How Chess Mimics Real Life: Lesson Number Two-Practice

Chess pieces – left to right: king, rook, quee...
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Practice as if you are the worst, Perform as if you are the best

by unknown author


Chess has now been firmly entrenched into our family routine. Once a week, we sit down and try to outmaneuver each other using the strategies we have learned and practiced. I can now tell what my opponent is thinking with almost every piece they move. My little one has even learned how to protect his King better and has been practicing in order to hone his mind into thinking several moves in advance. He is ruthless in the way a six-year-old can be when they have a singular focus and a few times has massacred his entire fleet of pieces just to achieve a  goal he is after.  Is this why six-year old’s don’t rule the world?

In chess, like in any other sport, job, or skill one must , must, must practice to get better. Better chess is evidenced by better preparation and thinking. I was surprised to see my son pick up a voluminous chess book and look at the pictures to see what else his pieces could do. Once an outcome becomes predictable through practice, it is only a matter of time before one varies their methods to either refine or improve the moves you make.

In real life, anyone who is good at anything has to practice, practice, practice, in order to get good at it. Writing is one such example. If you love writing, like I do, you have to write write write in order to get better at it.  Complete immersion in practicing your chosen skill, leads to automaticity. If you can do something automatically without even thinking about it, then you have been practicing.

The same is true for everything you want to succeed at. You have to do it over and over and over refining and editing so that you see how each time you are amassing a repertoire of different ways to do the same thing. A reservoir of varied ways of doing the same thing becomes second nature enabling you to adapt to unique situations as they come up.

The great thing about making sure that you must practice your skill over and over is that eventually, you mind moves from the singular task of mastering the skill to enjoying the skill altogether.

Notice the words I emphasize for this lesson:

Must  Must  Must

Practice   Practice  Practice

Over  Over   Over

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