The Value of Chess

First off, a word of warning: this lesson is NOT for everybody! Instead of giving you answers, I’ll keep asking you questions. This isn’t some passive reading stuff. You’ll need to keep THINKING all the time…Sounds frightening? :)
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Are you still here? :) Yes? Perfect. Let’s move forward.

Socrates asked a stranger:
– If you need flour and oil, then where will you go?

Young man smiled and answered slickly:
– On a market, certainly!

– If you need wisdom, then where will you go? – asked Socrates then.
The young man was somewhat dumbfounded and didn’t know how to reply.

Then follow me, – said Socrates – I’ll show you!

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Does chess help you in your common life? Does it develop your mental skills?
I’m pretty sure your non-chess playing friends are asking you these questions quite often. Perhaps you were thinking about it yourself too.

It’s really important to answer that question. Think about it – if it’s just for having fun and killing time, then perhaps it’s not worth going through years of training to get better at it.
BUT if it’s MORE than that, if it indeed develops your mental and psychological skills, then you can be confident that all of the time you spent training and playing chess isn’t wasted.

So, does chess help you in your EVERYDAY life?

There are 2 obvious answers here:

(1) YES – Chess helps improve our mental skills… the same skills that we use in everyday life. That said, it should also help us succeed in other facets of life as well.

(2) NO – There are no REAL interactions between chess and other facets of life. Think about it: will knowing certain lines of the Sicilian Defense help you in, say, managing your workforce? Well, if the million-dollar question in a quiz show you’re in is chess related, then maybe it could help. BUT how remote is that?!

These 2 answers seems the most natural, but they are mutually exclusive. Why this happened?

First, let’s think why chess game should be useful.

This is training for our brain.

Physical sport trains your muscles.
Chess trains your brain.

Chess is NOT just a game, it’s a model. By studying this model, we can discover some general rules. Then we can spread these strategic principles to any other spheres of life

Let me give you an analogy. By the way, Socrates told it about 2500 years ago. :)

How do you understand people as a whole? This is too huge and difficult of a task. Instead you can understand yourself, which should lead to a better understanding of people in general since you are a typical representative of the latter. Deeply knowing yourself will lead to knowing everybody else around you.

In the same way, we can use chess (model) to understand general rules (in life).

Thus these are 2 main benefits that chess can give you in common life:
Chess develops your mental skills. Chess gives you deep strategic understanding. Both of which are VALUABLE in everyday living and decision making.

That’s why I strongly believe that chess players should be WISE personalities!

They should have developed this habit of THINKING, analyzing the situation and finding the right solution (when most people make impulsive decisions often).
They should be able to predict the consequences of their actions for many “moves” ahead.
They should have good concentration and think effectively.
They should create long-term plans, based on their strategic understanding.

All in all, chess players should have a habit of THINKING. This should make them “modern philosophers”, successful in chess as well as in any other area!

This brings us to the final question: “Why this usually doesn’t happen in reality?” Please, think about it.

To be continued…

Note: We are the Remote Chess Academy Official Affiliate Partner. This article is from GM Igor Smirnov.

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One thought on “The Value of Chess

  1. Pingback: The Value Of Chess (Part-2) | enjoychesslearning

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