs Club, a great group run by Pauline Zammit, Founder of Ceramic Creations. As the two people there that were not moms, we instantly became friends and referral partners. Mike has truly helped me unleash my inner rock star, as the Guitar Guide Guru tag lines alludes to. For the first time in many years, I’ve been playing guitar again; he’s taught me songs including “Ripple” and “Smoke on the Water.” As Mike and I often say “pame” (“let’s go” in Greek), just do it! Don’t hold back.

In July 2018, Michael Deutsch and I wore both promoting our services in the UWS Mommas Facebook group and realized we should join forces. We had a coffee meeting after our summer camp one day and the sparks were lit. He joined forces with Mike Papapavlou and I and we’ve become the three musketeers of education. Our three companies are providing extracurriculars for pods:

Much more than a colleague though, Mike is a health coach and accountability partner. He inspired me last year to start having green juices or smoothies for breakfast each day. We also keep each other accountable for our goals. For instance, he inspired me to hire Star Organizers to organize my home and I encouraged him to start Hands on Hoops Skills weekly newsletter.

Thanks to my good friend and podcast guest Raphi Salem, I have the privilege of joining Joe Rojas‘ Thrivers 360 mastermind group. While I’ve been to many business training and networking groups, none have been as productive as this one. Through this group, I am accountable for producing good video content, writing, introductions, etc. As he says at the end of each weekly meeting, “You are loved”. A good coach should build rapport with his client and be a friend but at the same time, constantly push him at the next level, sometimes requiring some tough love.

Through Joe Rojas’s group, I have had the honor of working with my other business coach Richard Pierce. Richard has helped me re-prioritize my goals and create a work-life balance. He is the driving force that inspired me to come up with my five whys. He also enlightened me that a lot more is in my control than what other’s think. I explained to him how COVID-19 is affecting our revenue as many of our school programs are not currently operating. He replied “It’s not the economy. It’s your economy.” We need to continue to think outside of the box, innovate and succeed. Thankfully, we have been able to and have had 300+ people signed up for our virtual classes so far.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank Nilcee Schneider, a meditation and reiki another great friend I met in the Astoria, NY Entrepreneur Club. As Francine Steadman wrote in this recent  post, half the batte to becoming a successful chess player is gaining the potential to control one’s nerves and have the proper mindset. Nilcee always helps me relax and lose any stress indicators I may have. When you do not know what to do it in a certain situation, on or off the chess board, the first step should always be to take a deep breath and cool down.

Thank you Levi Welton, Mark Wildes, Mike Papapavlou, Michael Deutsch, Joe Rojas, Richard Pierce and Nilcee Schneider and many other great friends/mentors for always being there for me. Our successes aren’t our own; it is important to thank all that guided you along the way. Which coaches have inspired you the most? 

How to Log into a Lichess.org Tournament

By National Expert Brian Wilmeth, Director of Virtual Programs and Programmer

In a lot of our virtual classes on Zoom, students have struggled to join Lichess touraments. Here are step-by-step instructions students and parents can use:

See video instructions here.

  1. After your teacher sets up a tournament move your mouse to the bottom of the screen and click on the “Chat” button.
  2. A chat box should pop up. Click on the link you see in the chat box. Example https://lichess.org/tournament/UekN1zat

  1. You will be taken to a lichess.org. Click on the “Sign In” button.

  1. Next you will sign in with your username and password.  If for any reason, this login information does not work, it means you need to click “forget password” and retrieve it by email or create new account.

  1. You will be taken to the below screen. Click on the “join” button.

  1. Now simply wait until you are paired up ! Please be sure to keep this window open while you are waiting as it may take a little while until you get an opponent.