At the beginning of this lockdown my very dear friend Charles Wooten offered to show me how to play chess, a game which I have long wished to learn. Charles had in fact been offering me this for a number of years and I would always put up excuses. What I quickly realized was that I had no problem at all with Charles doing me this favor, and I didn’t feel embarrassed not to know how to play. My issue was this thing about being a grown up and assuming that you are supposed to already know everything, which of course we simply cannot.
Given the nature of lockdown, I took the great Charles Wooten up on his offer and 6 months in, I am beginning to see why people relate the movements of chess to those of life in general.
Chess is a game about skill and about they efficiency and the effectiveness of the decisions which you take. For each time that you move the pieces there are hundreds or sometimes thousands of potential ways in which things will work out, so you have to weigh up how the pieces lie and then look to make the smartest decision. Many of us in life cannot take these decisions, they look for other ways out or ways to swerve them, you can’t do this in chess, and this then helps you to be better in life.
There is a saying that you ‘cannot win them all’ and there is certainly a touch of this in chess. Whilst a very good chess players could win a game in less than 10 moves against a noob, in most cases chess games go right down to the final pieces. This means that you have to know who to sacrifice and when, losing one in order to gain two later on for example. The same goes for check mate, you’ll often find that a valuable piece such as the queen could be sacrificed to win the entire game. This is what happens in life too, we have to take the odd loss of a battle in order to win the war. This could mean turning down an opportunity in order to ate advantage of another, a key skill which can greatly help.
Importance of the Little Man
What I really love about the game of chess is the pawns and the role that they play. Of course the queen and the rooks get all of the headlines because of their wide ranging ability, especially given that pawns can only move one piece at a time, apart from when opening, and they can only move diagonally when taking. Despite this however, pawns are more often than not the catalyst for great things happening and they even have a goal in the game, which is to get to the other side and get promoted. This for me is a perfect example of the fact that no matter how small or uneducated you may believe yourself to be, there is always the chance of becoming a key part of life and moving on up the ladder.