How to Apply the Chess Mindset to the World of Business

How to Apply the Chess Mindset to the World of Business

Sep 14, 2016, 3:42 AM |

Chess is seen as one of the most intellectual activities, as it requires great logic and a complex thought strategy in order to master the game. You could say, business is not so different from chess. You need to have the same skillset, even though you’re trying to accomplish a different goal. By applying the fundamentals of chess to business, you’re learning to view things through a clear and strategic lens, which will help you come up with a strong business plan. If you want to take over the business world, you’ll need to serve your competitors a checkmate.

Analyze All of the Possibilities

In a game of chess, you have a lot of things to consider when you make a move. You never know for sure how your opponent is going to react, and you need to consider every possible direction in which a situation can go. For every attack, you need to plan a full range of counterattacks. You should be prepared to handle business decisions the same way.

Before you launch an ad campaign, set a lofty goal, or offer a new innovation, you need to consider what you will do in the event that things don’t work. Rather than being damaged by a failed attempt, you should know what your next move will be in the event the attempt fails before you even embark on the venture.

Become Aware of Your Pitfalls

You may find yourself making the same mistakes when playing against the same chess opponent. In the business world, this opponent is your competitor. In order to prevent being hit by the same counterstrike over and over again, you need to learn to come at the opposition from out of left field. Identify the patterns that aren’t working, and radicalize your approaches. No one will be able to predict your next move, and you’ll secure your corner of the market.

Focus on the Ultimate Goal

In both business and chess, things shift from time to time. Even if you’re great at predicting what’s going to happen next, there’s no way to be a clairvoyant. You’ll be hit with curveballs. You’ll even see some of them coming, and be unable to dodge them. You know you want to put that king in check, and to do so, you’ll likely have to make some sacrifices along the way. Staying flexible allows you to change your strategy with time. Maybe you couldn’t accomplish a goal in the exact way you set out to, but that doesn’t mean you’re barred from accomplishing it at all.

Realize That Some Moves Just Won’t Work

You aren’t going to make it to the end with all of your pieces on the board and every one of your opponent’s pieces wiped from existence. You will lose some battles. Sometimes, you’ll have to willingly sacrifice smaller pieces in order to allow your bigger pieces to make greater strides. That’s part of chess, and that’s part of business. You need to learn when to let things go, and where you should be focusing that effort instead. Don’t tie up your mental faculties protecting a pawn when you should be keeping the queen safe.


The best chess player will make mistakes, and so will the best businessperson. This is something it’s absolutely crucial to consider. Rather than walking away feeling like you’ve lost, you should always return with a more focused approach, and aim to play better next round.