check, mate.

mjkimpan  —  July 30, 2012 — 51 Comments

when i was a boy, i would play chess with my father.  my tendency was to rush my pieces across the board, aggressively attempting to bring his king into submission.

it didn’t work.

i’d often bring out my queen ‘too early’ and see her taken for ransom by some bishop lurking in the corner, or a knight that was poised to pounce on my rushed charge into battle.   bit by bit, my father would methodically eliminate my most threatening pieces, leaving my side of the board wiped clean and without protection, my king vulnerable to his premeditated patriarchal attack.

eventually, i paid attention.  and i learned about a lot more than just chess.

i realized that rushing in isn’t always the most effective plan of action.

in chess, strategy and tactics are the foundations of the game.

divorcing the two almost always ends in defeat.

strategy is concerned with setting and achieving long-term positioning advantages during the match.  as i learned from my old man, it often is better to strategically plan three, four or even more moves in advance – to develop and execute a plan slowly and over time, positioning your pieces on the board for future success.

tactics, on the other hand, focus on immediate maneuvers – short-term actions – actions that are so short-term, in fact, that they can be calculated in advance with surprising accuracy, even given the variable of another person’s decisions.

these two parts of playing chess cannot be completely separated, and are interdependent.  strategic goals are mostly achieved by the means of tactics, while the tactical opportunities are based on the previous strategy of play.

so, enough about chess. it’s worth considering beyond the game board.

are you guilty of rushing into conversations or positions (political, religious, et cetera) without thinking through the ramifications of your words and actions?  are you overly focused on tactical movement without contemplating the consequence?

or do you sit and strategize in an ivory tower without engaging in any movement to achieve your desired result? are you so concerned with the end game that you do nothing to mobilize yourself and others toward your goal?

which of these do you struggle with the most?