In the Chess Set of Life, Which Piece are You?

Chess Pieces

by Ryan

Life has many similarities to the game of chess. In the chess set of life there’s strategy, proven methods, along with winners and losers.  Those who figure out the rules of the game and learn strategy have a huge advantage.  This can be demonstrated when placing a grand chess master against a newbie – the chess master will beat him in 3 moves.  Life is much the same.

Although life has a lot of similarities to the game of chess as a whole, certain pieces have a distinct advantage over others.  Again, this holds true in life.  Some call these differences in ability luck, or talent, or even divine intervention, but I call them the result of hard work, persistence, an unwavering belief structure and the ability to learn through experiences.

If life was a game of chess we could probably identify with certain pieces more than others.  They all have different roles and strengths, which mirror the working world today.  Here’s how I see each piece in relation to how I also view people in the working world.

  • Pawns – These are the most common pieces and are often used to protect more valuable chess pieces.  The loss of a pawn hurts the least because there are so many like it.  They can be easily sacrificed without worry since there are eight of them after all.  Pawns are the equivalent to unskilled workers that can do any basic labor job.  They don’t have a wide range of motion due to lack of skills.
  • Rooks – Rooks are hard nosed head on heavy hitters.  They’ll batter the other pieces face to face without having to back down.  Rooks are not afraid of hard work, but at the same time could probably learn to work smarter.  Rooks could be considered to be the small team leaders or foremans in life.
  • Knights – Knights have the power of flight and are specialists in their area of expertise.  A knight is a worker who has strong talents in whatever their realm of work.  They’re great for specialized projects and jumping into the fray to help out their fellow chess pieces.  Always good to have on the team, they’re adaptable to many scenarios, yet limited by their particular skill set.  They can’t help the person next to them because they don’t always understand others easily. Knights are technicians, specialists, but lack leadership and communication skills.
  • Bishops – Bishops will never attack directly attack you, rather they always come from the side.  They are cunning and easily dodge other pieces.  Bishops have a great range of motion, but still have a ways to go.  In the real world bishops may need to be more up front with communication, take charge more as a leader, or simply develop more skills so that they can have a broader range of motion and choice.  Bishops could be considered the middle management pieces that are clawing their way up the corporate ladder trying to be the next queen.
  • Queen – There’s only one queen and she’s a babe.  Good looks, charm, the ability to move however and wherever she’d like.  She’s intelligent and has the power to go in any direction.  Therefore, she’s spatially aware and can outdo anyone who stands in her way.   The queen is the most aggressive and hard working piece in the game.  It tends to hurt the team the most when you lose the queen because she has been actively managing with the other pieces and a key morale booster.  The queen is the glue that keeps the organization together while still getting her hands dirty.  Vice presidents and regional directors could be considered the queens in real life.
  • Kings – If the king falls, the game is over,  all pieces fall,  end game.  Kings don’t do a lot of physical labor, but they’re the leaders.  Their word determines what will happen and what direction the organization is going.  Essentially you’re playing the king when you’re playing a game of chess.  Kings are the equivalent to the CEO of a company and focus on overall strategy rather than specialized skills.

So in the chess set of life, which piece are you?  Are you a highly unskilled general laborer like a pawn?  Easily able to get fired?  A specialist like the knight, perhaps?  Or are you a king that rules the domain and dictates through communication and ideas rather than physical action?

Image from Mukumbura

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Investing Newbie January 18, 2010 at 4:58 am

Your posts are always so insightful. I, of course, would like to be a King or a Queen by the end of my career, but I think right now I’m a Knight. In real life, a Knight can learn the communication/leadership skills necessary to upgrade its rank. In chess, its stagnant. Once a pawn, always a pawn…

Ryan January 18, 2010 at 8:27 pm

In life we all start out as pawns, unless we’re given an upper hand at birth. Even so to be an effective king or queen you have to learn specific traits and qualities to be an effective leader. These qualities can only be learned through experience. I think most people aren’t really cut out to be kings because it’s a long road that requires a lot of sacrifice. Much easier to punch a clock and be a pawn.

MakingAMillionDollars July 9, 2010 at 6:23 am

Interesting Article on Chess and Life. I am in middle management so I guess I fall into a Bishop. I actually think that a pawn or worker can be the most dangerous, because if persistent they can go the long haul and become a Queen. They can then take over the game through a transformation know body was expecting. My point is that everyone has huge potential, even a pawn.
.-= MakingAMillionDollars´s last blog ..What Are the Effects of Economic Materialism on Society =-.

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