Chess, Israel and children: a lesson in business strategy

Saudi Arabia’s ban on Israelis from the international chess tournament had the chess world in an uproar. Seven Israelis were kept from professional play over comments from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sure, there was more to it, but one thing is for sure: politics led to the prevention of Israelis in the tournament.

Chess is a game of strategy, and it’s a game that I enjoyed playing with my kids. A lot of the world’s business leaders can learn a lot from chess.

Strategy is the key to negotiating raises, landing business deals and being a success in life. Chess is a game of small moves with a bigger picture to capture the king.

Does chess make you smarter? “The Institute of Education decided to run an investigation of whether or not chess had an impact on academic skill. As part of the test they looked at almost 4,000 British children. This particular study seemed to produce some rather disappointing results, in these children the overwhelming result was that chess provided no effect on the attainment levels of in mathematics, literacy or science,” writes Eleven Plus.

But chess does make you think differently.

The Chess in Schools and Communities charity uses chess in inner city schools to help students learn to:

  • Consider risk
  • Think ahead
  • Remain patient

Problem solving skills are essential in the business world. Children learn from a young age to solve problems when they play chess. These problem-solving skills are a lesson in business. Risks need to be assessed, the child needs to think ahead, and patience is valued.

These skills are transferable to every aspect in life.

You can even see these problem-solving skills being used by some politicians. Magnus Carlsen, world champion, played chess against some of the brightest minds in the world: Bill Gates, Peter Thiel and Mark Zuckerberg.

He might not have the business skills of these three magnates, but Magnus beat Bill Gates in under a minute.

He used patience, strategy and the skills he developed over years to beat Gates. City A.M. believes teaching chess to children helps them develop the skills they need in all walks of life, including business.

Garry Kasparov told the Harvard Business Review that chess can help business people:

  • Never underestimate their opponents
  • Remain comfortable in enemy territory
  • Hesitation leads to the competitor knowing you’re uncertain in your actions

Chess hones concentration. It also offered a bonding moment for my family. There’s a lot of entertainment that fills our lives that doesn’t provide us with benefits. You can watch television for hours or stare at apps with your kids, or you can play chess.

Chess isn’t for everyone, but you, too, can learn to play.

It’s a mental game that professional players call “brutal.” Make your moves carefully, and make sure every move is done with precision. There’s as much beauty in watching the silence, concentration and fierce look on the faces of two children playing chess as watching kids play outside.

Chess can lead to a business-minded child developing essential skills to excel in the business world.

About the Author
 Jacob Maslow is passionate about writing. For more than ten years, he's used that passion to transform the web presence of a number of legal and medical professionals in creative, innovative and effective ways that get them noticed in a crowded field. Jacob is originally from Brooklyn. He packed up his five children and made Aliyah in 2014. Jacob's experience and varied interests lend themselves to a diverse palette of topics ranging from technology, marketing, politics, social media, ethics, current affairs, family matters and more. In his spare time, Jacob enjoys being an active member of social media including groups on Facebook and taking in the latest movies. 
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