Saturday, June 11, 2011

Axiom 5: Checkmate! How the Difference Between Good Chess Players and Great Chess Players Can Change Your Life

"Luck is what happens when preparation meet opportunity." - Seneca

"For me they were steps, I have climbed up upon them  - therefore I had to pass over them. But they thought I wanted to settle down on them." - Friedrich Nietzsche  

I've never really played that much chess. In fact I don't really care for the game that much. However, the game parallels life in so many ways that its probably why chess has remained popular for so long.  Its no coincidence that the same players are successful year in and year out, and I believe that there are three factors that separate great players from good players. It is these three strategies that you can apply to your life as well.

First, all pieces (no matter what their rank) each have their own individual advantages and disadvantages. That means even a lowly pawn can take out a king given the right circumstances. A great chess player tries to set up situations that capitalize on the strengths of their own pieces and the weaknesses of their opponent's pieces.

We need to realize in life irregardless of if whether we are a king or a pawn that we each have our own strengths and weaknesses. A pawn cannot change into a king and vice versa. The real advantage lies in playing each piece to the best of its abilities, and staying true to its inherent form. 

Secondly, for every move made a new choice is given and another is taken away. The game board is constantly changing with each new move. Just like life all moves have their rewards and consequences. A great player focuses on looking for advantages and opportunities with each new move instead of dwelling on mistakes or failures. 

Lastly, great players see the board as a whole and think multiple moves ahead. I think the single biggest skill that separates great players from average players is their ability to plan multiple moves ahead. Every move is a calculated risk, well though-out, and well planned. Oh how we could learn from this strategy in life! It seems like sometimes, especially in youth, we fail to see the whole picture. We fail to look past the next move. Ask yourself frequently, "So what comes after that?" Take the time to run through the possible scenarios in your mind so that you are not caught off guard when things don't work out as planned. Remember that all moves are equally important, so make the most of each one!