Chess [is like] Life

I enjoy connections, parallels, metaphors, between distinct realms of my experience.  In fact, my original impetus for this blog was a realization of the many lessons from chess that apply to life. The business world, for instance, might do well to learn the difference between “strategy” and “tactics.”   But I’ll save that particular rant for another time …

Let’s take a quick look at a game in progress against my friend Scott.

scottgameIn this queenless, therefore allegedly boring, middlegame, I have to look out for tactical possibilities in each quadrant of the board!

The lower right has been central to the action for a while, while on the upper right, his pawns are in my Bishop’s line of sight.

The upper left is in a state of tension, my Knight looking “grim on the rim,” yet tying down his Rook.

Finally, the lower left, while it seems quiescent, features the most complex positional play – should I try to trade my Bishop on h6?   Instead of b3 on his last move, should he have played f4 (with the idea of f5) to shut down the scope of my pieces, or even trap them?  Should I prevent his pawn push with my own, to g5?  But what about the hole that would open up for his Knight, allowing it to dominate the center from f5?

So each sector of the board offers threats as well as possibilities; each not only demands time and attention in its own right, but directly affects the others.  Learning to optimize and trade off competing and interrelated constraints – is that like life or what?


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