We often use chess as a metaphor for life, business and other competitive sports, because it’s such a strategic game. Coder and chess player Gautam Narula offers us two simple rules that sum up the psychology of chess — and, by extension, winning in other areas.
Photo by malias.
In an incredibly detailed post about how to quickly get better at chess, Narula says:
If chess is anything, it is a game of second chances. Chess, like life, rewards perseverance. I’ve turned countless losses into draws and wins because my opponents got overconfident while I dug in. I’ve also turned wins into losses because I was too intimidated by my opponent’s rating or reputation.
Chess psychology can be distilled to two simple rules:
- Don’t ever be afraid of your opponent
- Fight as hard as you can until the game is over
Simply following these rules will add hundreds of points to your rating.
There’s a footnote to the second rule, saying if the situation is absolutely hopeless, it’s good etiquette to resign rather than drag the game on needlessly. However, also tongue-in-cheek (I think), he adds this rule of thumb:
“If my opponent were playing [reigning World Chess Champion and number one player in the world] Magnus Carlsen in this position, would Carlsen be able to win?” If the answer is yes, keep playing. If it is no, then resign.
The whole post is a great resource for anyone interested in chess, but the psychology part applies to us all.
How to Get Good at Chess, Fast [Gautam Narula]