Life is like a chess game where it requires careful planning, sacrifice, hard work, and non-reliance on luck in order to win. Chess also majorly teaches patience that is highly applicable to life struggles.
Getting into this website you immediately know that I like chess (which is why I made this site in the first place) so I really want to discuss everything related to it.
And what better way to discuss any relation of chess than with life (in general)! It is after all the single most important aspect of our limited existence here on earth.
I believe there are many lessons in chess that can give us a better perspective on how to tackle our daily struggles as well as with success.
This is the topic for today’s article, why is chess like life?
I’m really excited to share it with you guys since all of these are unique ideas and something that I’ve just thought of these past few days, I hope you enjoy it.
How does chess relate to life?
Here is my list of 60 astonishing ways that chess relates to life:
- Exploit your advantages, do not be limited by the guilt of having to use your natural strengths.
A lot of us are guilted by other people to not use our natural advantages (talent and privileges), however, these people will not be around whenever we have missed an opportunity that would have springboarded us to success.
- Work on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, because if you work on your weaknesses then, in the end, you only have strong weaknesses, if you work with your strengths then in the end you have strong strengths.
In chess, you are mostly taught to master as few things as possible and only apply those few things to your games. This is the same with life where you will find the most value in mastering your strengths over your weaknesses.
- Thrive even with the pressure of time, time is ticking whether we like it or not, so it is important to be at least aware of its existence.
Some people would allow time to consume them and waste so many periods on things that do not matter. There is a penalty for being unaware of your limited time (both in life and in chess).
- The world (or chess) is a major competition, if you don’t recognize that you are at least competing with one person on anything that you want, then you can never win.
There is a competition to anything you would want in life, if it is that desirable then other people would want it too. Recognize this competition and thrive on it!
- Learn from the best! The quickest way to improve is by listening to those who are actually participating and have expertise in the industry.
In order to improve in chess you should watch how the professionals do it, just like how you would in any other industry.
- Do not suppress creativity, no matter how the world tries to force a system upon you, the light of innovation is usually the groundbreaking one.
Chess just like with life chess has systems that tempt us to abandon creativity, however, imagination is much more valuable than you think.
- Do not be so absorbed with your own goals and purpose that you forget the actions of other people towards you, it might put you in danger.
Sometimes we get too caught up in executing our own plans and that we ignore people around it (competition, friends, partner, etc.).
- Sometimes simplifying complex problems is the best move, and is way easier than you think.
Complex problems are usually solved by simplifying the options, use this to your problem-solving formula!
- Always try to compete with the strongest opponents, those are usually the people who are able to give you the best challenges.
Better skilled people will have more resources that can challenge you more into improving your craft!
- Learn to recognize and cut your losses, do not commit to something too much that you lose more resources.
Whenever we have lost material for an attack, for example, it might be better to slow down and not continue sacrificing more pieces.
- Play the board not the player, no matter what people around you try to mess with your head, it will be useless if you win on the general picture.
Focus on the goal at hand rather than what other people want you to do, as long as you have researched something and believe in yourself, then it is reasonable.
- There are situations where no moves available will give you a positive outcome (such as a zugzwang) and you should just learn from it, so that you may hopefully avoid it in future scenarios.
There are situations where there are no escape routes, but we can still play the next game and make sure that we don’t fall into the same position again.
- Threats are usually noticeable if you really look for them (such as a discovered attack in chess) so be honest with yourself if you are sensing danger.
We all have been in situations where we are sensing danger but still dismiss it, you should reconsider the next time you are sensing threats.
- Sometimes sacrifices are necessary but not all the time, you should look for safe moves more often than not if a sacrifice doesn’t seem essential.
We all have to make hard sacrifices eventually, but it is better to look for safe alternatives if the sacrifice is unnecessary.
- Even a lowly-ranked individual can become one of the most powerful if within the right environment (pawn promotion).
Just because you are where you are today does not mean that it will always stay that way, if you reach the finish line you will grow.
- Do not be afraid of trades! Sometimes you need to offer something in order to gain more for it.
Learn the value of exchange, consider the cost versus opportunity of decisions.
- You don’t have to trick anybody in order to win, you just have to be better than them.
You don’t need to be a swindler in life in order to reach financial success, you just need to have a skill that you can do better than anybody else.
- All of us make mistakes (or blunders) but we should see it as an opportunity, something that reflects our flaws that can be worked upon.
That is the strength of humans, which is learning from mistakes more efficiently than any other animal out there. You shouldn’t let losses hold down your success as shown in this chess video:
- Small moves that do not appear to be doing anything at first can become vital to your victory if you are looking at it long-term.
Long-term results do not look beneficial at first (most of the time), do not be deceived!
- You mustn’t always go with the obvious, certain decisions require more analysis than what you have just used to do in the past.
When making decisions do not go into automatic mode, try to evaluate even if the solution seems obvious.
- Some threats are not as worthy of attention as the others, you must prioritize immediate dangers before going into less meaningful ones.
Prioritize those that are much more important to you, some other issues can wait.
- Always try to look for new opportunities even if the situation seems to not have one.
Sometimes there are solutions even if it doesn’t appear at first, do not be demotivated to look for one!
- Be calm under pressure, learn to recognize that other people are feeling similar pressures to yours and handling them well anyway.
Pressures are constant to this world, if there are others who can handle it, then I believe you can handle it too.
- Special opportunities require sacrifices even if you are unsure of the outcome, calculation is great but there are certain adventures that have to be taken.
Looking for safer alternatives should always be the first option, however, there are solutions that need certain sacrifices.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment! You never truly learn yourself unless you explore the possibilities hidden within you.
Explore outside your comfort zone in order to really know who you are, experimentation is necessary to learn what works.
- Sometimes going for a draw is the best option you can take.
You don’t need to always win in order to excel, sometimes drawing can just be as good.
- Learn the value of planning, those who are prepared to face new dangers will always strive when encountering them.
Having a preparation when tackling problems can always make decisions faster and more accurate.
- Reject authority by playing unconventional moves as long as the reasoning behind the decision makes sense. You will never be at the top if you only follow what other people are saying.
Sometimes you need to listen to professionals, but there are certain instances that you need to reject authority to grow.
- Be honest with yourself and look at your current situation, once you’ve correctly identified your position it is easier to make some sort of resolution.
Sometimes we are afraid to admit that we have made a mistake, accept it and move on to better decisions!
- Sometimes you have to choose what works rather than what you just want, do what it takes rather than do what you want.
Even if we want to play aggressively with tons of sacrifices, positional play mostly works better.
- Sometimes taking a breath through the complexity and slowly analyzing the alternatives (even though unconventional) might be a good idea.
You don’t have to always make decisions as quickly as possible, sometimes taking a step back is the right idea.
- Opportunities strike but usually only once, do not let it get away especially if it is right in your face.
Once you feel that there is an opportunity, go for it even if dubious, you never know what you didn’t explore.
- Look at the bigger picture (entire board) rather than just a narrow specific side, the most memorable moves are usually those that are out of the box.
The solutions may not be in the given perspective, try to look bigger in order to solve problems.
- Moving too quickly is even worse than moving too slow.
Rushing is even worse than thinking over something for a long time, do not take too much time but do not rush either.
- It is easy to get sucked in on the competition involved in chess and life, but remember what made you play in the first place, which is to enjoy the beauty of your work.
We are likely to forget why we love our hobby once there is competition involved, do not forget your passion.
- Go deeper, the best moves are usually the moves that a lot of people do not understand.
Similar to not just looking in the obvious, try to find deeper perspectives and execute no matter how other people think.
- Sometimes you have to put up a facade in order to gain opportunities, if you are not doing something unethical then it should be fine.
Fake it to make it work in real life, as long as you are doing it ethically and correctly.
- Do not waste time, every move should have a purpose behind it even if it doesn’t visually deliver success right off the bat.
Make sure that every move you do in life has a certain purpose behind it.
- When someone makes a move that you don’t understand, have a wider perspective, understand the reasoning behind their moves.
This is similar to walking in other people’s shoes, you don’t really understand their concern if you haven’t experienced what they are going through.
- Always have a backup plan, so that if things go awry (which is the case most of the time) then you aren’t totally doomed.
Have an emergency plan (such as an emergency fund for financial preparedness) in order to tackle worst-case scenarios.
- Don’t rush, the most beautiful opportunities usually arrive with time.
Sometimes progress are not visibly clear so we have to wait, being able to get through this obstacle is essential for finding unique opportunities
- Life and chess will all have distinct phases, even if you mess up early in life (which can be the opening) you can still make up for it by having a good middlegame and endgame execution.
A lot of us feel failure in the early stages of life without realizing that there is a chance to amend it later on, we should recognize this fact.
- Hard work beats talent in chess (like with life) until the talent works just as hard.
Chess is a knowledge-based pursuit, with the existence of engines and overly explored lines, one would need to really work hard in order to excel (even with talent).
With this point in mind, I think you would enjoy this is specific motivational video I have found:
- The most important piece is not necessarily the strongest one.
The one in the position of power are usually not the one who is the most talented, nor is the brightest.
- Everyone has different strengths (just like with different pieces in chess) you just have to fill a role that works best on those strengths.
You will have a specialty that is rarely seen from others, hone those abilities and find a market for it.
- Focus on the goal, the game is not about how much material you can accumulate (money) but whether you can deliver on your purpose (checkmating the king).
Some of us will lose focus on our purpose once we’ve got a lot of money (or material), but winning, in the end, is about fulfilling our ultimate goal.
- Sometimes you need a breathing room for your king (you are the king).
There are times when you have to put yourself high on the priority list more than others, it can avoid potential dangers down the road (even though it looks like it is wasting time).
- Every king deserves a nice queen.
Don’t be afraid of finding and committing to a good partner, it can blossom into a great relationship.
- No matter how small someone seems to be in your life (in terms of importance), you must still look after them since those are the people that can help you in the end (just like with pawns in chess).
No matter how much success you have achieved in the end, it is important to look at every person that let us get to the desired goal.
- Do not be intimidated by the competition, remember that they are human too that can make mistakes.
We are often intimidated by special opponents because of their status and titles, chess lets us see the great people make mistakes too.
- Sometimes taking a prophylactic move from all the chaos can save you from instant death (or checkmate).
Taking a break from all the chaos that is going around in your life usually doesn’t hurt as much as what could it impact your success later down the road.
- Do not rely on luck, rely on your calculation.
Luck can only go so far, a systematic process with disciplined approach has a higher success rate.
- A career is mostly a lonely pursuit (just like with how you try to improve in chess) and you must accept this in order to thrive in moments of solitude.
A lot of challenges in life are usually tackled alone, we must learn to survive these moments in order to ultimately succeed.
- Just like with chess, every individual move you make in real life will contribute to your potential success.
Do not overthink every individual decision you make, but learn to appreciate the fact that every success you have is due to every small decision you have made in the past.
- No matter how many mistakes you make, the game goes on, the minor difference is that you can’t resign in real life (you can philosophically or some other way, but mostly you can’t)
There is no resignation in real life (unless you mean it in a grim way), so we must continue playing the new game by learning from the past one.
- Be reasonable, do not expect to win by playing ludicrous moves made on emotion.
There are instances where we need to suppress emotional drive in order to make the right decisions, we must learn how to control our emotions.
- Just like with chess, you can play all the good moves in real life and still lose (and vice versa).
There are just so many factors to success that there is no guarantee to every effort we make, we must accept this and attempt anyway.
- Learn to admit that your position in chess (or in life) is actually worse than you think, this will allow you to make necessary adjustments to reach your goal.
A lot of us are afraid to admit our mistakes, however this is a necessary step in order to make any adjustments.
- Those that make a huge difference are usually not a single piece (or a single person), but a collective group that works toward a single goal.
Learn the value of collective effort, try to build a team that can do a larger work than what you could have achieved alone.
- Advantages don’t necessarily convert to success, so make full use of your advantage while you still have it.
Advantages come and go in real life, the real question is, will the one who wield the advantages be able to capitalize before those privileges disappear?
Do you now know how chess relates to real life?
There are definitely tons of lessons that you can get in chess which can have an educational value for life. Even though I have listed so many in here, I don’t think I have covered all of the learnings out there.
There might be some specific aspect that I haven’t explored yet which you can figure out, who knows, you might be smarter than me. However these are just the things that stand up to me the most more than any other, in other words, these are my personal lists.
I’m sure you have your own personal list too, something quite remarkable. I truly enjoyed writing this article, thank you my audience! sleep well and play chess.