Valderrama: The game of chess and realities

Valderrama
Valderrama

Chess is purely an intellectual game.  You find your way into your opponent’s board while protecting your kingdom.  

You see your opponent’s weakness while you establish your strength. You plan three to four advanced moves before attacking your opponent.  

You anticipate what is to come from the other side. You must control the board. You must take down all that’s around the king at the opposite side so you can get closer or trap him from a distance.

You protect your powerless king. He holds the throne, but he cannot move to defend himself. He relies upon his officials. He needs the queen to protect the kingdom.  

The queen is the only piece that can move any squares in any direction. She is the most powerful official, with the capacity of the rook and the bishop. She is there to protect the king and the kingdom, and the pawns are in line to protect the officials.

The pawns die first. Either they need to sacrifice for the powerless king, or the officials use them to face the enemy. Whichever way, their duty remains to protect their kingdom.

The knight moves in an L-shape and can trap the opponent’s king and queen when used strategically. It can jump back and forth to daze the enemy.

A king is threatened with a check, but the game isn’t over yet. It can still move out, but usually, the next move causes a checkmate. Game over.

The game of chess is like life. Once we allow the enemies to rule, it’s game over.

The game is not easy. While you are planning advanced moves, the opponent does the same. Sometimes, you need to confuse the enemy. Or believe in Sun Tzu’s Art of War – "If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in."

How do we apply the game of chess in our lives?

Attention to detail is one. When something is going on, it is a prelude to what is coming. We hope for the best, but we prepare for the worst. And in the middle of all the events in our lives, we brace ourselves for some surprises.

As Zig Ziglar puts it, capitalize on what comes.

We need to plan to give us direction and focus. There are unexpected events in our lives. We need to adapt to changes while we keep our sense of purpose.

Sometimes, the enemies, in the form of challenges and bad experiences, are waiting to consume us in our time of weakness. But like chess, if we have planned our next moves, we anticipate the smell of victory.

Persistence is one thing in the game of chess. We have to try and try even after setbacks.  Patience teaches us perseverance and resilience. We endure challenges without giving up.

The enemy, in any form, always attacks. We have to strengthen our connection – with God and those surrounding us.

Chess was the only game I played. I had my share of medals and trophies from high school to college. I didn’t make it to the Palarong Pambansa, and I only ended up at the City Meet. But the lessons I learned from playing chess last to this very day.

Our every move has a consequence. If we expect the best, we have to start it right.

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