I think chess is a great metaphor for life, but it lacks three basic things as far as I have been able to notice...
1. In chess, a piece that begins as a king stays as a king. In life, any piece can become another piece. The method and the difficulty of doing so is determined by the situation.
2. Aside from the pieces themselves, the situation also changes with varying degrees of unpredictabilitiy. It would almost be like three-dimensional chess where players had to deal not only with the pieces, but shifting terrain, weather, and other such external variables like chance.
3. In chess, the game is over when the king is captured/killed. In life, it is not necessarily so. If chess were like life, the only two ways for defeat would be for the opponent to convince or force you to give the fight and abdicate or for him to destroy every unit to the man. Because if a king is captured another piece will be raised king. The opponent simply has one less piece to work with.
Chess does teach some basic concepts when thought of as a metaphor of life. The first is that it is important to learn and understand the nature, abilities, and limits of yourself and the things around you; to be observant. Only then will you be able to guage hazards and opportunities and navigate your way around them.
Jumping off from the above, when you understand something, you understand its basic habits. Habits mean predictability and what is understood and can be anticipated...you get the rest.
Chess also teaches you that your beginning position is not relevant to victory. The king may seem like a powerful position or important piece, but it is actually the weakest piece and a constant liability. The King is a prisoner of his own team and the target of the opponent. He cannot be exposed, his movements are always under scrutiny, nor can he move with speed. Ludicrous as it sounds that the whole game should end because one peice is missing, that being the case, the king is always kept secure for its own sake and the sake of the game.
Of course, have a plan. Think a few steps ahead of time and plan for deviations. While things may be basically predictable you can't predict everything and something unexpected is bound to pop up. Be flexible, don't be predictable yourself, have a plan, and then have a plan B.
Chess and life are timed games. This forces a person to have to learn to think and act effectively. All thought and no action is like a car with no traction. You have every intention of doing something but you make little if any progress. However, all action without thought is like a car with a brick on the pedal and no driver. The car just plunges full speed wherever chance may land it, and usually, it's into a wreck. Chess teaches you to be swift of thought and action. To analyze, evaluate, and execute as quickly and effectively as possible. NO, doing this for a chess game does not mean you will be good at doing this for life in general.
Chess teaches to be cautios, economc, and resourceful. In chess, there is no profit scheme. You start with a certain amount of pieces and from there on its a war of attrition. You can spend todays check if you know you'll get another in a month but when you know thats your last check you tend to be resourceful, cautious, and exceedingly shrewd. Not a movement is intentionally wasted. If you must sacrifice a piece, it is judged as ultimately necessary in order to fulfill the broader objective.
I guess long story short, life requires skill, observation, confidence, strategy, resourefulness, planning, and drive...I think. I'm not a sage...but that would be cool, though.
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