Friday, April 4, 2008

How Life Imitates Chess

"Why must I lose to this idiot" Nimzowitsch, a Chess Grandmaster

I was on my way to Shanghai on a business trip and had always make it a habit to grab a new book to read on the plane, both on my way to Shanghai and back. This time, I am looking for a book that will simulate my strategic thinking, in view of my new found role as an entrepreneur & CEO of the enterprise.

Boy, I found the book "How Life Imitates Chess" by Gary Kasparov. I used to be a Chess player who has represented my school, my zone ( you represent a zone when you have beaten other kids at the zonal level) and was competing at the District level (one level before State) as a 11 - 12 year old kid. And Gary Kasparov was the reigning World Champion at that time and I followed his battle with his all time nemesis Anatoly Karpov, fascinated at his mastery of the game and his opponent. Anatoly challenged him to the title several times but never won.

Sadly, I never pursued my talent in Chess, primarily I don't have the patience to wait for my opponent to think and spend hours agonizing on 1 single move. I was very much the aggressor like Gary, take no hostage, attacking , aggressive and taking charge player.

And after reading his book, I was pleasantly surprised by what he has said. I am still the same old kid who showed that behavior on the chess board today. Right up to now, I believe that if you take the initiative and be bold, you can achieve what others need 5 years to do in 1. Thus, I am not a person who thinks that years of experience is the most crucial element to success. If anyone is going to hire or promote anyone based on the fact that he or she has worked in that field for a certain amount of year, that is not the person whom I am going to work for.

Partly, the reason i am now venturing out is to prove to young people, people with dreams and above all myself that my principles are right and will stand the test of times.

Nevertheless, the one thing that really struck me in this book is the word quoted by Gary from Aaron Nimzowitsch , "Why Must I lose to this idiot. " In many sense, these words are bold words to say and in my upbringing we are not supposed to portray such arrogance. However, most of the time, I have that sentiment in my heart the same words when I met such people. Now I know it is not arrogance but being truthful to yourself.

Being bold, if you are truthful to yourself has a certain magic. Magic that will create in you dynamism and confidence. Confidence which will take you through the bad times , the good times and the trying times. Being bold on its own does not mean being reckless, it means telling yourself that you will do all in your might, prepare yourself to the hilt, work hours and hours to beat that idiot !

And for all stages of my life that "idiot" came in many different forms. I have always make it a personal goal to win in the best way I know how. Being bold, aggressive, taking the initiative and taking charge ! Just like the boy on the chess board !

Perhaps, my readers, you might discover yourself on the chessboard as well.

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