Sunday, 31 July 2011

Learning from Chess: The Strategy Game

I have been an avid chess player; and I have immense respect for the game. Not only is it a game of mental agility, but also serves to give shape to one's strategic mission of defeating the opponent by capturing the enemy's king.

I would like to mention 3 strategy lessons that I learnt from chess during my games with worthy opponents:

Lesson 1
In a tournament, I was playing on the physical chessboard against an opponent Mr. N. (Let's keep his anonymity by just mentioning the first letter of his name). Within the first 10 moves, Mr. N made a blunder by placing his Queen along the same diagonal line as his King. I was quick to take advantage of his mistake and immediately put my bishop to attack the Queen diagonally. My bishop was backed up by my knight.

His Queen was promptly captured in exchange for my bishop. Thereafter, I maintained this advantage of having the extremely powerful Queen only on my side throughout the game and this translated into a decisive victory in my favour.  

Strategy Lesson 1: Capitalize on opponents' mistake(s) to realize short term wins                                This gives you a platform for moving ahead.

Lesson 2
In a tournament match with another opponent on the physical chessboar, I was up against Mr. K (Let's keep his anonymity by just mentioning the first letter of his name). Mr. K was a very good player and demonstrated theoretically sound moves in his gameplay. I realized that it would be a close call for me if I opted for conventional chess moves. Therefore, I decided to go in for risks and played varied and creative moves. Eventually, Mr. K got caught in a trap of me repeating the same series of moves at various board positions. I strengthened my position with  each of the moves deployed by me. In the end, my creativity and risk-taking ability finally paid off with a victory for me.

Strategy Lesson 2Thinking out of the box may reap gains unforeseen by conventional wisdom.
                               Creativity coupled with risk-taking gives you an opportunity to explore and win along the path less travelled.

                   Lesson 3
I was playing an online game of chess with a highly rated chess player, who was good enough to be an International Master as per his rating. Let's keep his abbreviated name as Mr. L (which was the initial letter for his player username). He was a brilliant player and was definitely worth the rating accorded to him. Right from the very first move, he maintained his dominance in the game. I was in a highly disadvantageous position and had lost my Queen, a rook and both bishops. He had all his powers active. Around the 30th move, I noticed that though he had played in a very attacking manner, he had paid little attention to his defence. Three moves later, the game was over. He lost to me by checkmate.

Strategy Lesson 3: Defense and consolidation of strengths are vital.
                           Simply being highly aggressive does not help sustain an advantage in a competitive scenario.