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Chess Chat: Q&A with Evan Rabin, CEO of Premier Chess

February 18, 2019

Evan Rabin was born and raised in New York. He graduated from Brandeis University Cum Laude with a BA in Business and International Global Studies in 2012. He founded Premier Chess, which currently offers programs in 44 schools and companies.

How old were you when you first learned how to play chess? Who taught you?

I was 7 when I learned how to play; my dad and brother taught me. 

How has chess effected your decision making process off the board?

Chess translates to my business and life processes all the time. I learn how to analyze, balance between risk and reward, and compete. I was influenced by Jim Egerton’s book Business on the Board. 

How did your earlier career choices lead you to where you are now?

I worked in Enterprise Sales for 4 years at Oracle and Rapid 7. I then cofounded a sales outsourcing startup for SaaS companies. I decided I loved sales but would prefer to talk about my true passion of chess education so I started Premier Chess ( in July 2017. We are now in 44 schools and companies including Kramer Levin. 

How would you define your chess style?

Influenced by Michael Adams, I have a style that is a mix of positional and attacking. I often will perform delayed attack’s in late middlegame. 

Does your chess style transfer over into your business decisions as well?

All the time, I love looking ahead and evaluating the best moves in a given position. For example, I will ask myself if Premier Chess is going to invest $100 in marketing, should it go to Facebook, promo items, SEO, etc. 

What has been your worst chess mistake which has given you the biggest lesson?

My worst chess mistake was letting my emotions affect my Play. 

What has been your worst career mistake that has given you the biggest lesson?

My biggest career mistake was when I told my former manager that I was upset that I was only getting a little more money than someone who was a lot less experienced than me. I learned never to talk to fellow employees about salary. 

Do you think chess has helped you to become more resilient in life?

Absolutely; chess makes me more consistent and conscious of all my decision making. 

What do you hope to achieve professionally during the next couple of years?

I hope to grow Premier Chess to 100+ schools and 25+ companies. I also hope to do more volunteer trips around the world. 

What is the biggest challenge to achieving that goal?

The biggest challenge will he finding enough qualified instructors. 

How would you relate these goals and challenges to the chessboard?

On the chess board, an attack needs enough active pieces. If your opponent’s king is exposed but you don’t have any development, you won’t be able to take advantage of it. 

Could you please leave us with a favorite piece of chess wisdom to conclude this interview?

My friend and mentor Bill Lombardy once suggested to me that I follow one top-level player’s games and go over all of his games. I picked Michael Adams and have greatly benefited from this exercise. 

For more on Evan Rabin and Premier Chess please visit:

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