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Tackling Surprises in Chess ... and Life

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Life can sure throw us some nasty turns and surprises. The trick is learning how to deal with them as they come.

As parents, we all hope our children will grow up with a strong ability to solve problems, laying waste to the barriers that will inevitably emerge in front of them. We hope our children won’t be the type to quit at the first sign of trouble.

It would be great if they could emulate the immortal words of Tim Allen’s character, Jason Nesmith, from the movie Galaxy Quest: “Never give up. Never surrender!”

When your children begin a chess game, encourage them to give it their all.

Each time.

Every game.

It shouldn’t matter if their opponent is twice their age and height, or if they have a higher rating. Rating smating! Tell them to just go for it!

All experienced players have stories of victories against what seemed like unbeatable odds at the time -- for example, being down a queen with minutes left to go in the game. These experiences, these games, are the stuff of chess lore and legend. Chess enthusiasts discuss these games for decades into the future. Most likely your children will, too.

Encourage your children to avoid resigning, even when the game’s outcome seems set in stone. Instead, make their opponents take the necessary steps to checkmate them. One never knows what will happen in any game until it’s over.

The never-die attitude they will learn through playing chess is one that translates well into life.

Throughout their lives, your children will face many difficulties. Chess is a great proving ground for learning the important skill of problem-solving. They will need to conquer their own fears and uncertainties as they face all kinds of battles in the future and chess can help them learn the valuable skills to do so.

The more games your children play, the more experience they’ll gain. With that experience comes a self confidence that will build to an unshakeable magnitude. Before you know it, they will grow into self-confident men and women who can succeed in life, tackling whatever problems may cross their paths.

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