Posts Tagged ‘#chess’

Maybe everyone is like this but when a creative idea comes to me I can’t help but get distracted by thinking about related inventions or projects. I go from one tangent to another so fast that I can lose track of the original idea. I start off with a great theme for a song or a life-lived revelation – or maybe an invention or tool I have not seen before – or maybe the topic to a post on my blog, only to see it become a mist and impossible to grab again!

When using extreme examples you can see the danger in any system. I played the game chess much more when I was younger but I still like to think ahead to as many moves in the game as I can. The combinations can get staggering for each move in advance you try to predict. But you also have to predict your opponent’s moves as well. That is the only way to win the game. You cannot win by chance or luck. You cannot “hide” your pieces or position. You cannot out last your opponent to win.

I try to do the same thing at work or in life. If you look at ‘what happens next‘ BEFORE you make your move your chances of making a good move increase dramatically. But what if you get a creative idea and start analyzing tangents and looking into minor side-projects or paths? What if everything you do has to be checked first by looking steps ahead in the game?

Some chess players would almost get paralyzed by the astronomical possibilities in the mid-game and not be able to make a move. I am sure this is why they invented timed chess rules! Anyway, you can see the player freeze as each possibility opens up a dozen others. While looking ahead is a great skill to have, applying this system to everything is a black hole that will freeze you in your tracks.

All roads have detours. Every species has variations. Each process tried and tested. No failure moves forward. One size does not fill all.

I love tangents. I dream of possibilities. Remembering all is impossible for me so I make a point to appreciate each idea as it is revealed, embellished and sometimes lost. It is all good. Take the detour; sometimes the sign posts are misleading.


I started a project a while ago; coming from me that usually means decades!  I have worked in a number of manufacturing plants, sales and service positions, you get the idea.  So I have worked with and under a lot of managers.  As I lazily wondered one night which was the best and worst manager I have known, I came up with a simple test and I would like your help broadening the test base.

This is the only question to the managers in this survey;

“Are you a chess player?”.

There are many facets to being a manager or a person that instructs others.  I understand the volume of demand and deadlines they are responsible for.  But the good managers I have known in the recent past have been chess players at some point in their lives and many still play.  I think the reason for this very subjective observation is the ability to plan multiple moves ahead.  And that means you also have to plan your opponent’s multiple moves ahead…..

All the other rules aside, that is the heart of the game.  If you are a chess player,  you get that driven into you quickly or you end up losing every game you play.  If you cannot see the trap being built, you cannot avoid it even if it is right in front of you.  The possible combinations are mind boggling and attacks can come from any direction or all at once.  Enough about playing chess.

Sports training seems to be different though there are a lot of exceptions and comparisons. Team sports of course must predict what the other team is going to do and prepare for it.  Many people making many decisions about actions in their assigned position.  Individual sports concentrates on doing the action until it is perfect, but once perfected is simply repeated.  EASY FOR ME TO SAY!

Has that been your experience?  If you ask the best managers you know if they play chess, how many say yes.  Ask the worst managers you have worked with and see how many times they say no.

Just curious.