Extracts from My Chess Diary
I have a habit of noting a few words or lessons after experiences in a diary. I’m sharing a few of them with you. There are a lot of advantages of maintaining a chess diary, but more on that in some other article.
Being acquainted with the basics of Haiku has helped me in understanding the diligent patterns of the nature unfolding in the everyday life in and around me. Whether we are aware? Do we seek all that we see? What do you see when you see? Let me share a few chess examples that echo wonderful quotes, strategies and analogies from my diary.
I have found that chess is a form of contemplative meditation where realizations in different forms dawn upon the players
1. Less is more
I wish to share a quote from a wonderful book ‘Jonathon Livingston Seagull’ by Richard Bach
Don’t believe what your eyes are telling you.
All they show is limitation.
Look with your understanding.
Find out what you already know and you will see the way to fly!
Once the words have seeped into your soul, proceed to think:)
This position was a part of the funny chess exam that I presented in one of my articles (https://8cross8.com/funny-chess-exam/)
White has just got a pawn and black has an entire army present in the battle. White wins convincingly!
2. Slowing down to the speed of life
White has only three legal moves out of which only two seem good. You are left to choose between 1.h3 and 1.h4
This position is a perfect example of why it is important to slow down. Often, we get caught in the ambush of fast life, but life is offering us more. We need to slow down and take a moment to think. Reflect. Maybe, there is something better?
Yes, 2.h3 is the key move here.
2… Qa2 3.h4 Qa1 4.h5 Qa2 5.h6 Qa1 6.h7 Qa2
3. The need of the hour
White could promote his pawn to a Queen, but what is the need of the hour? Can you checkmate using the Queen? No! In this situation, only a knight can do wonders. Remember to play in accordance with the need of the hour.
h8 = N!
7…Qa1 8.Nf7 Qa2 9.Nd8 Qa1 10.Nb7 Qa2 11.Nxc5 Qa1 12.Nb7 Qa2 13.Na5 Qa1 14.Nxc4 Qa2 15.Na5 Qa1 16.Nxb3#
4. Quality over Quantity
In this position, black is four pawns up, yet the position is a draw. A material is not everything, but it is the quality of the material that matters.
5. Serve your Purpose first!
White to move
A few days back, I was conveying the importance of a passed pawn to a student. On solving the position, my student said “This is a focused pawn” animatedly. I asked him what he meant by that. He went on to say that the pawn on a6 goes to a7 to fulfill its purpose of promotion. It did not get affected by the candy on b7.
What a way to see! Isn’t it?
This is just one of the many instances where I have learnt by teaching.
6. Make an offer he cannot refuse.
We all have heard of this dialogue from The Godfather, isn’t it? This is black to move and he forces a draw. Don’t be bogged down by the material disadvantage, focus on what you could do with what you have.
Black to play
7. Living beyond illusions
If I had to sum up life with ONE chess position, it would be THIS:
This position is composed by Reti. It is white to play!
The white pawn is heading towards c8 and the black pawn is geared up to reach h1. The rule of the square clearly tells us that the white king is not in a position to stop the pawn on h5. The white king is out of the square – h5-d5-d1-h1-h5
But, white has a stunning possibility of drawing the game! Find out how 🙂
8. One move at a time by living in the present.
If the move you are going to make is a good one, you are a success. Some of us must have had both the episodes in their chess life – clinging on to the mistakes made a few moves earlier and anxiety of what lies ahead.
Fortunately, we all have to make just one move at a time. By not clinging on to the past, we free ourselves from half of the burden. By not worrying much about the futuristic results, we are better equipped to soak the pressure.
I have been fortunate enough to have saved a few LOST positions. But, I have also messed up clearly WON positions. Life is a long game, play it steady J
9. You are just a few steps away from greatness
Shakespeare once said:
In Mahatria’s book – Most and More, he shares a wonderful philosophy associated with the chess pieces.
The King and The Queen are born great! The other pieces(rook, knight, bishops) have powers thrust upon them. The pawn represents you and me, the common men. He is not born great but has been given the power to become whatever it wants. One reaching the 8th rank, the pawn can promote itself to a Queen, Rook, Knight or a Bishop!
So, the pawn is given a chance to achieve greatness. The pawn is just six steps away from greatness! Metaphorically, we are just a few steps away from greatness 🙂
10. Learn from your mistakes, it is an opportunity!
“That’s what learning is, after all; not whether we lose the game, but how we lose and how we’ve changed because of it and what we take away from it that we never had before, to apply to other games. Losing, in a curious way, is winning.” Richard David Bach
The above mentioned quote is from Richard Bach’s ‘The Bridge Across Forever’. I have personally benefitted by learning from my own mistakes.