Chess as a Lesson for Life

Exploring the lessons games can teach us about ourselves, and the world around us.

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Strategy

Although the terms “strategy”, and “tactics” are used exchangeably in everyday language, their meaning is very different. Strategy represents the long term view — devoid of specifics.

Tactics

Tactics can typically be distilled to “if this, then at” — nothing more. They are guided by strategy, and their outcome is often dictated by experience and skill. They represent short term gains, serving the long term goal.

Calculation

Choosing the path to take in a given situation often requires an amount of forethought or calculation. Knowing when to stop — when to spend your time, and how much to spend on a decision is perhaps the differentiator between the good and the great.

Imagination

There is a romantic argument that imagination can defeat reason, experience, pragmatism, and study. It is rare, but it is true. Throughout the history of chess exceptionally talented players have shone more brightly than their peers — Morphy, Capablanca, Tal, and Fischer come to mind.

Perspective

One of the most powerful tools you can bring to bear as a human is the ability to see the world through the eyes of others — to change your perspective. By looking at a problem from different angles, you can learn more about the nature of it.

Preparation

There is a famous saying — “the harder I work, the luckier I get”. It applies to all walks of life, but especially to transactional relationships. It is no accident that great chess players have an encyclopaedic knowledge of past events, or that appear so perceptive in their evaluation of a given position.

Loss

One of the most important lessons games teach us is how to lose. The lesson isn’t about grace and humility — it’s about the reaction to loss.

Written by

Software and web developer, husband, father, cat wrangler, writer, runner, coffee drinker, retro video games player. Pizza solves everything. jonbeckett.com

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