By Cherie Roe Dirksen

Being a Rookie

Chess is a game that I love to play with my husband. He is such an enviable strategist. When I first started playing with him, I felt like a complete fool every time he snookered my king and got me into checkmate.

When I let my pride take the back seat, I discovered a remarkable game that I could undeniably learn from whilst enjoying some quiet, reflective quality time with my partner.

I found it a relaxing pursuit with red-hot moments of intensive brain stretching—a great way to quantize your thinking. It not only takes the grey matter for a stroll around the yard but also teaches you valuable lessons in forethought, planning, awareness, and defense tactics.

Has Anyone Seen the Bishop?

I started to see more spiritual truths in chess the more we played. In fact, it was beginning to be a remarkable representation of life! 

It aroused me to apply these teaching to my own life situations and, if not why not, to other people’s life circumstances too. A lot of people are already either inadvertently or deliberately playing chess with their situations and relationships.

It opened my eyes and taught me that there is usually either a way to slip out of trouble or to catch yourself and your opponent by surprise with your brilliant and calm maneuvering capabilities.

Be Your Own Knight in Shining Armor

Just when things start to look hopeless, you view your game from a different angle or perspective, and you move to the side and allow danger to pass. What a great allegory for life!

8 Life Strategies Chess Has Permitted Me to Comprehend:

  • Multi-layers: there is always more than meets the eye in any given situation.
  • Patience: slow and steady wins the race.
  • Sidestepping: there is usually either an evasive move or a counter-action you can take when in the face of danger. Don’t lose hope.
  • Shifting Views: when things are looking dire for you, all you may need is a shift in perspective that can open up new doorways.
  • Positive Outlook: always try to stay optimistic, and you will habitually figure out a good move to make.
  • Acknowledgments: congratulate your opponent on good moves—you can learn from them too. Don’t let your pride get in the way of wisdom.
  • Grace: be a good loser because you never really lose in life; you just start a new game and learn from the previous one. So hone in on your skills by learning from your mistakes—nothing is ever in vain. Be a gracious winner too—there is no room for friends in your life if your big head is taking up all the space!
  • Always Have Fun: enjoy the process, the game of chess (life) is exciting, invigorating, and challenging—all of which keep you feeling alive, vibrant, polished, and motivated.

Metaphors and Metamorphosis: from Pawns to Kings

I love painting life experience with intriguing metaphors and feel even more elated when such an analogy becomes a bald-faced truth.

When we can become the observers of life’s smaller things, like an innocent fixture of chess, and transform it into a fresh perspective of life, it changes us. We start looking all over for these spiritual growth signposts, and we usually find them in the strangest of places.

Chess is the ultimate sport of existence, and even though I know the strategies have been used in more negative life experiences, such as war and devious corporate obliteration, it can also be used to your advantage in co-creating your reality.

Give yourself a game plan and be flexible enough to discern inherent dangers whilst on track; this way you will be able to metaphorically duck and dive bullets (just like Neo in The Matrix movie). Be cunning and graceful and you will never be caught off guard. When you are, don’t give up, learn from it and reload your experience as ammunition for the next round.

There is never failure, only feedback.

Cherie Roe Dirksen is a self-empowerment author and multimedia artist from Cape Town, South Africa. In 2011, she published her first book Divine You—Redefining Love in the New Earth and devotes most of her time to writing about “spicing up reality,” tackling empowerment issues and getting down and dirty on creating the life you came here to experience. To learn more about Cherie, visit her website and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.