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Cover image for Decisionmaking practise with a parable of Chess.
Aniket Kadam
Aniket Kadam

Posted on • Originally published at Medium on

Decisionmaking practise with a parable of Chess.

image from Dailyem

Like everything else, you become better at decisionmaking with practise. Have you ever had a difficult decision to make and thought endlessly over which option to take?

Did you realise in retrospect that you would’ve been better off just making a decsion and sticking to it, fixing mistakes as you went along? Here’s a great to practise that rapidly and all you need is a chess board.

Here’s why chess is a great proxy.

There are over 9 million different possible positions after three moves each. There are over 288 billion different possible positions after four moves each. The number of distinct 40 -move games is far greater than the number of electrons in the observable universe. — Chess-Poster

Sounds like a good small scale approximation of the real world.

So here’s what you do.

Start a game of chess and make each move in at-most 15 seconds. In this time, consider the board, your strengths and weaknesses, strategy and endgame and most importantly MOVE.

You will make mistakes, you will lose pieces, you will realise you don’t have time to brood over them because you have to make your next move. You only have time to learn from your mistakes, not enough to mourn them.

You only have time to learn from your mistakes, not enough to mourn them.

And you keep doing this, every 15 seconds, until the game ends. You will realise that the things you need to consider, aren’t that terribly vast after all. That the things that matter are few and obvious, if you focus your view. Your strategies come together and the gaps in your knowledge close ever so slightly. Practise with purpose and you improve your game/business/programming.

When the game is done, you have a breadth of experience to look over and learn from even more deeply, making you a better player for next time.

Hopefully this will help you learn something about yourself, your opponent and help you play the chess game that is your life.

Good luck and happy practise!

P.S: It’s fine if you don’t have a partner, at this speed, playing against yourself works too! You don’t have time to cheat.

Comment below with your thoughts and ideas, tales of your decisions and how they turned out.

I can also be reached on Twitter at @AniketSMK

Top comments (3)

kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman • Edited

More of a side note. Do you think anyone would be interested in the first million or so unique checkmates? By unique, I mean unique ending positions. Like Fool's Mate variations accounts for 8 or so checkmates (4 per player) IIRC. They are mostly stupid mistakes and not very many moves in, but there might be a few clever ones in there. Thought about posting them somewhere, but not sure of the interest.

aniketsmk profile image
Aniket Kadam

I'd say just start writing about it and you might discover a compelling fact or storyline.
Now I want you to write this, send me a link when you have!

kspeakman profile image
Kasey Speakman

Alright, will do. I have to do some prep work to get it into standard chess notation.