Are You Driving Away Enough Prospects?

By National Expert Andre Harding

For over 20 years I competed in chess tournaments. I was at my best playing in environments that put me in a positive frame of mind — venues I liked to spend time in, among people I wanted to be around.

I chose my events carefully to maximize my enjoyment and results!

2020 has reminded us that life is too short. We should spend as much time as possible doing what we want with people who enrich our lives and bring us joy. Limit soul-sapping experiences with negative or toxic people.

Consultants, independent contractors, creative professionals, and the like have more opportunities than most to create our own world and decide who lives in it.

We can choose the staff we hire, the vendors we buy from, the professionals we associate with … and the clients we work with.

Trying to get as many new customers as possible is often the wrong approach for our kind of work! Our “deliverables” are customized, not mass-produced items in a department store or fast-food restaurant.

What kind of work do you want to do, and who you want to do it for? That’s who your marketing efforts should be targeting. Yes, niche yourself, to an extent.

At stake is your time, money … and potential aggravation.

It’s your life, and you have to be happy living it. Design the experiences you want professionally, not just personally.

Don’t be afraid to politely, but firmly, repel people you are not looking to work with. This is easy with direct mail campaigns: carefully choose the segments you mail your promotions to!

It isn’t much harder with search engine optimization: home in on keywords and write content for the sector of the population you wish to attract.

I am happiest when I work with people I like, doing work I enjoy. When I take on a client or project I’m uncertain about, I usually regret it! Maybe you can relate.

Does your marketing copy signal the prospects you want, while gently pushing away those you don’t? If not, consider having it rewritten.

Andre Harding is a Copywriter and Consultant. For many years he taught chess as an independent contractor, where his livelihood depended on getting into the minds of students, parents, and school administrators. He uses this experience to write persuasive sales copy and content that helps his clients get customers, keep them, and sell more to them. Contact him at andre@andreharding.com.

Chess Movie and Documentary Recommendations

By Candidate Master Danilo Cuellar, Premier Chess Rockland County Instructor and Founder of  Danilovich Chess 

Here’s the list of my recommended chess related documentaries and movies.

These films are free on Amazon Prime: 

 Magnus

This film is called “Magnus”. It came out in 2016. It’s a documentary style film about the life of child prodigy, Magnus Carlsen. He became world champion in 2013 when he was 23 years old. He’s still world champion today. I saw it a few years ago and it inspired me to get back into chess in a major way. It’s a gorgeous documentary. It’s free to watch on Amazon Prime as of now.

See the trailer here.

Endgame 

Since he was 5 yrs. old, Jose’s Abuelita taught him to play chess like his grandfather who was a champion in Mexico. Now as part of the Brownsville school team, Jose has the chance to use his skills and for once in his life, finds himself in the spotlight, as he tries to help his team make it to the Texas state finals. As their coach, Mr. Alvarado, teaches his students the meaning of perseverance and team effort in the face of adversity, Jose discovers his own strengths and uses them to bring his broken family together.

See the trailer here.

These films are currently free on YouTube:

Life of a King

Life of a King is the unlikely true story of Eugene Brown and his one-man mission to give inner-city kids of Washington D.C. something he never had – a future. He discovered a multitude of life lessons through the game of chess during his 18-year incarceration for bank robbery. After his release and reentry into the workforce, Eugene developed and founded the Big Chair Chess Club to get kids off the streets and working towards lives they never believed they were capable of due to circumstances. From his daring introductory chess lessons to group of unruly high school students in detention to the development of the Club and the teens’ first local chess competitions, this movie reveals his difficult, inspirational journey and how he changed the lives of a group of teens with no endgame.

See the trailer here.

Knights of the South Bronx

The movie is based on the true story of David MacEnulty who taught schoolchildren of the Bronx Community Elementary School 70 to play at competition level, eventually winning New York City and the New York State Chess Championships. The screenplay portrays whistle-blowing and a mid-life crisis that combine to remove Richard Mason (played by Ted Danson) from his old life. He becomes a substitute teacher and is assigned to a fourth-grade class in a South Bronx school. In the class are students with parents who are drug addicts or in jail or just scrambling to pay the bills. Few of them see a purpose in school other than meeting society’s requirements, and he struggles, mostly in vain, to reach them.

Then a student whose father is in jail sees Mason in the park playing a simultaneous exhibition, and beating fourteen opponents at once. He asks to learn the game. One thing leads to another, and soon the entire class is interested in the game. Mason convinces them that on the chessboard it doesn’t matter how much money you have or what clothes you’re wearing or where you come from, and that it’s only the moves you make, then and there. The class forms a team to compete in ever-larger tournaments.

See the trailer here.

These films are great, but are not free on Netflix, Amazon Prime, or YouTube.

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Josh Waitzkin and his family discover that he possesses a gift for chess and they seek to nurture it. They hire a strict instructor, Bruce Pandolfini, who aims to teach the boy to be as aggressive as chess legend Bobby Fischer. The title of the film is a metaphor about the character’s quest to adopt the ideal of Fischer and his determination to win at all costs. Josh is also heavily influenced by Vinnie, a speed chess hustler whom he meets in Washington Square Park. The two coaches differ greatly in their approaches to chess, and Pandolfini is upset that Josh continues to adopt the methods of Vinnie. The main conflict in the film arises when Josh refuses to accept Pandolfini’s misanthropic frame of reference. Josh then goes on to win on his own terms.

See the trailer here.

Queen of Katwe

Living in the slum of Katwe in Kampala, Uganda, is a constant struggle for 10-year-old Phiona Mutesi (Madina Nalwanga) and her family. Her world changes one day when she meets Robert Katende (David Oyelowo), a missionary who teaches children how to play chess. Phiona becomes fascinated with the game and soon becomes a top player under Katende’s guidance. Her success in local competitions and tournaments opens the door to a bright future and a golden chance to escape from a life of poverty.

See the trailer here.

Pawn Sacrifice

This is a 2014 American biographical drama film about chess player Bobby Fischer. It follows Fischer’s challenge against top Soviet chess grandmasters during the Cold War and culminating in the World Chess Championship 1972 match versus Boris Spassky in Reykjavík, Iceland.

See the trailer here.

Brooklyn Castle

Brooklyn Castle is the remarkable and improbable true story of I.S. 318 in Brooklyn. The school, where 65% of students live below the federal poverty level, has the highest ranked junior high chess team in the nation. The heart of the film is the engaging young students who populate the team: Rochelle, who has the goal of becoming the first female African-American chess master; Pobo, the team’s charismatic leader; Justus, an entering student who must manage the high expectations that come with achieving master status at an early age; Alexis, who feels the pressure of his immigrant parents’ desire for him to realize the American dream; Patrick, who uses chess to help overcome his ADHD; and James, the young rapping maestro and budding chess talent; among several others. We have the honor of having some IS 318 alumni in our fall virtual classes

See the trailer here.

For some reviews on recent chess films, check out WIM Alexey Root, PhD‘s recent SparkChess article.

What is your favorite chess film?

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.

 

Playing Chess: Breaking Down Walls

By Viviana Premazzi, Founder of Global Mindset Development ,Eliana Zuliani, Giulia Cianciulli and Enrico Bertolaso

We help organizations to work effectively across cultures. We help people to learn cross-cultural communication and negotiation strategies and to develop competencies to lead and work in an intercultural team. Moreover, we mentor companies during the internationalization process, helping them to build and understand the opportunities and challenges of the global market.

Probably now you are wondering: how is this linked to chess?

But the right question here is: what does chess teach us about cultures?

Playing chess can connect cultures and people. It is based on intellectual challenges and logical skills. People’s ability and their willingness to learn and improve is the only thing that matters.

Interestingly enough chess was created between India and Persia centuries ago, like most of the religions in the world had their origin in that geographical and cultural area.

In particular, chess has been used to teach war strategy and leadership to kings and rulers. Leading a kingdom, an army or a company as well as playing chess requires, as a matter of fact, strategic thinking and a global mindset.

  1. Strategic thinking and managing cultural differences

Playing chess can be used with an educational purpose. It can teach you how to manage a problem, how to find a solution, evaluating different strategies and moves.

The game, indeed, can help to develop problem solving skills, taking into consideration costs and benefits and consequences of single action. It also improves accountability skills.

In a multicultural organization you have to manage cultural differences and consider their intersectionality. There’s no one approach that fits all. A good manager or an organization committed to diversity and inclusion are able to evaluate various approaches. Then they choose how to act in a specific situation, considering all the consequences and the whole scenario. Diversity and inclusion should be part of the business strategy like a single move in chess cannot be considered isolated from the whole game.

2. A Global Mindset

When you play chess, you have to have a bird-eye on the chessboard. You have to look at all your pawns and your opponent’s ones. This is what in business and, in particular in intercultural management, we call Global Mindset. The Global Mindset considers the broad perspective, not only your single organization, your region or your country. It is being able to see everyone in their potential and their differences and see where and how you can “use them” for the benefit of the organization and the game.

3. Chess for breaking down walls

Almost since its origin, chess has affirmed itself as a democratic game, it is not only for the elite but everyone can play and learn strategies and skills. It started in the Indian sub-continent then came to Europe and now is played internationally online and in-person. It is based on fair played and equal opportunities.

4. One last tip: Be the Knight!

The knight’s move is distinctive and unique. Whereas all the pieces move in straight lines just in one single direction, the knight moves in an “L-Shape”. It can move two squares horizontally and one vertically and vice-versa.

We wish this kind of movement in your life! How can you be and move like the knight?

When you work in multicultural realities, remember to show your main direction but also to consider the other possible paths. The more you know about the other’s perspective, their skills and characteristics, the role they can have in the game, the more you can develop a winning team, committed and ready to succeed.

Last but not least: because of its movement the knight starts from a color square and ends up on another one. Being like a knight for us means also building your personal journey without the fear of changing your context!

For more about the global chess community, check out National Master Evan Rabin’s Premier Five Chess Travel tips

Virtual Chicago Chess Tour Match 1: Defeating the Legendary JJ Lang


On Wednesday night, I defeated the infamous Chicago Chess Blitzer JJ Lang in a 10 game 3-2 match on Lichess.org.

JJ splits his time between studying as a Stanford PHD student, rapidly improving in chess and teaching. You can learn more about him on this Perpetual Podcast episode. Stay posted for his upcoming appearance on our podcast.

I had some decent opening preparation for the match, guessing he would play the Nadjorf; however, the lines I organized were not deep enough. I had no idea as to whether he would play 1.d4 or 1.e4 as he played lots of games with both starting moves recently.

In the first game of the match, he played 1.e4 and I played my pet 3…c5 in the Caro Kann advanced variation. As I saw in a previous game, he played 4. Nf3 which is less common than the typical 4. dxc5. I ended up developing a strong attack but blew it away with 21…fxe5, which gave white lots of counterplay. Eventually I lost in a topsy-turvy endgame.

We then had our first Nadjorf of the night, when I did develop a strong attack and advantage but JJ escaped with a draw.


In game 3, he just straight up utterly destroyed me:

At this point, I definitely wasn’t feeling optimistic about the match as I started .5/3.  If there is one thing I learned through from playing lots of matches and 936+ tournaments, is that one  of the most important assets of a strong chess player is the ability to keep his cool after a mistake within a game or a loss. I can’t tell you the amount of times I would make one mistake in a game, blowing away my advantage to get an equal position, making another to get a worse position and shortly thereafter, blundering to lose.

Similarly, I will never forget my tragic 2005 World Open experience.  As an expert at the time, I was excited that I accidentally dropped below 2000 and was able to play in the U-2000 section and play for the ‘big bucks’.  As I didn’t have much planned that summer, I spent the week before with intense chess study, several hours a day. I remember my friend and study partner Rob Garcia repeatedly told me that week to just relax and play decent chess and I would do fine but I ended up overwhelming myself. In the first game, I did OK and won. In the second round, my friend Robert Guevera showed messed up with the round time and showed up to the round with 2 minutes and no time delay! You would think I would just make normal moves and flag him but shore enough I got so excited and hung my queen. Even then I had some chances as he was so low on time and he ended up winning a heartbreaking game. Had I kept my cool afterwards, I would have plenty of time to recuperate and win money in the 9 round event, but at the time, a lost to me had a domino effect… before I knew it I was 2/8 and withdrew before the last round. This time around the block with JJ was different though……..

It definitely wasn’t due to some mistakes (on both sides), but I ended up going 5-0 in the second half and won the match! See all the games of the match here.

Do not miss out on the action as I take on Chicago Chess Blitzer Remi Adekola in my second 2020 Chicago Chess tour match. Here is some footage of Remi and I playing some Skittles at the 2018 World Open.

US Chess National Master Evan Rabin vs Remy in some skittles at World Open!

Posted by Premier Chess on Sunday, July 8, 2018

This time of course, the match will be virtual; those who watch the live commentary and music on our Twitch stream  and email evan@premierchess.com with their address will get complimentary Premier Chess custom masks.

The Carlsen World Tour Coming to an End

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

The Carlsen World Tour is finally coming to an end and we will have a victor on August 20. Magnus Carlsen is playing against Hikaru Nakamura where they will play the best out of seven sets.

The tournament only had four contestants, the other two being Ding Liren and Danil Dubov. According to Chess Base Liren actually managed to win his first game in the semifinals against Carlsen. He then lost three consecutive games allowing the World Chess Champion to proceed to the finals.

Nakamura on the other hand won each game he played against Dubov. He is the only player who has managed to take a victory away from Carlsen and perhaps he can do so again.

The two Grandmaster just started the first set of the finals today and Nakamura is leading 2.5 to 1.5. Although this is only the first set out of 7 Carlsen may not be able to hold up against the American player who took him down at the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge. Perhaps Carlsen will be able to hold out, but Nakamura could take home this final win and put the World Chess Champion in second which would be a shock to the chess world. Many of the games are being hosted live for free so its an opportunity to see these two grandmasters at work.

Legends of Chess Final Results

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

The fourth event in the Magnus Carlsen tour has finally come to an end. In the semifinals Carlsen defeated Peter Svidler, by winning the first two games. Ian Nepomniachtchi won the first game of the semifinals against Anish Giri, but then lost the second game. However, in the third and final game, Nepomniachtchi managed to take home the win and move on to the finals.

Nepomniachtchi lost two consecutive games against Carlsen allowing Carlsen to take home his third win out of the first four events in his tour.

Due to the Global Pandemic the World Chess Championship was canceled for the time being. This prompted Carlsen to initiate his world tour by creating the Carlsen invitational which is the first professional online chess tournament according to Magnuscarlsen.com. From there Carlsen created a whole tour out of online events to compensate for the canceled tournaments.

Although Carlsen lost the Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge and did not even place in the top three he has managed to win three times; three times more than the player with the second most tournament wins in the tour.

Carlsen has proven so far through his tour that he is the World Chess Champion, but perhaps in the Grand Final someone can finally defeat the reigning champion.

Sports Edition Continued: Athletes Who Are Chess Fanatics

By Eliana Bane, Marketing Intern

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar​ is a former NBA player. He played a total of 20
seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. He was
awarded ​NBA​ Most Valuable Player six times, was a 19-time NBA All-Star,
and was an 11-time NBA All-Defensive Team Member. Abdul-Jabbar has
won six championships as a player and then two more championships as an
assistant coach. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was honored as one of the 50
Greatest Players in NBA history, in 1996. Abdul-Jabbar was an amazing
basketball player with a great mindset towards the game. However, basketball was not the only game he was interested in. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was an avid chess player.

I’m 2001, at a Bonnaroo Music Festival, Abdul-Jabbar was caught reading “Chess Tactics for Champions”.

“American tennis great Jack Kramer claimed: ‘To be a championship tennis player, you need the mind of a chess master and the endurance of a marathon runner.’”

Many tennis players also play the game of chess, including
former German former world No. 1 professional tennis star, Boris
Becker. Boris Becker won many titles in the Wimbledons, the
Australian Opens and the US Open. However, Becker’s skill does
not stop in tennis. He is an avid chess player as well. Becker was
taught how to play chess as a teenager, by his coach Günther
Bosch. Becker explains Bosch’s reasoning for teaching him
chess, “‘Gunther thought that I would expand my intellectual
awareness of structuring a point if I learnt to play chess,’ Becker
said. ‘Strategy is important in chess and tennis. In a one-on-one
situation it’s important to always remain one step ahead of your opponent.’”

Both of these players are well known athletes. Their interest in chess improves their game and develops skills they use when playing basketball and tennis.

Sports Star or Chess Star?

By Eliana Bane, Marketing Intern

Many know ​Klay Thompson​ for his athletic abilities. He is a three-time NBA champion with his team, the Golden State Warriors. He is a two-time All-NBA Third Team honoree, and a five-time NBA star. However, off the court, Klay Thompson possesses a strong interest in chess.

In 2018, the Warriors invited ​Magnus Carlsen​, ​the World Chess Champion, to a Western Conference Finals Game. The W​all Street Journal​ reported that after the game, Thompson took out his phone and showed Carlsen a game he was playing against his teammate, Andre Iguodala, and wanted new insights. The ​SFGate​ explains how Klay Thompson now has numerous chess sets, several chess games on his phone and a magnetic set to take on the road.

Thompson is intrigued by the game of chess. He enjoys the thoughtfulness and believes the technique and strategy can and will enhance his basketball game. The skill of forethought, taught in chess, is also used in Thompson’s basketball playing.

Lastly, when Thompson was interviewed about the “10 things Klay Thompson can’t live without,” by N​BC Sports​, he lists his chess board and says,

“T​his is the greatest fan gift I’ve ever received, and I’ve gotten the most use out of it. I was in China when this was gifted to me. I forgot the fan’s name, but if you’re watching this, I appreciate you bro.

“This has been giving me so much pleasure — especially on the road — for years. It’s got my Anta logo on there, which I thought was so cool. We’ve got the gold and silver set.

“Come holiday season, this chessboard sees the most action of the year. We have the family tournament. My dad thinks he’s nice — I have to humble him every once in awhile. My little brother Trayce is real good, we always compete…”.

Chess is clearly very dear to Klay Thompson. He enjoys the game, competitiveness and skills he learns from it.

Legends of Chess

By Shai Hecker, Operations Intern

We are still four days away from the Legends of Chess Tournament, but the line up for the competitors just came out this past week. There are ten people in the tournament. Four of the competitors are the semi-finalists from the Chessable Masters tournament while the other six are legendary players who are a bit older then the other four.

One of the legends coming to play is Viswanathan Anand from India. He was the World Chess Champion until Carlsen took the title from him in 2013. Perhaps this will be Viswanathan’s chance to show the younger Grandmaster how a real legend plays.

 

Vladimir Kramnik is representing Russia along with his two younger competitors: Ian Nepomniachtchi and Peter Svidler. Kramnik was also a former world chess champion up until 2007 when Viswanathan took the title from him. Three former world chess champions are coming back together for a final showdown. However, Kramnik retired from being a professional chess player in the beginning of 2019 so he may not be able to compete with someone like Carlsen.

Vasyl Ivanchuck was once ranked the second best chess player in the world, only under Gary Kasparov. However,  Ivanchuck’s game has gone down in the past few years and he may find it difficult to keep up with the younger players.

It seems that all six older players have become legends. Their gameplay is no longer as good as it once was and they may find themselves in trouble in this tournament. However, players like Carlsen make mistakes and legendary chess players know how to capitalize on those mistakes. Although these players may not be as good as they once were, they are still some of the best players in the world today.