Learning lessons in life from the game of chess - A Grandfather's Philosophy
Granddad's mastery of chess
The person who has been the most influential in my life is someone who while playing a cool game of chess, decided to let me in on some truly wise thoughts and words of wisdom, and this cool guy was my grandfather, but my mom is definitely second runner up, and I will explain in great detail as to how these two folks have played such a significant role in me becoming who I am today.
Life is something I would like to define first off, in order to fully explain myself, and to answer this question thoroughly, because just stating that fact without providing the reason why would be like giving you any old bottle of wine to drink without letting you in on its history of authentic age, for we all know the secret to its true quality is such, and learning of such info is to satisfy a thirst for greater relevance. "Life is not only a struggle, or a pursuit of happiness, its also a firm balance between all things good and bad that enter your domain of reference." by Mike Pugh
How it all began
When I was about 8 or 9 years of age my grandfather was very determined to take me outside on a hot summer day, and break out his trusty chess board to teach me the real game of life. The ironic thing is he did just that, but I swore he was going to teach me how to play the game of chess rather, and I had no clue that such a huge rope was attached to such a moment. To use the word string, would have been putting it lightly to explain the actual hidden agenda that my grandfather had planned, and probably many light years ahead of me ever knowing about such an occasion, but either way I was ready for the learning session of my life.
Now after he had placed his cool chess board which was made of great oak wood, and had the chess boxes painted over it, you could even smell the aroma of the wood finish. I always wondered if he had painted them cool boxes himself, and knowing him he must have. This old man was not your ordinary old guy, he was tough, if you felt his hands it felt like leather gloves. Looking into my granddad's eyes, "yikes" they were always intense looking, and so you know how deep things were going to get, as soon as he broke out them chess pieces.
Each chess piece looked hand carved with the finest of etched artistically wood cut angular shapes, the size of them was very re-memorable. They were painted and garnished with some sort of wax or wood finish, anyhow it was awesome how it shined when the suns rays hit them. That first day he lovingly dragged me out there to his knowledge chambers, I had no clue what I was in for, and so he knew somehow this would leave a huge dent and impact on me. Since his equipment was so elegant, and just a classic work of art to say the least, my young mind had no chance at hiding, or escaping from his word play and delivery of his great message.
Weird moves for some pieces
"Catty-corner straight" he called it, it was the very first move my grandfather had taught me, and it was the most significant. This particular chess move in itself holds the potential to be the game crusher, it has wiped out entire legions and armies of the greatest chess players on the globe. I was being taught not only one of the most important moves, but the reason why I see the world the way I do today. I'll put you on to that premise towards the end of this hub, but let me move on. I had learned how the Knight also known as the horse, with his clever agile swiftness sweeps across the board in a 3 box advance attack move or retreat and in any direction, I use to think of it as the "L move". Most people have issues learning this move, and its purpose but I knew somehow it was to become the best one to learn by far, so it came to me easily, as I made it my best move and most deadliest ever on the chess board, which helped me to become much more decisive in real life years later.
The very next piece he flagrantly flipped into view, would be the Queen. Now this key to the entire game was one hell of a fighter, she was set out to make the most evasive moves, yet she was the most vulnerable to being slaughtered, kid napped, and all the rest you could imagine, and especially if you didn't keep focused, alert, and your eyes on her, but boy was she a dangerously hot mommy. "The Queen is one sharp cookie", he said, "but, be careful because she tends to get way ahead of herself all throughout her life, and if not careful might just lose it with the swiftness."
Below is my reinterpretation of my granddads life lesson on the Queen, "Make sure to use her wisely, and with great care, she will stay by your side for years on end if your fort is held down tightly and secured, but beware when things get tough, or especially when you feel to confident on the field of battle, because that's when she's most vulnerable."
Growing Wiser by each move!
As I got older I had learned of such a truth and reality about myself that my wise granddad taught me on that cool chess board. I learned that when I make hasty decisions, and moves that aren't well thought out, and some very indecisive ones, its always lead me off course in the wrong directions in life. I like to think of those silly errors in my moves as my queen moves, and many times I've truly lost sight of things landing me under great pressure at times, but I then thought back to my granddad, and that game of chess he had took so much of his time to teach me, and I remembered what I had to do next.
Backing off was my only alternative at that point, you know when the going got to rough in life, each and every time I had experienced my queen side of me, OK I know your thinking, "This guy has gone! off of his rocker", and you might be right, but my grandfather was right in every way when he showed me such things in their relation to life. The next piece he would teach me, could be compared to the foundation of all of civilization, The Castle. Whether it be a long shot at the castle by a defending army, or a straight lateral or vertical attack from it, this move had to be decisive, and in such a way to make a statement to those who once threatened the king, who relied on it as a safe haven when things got hot, and to dangerous on the battle field.
Fortifying your Castle
What I learned about castling the king was paramount, and I was taught to understand the very premise of establishing a fort, and a presence of my own on that day. To fortify your presence is primary, and one of the most important lessons anyone could teach in the game of life, and I don't think my grandfather was playing though, he knew what he was embedding, and drilling into my thick young skull.
He was teaching me how to understand each facet of life, using mere wooden pieces of a chess board, and on that day my eyes had opened up super wide, because I didn't reject what he was saying. Plus it helped me a great deal as a child to be the sponge of the family, listening and absorbing every lecture by all the adults.
Moving onwards he taught me the bishop move next, well this is where his faith in god seemed to pierce through like a sharp dagger into my mind, he lit up my mind into understanding that we must learn to balance ourselves in life, and that takes great wisdom from others as well, seeking counsel, listening to reason instead of nonsense, and guidance from per say a religious belief system. I began to see the light he shinned at me, as if I was someone trapped inside a huge hole, or tunnel of sorts all of my life up till that day. I knew all these lessons would come in handy some day, and I will not preach any further into the meanings of the other pieces of the chess board he had taught me, I'll just leave them left up to your imagination to think about.
Next up a Mothers Philosophy gone right!
I decided this hub was getting far to long, and so I broke it into two articles, the very next article will be addressing how my mother has influenced my life, and helped make me a more solid upstanding individual, as well as respectable citizen.