Chess as life

“A bad plan is better than no plan at all”
-Emmanuel Lasker

I’ve been playing a lot of chess recently, so I thought I might write about it.

The five general principles of chess:

1: Understand the value of each piece (pawn = 1, knight/bishop = 3, rook = 5, queen = 9), and only trade a piece for an opponents piece of equal or greater value.
2: Control the center
3: In the opening, don’t move the same piece twice
4: Make sure your king is safe
5: Try not to have any unprotected pieces
One of the ways you can divided thinking in chess is between tactics and strategy. Tactics being when you calculate (if I do this, then he can do that, and I’ll have to do this…). Strategy is doing because they’re good in principle (putting a rook on an open file, even if it has no immediate benefit). One of the things I’ve been learning in chess is that good strategy leads to good tactical opportunities. Doing the right things early (developing pieces, for instance), gives more occasions when a complicated piece of calculation will significanly help you out. That is, that doing the right things at the beginning, even if it doesn’t necessarily have an immediate benefit, will give you opprotunities later on.

I won’t go into the cliche details, but I think this is the way that life primarily works. Doing things “right” leads to opportunities, sitting back and complaining that you never get opportunities doesn’t. If you value what you should value, are willing to make the right trade offs (good bishop for bad bishop), then you will slowly gain advantages.

Thee sixth rule is that you have to have a plan. The plan isn’t necessarily something that you will ever accomplish, but for any given circumstance within chess you have to have something to work towards, if not to accomplish it then to preoccupy your opponent. Same as in life, a plan may neven be realized, but in working towards something you may be able to recognize another plan or another opportunity. But again, if you don’t have a plan in the first place, you may not be able to see the new opportunity.

The last rule for chess is this, whenever the time is right, when you have an opportunity and your goal is within reach, ignore all other rules and abandon all principles to achieve checkmate. Save your money, be responsible work hard, but remember that doing those things are a means to an end. What use is it to save money except to one day spend it (whether on yourself or on somebody else)? What use is it to work hard except to accomplish something? When there is something you truly desire, whether that is social change, or a significant other, or something else, don’t let things like career, money or status stand in your way, even if they got you 90% of the way there, don’t let them hold you back when you’re about to checkmate your opponent.

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