Business Strategies From The Chequered Board

Business Strategies From The Chequered Board

Chess requires lessons, practice, focus, and the skill to read the board and rely on oneself. Here are a few lessons from the chessboard that translate well to business.

Anjali Krishnan

For all the dignified air, deferential silence, and controlled moves, the two people sitting across the black and white chequered board are engaged in a battle. Though business isn’t necessarily one, quite often, several parallels are drawn between the two.

Looking to chess to succeed in business can present some handy lessons and valuable insights. Here are a few that may sound simple yet are crucial in the long run.

First – learn the rules. On a chessboard, it’s necessary to be thorough in the basics. Translating that to the business world would mean getting the fundamentals right. Know what is working and what is lacking. No one can create the next ‘disruptive technology’ without first understanding the one prevalent now.

Then, set the goal. The game’s aim is to protect the king at all costs. Every business, large or small, should know what it is working towards. It can be as humble as being the best in the locality or as grandiose as changing the very face of the industry. Whatever it may be, spell it out – transparently, lucidly, and often.

Subsequently, work towards the goal. Every move on the chessboard is made with one objective. Protect the king. To do that, the player must do away with the opposing army and its leader. While, in the corporate world, vanquishing would likely mean one-upping the competition, the process is the same. Work diligently towards and align all actions to achieve the set goal.

Further, use resources wisely. Even the humble pawn contributes immensely to the game. It is vital to know the value and purpose of each component of the business, be they personnel, technology, R&D, or clients.

Always stay focused on the goal. Chess is based on planning and anticipating. It’s all about strategies - which will need to be adapted or abandoned based on the opponent’s moves. Here’s the crux – even as the business responds or reacts to the markets and competitors, the successful ones don’t lose sight of the ultimate goal. The prolonged, dedicated focus could mean the difference between winning the game and winning the tournament.

These are lessons for the beginner and the expert. They never become redundant. Unlike other sports, chess is a game where sacrifices are made on the board while the game is on. It’s a humbling and enlightening lesson to give up the less valuable to earn a bigger prize. What to sacrifice and when is based on strategy and learned from experience.

Now, what sets up a good chess player/businessperson from an average one is more visceral.

When faced with the unexpected, one crucial factor comes into play – instinct. Sound knowledge, hours of practice, the arsenal of strategies – all these trains the intangible, primal sense, called instinct, into a reliable tool.

As one of the greatest chess champions observed, “It’s often at the very toughest moments of their chess battles—when they had to rely on pure intuition—that great players came up with their best, most innovative moves.

Employ the brain (acquired knowledge) and the gut (innate) to defeat adversity and reach set goals.

Perhaps, that is the most excellent lesson chess has to offer business owners.

TIPP Takes

Frances Adamson And Ai Weiwei Have Exposed The Paradox Of China. But Who Tells Us More?

China exists in the eye of the beholder: How we see the country reveals much about ourselves.

Former Ambassador To China Frances Adamson Of Australia and Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei
Former Ambassador To China Frances Adamson and Chinese Artist Ai Weiwei

The first view came from the departing head of Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and a former ambassador to China, Frances Adamson. The other was from the exiled dissident Chinese artist, Ai Weiwei.

Ms. Adamson, the Australian diplomat, inevitably frames China through a Western lens that still assumes the primacy of a liberal democratic order.

Ai Weiwei has no illusions about the West or democracy, just as he has no illusions about the Chinese Communist Party. The West, he says, is no longer dominant while China is upending liberal orthodoxy — a nation rich but not free.

To Ai Weiwei, the West and China are locked in an exploitative mutual dependency that has enabled China's rise.

Erdogan Takes First Step In Controversial Istanbul Canal Project

While Ankara claims the project will ease traffic in the Bosphorus, critics warn of dire environmental effects.

Proposed Istanbul Canal Around Straits Of Bosphorus
Proposed Istanbul Canal Around Straits Of Bosphorus

The government has said that the project will ease ship traffic and reduce the risk of accidents in the Bosphorus Strait – one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes – which links the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea.

Dubbed by Erdogan as his “crazy project” when he first suggested building the canal in 2011, the 45km (28-mile)-long project linking the Sea of Marmara and the Black Sea to the west of the Bosphorus includes the construction of new seaports, bridges, businesses, housing districts, and artificial lakes.

Erdogan said the canal, estimated to cost $15bn, is expected to be completed within six years.

Opponents say the canal will cause profound ecological damage in Istanbul, exacerbate the dangers posed by earthquakes, and put the already ailing Turkish economy under the burden of even greater debt.

Colombia Offers Reward After Presidential Helicopter Shooting

Colombia has offered a reward of three billion pesos ($796,000; £573,000) for information about an attack on the president's helicopter.

Columbian Presidential Helicopter With Bullet Holes
Columbian Presidential Helicopter With Bullet Holes

Iván Duque was nearing Cúcuta airport near the border with Venezuela when his aircraft was hit by gunfire on Friday.

Nobody on board was injured. The UN, EU, and the U.S. have all condemned the attack.

Meanwhile, national police announced that they had found two rifles in a Cúcuta neighborhood - an AK-47 and a 7.62 caliber rifle - which they say were used in the attack.

The 7.62 caliber rifle had "the marks of the Armed Forces of Venezuela," national police chief General Jorge Vargas.

Before the shooting, Mr. Duque had been attending an event in the Catatumbo region. The area spans the Colombian-Venezuelan border and is one of the main regions in the country for growing coca, the key ingredient in the drug cocaine.

The World's Largest Fusion Reactor Now Has the World's Most Powerful Magnet

The truly massive "Central Solenoid" will weigh 1,000 tons when assembled.

Central Solenoid
Central Solenoid

At 59 feet tall, 14 feet wide, and 1,000 tons, the decade-in-the-making magnet is truly massive. Appropriately, it will soon find a home at the world's largest fusion reactor.

The gigantic ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), located in Southern France, is a means of proving that fusion is a feasible energy solution for a carbon-free future. So far, no existing fusion reactor has even come close to producing more energy than it uses.

The superconducting Central Solenoid electromagnet is key to this mission because it's the "beating heart" of the ITER tokamak - a magnetic confinement device that produces controlled thermonuclear fusion power.

Inside the fully assembled tokamak, the Central Solenoid will induce and contain the sun-hot plasma that actually generates the power.


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