I saw a death bed scene on a show the other day. The angst and regret of the dying man was captured in a series of flashbacks ending with a final dramatic moment when the man gave his last utterance to his family as he died. How rarely this happens, but that got me to thinking about chess. Now why would I think about chess when watching a man die in a TV drama? Well, for one, I think about chess a lot. That is just one of the many things I do. Take a call, write an email, yell at someone on the phone, contemplate if I should start playing the Nimzo-Indian as black in response to d4. All in a days work. My normal mental state during the day.
I also thought about chess because there is something absolutely critical to the game that 99.99% of people do not understand. You must absolutely play the game with the end in mind. Now when playing against people that just know the rules, the game usually becomes only about tactics. You are just grabbing material, catching them off guard, tricking them and if you can think one more move in advance then you will generally win by devastating material gains. However, for anyone that can play with any level of competence, meaning that they do not make obvious mistakes, then the only way to win is to play to an end game scenario where you have an advantage that plays to your favor. It will do you no good, if you play to an ending that leads to a draw, or where you do not have enough check mating material, or your opponent has a pawn that you cannot stop from becoming a queen.
The best chess players are absolutely the best at understanding many of the end game scenarios and how to win them. Once you know these, you can then deliberately play toward them so that you can produce the end result that will lead to your success. Thus here we have life’s problem.
You must know the end game, so that when you make life’s tactical decisions, trades, exchanges and other negotiations that you are doing so with the end in mind. The reason is simple, this is the only way you can produce the result that you want.