The world is my chess board.

By Bruce Wade

Understanding and learning to play chess is an important part of success in life. Chess is not just a game in which you move pieces around a board and win or lose, it develops skills that, for any leader, are critical.

Chess requires some cognitive skills. The rules are difficult and moving the players around the board, each with their own set of sub-rules takes time to learn and master. Very similar to real people, each unique and designed for a different purpose. Having the right player in the right spot at the right time for the right purpose is key to the outcomes of a strategy.

Chess also teaches us patterns and mathematical thinking in terms of geometry and algebra. This increases the ability to think ahead and solve problems through scenario planning. These skills are on top of the list for soft skills when hiring people in leadership positions. No one wants a business leader who is unable to play out numerous scenarios in their heads for any issues that come their way. A good leader needs this skill to absorb information, access the possibilities and then choose the best option for the best outcome. Chess teaches this at its fundamental core.

We seem to have become programmed to have shorter attention spans. TV is run in 7-minute bursts of information. Social media is fast developing our 3-minute attention spans for entertainment and information. Then we expect our children to sit down for a 3-hour exam and do well. This is not going to happen. We need to train our brains, just the same way we train our bodies for endurance and strength. Chess will do both.

Lastly, solving a chess game, no matter the outcome builds self-confidence and self-worth. Being able to develop plans and play them out, learning as we go, and making small changes to strategy based on input and outcomes. Each time we play chess, we learn, develop, and become better strategic leaders for the future.

It may be time to dust off those chess pieces, get out the board, turn off the TV and put down your phone.


  1. Bill Brander 15 April 2024 at 14:27 - Reply

    What a wonderful “story” (as always), Bruce. Even TED Talks have been reduced, all to cater for a short attention span.
    But is that not part of what you do in crafting engaging stories so that time flies by, and because people are so engaged, they do not notice time?

  2. Brian Koga 24 April 2024 at 11:57 - Reply

    Thank you for this Bruce, chess is really an amazing activity. Growing up we laughed at people who played chess not knowing that there where developing skills which we only learning now. But better now than never right

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