Chess in Real Life [ Life is Like a Game of Chess ]

Chess in Real Life [ Life is Like a Game of Chess ] – The game of chess is very similar to life. As chess in real life is unpredictable and complex so is the game of chess in real life. You may have read many topics of how to be successful in life or how to achieve your dreams, all these topics are based on ideas which you need to implement. This is similar to chess where your moves are based on the combination of many ideas and strategies.

Life is like a game of chess

Why is chess called the game of life? We all are aware that chess is a game of war between two armies of equal strengths. The chessboard and pieces were invented to arrange the military position and strategize before the other army attacks and capture the king. The aim of chess is not to destroy the members of the other army but to capture the king before your king is captured, the person who is able to achieve the checkmate is the winner. 

Chess : A metaphor for ‘Life’ 



Chess in Real Life [ Life is Like a Game of Chess ]

Attack is the best defense

chess in real life

Let’s take one of the famous examples of chess is the match between two grandmasters that is Anand and Carlson. After a good amount of time, it became clear that Anand is winning and one step behind the victory as he had to place his rook and give checkmate to Carlson. But Carlson instead of defending started attacking the king piece of Anand and ultimately Anand was not left with any attacking opportunity and had to defend his pieces to save from the Carlson repeated check. After a while Anand lost his hold and game became in favor of Carlson and ultimately Carlson won the game.

The similar strategy we can see in our military preparation that if the other country attacks the military cannot always keep on defending the attacked hotspot it has to prepare its own counter-attacking plan.
Also in the corporate war, we can see this example that when one company tries to promote its product it tries to attack the product of its competitor in the market by means of comparison or finding faults to present in the advertising campaign.

When you defend you are able to defend more successfully but the excellence in life cannot be achieved by the mere defense and also it doesn’t come with rash attacks it comes with a combination of both nature of the attack as well as defense.


Passive Strategy and active decision in life and chess

Life is like a game of chess

In the game of chess, every player has his own way to build a position wherein you place your chess piece in order to prepare for a major attack, castling the king piece or combination of both. This position building is developing a passive strategy where you anticipate the move of other players and use your logical thinking to prepare for fore coming attacks and preparing a defense.

The active decision making is putting the plans into action and attack. Maybe you have developed a potential passive attack and you are waiting for the other player to just move their pawn from the spot and you can attack. This is the time for active decision making when your passive strategy has been developed and now its time to put plans to action.

So we conclude that there is time for both passive strategy and active decision and we have to play both at their own time.

Similarly, we see these circumstances in life wherein people who are trying to get a new job and they have preparing months for that interview to crack or to clear a particular examination then herein you fill find yourself strategizing for the opportunity to come and when the time is right you have to have confidence in yourself and your preparation and play the opportunity.


Gambit and Sacrifice in Real life and chess

chess in real life

The Gambit is a very calculated and risky sacrifice of the chess piece to obtain a better position. The main objective of the Gambit is to lure the other player in taking your powerful pieces such as Queen, knight, camel, or the rook and thereby giving you an opening to attack and capture the enemy king piece. This advantageous position only comes when you are ready to sacrifice and take the risk to lose some important chess pieces. The risk taken is unpredictable and is also contrary to the natural idea of the bigger army the likely chances to win, that’s why it is called a gambit.

These rules are best seen in our business and corporate worlds which is like chess a warzone area the business people may risk some of their important assets to gain back a better position in the market. Or in an investment world where the investor makes the decision to put some assets into an unstable business that has the possibility to die out or grow and flourish in the market, but as the gambit, you have the opportunity to analyze the investment analysis the market and then make a decision. Gambit is more of a well-thought risk than just a sacrifice.


Talent is good but hard work is the best

Life is like a game of chess

To discuss this we take the case of the lightening child, Yes absolutely! Vishwanath Anand. As a child Vishwanath Anand defeated many grandmasters one after another and it was clear that Anand had this natural talent for chess. Vishwanath Anand was in the habit to play quite fast where his opponent would take a few minutes to pay their next moves, for Anand it was just seconded.

Everyone knew that Anand will become the world’s grandmaster, But when the genius of Anand met then world’s grandmaster that is Karpov, then the truth dawn upon Anand that he can be world’s second or third grandmaster with his genius but to become the world’s grandmaster he has to hard work. Till 80’s Anand played quite fast to defeat his opponent this strategy kept on working till he met Karpov and after that, during his 90’s he started studying 18 hours a day and moved to more thoughtful moves to become the world’s grandmaster and a true genius.

The same things we find in the life of successful people start their journey on their talent and slowly realize that this talent cannot be the best in the world without hard work. As Thomas Alva said that genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration which comes true in our life. We may follow the things that we love and are passionate about but the real results only come when we realize we have to add discipline and hard work to our talent to reap out the benefits we want.


Retreat for creating opportunity in life and chess

chess in real life

When in chess we find that we have weak positions and our attack is inefficient because of excellent castling of the opponent’s king piece than we have to retreat our chess piece and create a better position, but these positions are passive attack position where your retreats are removing the attacks but can create a major attack when unfolded again.

When you retreat and lower the attack the enemy also starts lowering their defenses and take the decision to move their held position and this is where the opponent creates the opportunity because his defenses start to lower as his attack increases and if have created a good retreat passive attack positions then you will find your moment to strike and fight again.

So we have a great example we can see this in history. When Hitler started occupying the territory of the Soviet Union and Hitler’s army was strong and large enough to fight the Soviet Union army and defeat them, then we see the intelligence of a beautiful retreat to attack in the right moment. Soviet Union Army started to retreat the position of their army and they kept on doing while Hitler thought he was occupying the territory whereas the Soviet Union was waiting for the right time. The right time came and the winter started where Hitler’s army stand weak and had no strategy to face the extreme winter in opponent territory there the Soviet Union army was well equipped to face this cold war and this ultimately caused Hitler army to loose in number as they were not prepared to face the extreme cold.

Building potential strength in our passive positions is one key to success.


Centre Control in chess as well as life

Life is like a game of chess

When we play chess there is a definite advantage of having the pieces in the four squares in the center of the game. This creates a good opportunity to attack when but it can only be done when your pawn piece moves forward and another important piece to move. This also creates an opportunity to attack by the opponent therefore we must have a strategy to defend also while trying to occupy the center four pieces.

This can be seen in our life and business world. There is often positions in the market where the business competitor have a good hold and are drawing most of their revenue from one specific position, then some other rivals come in with better resources and occupy their spots with better pieces of equipment. In our daily life, we can see that we have many advantageous positions around us like the center control, these advantageous positions can be in our daily life such as doing a hobby that gives us most of the satisfaction, or the dinner time with your family that creates a feeling of happiness. There are actions that give the holder of our satisfaction and happiness and it doesn’t become the thing that is in control by other people.


Try something new in life and chess 

chess in real life


In a knowledge-based game like chess, we can create many backup plans. But when our plan backfires in such a moment of crisis we may have to come up with an entirely new strategy to save the game, it’s like a backup plan where a lot of risks are involved. We can take back the example of a famous game between Karpov and Anand.
Anand won the 9th time and it was supposed to be a smooth victory for Anand against Kasparov but at that moment Karapov came with a system where he was not an expert, Anand was also not an expert in that system that Karpov played and did not expect it. When the circumstances as such with the case of Karpov arrived where he was lagging behind and then at such moment he played a system and traveled in an uncharted territory where there was either best of him or he loses. Karpov took the last two matches by that system and scored the victory against Anand.

There are many emergency situation in life where we have to either decide that we stay in our comfort zone and do as we planned which can clearly fail or to come with a better solution and take the risk to try it. Every sportsperson is faced with such system whether in boxing or martial arts where he had been trying for a long time to win against the person and all his well-thought plans go to a waste where he finds himself that if he did not come up with something the defeat is clear, in such moment of crisis we have to come up with some solution and get out of our comfortable plan and risk the try.


Bad Bishop on board of life

Life is like a game of chess

Bad bishop occurs when the bishop is not able to move and deploy attacks as it is trapped in the pawn chain. The bishop may not have that great attacking value but has a great defensive value it defends the various pawn pieces and other important chess pieces. But when Bad Bishop occurs it becomes less valuable as nor it is able to attack and nor it is able to defend.

The same principle we see in the Employment world, the duty of the Human Resource is to find the strength of the person and give him the right place in the organization where he can perform his best and is more valuable. In the chess player view, we can see to find the merits and demerits of a particular situation in life and make the best use of our optimum resources to bring the best results.


Phases of chess and life

chess in real life

The chess game is divided into three phases that is the opening, the middle game, and the endgame. Each phase has its own importance and determines how your next phase will be. If your opening starts with making better positions and you become successful in setting the chess pieces as you desire than it will definitely help to play the middle game where you deploy your combination steps of attacks and tactics and eventually this leads to a good ending.

Here, it has a clear similarity with life. Like every step in chess, we learn what was good for us and what is not. In our early childhood, we are adored and loved as we grow we become a teen trying to find our identity in the world and this period we learn our beliefs and values from the things we are excited and many from our surrounding. These right values and beliefs start the unfolding of better adulthood and our further life journey.

So, it means that if begin is ruined then so does the game? No, that is why it is called phases. Phases are effected by its previous phase and also create an effect in our future phase. Edmar Mednis clearly defines it “After a bad opening, there is hope for the middle game. After a bad middle game, there is hope for the endgame.” It becomes very clear that there is an opportunity to improve and become better at every phase you do not have to be disheartened by the fact that your previous phase does not turn out to be good, there is an opportunity to make the next phase better. Grab the opportunity and make the most out of it. Just in life if one of our phases did not turn out as we want it to be then just remember there will be a new opportunity that is coming fast and does not get disheartened and try to make the most of it.


Safety of the king

Life is like a game of chess

The safety of the king is taking over the priority in any stage of the game. If the king is protected we do not have to worry about the indulging attacks from the opponent while he aims for the other pieces too. The king when exposed gives the chance for the opponent to penetrate our castle and attack the other vulnerable chess pieces. The safety of the king is so important that a whole complete move is dedicated to chess for castling the king in a single move. The castling occurs between the rook and the king when no other chess pieces are between them and you are not under the attack from the opponent like facing the check.

As Rob Sillars said that “castle early and often” becomes true in every phase of chess. The safety of the king is a very basic nature of life. You can observe this fact in the ant community where there are many divisions of the ants and one queen in the divisions and when the other queen comes in the territory then both have to fight to assert the dominance on the territory.

This has very similarities in our life, everyone has their dreams and inspiration but they are attacked by everyone in the society when exposed. Either people trust you and support you or they criticize and lower your morals. In any case, it becomes very important to have belief in yourself and have complete faith as you follow your heart and passion. Either you become indulged in the attacks that others through at you or you protect your dreams by believing it by working on it and achieving it.


Getting rid of bad pieces

There are times when your chess piece gets in the way to deploy the attack and causing you trouble in playing your tactics or planned strategies than it becomes a necessity to get rid of the pieces that are tagging you down. For example, developing a good square and getting hold of the center is your strategy and you are unable to achieve the state because of the other pieces that come in the way may it can be your pawn held by the enemy pawn where it got stuck and this is a liability. You must try to get rid of the pawn by giving it as free bait or exchanging for the opponent pieces.

When we see the life we can see there are times when we meet people that just do not let us perform to our complete abilities and we have to keep holding ourselves back because of them. Then we have to make the decision that is it the time to let them go from our lives for good and this not only leads to a more satisfactory life but also helps you find other people that help you to grow and progress than obstructing your way.


Waiting Moves Chess in Real Life

Waiting moves in the chess are those moves where you do not want to change the positions of your chess piece position and you do not want to change the dynamics of your current situation. This situation can be seen in many phases of chess but the most common phase where this position is seen prominent is the end of the game where you may want to stall the opponent who is trying to check the king. The waiting moves are more like that you do not have a better move to play and also you do not want to destroy the positions of the chess pieces than you try to pass the move to the opponent so that he can create a better opportunity for your pieces to make the moves. Because passing in chess cannot be done so we have these waiting moves in chess.

There are many moments in life that we see that doing nothing is better than doing anything. It is also a symbol of patience that when something is not going as you wanted then you wait to watch when the opportunity comes and you can make your move to better positions. These patient moves may seem worthless but it is where you develop the perseverance and determination you become more visionary and see things that add the quality of character in life.


Things that chess teaches us in life

We always want to become a great planner in life and become a good planner in just a part of many life skills are taught by chess. These life skills can be hard to develop but the questions come how can you develop them? The best place to learn these skills is the board of chess. Chess has all the qualities that a person requires in order to become successful in life and work.

How does chess help in real life?

  1. Tactical thinking
  2. Determination
  3. Patience
  4. Focus
  5. Decision making
  6. Planning
  7. Strategy
  8. Analyzing
  9. Perseverance
  10. Creativity
  11. Logical thinking
  12. Memory
  13. Learning to lose
  14. Reflecting
  15. Strategy
  16. Considering the consequences
  17. Time management
  18. Sportsmanship
  19. Concentrating


what chess teaches you about life

Time Management

Time management is the skill that is required in any part of life whether you are a student or a working person you have to divide your time effectively between people and work. Now how can chess teach you time management skills. In chess, we have a time clock where each chess player is allotted a certain amount of time and when your timer reaches zero then you lose the game regardless of how great the position of the chess pieces is on your board. There are many questions that you have to think before playing the game about time management like how much time we should spend to find the best move? Or there may be a better idea to spend less time on reasonable alternatives for the best move? And how much time we should spend to not ruin the quality these are some of many that we a chess player have to face before we start the game. Also depending on the time period many chess decisions are made such as in the speed chess game player are allotted two minutes of time and you can see them rushing their pieces, and also they can be allotted as two hours per player where we can think up to two to three times ahead of the current scenario. Now, these similar time management skills we have to face in our work, consider the scenario where you have to complete a project as well as deliver the presentation in one day than you will have to think that how time will you have to divide between these two things, you can divide the time between the project and the presentation like you can draft the presentation after every hour of doing project our many other combinations for effective work.


Decision Making

This is also an extremely required skill that chess can teach you. As we grow we have to make choices and paths and select what is best for us. As a student, we may have to choose the subject that leads to our future education and that leads to our university and then to the job opportunities. While playing chess you may see many positions to play and several great positions to start off with. Now at that time the chess player may think that which is the best move to make – may it is the rook, may it is the knight, or maybe the pawn all these questions have to frequently be answered as a chess player. So one of the most common things that you come across is plotting the moves in an ordered fashion which is often called a variation in chess.

These variations are like tree nodes with position and that branches out to other possible moves and as there can be many possible moves so we draw many variation braches from a single node or point and further they divide into several more branches that’s why it is said that there are more possible moves in the chess than there are a number of stars in our discovered universe but let’s come to the realistic point of view that there are only a few playable numbers of the moves in the chess and other moves may lead to a dead-end or defeat so why play it. So what we do is analyze all the possibility that we have one by one and make the best decision, and similarly, we make the choices our subject in college and higher education we lay down all the subjects we may have such as sciences, applied science, arts, literature and from this we analyze which is the subject I will like to work for life and you analyze it in a proper fashion. Also, we come across the process of elimination while taking a decision we cut out off all bad decisions, we are going to lose if we the specific move so why to play it anyway so in chess we put a big cross on the variations and remove them from our tree which leads to dead-end eventually and what does that do is that it limits our options and allows us to make a decision that has a higher chance of being correct and this fewer mistakes. Next time making the decision to use the decision making tree and process of elimination to make the best decision.



Suppose you are given a project to complete and the guidelines to follow them and you have a much better strategy to complete the project although there may be a possibility that it may not work if it works then it will be of great value. So are going to try something creative something original then you have to face the scenario that you may be applauded by the people for your risk and the actions by everyone and your friends will we in awe and ask ‘dude! How you did that’ or in the other end of the spectrum you may be scolded for the actions and the same friends may say ‘dude! Are you serious? Now in chess, we see the similar things that while playing the risk either it can lead to better positions and hard-worked victories but also it can lead to a catastrophic end. In the chess, the types of risk occur like trading off the pieces to achieve better positions sometimes we may try to delay the time for finding the best moves on the board in this risk-taking we may give advantage to our opponent also like the giving him the time, and as we know the time has a great essence in the chess and the advantage we gain is better position and higher chance to win. So by this risk-taking in chess, we can either a better position that will lead to the victory in the chess or there is also the case you may loose due to the time you traded for the opponent and which ends you up in having less time. Now there are calculated risks and some are the reckless risks that we take. The more calculated risk you take the more the chances of these risk for paying off becomes for getting better results and making it in the job you want. This calculated risk pays off.