Check the mate

17 Dec

Chess as we know has three plays, opening gambit, middle play and the end game. Now there is no denying that opening gambit is critical to the overall play as how the game will open up and the end game requires utmost attention, focus and perseverance to ensure the game reaches the logical conclusion. But any chess player would tell you that despite the criticality of opening and end, the real game is in the middle. It is how you play your pieces in the middle that they eventually would be in a position that would ensure the ending one seeks. So each section of the game has a crucial role to play and has a unique standing in the larger picture.

Life can learn a lot from it and in life it’s the relationships that can pluck a lesson from the best game invented to challenge the limits of human mind. The beauty of chess lies as a parallel to relationships is the infinite ways in which it can be played. Every interaction in a relationship, every minute that is spend together is a play which can create a unique combination which makes the next and every game different from the millions others that are being played around. On surface, or to anyone who is seeing from a distance it would look like similar to each other but only when one sees the interplay between the various pieces that the uniqueness of each individual game gets manifested and becomes apparent. So each relationship in that sense is unique because the interplay is unique.

But that is not the topic of discussion today.

What I find interesting is the lack of interest in the middle play of relationships. People tend to give lots of attention to the opening gambit, for there is nothing without it, and there is seems to be a universal appeal and magnetic pull in initiating the game. But once the game has opened up, it doesn’t flow in its natural path, it suddenly has a cardiac arrest or the engine seizes without warning, without any cause.

People just freeze.


Because they just skip the middle and jump to the end game. Not actually playing on board but measuring it in their minds. But they forget there is no end game yet. And you would not know the end unless you play the middle.

But another interesting aspect is the end game they play.

It’s not a winning game; it’s a game that they are losing. And losing badly. This brings us to what I wrote earlier, the fear of emotional future.

The point that I’m trying to make is people tend to ignore the most important and fulfilling part of the relationship, the part that will define the nature of relationship, the middle game. Do not fear the end game, even if you lose, you still had the joy of playing the game and get enriched in the process.

I read a beautiful quote which said that on the tombstone there are two dates, what matters is the dash in between.

There is another, though on the negative side, parallel between relationships and chess. In chess there are two parallel tracks, an move that is made in present but that move takes into the future. A good player is able to envision till some distance the future, so his every action is not random but takes into account the future he is trying to create for himself.

As they are two players they are trying to create their own individual futures.

In relationships if the two distinct futures being sought are same it results in a successful and a happy relationship but if they are not the relationship fails. But a good player is one who is able to foresee the future before it arrives and is able to end it if it doesn’t match with his vision before the ugly truth unfolds.
But most of the people don’t play life chess players but like gamblers. They hope luck would change the course but that is being a fool.

After rambling all over, the things I’m trying to suggest are –

1. Don’t run away from the game, it is the most beautiful game that can be played; it enriches life, irrespective of the outcome. Play it.

2. Don’t focus on the end game before you have played the middle and character is defined in the middle

3. Do not fear losing but don’t believe that you would lose. Play to win.

4. Don’t be a gambler in relationships, quit the game early if it is not leading to where you want, have the courage to see the future and have the strength to face it

Checkmate(end). Or should I say check (opening) the mate (middle). Or check (middle) and then mate (end).


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