Orchids and Chess

Orchids and Chess

Apr 23, 2009, 3:54 PM |

Today while taking care of my orchids I thought just how similar growing them is to growing in chess.

I got started with orchids years ago with a small Zygopetalum mackayi and struggled to keep it alive. It looks like this year it will bloom! The same seems to be happening with my chess level. After years of playing I decided to study seriously this year and my game has improved. I hope to 'bloom' at the Chicago Open and at least place if not win.

Orchids, like chess players, come in different sizes and shapes. But, they are a very hardy species, though tempermental at times. Your orchid needs the right light, temperature, growth medium (soil, bark, moss) and nutrients to bloom and prosper. A chess player needs the right "sight", temperment, environment and knowledge to increase their game.

Let me elucidate. First we have 'sight' by this I mean tactical vision so that you see the best tactic that the situation requires. It also requires strategic vision. Remember strategy is the long term plan and tactics are those short tem plans to help accomplish your strategy. Lets take a look at the example below.

If you tried to take the Queen first, you did not have enough 'sight' to see the correct solution.

Second we need 'temperment' and I mean the best one that fits your personality.For example you may be like one of the following or somewhere inbetween. It is well known that Fischer had a chess temperment that wanted to destroy the opponent. You may be a quiet winner who slowly and methodically takes the opponent apart. Try the problem below to see what I mean.
There may be other solutions to this problem but the one I have in mind wins the game. It is a slow and methodical approach to taking the opponents defenses apart.

Now we come to 'environment' and to illustrate this I offer up the following joke.

Q: How many people at a chess tournament does it take to change a lightbulb ?

    A: Nine.
  1.  One to complain about the lighting levels,
  2.  One to say he thinks the lighting is OK,
  3.  One to suggest someone calls the arbiter,
  4.  One to go and call the arbiter,
  5.  One to reminisce about lighting levels at the 1947 tournament at Hastings,
  6.  One to complain about the disturbance the others are causing,
  7.  Arbiter one and 
  8.  Aribiter two
  9.  One to say he thought the lighting was better before they changed the lightbulb.
What does this have to do with our discussion? Well, the environment that you will thrive in will depend on you. Some people like to listen to music, some like quiet, some like correspondence chess, some like blitz, some like... Well, you get the idea.

Lastly we come to 'knowledge.' This is the food for your chess brain. How you get this, is up to you but Chess.com offers the Tactic trainer, Mentor, Videos and Coaches. There are thousands of books that you can get at your library and DVD's that cover every possible topic on chess.

So, in closing your 'chess game' is like an orchid as both have different requirements and needs to grow. What works for one player may not work for you and just like I did you may have to experiment to get the right mix for you.

Below are pictures of my Phalaeonopsis Orchids that I have blooming currently.