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“I’m playing chess, you’re playing checkers”.

If your anything like me, you’ve heard this phrase a million times. My most vivid memory of hearing this phrase was from Kobe Bryant. When he described his dominance on the basketball court through a silly board game, I found myself perplexed. What did he mean by this? Was he an avid chess player? Did playing chess improve his basketball skills? I had so many questions and I set out to find answers.

Understanding Your Army - Every chess master was once a beginner.

– Irving Chernev

You don’t need a formal education in chess to understand this blog post. The game is extremely simple, yet incredibly complex. I found the parallels between chess and the real world quite intriguing. When you first begin, you take the time to learn the capabilities of all the pieces... your army. Each piece has a unique skill set and as you learn how to use the pieces in unison, your power grows. Each of us are multi-talented. We possess skills we are not yet aware of and have capabilities that we have not yet explored. When we learn and master these skills we can unlock new and powerful abilities that can change our life. Have you discovered and mastered the powers you possess? Patience - When you see a good move, look for a better one.

– Emanuel Lasker

When I first began to play, I found myself making quick and unthoughtful moves. My opponents would often capitalize on my silly mistakes, which naturally brought on frustration. As I began to progress, I realized patience was key when playing the game. When I thought I found a great move, I would think again. I would ask myself, what do I gain with this move? What do I lose with this move? How will my opponent react to this move? Most times, the first move I thought of was likely the worst. When I took more time and thought a few more steps ahead, I would often see the benefit. In life, we must be patient. We shouldn’t react based on emotion but rather think rationally. When we think of a great idea, we must explore both the benefits and the drawbacks. We must ponder the reactions from those around us in response to this great idea. When I began applying these lines of thought (acquired from the game of chess) to real life, I saved myself from making small mistakes due to lack of patience.

The Plan – In life, as in chess, forethought wins. – Charles Buxton

Lastly, I would like to discuss planning. Chess has taught me to think a few steps ahead and predict the situation that is mostly likely to arise from a specific line of action. If I know my final objective, I can plan each move to align with my end goal. On the contrary, If I don’t know where I am going in life, how can I get there? You will find that you must adjust your plan as the landscape changes. We may see better opportunities to take advantage of or new threats that were unforeseen. Whatever the circumstance, a plan is almost always better than no plan. I urge you to consider these ideas as you make decisions in your life. You may be surprised at what you come up with.

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