Chess as a metaphor for life

Just about anything can be a metaphor for life.

And so also chess.

I don’t play it myself, but I do follow the excellent live chess programs on NRK (Norwegian public TV) during the world championships. Right now, they send from the world championship in rapid and blitz chess.

Since my older brother is into chess, I tried to play it as a kid but I didn’t get very far. For whatever reason, perhaps because of what someone told me, I thought chess was about thinking ten or twenty moves ahead until chess mate. So I predictably fell short and gave up. It wasn’t possible for me.

Later, I realized that chess is not about an impossible detailed planning until the end of the game. That’s doomed to fail. (Unless we are well into the end-game.)

It’s about creating good positions. It’s about being flexible and responding to the current situation. It’s about improving your own position step by step. It’s about being on the lookout for new opportunities and making use of them.

And that’s the same with life. It’s not possible to plan it all out very far ahead. What we can do is find some flexibility. Respond to the situation we are in. Be on the lookout for opportunities. And take what we have and take steps to improve our position.

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