I have been recently engaging in games of chess with my
almost 13-year-old son. It helps distract me from the bar
mitzva preparations. Although I like the game, I almost
always lose. I don't mind, because playing chess helps hone
the mind and keep you on your toes. I've been learning
through watching, though, and I must admit I'm getting
better. Now it takes my son longer to beat me. I've also
learned some valuable lessons that are applicable to life.
Rule #1: Keep sight of the big picture. Before every move,
it's important to look at the whole board and see how the
position of every piece will be affected by the next move.
Every move changes the dynamics of the board and the whole
board has to be considered before changing that dynamic.
Rule #2: Plan ahead. You have to have a strategy, a game
plan. This isn't a game of chance.
Rule #3. Have more than one game plan. The best strategy
won't work if your opponent does something unexpected. You
need to be flexible and have a Plan B, C or D based on the
moves of the other player. Flexibility and quick thinking are
Rule No. 4. Think before you act. Consider your next move
carefully. If you act too impulsively, it could cost you
Rule #5. You have to take the initiative. Defending your own
pieces and keeping yourself safe is not enough. You have to
actively pursue your goal, otherwise you will eventually
Rule #6. Don't take it too seriously. It's just a game, so
enjoy it. Even if you don't win, you improve with each game
and you learn a few lessons along the way.