The Queen's Gambit: Develop Strategic Thinking with Chess
By John Millen
One of the most valuable skills and under-used skills in our distracted world is focused and strategic thinking.
Thankfully, in an ocean of mindless entertainment, the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit has reinvigorated a game that builds strategic thinking and many more skills: Chess.
That’s right, chess, the game stereotyped as being played by nerdy young geniuses and elderly gentlemen in the park, has become cool. It's a whole different game as a strong woman battles for supremacy during the Cold War.
Renewed Popularity an Ancient Game
According to Variety, the industry publication, the Netflix program blew up sales of chess-related merchandise:
In the three weeks after “The Queen’s Gambit” premiered, unit sales of chess sets jumped 87% in the U.S. and chess book sales rose an eye-popping 603%, according to research firm NPD Group. The spike comes after years of flat or negative growth in those categories, NPD said.
And millions of more people started playing chess, according to Bloomberg:
Chess.com, a social network and chess server website, has added around 1 million new members each month since the lockdowns began in March, and around 2.8 million in November alone. In the same month, over 78 million standard chess games took place on lichess, a free online chess server, compared to half as many in November 2019.
Develop Strategic Your Strategic Thinking Skills
As a lifelong chess fan and intermittent player, I highly recommend the game for anyone in business who wants to develop, or have their kids develop, strategic thinking. Also, given the level of distraction in our world, chess has the dual benefits of calming the mind while increasing our focus.
To be an effective leader or entrepreneur in business these mental skills of intense focus and strategic thinking are essential for your success.
This article on the Popular Mechanics website goes deep on how chess helps open your mind to strategic possibilities in any situation. It includes this quote from game developer Jon Ingold, who uses chess literally in his creation process:
I like to play it, not as a game of mastery, but as a game where you can have moments of cleverness and moments of dramatic, epic fail. A game of surprise and delight, but where everything that happens, happens for a reason.
Whether you’re new to the game, or a semi-master, you will find resources to learn and play with people at your level by visiting Chess.com.
You’ll find that the more you play, the more you’ll start think with a different perspective, seeing multiple options to solve problems. You’ll also find yourself less interested in transitory things like social media and better able to focus for extended periods.
All of this will contribute to your productivity, mental acuity and ability to focus.
Not bad for a board game.
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Image Credit: Netflix