Life is like a Game of Chess

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Now isn’t this a familiar analogy? Life is like a game of chess.

“Life is like a game of chess. To win you have to make a move. Knowing which move to make comes with insight and knowledge, and by learning the lessons that are accumulated along the way. We become each and every piece within the game called life.”

Allan Rufus

I recently watched The Imitation Game, and that got me thinking about how sometimes we might get so caught up in the moment that we fail to see the bigger picture. And life… is like chess. Sometimes it’s about strategic and logical thinking that ensures our survival, but sometimes it’s about painful sacrifices that need to be made in order to win.

Life if like a game of chess

Do we start life as Black or White?

There is a general consensus that players who make the first move (White) have an inherent advantage. The stats does seem to support that – it was found that White consistently wins slightly more often than Black, scoring between 52 and 56 percent.

Sadly, in life, we don’t get to choose to start with Black or White. We are born into our initial status. If you’re born into privilege, you get White and you’d get to go first. Though you have that inherent advantage, it does not necessarily mean you’d win the game. It’s not an automatic ticket that you guarantees everything you want – or deserve.

And if you’re born Black, it doesn’t mean you’d lose the game. It just means you’d need to work a little harder to win the game. After all, both players start with the same number of pieces. What matters is how you move the pieces.

Moving in chess

Every piece on the chess board has a specific role. Making a move can be scary, as each results in consequences, either good or dire. Even acting upon your wisest decision can at times bring you a negative outcome. But it’s only through making these movements that we learn more about ourselves. No doubt, we’ll definitely make mistakes on the way. If you make a mistake, there’s no turning back. The next best move is to make a better one to rectify the situation, and that’s called progress.

I remember when I first learnt the game of chess itself, I was told not to rely on my strong pieces like the queen so much. Sometimes a pawn can do more than a queen. Remember you always have other pieces that can help you win, and in life that principle applies too.

Read also: Personal Reflection – Happiness

Another thing I was taught when I learnt chess is that great chess players carefully plans all their moves. A skilled chess player doesn’t make any moves that lack planning and forethought. Every move is calculated and every possible consequence of that move are considered. In life, that principle applies as well. Our moves will either bring a positive or negative outcome. Our success depends on the amount of thought we put into those moves. Just as in chess, one bad move can negatively alter the entire outcome of our game.

And yet, whilst we’re playing our own game, we can’t help but look around at other’s people games. Our human instincts want to control the timing and outcomes not only for our own, but for the people we love as well, because we think we know what’s best for everyone. With time, I’ve learnt that we must let everyone make their own choices, allow them to succeed or fail at their own pace and cadence.

Ending with the perfect checkmate

As I’ve grown older and checkmate looms, I’ve become more thoughtful about my remaining moves. I’ve become more thoughtful about what pieces of me are worth saving and which are worth sacrificing. As you play the game, you’d realise that you need to be patient and observant. Look for openings on the board, and who knows, you pawn might just make it all the way to the other side of the board and become a queen. And if you’re lucky, you might just be able to end the game with the winning checkmate.

Take some time today and plan your next move.

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