October 5, 2011

Wisdom and The Chessboard

Deuth,-Dave-colorBy David W. Deuth, CFSP
President, Weerts Funeral Home

There was a time during junior high when I played my share of chess. Several of my friends, I discovered, were pretty good chess players, and my intrigue for the game intensified as I watched them maneuver – and out-maneuver – one another in matches that were often lengthy and occasionally exhausting.

As I first began to learn the in’s and out’s of the game, the objective quickly became clear: protect your own King while reducing your opponent to checkmate by cornering his King.

At its most basic aspect, the game of chess finds its opponents in possession of an equal number of playing pieces to begin the contest. Each opponent’s pieces have equal capabilities and are placed in identically opposite positions on the board; by all accounts, a level playing field at the outset.

Because each playing piece is both offensively empowered and defensively capable, it is the player’s breadth of knowledge of each piece’s capabilities – and its corresponding limitations – coupled with depth of strategy that ultimately determines the outcome of each match.

Most numerous among the playing pieces on the board, Pawns comprise the entire front line for each player. Limited in movement and comparatively abundant, Pawns are often considered much more dispensable than their higher-powered counterparts in the back row: Rooks, Knights, Bishops, and, of course, the Queen and the King. Indeed, one can lose all eight of his Pawns and still win the match by preserving his singular King.

Of particular interest to me at that time was the fact that the retention of the most powerful piece, the Queen, was not the determining factor in winning or losing the match. Conversely, protecting and retaining one of the least powerful pieces, the King, was the ultimate objective for success.

Two of my friends had diametrically opposed views on the role of the Queen. One couldn’t wait to open up the playing field that would allow his Queen to roam about freely, creating offensive as well as defensive opportunities against his opponent. Quite consistently, he lost his Queen during the match…but only after he had effectively employed her unparalleled capability against his opponent.

On the opposite side of the board, another friend so valued the capability of the all-powerful Queen that he protected her at any cost. Surrounded and shrouded throughout a match, his virtually immobilized Queen was often preserved at the costly expense of numerous other important pieces.

In the end, more often than not – indeed by quite a margin – the player who empowered the Queen to action was the victor in the match. He understood the capability of the Queen. He knew when to use that capability for offense and when to use it for defense…and he never lost sight of what’s really important in a chess match: protecting his King. For at the end of the contest, it isn’t the player whose Queen is standing that wins…but the one whose King remains.

Thus, in the chess match of life, we would all do well to understand the difference between what SEEMS important . . . and what really IS important.

For as someone once wisely noted…when the game is over, the King and the Pawn go back in the same box.

There’s some wisdom in there somewhere. Remember Well.

Filed Under: Personal Growth

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trackback URL: https://www.50pluslife.com/2011/10/05/wisdom-and-the-chessboard/trackback/