8 Lessons for Success in Life or Nearly Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Chess

8 Lessons for Success in Life or Nearly Everything I Needed to Know About Life I Learned from Chess

Everything you need to know about life, you can learn from chess.
I am serious…well…no, actually I am not, but you can learn some good life lessons from the game of chess.

Stay centered

The most important squares on a chessboard are the four middle squares. The reason for this is simple. If your piece is on one of these middle squares you have more options; your opponent has fewer. You control the game. A Queen, for example, is a very powerful piece, but if she is off in a corner near the sideline she can’t maneuver, and her potential is cut in half or more. A piece placed in the middle has the most reach, whereas a piece near the edge loses power merely because of its position. It is the same in life. If you are going to have any impact, you need to get in the fight. Move into the action; don’t shy away. There are implications here for your philosophy as well; if an idea is on the edge, there is probably a reason for that. Stay away from the edges. You might fall off.

Actions have consequences

You learn right away that each move creates opportunities and eliminates choices. You want to be making the choices in life that open things up and create options for you. As the Grail Knight said in Indiana Jones, “Choose wisely”.

You have an opponent

There is always someone there to take advantage of your mistakes or force you into gambits. The rough and tumble improve your skill. It’s never easy.

Keep on target

In chess, the goal is checkmate. We are not, or should not be, making random moves. Think about how this move will help you achieve your ultimate goal. If it doesn’t, consider another move. As Stephen Covey is fond of saying, “Keep the main thing the main thing.”

Each person has a gift

Each piece has its abilities and gifts. The Knight can jump over obstacles. The Bishop moves at an angle. Rooks are moving in straight lines. The Queen moves in all directions. Even the lowly pawn, when properly positioned can be the key to victory, but you need to be coordinating all these gifts to achieve the goal. You need everyone’s talents, or as Grandma used to say, “cooperation makes it happen.”


In Chess, you must put yourself in the position of the other player. What his or her next move? What are his options? Her best move? Looking at the board from the other person perceptive is a must for you to understand your proper next move. Life is similar. Things always go better when you try to understand the other person and their options. If you do not cultivate the ability to understand and share the feelings of others, things will not go well for you.

Perspective is everything

You can see a chessboard as white squares on black, or you can with a little mental effort alter your viewpoint. Suddenly, it becomes black on white. People can be seeing the same facts you are, but see a different pattern, coming to different opinions. Respect the difference.

Enjoy the mystery

Edgar Allen Poe didn’t like chess because it was too poetical for him; he disliked chess because it was full of knights and castles, like a poem. I love Knights, Castles, and swashbuckling; it’s all so intriguing. There is a certain exciting mystery in life, don’t miss it.

I take these lessons to heart. We are in the fight to protect your rights.

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