Chessniti Academy


Life imitates Chess


One of my favorite quotes involving chess is “After the game, the king and the pawn go into the same box”. This Italian proverb is deep and touching. It brings out the mortality we all have and how there should be no room for ego and arrogance.

As a lifetime lover of chess, here’s my observation about how life imitates chess.

Strategy and Decision-Making: Life often requires strategic thinking and decision-making, similar to the game of chess. Just as in chess, where each move has consequences, the decisions we make in life can have long-lasting effects. Evaluating options, considering potential outcomes, and planning ahead are skills that apply both on and off the chessboard.

Kodak is often used as a famous example of companies failing to innovate, but did you know they were the first to invent a fully working digital camera? While their innovative quotient was high, their resolute commitment to printed format of photos is what lead to their downfall.

Sacrifice for Long-Term Gains: In chess, sacrifices are often made to gain an advantage or achieve a specific goal. Similarly, in life, we sometimes need to make sacrifices or take calculated risks to reach our desired outcomes.

Whether it’s investing time and effort into education, sacrificing short-term pleasures for long-term goals, or making career choices that require initial sacrifices, the concept of sacrificing for future benefits resonates in both chess and life.

Patience and Timing: Chess teaches us the value of patience and timing. In the game, waiting for the right moment to execute a plan or launch an attack can be crucial for success. Similarly, in life, patience is often necessary when pursuing our goals. Understanding when to act and when to wait for the opportune moment can lead to more favorable outcomes in various aspects of life, such as relationships, career advancements, and personal growth.

Billionaire Warren Bufftet’s patience paid off. He made his first billion after 40 years of investing but it doubled in two years & grew 8X in 10 years!

Adaptability and Flexibility: In chess, the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and adjust one’s strategy is essential. The same applies to life, where unexpected challenges and obstacles arise. Being adaptable, flexible, and open to new approaches allows us to navigate through uncertainties and find alternative solutions to problems we encounter.

Steve Jobs worked as a video game designer and Brad Pitt used to dress up as a chicken in front of a restaurant to attract an audience. In life & chess, being adaptable and having an open mind to change is often rewarding.

Consequences of Actions: Chess teaches us the concept of cause and effect. Each move in chess has consequences and can influence the entire course of the game. In life, our actions similarly have consequences that can impact our relationships, careers, and personal well-being. Understanding the potential outcomes of our choices and taking responsibility for the consequences can lead to better decision-making and a more fulfilling life.

In any other sport, one could always blame something or someone for losing the game; such as the weather, team member’s performance, age and so on. But in life and chess, outcomes are directly linked to the decisions one makes.

Continuous Learning and Improvement: Chess is a game of constant learning and improvement. The pursuit of mastery requires studying different strategies, analyzing games, and continuously honing one’s skills. Life, too, offers endless opportunities for growth and learning.
Recently, I watched a stream where Hikaru Nakamura played g3 and attributed that to the style of ‘cool kids’ like Nihal and Gukesh!

David Ogilvy, the advertising legend was a chef, a farmer and many other things before he started his first ad agency at the age of 37. Ray Kroc, founded McDonalds at age 52!

Like chess, life presents continuous opportunities to learn and improve. Embracing a mindset of lifelong learning, seeking personal development, and being open to acquiring new knowledge and skills can lead to self-improvement and success in various areas of life.

Did I miss anything? Tell me at @sreeraman