A little background. My father was an adept chess player at a young age. I think he found comfort in a game that you could analyze, study, and not get burned in the process. Where family and friends may have failed he had chess. He participated in a chess club. When I was young, I remember him studying flash cards with opening sequences on them in his office. He had an index box with words like Sicilian, Evans, French, etc written along the top. I was mesmerized.
Of course my father played chess with me. He never let me win that I can remember. I learned the hard way. Sure I gained a principle now and then, but my goal became to beat Dad. I remember the night that I finally beat him. I was eight years old. He had me write down all my games in a little book. Without getting into any personal detail, this particular night was a turning point in my family life. My father was going through a tough time I am pretty sure, when he came home that night, very late, I was up. We played a game of chess. He played white, I played black. I ended up with a checkmate early on in the game. He was obviously distracted. However, I remember that night for two major reasons. 1). I finally beat my father in a chess game and 2). I prayed for the first time in my life.
That night I learned to be concerned for the welfare of others, I recognized that a chess game communicates a lot more then a series of move. I recognized my father was in trouble and needed some comfort. I prayed in earnest that night out in a field, pleading on behalf of my family.
So there you have it, chess, to me is more then a game. It is part of the foundation of who I am. So my quest to be good at chess is to draw closer to myself and what I believe in. In essence to become a better chess player and therefore a better person.