For those given to reflection, chess offers a mirror to self-understanding. Can you follow through when you have made a plan? How do you hold up under pressure? Are you impatient? Are you mentally lazy? Can you manage time? Do you play to win or to draw? Does fear of making mistakes prevent you from trying something creative? Do you attend to details? Are you a gracious winner, a sore loser?
As well as teaching you about your own strengths and weaknesses, chess can develop your ability to understand others. To succeed at chess, you must learn to think like your opponent, even if your opponent's style of thinking is very different from your own.
Life is like a game of chess: we draw up a plan; this plan, however, is conditional on what—in chess, our opponent—in life, our fate—will choose to do.
—Arthur Schopenhauer, Parerga and Parattpomena, 1861
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