5 Lesson that Chess Can Teach Us

5 Lesson that Chess Can Teach Us

Nov 19, 2011, 6:25 PM |

Chess is a mirror of life.  There are struggles and opportunities everywhere and it can teach us a great deal about life.  Even the simplest life requires strategy. Life has rules that can mate you or let you squeeze out of tight spots; and even when you are destitute life can give you an opportunity that seems too good to be true and you can win.


The perfect example of being destitute and becoming one of the largest companies in the word is Google.  Days from having to grow or quit they get their first break with a check from someone that just spoke to them for a few minutes and trusted them with $100,000, they did not even have a company formed and couldn’t even cash the check.  They were small and suddenly Yahoo threw them a bone that made them grow exponentially and even leave Yahoo behind.  At every turn they were minutes from being mated and life gave them the power to maneuver and survive.  Even with the many mistakes they made, even fighting against incredible odds they survived and then became the number in the world!


This game shown here is far from perfect.  In fact it is a series of mistakes after mistake from both sides.  It is great in showing these five points that chess can teach us.  The game develop similarly to Google’s pattern and of course in our own personal lives there are many things that work the same.  Please do not roll your eyes at the mistakes made, learn from them because life is a series of decision and many decisions lead to mistakes and corrections!


The game below has at least five lessons to teach us:


Most of the time things look worse than they are.

If I believe in intimidation in this game I would have been intimidated.  My opponent was from Holland which are typically good players, he was rated much higher than me and I started playing a variation of my favorite opening that I do not normally play.  So from the start things looked worse than they were.  If I allowed doubts to set in I would have sealed my doom because this was a battle of wits and wills on both sides.  Both making serious mistakes and recovering to almost mating the other and the winds of fortune appearing to favor one over the other many times.  Many times the game seemed over and seppuku seemed the only solution, but  every time I put the mouse on resign I could not do it and gave it a few more moves on a wish and a prayer that he would make a mistake and the winds turn my way.  No matter what my sense of honour told me I did not let it take me away from my gut feeling that there was hope.  Often hope can mislead you and doom you but many times it be your savior. The line is thin but sometimes it leads to success.  Situations often appear worse than you think they are and if you focus and keep trying you may be find new wind in your sails and possibly even win!



Even if you make mistakes there is usually a way to recover.


Life has absolutes and chess teaches this too.  When you reach a mate there is nothing you can do to undo it and when there is a solid forced mating attack there is nothing you can do to avoid it—so chess is proof that there are absolutes in life, very few but there are.  However, short of these two situations there are usually ways to recover from even major mistakes.  In this game I did.  Recovery sometimes seems like luck such as when your opponent makes a stunning amateurish mistake or when something you had not considered seem happens by “accident”.  Whatever the recovery situation, it can happen with just one move, even if you did not notice the ball rolling slowly towards that situation started rolling much earlier.  Whether it is luck or intelligent design, many many mistakes can be recovered from.  Giving up too early can be as bad as not knowing when to give up but life gives you many chances and so does chess!


Do not be intimidated even when facing long odds, often the odds can be wrong.


This one is really a restatement rule number 1, but it cannot be emphasized enough.  Do not resign too soon, giving up too soon may make you lose more than just a game, especially if it teaches you the wrong thing or lowers your confidence.  When in doubt complicate to give you time and make it easier for someone else to make a mistake.  Face long odds with confidence and often you can shorten them down to your size!

Remember even computers make mistakes and humans even more.

Everyone and everything can make mistakes.  Even Grandmasters make huge blonders and a low rated player may beat a Grandmaster; only once in 10 million times but it has happened and it will happen.  People make mistakes, people are humans, trust in yourself and work to lower the advantage of the other person.  Life is the same, sometimes people who do not even have money for food can travel the world and live like kings—I can attest to that!  Similarly, in chess, do not give up too soon and you will win more than you think you can!


Never Ever Give Up—too soon!

All these rules, boil down to this one. In this game my opponent never gave up he went all the way to mate.  I wanted to, pointed so many time to resignation and always continued because there was the slightest glimmer of light. I made many mistakes and even if he was a stronger player I bet on him making a mistake when I complicated the game and he made the mistakes.  Life is not predictable and what seems worse than it really is because often we look at it through the fog of our fears and misperceptions.  There are definite times to give up, but do not panic, do not fear, do not run away…examine the situation well and if there is really no hope do the right thing but if there is a glimmer of hope make things hot for your opponent and pray for a mistake—they happen more than the odds say!

Here is the game: