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Founder & Managing Member, Applicate LLC

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Everything I need to know to be successful in the game of life I learned from the game of chess.

This idea and resulting conversation are perhaps best explained by enumeration of generic chess playing principals, such as -


- There is a readily discernable cause and effect for everything (i.e. for every move I make)
- I have only so much time to make decisions and there are consequences to moving too quickly or too slowly
- Documented, transparent moves speak for themselves and no excuses are relevant (you cannot deny or debate the facts/moves which speak for themselves)
- The strongest force or approach is not necessarily the most desirable in all situations
- Positioning is everything and positions change constantly
- All action typically emanates from and is connected to the center
- Once the move/decision is made its difficult if not impossible to take it back
- The first mistake made, haven shaken the player, often results in another
- Winning is not a matter of having the most material things (more pieces)
- Sometimes the threat itself is actually stronger than its full execution
- Failure/defeat is often quite apparent if not inevitable before the very end
- Even a little, casual ill timed or ill advised mistake can undue vast preparations and seemingly invincible positions
- There is often a better alternative to the first impression, considering all alternatives
- Intuition is quite useful and essential but probably develops from principles and experience
- Preparation and homework usually pay off, all other things being equal
- A sound mind and game plan usually exist and propel from within a sound body
- Sometimes the best outcome is a draw, with both sides having made concessions and hoping for more the next time
- And the corollary: It's no fun to win all the time ...


Experienced and beginning players will have their own favorites to modify or add to this list; please feel free to send yours along or to contest those offered.

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    Oct 3 2011: Not to get off topic but do you play tournaments?
    • Oct 4 2011: Yes I do, for 40+ years now; I also teach and direct, and am currently developing a mobile chess application - to be called "touCHess" on the iOs and Android platforms; ... and I thank you for your in-the-spirit-of-the-question response Jacob!
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        Oct 4 2011: Your welcome. I thought it was a great/creative question. I have played chess since I was 7 or 8 and there are plenty of lessons to be learned from it. And they all apply to life as well. Thanks for this thoughtful thread.
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        Oct 4 2011: Cool, well let me know when you get that andriod app up. I play on chess.com mobile but Ill give it a try.
        • Oct 4 2011: Will do Jacob - it's not a playing app, but strictly a tool incorporating a very basic clock, score sheet and database; I also play on chess.com, but through their main website and also iGoogle ...

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