A Chess Skill that’s a Life Skill: Independent Thinking

If one is taught chess correctly, they will grow to become a more independent thinker.  Some people are taught chess to remember openings and variations from memory, but this does not foster independent thought.  For one to grow as an indepenedent thinker, they must be presented with problems on the board and strive to solve those problems themselves with little assistance. 

For more info on the connection between chess and independent thinking, check out this site.  http://chessimprover.com/?p=904

When a person plays a chess game, they are their only resource (if it’s not a correspondence game).  No reference to a book, Internet, or another person.  Chess players are alone in chess games.  They only depend on themselves.  Even if a spectator blurts out a move, a chess player’s first reaction is to question that suggestion with suspicion because the spectator is not familiar of how and why the position came to be and also because the spectator’s intentions are always unknown.  A player knows that if they accept this suggestion, the choice will reflect them and not the spectator. 

Despite pressures from people in life, the choices we make ultimately reflect us.  People can undergo similar circumstances but react to them in very different ways and making different decisions.  We judge people by what they choose to do and even what their perceived options are.  If one is in a chess game and spoke about what moves they were thinking about making, other chess players would judge them.   If one is discussing what they can do with their life, others will judge them as well.  Like in life, it is hard to make good moves in bad positions. 

What I mean is sometimes people are unfortunate to grow in an unfavorable environment and are shaped to make bad decisions similar to the decisions made around them.  Despite these unfavorable situations, it is possible that these people can prove to be resilient and still make good choices to lead them to a better life.  Many times though, I feel that these unlucky people succumb to the detriments of their early life and get trapped in a hopeless cycle.

By learning chess, one can begin to utilize their personal tools and learn to depend on themselves.  Although it is necessary to understand we are all interdependent, it is equally important to value our unique talents and know that we are strong enough to affect change in our own lives.