Chess Whiz Hops on COVID Trend
Shavi Bash touts the benefits of playing chess by keeping the brain sharp and helping with decision-making skills.
After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).
Chess has long been valued as an “intellectually stretching” tactical game dating back to the 15th century, some say even 900 years earlier. During COVID, chess saw a resurgence in tandem with the popularity of the Netflix series, “The Queen’s Gambit,” which registered a 96 percent Rotten Tomatoes approval rating. Also, the pandemic opened doors for online playing and instruction with other games like canasta and mahjong.
Shavi Bash, 26, with Israeli and Argentinean roots, combined his chess acumen and charisma to teach chess online. He said, “The series is the whole reason chess suddenly became cool again, and everyone was watching the show. That’s exactly when I launched my business in November 2020, alongside ‘The Queen’s Gambit.’”
Backing up to his original passion for the game, Bash recalled, “My background affords a lovely perspective as far as culture is concerned. We are Jewish and my abba (father) taught me chess with an adventure story about kings, quests, large battles, queens, dragons, and gold. He would come up with fascinating and engaging stories that I still remember.”
Originally from Texas, Bash moved to Roswell when he was four, and later graduated from Roswell High School, then played Division I football in college while he studied sports management with a focus on coaching, thus encompassing his talent for nurturing and encouraging, especially with youth.
Bash went to Israel on Birthright Taglit in May 2022 and continues to play in chess tournaments. He recently spent three months in Israel teaching chess classes for kids in the U.S., Europe, South America, U.K., and Africa. Three years since the pandemic launch, he stated, “This is my ambition and passion: to teach youth, and chess is the perfect medium on which to expand that. I have truly found my passion in teaching and shown year after year that my students love chess and have stuck around the whole time.”
Bash reflects that he inspires trust in others. He continued, “Families trust that I will deliver quality, fun, challenging virtual chess classes and keep adding curiosity, perspective, balance and wisdom with group and individual virtual chess classes. Trust also is that I create a safe, authentic learning environment that is inclusive to all.”
A self-described world traveler/nature/fitness/chess enthusiast, Bash expanded his Zoom adventure chess concept by incorporating engaging videos, puzzles, mini-games, and scenarios. He created his own style of virtual chess lessons using 3-D animation, annotations with drawing tools and breaking down gameplay components like opening, mid-game, and endgame in chess. He meets a child’s skill level and guides them from “beginner to winner.”
Bash offers online chess course curriculum lessons in both private lessons and group formats as well as a customizable, thinking/life coaching and virtual strategy classes. The lessons are for children as young as four years old, teenagers, adults and seniors, men, and women, in English or Spanish. With over 50-plus virtual students from all over the world, there is an opportunity to socially connect groups of kids with lessons. Students are invited to build their own Legend Character and gain armor/skills/pieces for their own castle.
Bash has flexible price options. All classes are 60-minute sessions. $35 for one-on-one lessons, $25 for group lessons of two-three students, and $20 for slightly larger group of four-five students. In group lessons, he encourages students to invite friends and family to build one’s own team, but that’s optional. The introductory lesson is free where Bash has a demo session to tailor the learning experience to each student. For more information, email [email protected].
The benefits of playing chess have long been known, as Bass sums it up.
“I believe chess builds character, improves academic performance and adds perspective to daily decisions to keep your brain sharp! Chess is known for its ability to develop many skills in children like decision-making, problem solving and creative thinking. Many studies even show that chess raises the IQ level in children, improves memory and concentration, language acquisition and more. My virtual community aims to create a safe, authentic, fun, and challenging virtual platform for students to connect and play, socialize and learn how to think through the context and medium of chess.”