Business Lessons From The Game of Chess

Business Lessons From The Game Of Chess

Chess is one  of my favorite games. It is a board game that has been around for a while. I like this game because it is all about strategy and tactics. If you don’t know how to play the game, you should check it out. In this article, I will be sharing business lessons from the game of Chess.

Benefits of Playing Chess

There are several benefits you can get from playing the game of Chess and these include

  • Improving your IQ and problem-solving skills
  • Building your confidence
  • learning about the importance of planning and foresight
  • Improving concentration and memory
  • Enhancing creativity

Relationship Between Playing A Chess Game and Managing A Business

Chess is about having the right strategy. Yes, it involves protecting the invaluable piece (the king). As a Chess player, you can be either offensive and defensive in the way you play. However, a good chess player should have experience with both. This applies to all business owners. As a business person, you need to have the skills required to successfully navigate both defensive and offensive positions as you manage your business daily.

One thing that is common on a Chess board is how the players patiently anticipate their opponent’s next move and go through potential scenarios in their head. This is not so different from what is obtainable in the business world. Both are based on recognizing your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.


What Are The Business Lessons From The Game Of Chess?

Lesson 1: Master the rules

The first thing you need to do, if you are interested in the game of chess, is to learn about the rules. Without understanding the rules, there is really nothing you can do. This is exactly the case with starting and managing a business. If you jump in without understanding the dynamics of how things work, you are most likely setting yourself up for failure.

Lesson 2: Understand the players

Just like in chess, you need to understand your competition and the competition landscape if you want to succeed. As a Chess player, you need to spend time studying how your opponent think. This allows you to device countermeasures that will enable you to stay ahead, withstand an attack, and / or make a counter-attack. So, as a business owner, you need to learn about your competitors and the competition landscape. This will enable you to be able to come up with the right business strategy.

Lesson 3: Always Play To Win

Whenever you are on the Chess board, you have to keep the ultimate goal in mind. And this is to win irrespective of how good your opponent is. If you allow your emotion to take over,  you will most likely not win. So, you have to be ready to make tough choices and this includes sacrificing some things very dear to you in order to win. Also, to achieve your goals, you have to stay flexible. For instance, you need to know when to make adjustments especially in your management techniques and marketing efforts. No matter the situation, remain focused on the big picture.

Lesson 4: Be Patient. Don’t Rush To Make A Move

When you just start playing the game of Chess, you may find out that you are eager to make a move as soon as you identify it. While this may be a good move, there might be better moves only if you can exercise patience and take a careful look at the game again. This is the same with managing a business. You have to make sure you make choices based on a complete set of information. Resist the temptation to jump into the first option that looks good..

Lesson 5: Have A Plan But Play The Board

When playing a Chess game, your opponent constantly devices measures to undermine your plans. So, while it is important that you have a good plan, it is more important to know when to abandon your plan and make necessary adjustments. In business, you business plan should be to serve as a guide. In fact, it should be a working document i.e. something that you constantly review. What determines your success or failure is your ability to adapt well and on time and respond effectively based on the situation you find yourself each time.

Lesson 6: Know The Value Of The Pieces You Have

Each piece on the Chess board has a specific value. By knowing the value each one brings, you are better suited to make decisions on how to use them across the board. Similarly, when you know the value of the resources you have (employees, customers, partners, money etc.), you will be better equipped to make wise decisions that will lead to the success of your business.


Lesson 7: Keep An Eye On The Clock

Aside managing your pieces on the Chess board, you also have to manage time. If you are playing in a tournament, the games are timed. So, you will have a limited period to make a number of moves. It doesn’t matter if you are winning the game, once you run out of time, you lose and your opponent takes the game.

To master this act, some players spend months memorizing potential strategies and moves. They read books about Chess moves and even watch documentaries on the same. This helps them to recall at potential moves at a short notice. This is exactly why you need to spend studying if you are running a business. Whenever you see a business owner making a quick decision that turns out to be great, it is most likely a result of months of studying and preparation.

Lesson 8: Create A Balance Between Skill And Intuition

In the game of Chess, you need to create a balance between intuition and analysis. There is always a human element that can’t be replaced by years of study and preparation. Chess is an infinite game with millions of possible moves. Therefore, you may not be able to know and plan for every contingency unless you are playing against an inexperienced player. There are moments when you have to make a move based on your intuition. Many great Chess players had times when they just went with their gut rather than their skills.

As an entrepreneur, you also need to find this balance. This is the key to creativity and achieving great results. It may also be the difference between success and failure.

In conclusion, if you want to succeed in business, you have to learn when to make sacrifices. There are situations where you have to offer up a piece with intentions of gaining an advantage later on.

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About Emmanuel Oluwatosin

Co-founder & Publisher of AfricaX. He is interested in: Technology | Media | Startup | Business | Education. Emmanuel currently lives in Calgary, Canada with his family.

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