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Eggie's avatar

Can a strategy game like chess could be applied to your life?

Asked by Eggie (5737points) December 5th, 2010

I have been told that games like checkers and chess especially can enhance a persons itelligence and the fundamentals of the game can be applied to your daily life. For those that think this is true can you tell me how does chess especially is applied to your daily life?

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8 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

Some of the principles of play could ( and ARE ) easily applied to life, but the game as a whole doesn’t allow for the impact of the sort of chaos life can sometimes throw at you. In life, planning is great, and necessary if you have serious goals, but flexibility is mandatory.

Jwtd's avatar

I think that chess is better for someone climbing a corporate ladder than for an entrepreneur.

Regardless, having strategic strengths to overcome adversary of any form in life is important. Just as seen on a chess board, you can keep a fort around your weak points and use bridges to extend your strengths. Is that what you’re thinking of?

Paradox's avatar

Definitely the ability to solve problems with your mind. High quality chess players usually have the ability to actually picture many chess move combinations in their head. A quality chess player also needs to visualize several moves ahead as well.

chielamangus's avatar

In ways small or large, I can relate most everything I’ve ever learned to chess.

The chess teacher I had as a little kid hasn’t changed his fundamental advice in 40 years: Pay attention, follow instructions, and do the homework. I’ve learned that the advice he gives to little chess kids applies to every useful endeavor, especially Pay attention. Author Peter Matthiassen goes on at length in his lectures about how critical it is to pay attention to every detail of the most ordinary activities — when you’re washing the dishes, he says, you have to pay attention to the water temperature, to the sharp edges all about, the soap, and so on. At the chessboard, one lapse in attention costs a lost game, a much easier lesson to learn than not paying attention to the freeway ahead of you.

At the chessboard, many decisions have to be weighed in terms of material vs. time and mobility. In the real world, people make many bad decisions while trying to gain material. It usually means the loss of free time and being stuck to the grindstone. Chessplayers who cling stubbornly to material are the stodgiest players and usually losers — the players who learn to sacrifice a bit of material for room to maneuver and time to do it have much more fun playing chess, and more easily recognize in the bigger picture of life that traveling is more ideal than being bound to multiple mortgages and car notes.

Another life lesson that chess teaches is how much it helps to be specific about one’s goals. When little kids are learning to play, ask them what they want to do, and they announce a grandiose scheme: “I want to capture all his pieces, then promote all my pawns, then laugh like a Bond villain”. Players start making progress when they understand that goals at the chessboard are short-term and specific. “I want to centralize this knight” or “I want to bring pressure to bear on that pawn”. Poor chessplayers aim to do everything at once; strong players aim to do one thing at a time. (People who claim to be excellent “multitaskers” are kidding themselves.)

Chess is very good for teaching one to accept the consequences of one’s actions. I lost a chess game four hours ago for a very silly reason: I propped my head in my hand, and at a critical juncture, I lost sight of one square because I was looking down my arm at the board, and didn’t bother to move my sleeve out of the way. You have to see the whole picture before acting, and you have to live with the mistakes. In chess and in life, it’s more productive to make new and different mistakes than the same old mistakes repeatedly.

My progress at chess was slowed because I didn’t accept who I was as a player. I wanted to be the sorcerous Tal or the romantic Bronstein, and I wasted years before I accepted the evidence that showed that I should’ve been studying the straightforward Capablanca. Eventually, I wrote a book about Capa, and wish I could have the years back I spent studying the wrong players and especially studying openings.

Openings study is the worst waste of time any chessplayer makes, and you’d think the real world analogies would sway chessplayers, but we can be so stubborn. Suppose you talking a westward walk through a forest, but you can only afford one of two incomplete maps — one that leads you from the east entrance into the middle, or from the middle to the west exit. Which map do you want? Hopefully, you want the map to the exit. In chess games and in forests, any banana can wander into the middle without aid of a map. Openings books are maps from the start of the game to the middle — who needs it. Books of checkmating patterns and endgame teachings are maps from the middle to the end — if you don’t have a map to the end, you just get lost. When do the great athletes shine? At the two-minute warning, or the 9th inning, or the 18th hole. You can hit a 400-foot drive to within two feet of the cup, but if you four-putt it, it’s just a bad hole. Pawn endings are to chess as putting is to golf, said Purdy (whose occasional penname was Chielamangus).

We agree to disagree about whether chess is an art, a science, or a sport. It is all of those things, and whatever lessons there are to learn about art, science, and sport can be learned through chess.

Eggie's avatar

@chielamangus Yes that was the answer I was looking for; although I dissagree with what you said about the openings. I have improved my game drastically with the study of the openings and I have even triumph over superior players with the study of the openings. Anyhow, I personally think that the principles of chess such as patience, observance and strategy( thinking four moves ahead) is really applicable in our everyday lives whether it is for business or otherwise. For the most part I think the game brings out responsibility.

chielamangus's avatar

I have improved my game drastically with the study of the openings and I have even triumph over superior players with the study of the openings.

You’re kidding yourself. Playing an opening flawlessly doesn’t help one win a game — you could take a library of openings literature to a game, and play chess like an open book test, and all you get for scoring 100 on the open book test is a playable middlegame. When games are won or lost early, they’re won or lost through tactics/combinations, not theory.

Christiansen credited one ancient book of combinations for making him a grandmaster, but you never hear a strong player say that an openings book made him a better player. Openings study could improve one’s play by giving one greater awareness of the tactics looming in the positions, but increasing one’s board vision can result from reading any chess book.

Otherwise, openings books are impractical as anything but reference material — no matter how much one knows about openings, the truth is that every move in chess game moves the players closer to the ending; you can’t put pieces back on the board to go back to an opening you might know, but you’re always taking pieces off the board to head toward endings that you should know.

Yes, you are absolutely right: chess teaches responsibility.

Nially_Bob's avatar

Yes, but then almost anything involving some degree of strategy can be applied to ones life.

Tasadduq's avatar

Its something that we all apply in our daily lives and it is called ‘consequences’.

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