How the Principles of the Game of Chess Apply to Life and Business

The game of chess and the game of life are very much similar. Both require strategy. Both require planning ahead. Both require caution. Both will make-or-break your self-esteem unless you find a way to utilize patience and pay attention to the little things.


I have put together some things I have learned over my 15 years that may help you learn from my mistakes. Enjoy!

Do not make careless pawn moves. They cannot move back.

  • Think twice before taking action.

Do not “castle” if it brings your King into greater danger from attack in your chess game.

  • If you can develop something other than your last-ditch effort, your chances of success improve vastly.

After castling, keep a good pawn formation around your King.

  • Always protect your most valuable assets. Even if a defensive move, it’s always good to have a second line of defense.

If you only have one Bishop, always put your pawns on its opposite color in your chess game.

  • Taking a proactive approach can prevent the unexpected.

Trading pawn pieces is a good strategy when you are ahead in material or when under attack.

  • Only negotiate down from your original goal when it is a win-win situation.

If cramped for moving space, free your game by exchanging material in your chess game.

  • Take away some unnecessary “clutter” so you can use the best resources.

If your opponent is cramped, don’t let him get any freeing exchanges.

  • Always seek to empower yourself, not to put yourself at a disadvantage.

Study openings you are comfortable with in your chess game, at the experience level you excel at.

  • Use strategies you have mastery in.

Play over the entire games, not just the current opening.

  • Always have a plan, not one step ahead but a minimum of two. It really helps to have a whole setup.

Blitz chess is helpful in recognizing chess patterns. Play often.

  • Try to think of the quickest, most efficient direction leading to win-win.

Study annotated games and try to guess each move in your chess game.

  • Think like your opponent and practice empathy at the same time.

Stick with just a few openings with White and a few openings with Black.

  • Try to limit your adversary’s options.

Record your games and go over them, especially the games you lost.

  • Don’t repeat mistakes! Always learn from your failures.

Show your games to higher rated opponents and get feedback from them.

  • Ask experienced adults/teachers/mentors for advice.

Use chess computers and databases to help you study and play more.

  • Never limit your options or your mindfulness, build relationships with a wide variety of different personalities.

Everyone blunders. The champions just blunder less often in their chess game.

  • Everybody makes mistakes.

When it is not your move, look for tactics and combinations.

  • Pay attention to the ideas of others.

Always ask yourself, “Does my next move overlook something simple?”

  • Measure twice, cut once. Double check your plan of action to make sure it’s good.

Don’t make your own plans without the exclusion of the opponent’s threats.

  • Think about what your rival would do if you take action.

Watch out for captures by the retreat of an opponent’s piece in your chess game.

  • If your challenger fizzles, think about how you can learn from their shortcomings.

Do not focus on one sector of the board. View the whole board.

  • It’s just like the principle of meditation that encourages you to plan your whole day in advance. Think about the big picture.

Write down your move first before making that move – it helps avoid blunders.

  • Things always look different on paper than in our mind.

Try to solve chess puzzles with diagrams from books and magazines.

  • Use a variety of sources to help you succeed.

Watch your time and avoid time trouble in your chess game.

  • Think before you act.

Bishops are worth more than Knights except when they are pinned in.

  • It’s easier to retreat into isolation that to face up to our mistakes.

A Knight works better with a Bishop than another Knight in your chess game.

  • It’s more productive to use at least two different resources, giving you a variety of ways to overcome obstacles.

Have confidence in your chess game.

  • If you have a positive attitude, you will be a positive person. Whether you think you “can” or you “can’t”, you are right.

Play in as many rated events as you can.

  • If you want to achieve success, never close your mind to any option.

Always play for a win in your chess game.

  • Try your hardest at everything you do, otherwise, what’s the point?


Jake Gould

Junior at Stanton High School

Jacksonville, FL