I have found no way to casually play chess. It either informs and colors a great deal of even my most quotidian thought processes, or I have to remove myself from it for awhile to wear other glasses until my perspective becomes controllably rubbery again. Maybe this began with my epiphany upon reading Borovsky’s rules (for chess, and in my opinion, for life.)
I recently heard a super episode of Six Pixels of Separation featuring Jonathan Salem Baskin, a man who studies the connections between history and marketing. Baskin explained that the rules of social have never changed. There are no new rules, as has become a popular title of advice blogs on getting more followers by tweaking your Twettiquette for the new age. Nay. The rules have been the same for thousands of years, but the applications are different.
Throughout history, myriad diverse great leaders have pointed to chess as a learning tool that informed their strategy for war. The language is universal. The possibilities are near-infinite. Chess’s application is tenacious, though the game is very old. That’s because rules for social are implicated in rules for war, and thus in rules for chess (and business, which I’ll get to soon).
This week, I’ve been studying one game in particular:
The Game of the Century
Donald Byrne vs. Bobby Fischer
Rosenwald Memorial Tournament, New York City. October 17, 1956
A promising young player, thirteen-year old Bobby Fischer played one of the nation’s leading chessmasters, Donald Byrne. Later, the match was nicknamed The Game of the Century. Over the next four decades, however, other matches have arguably taken precedence. Byrne-Fischer 1956 still ranks in the top ten on most grandmasters’ lists. And I’m writing about it because there is something gorgeous and surreptitious in Fischer’s strategy.
Play the moves at your own speed here for a slower review. I challenge you to try and predict the moves if this is your first viewing. You probably can’t. (Note: Fischer is black.)
The other players, even Reshevsky, came to watch the match, with the crowd three or four deep. Almost every move generated a buzz among the spectators. Very few people could see what Fischer had planned.
The key move is 17…Be6. Fischer sacrificed his queen. Byrne captured the queen, but Fischer then gained a ton of material- a rook, two bishops, and a pawn.
Life Lesson and Business Application
Never be afraid to sacrifice or appear weak temporarily, as long as your ultimate plan is solid. Know your plan and the rest will follow. Never underestimate yourself because you’re young (or have an other image flaw). Others will: Use it to your advantage.
What worked for Fischer can work for your brand. Be bold but mindful. Be prepared and be quietly audacious.