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Historians believe chess originated in India during the Gupta Empire in the 6th century. As it became popular in country after country, it evolved until it became the game we know today. Chess is now one of the most popular games in the world. Millions of people play it at home, online, in clubs, and in tournaments. Not only is it fun to play chess, the game also teaches valuable life lessons.
Learn From Your Losses
Chess, like life, has basic rules by which you must abide. If you circumvent the rules, you forfeit the game. There is no roll of the dice. You have the choice to move where you want at each stage of the game. If you make bad choices, you lose. When you are learning to play it is inevitable that you lose sometimes, and your losses give you experience and teach you how to play better in the future. Even in winning a chess game, you have to accept the inevitability of the loss of some pieces in pursuit of your overall strategy. In life, too, learning from your setbacks strengthens you for future success.
Think Before You Act
Nothing punishes you more in a game of chess than hasty play. Chess is a game of patience. You have to consider the consequences of each move before you make it. Your strategy must constantly be reconsidered from move to move. This lesson is important in life as well, both in big decisions like choosing a car or a home or a career, and smaller decisions like day-to-day schedules and selecting the right words to say to a classmate or colleague or loved one.
Keep the Goal in Mind
In chess, the ultimate goal is to checkmate your opponent. Every decision you make needs to be working in some way towards that checkmate. If you get sidetracked, for example by trying to accumulate as many of your opponent’s pieces as you can, you weaken your position and open yourself up to defeat. In life, clear goals keep you on the right track. If you allow diversions to deviate you from your path, you only weaken yourself so that your ultimate goals become more difficult to attain.
It is impossible to plan out an entire chess game ahead of time, because the board is always changing. Your opponent is a variable over whom you have no control. Even chess masters avoid thinking too far ahead, because they know that they must adjust their strategies after every move. In life, you can and should plan ahead, but you have to be constantly strategizing as well, because things happen over which you have no control such as natural disasters, political and economic upheavals, technical innovations, accidents and illnesses, and the decisions of others.
Protect Your Gains
In chess, to gain checkmate you must not only advance toward the king, you also have to protect your own king and the pieces that surround it. If you have your attention too much on what is happening at the other end of the board, your opponent will take advantage of it and try to deal you a crippling blow. In life, you need to strive for greater gains and protect what you have in money, property, and friendships.
A final principle in chess as well as in life is that practice makes perfect. If you are not such a good player at first, keep trying and it is inevitable that you will improve.
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