How life imitates chess Krishnan GTC Book Review Talk April 22, 2012
Chess mimics real life decision making Chess is a laboratory for the decision making process Have to make constant stream of exact, informed decisions Decisions made in real-time and under pressure Requires calculation, creativity and desire for results
Three parts of the book Part 1 – Strategy, calculation, preparation Part 2 – Evaluation and analysis What changes are needed and why Part 3 – Ongoing, continous performance improvement
StrategyStrategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat – Sun TzuThe question “Why ?” separates visionaries from functionaries William Boeing – invested in superior technologyPlay your own game – Aware of your own strengths and weaknesses
Why ?• “Why?” is the question that separates visionaries from functionaries, great strategists from mere tacticians. You must ask this question constantly if you are to understand and develop and follow your strategy• … our goal is to improve our position. You must avoid creating weaknesses, find small ways to improve your pieces, and think small – but never stop thinking.
StrategyIf you are employing a powerful and successfulstrategy, whether gaining space on thechessboard or market share in global commerce,the competition will try to trip you up by gettingyou to abandon it. If your plans are sound andyour tactical awareness is good, your competitorcan only succeed with your help.
On ChangeChange can be essential, but it should only bemade with careful consideration and just cause.Losing can persuade you to change what does notneed to be changed, and winning can convinceyou everything is fine even if you are on the brinkof disaster. If you are quick to blame faultystrategy and change it all the time, you don’t reallyhave any strategy at all.
TalentWhen I was eleven, I just got good – Bobby FischerTal doesnt move the pieces by hand, he uses a magic wand Tals pieces seemed to move faster than his opponents Dragging a hippo out of a marsh storyDeveloping the habit of imagination
PreparationIf a man has talent and cannot use it, he has failed – Thomas WolfeJose Raul Capablanca vs. Alexander Alekhine- World championship, Buenos Aires, 1927- Capablanca didnt prepare much, Alekhine was fanatical about his preparation (8 hrs / day)Alekhine won the match
PreparationIf you said you didn’t have enough time, thatmeant you were not well organized.Botvinnik summed up his philosophy by stating,“The difference between man and animal is thatman is capable of establishing priorities!”
On working hardIt’s not enough to be talented. It’s not enough towork hard and to study late into the night. Youmust also become intimately aware of themethods you use to reach your decisions.
CalculationA computer may look at millions of moves persecond, but lacks a deep sense of why one moveis better than another; this capacity for evaluationis where computers falter and humans excel. Itdoesn’t matter how far ahead you see if you don’tunderstand what you are looking at.
MaterialMaterial – describes tangible assetsPersonal attachment to assets that do not have a true valueChess teaches there is much more to life than material All pieces are of no use if the king is gone
TimeClock time – Time to make movesBoard time – Number of moves to achieve an objectiveTime can be swapped for material – E.g. More money for express deliveryMikhail Tal – the ultimate time player, did not care much for material
QualityA knight in the center is more valuable than one on the edge A knight on the rim is dimIn warfare, the highest ground is soughte.g. KargilJack Welch – Kept the best GE businesses No 1 or 2 in the market
Expanding powers of evaluationChoosing a house – Trading material for qualityDont fall too much in love with your bishops (in chess) or the corner officeBy using time wisely and putting material to good use, we can achieve quality (=happiness)
Material, Time, QualityBut I believe that by using your time wisely youcan put all your material to your best advantageand achieve the ultimate goal of quality. That’s thepromise of the material-time-quality concept–inchess and in life.
Exchanges and imbalancesMicrosoft exchanged material for quality in the browser wars Used its cash and placement advantagesIf we can detect or cultivate a weak spot in ouropponent’s position, we can then attempt totransform our position to take advantage of thatweakness
Phases of the gameSo dedicate yourself to making the time, finding aspace in which you can think and learn, andfinding new ideas with which to shock youradversaries.
Question Success• Question the status quo at all times, especially when things are going well. When something goes wrong, you naturally want to do it better next time ,but you must train yourself to want to do it better even when things go right• That’s why I always think of Simon Bolivar andremember that experienced soldier who studiesthe battlefields in the aftermath of the war returns withboth wisdom and renewed courage.
IntuitionAs they develop, our instincts–our intuitivesenses–become labor-saving and time-savingdevices; they literally cut down the time it takes tomake a proper evaluation and act. You can collectand analyze new information forever without evermaking a decision. Something has to tell youwhen the law of diminishing returns is kicking in.And that something is intuition.
Crisis point• Everything is condensed into one single moment, it decides our life – Franz Kafka• The best indicator of a chess player’s form is to detect the climax of the game - Spassky• Crisis really means a turning point, a critical moment when the stakes are high and the outcome uncertain. It also implies a point of no return. This signifies both danger and opportunity…
In SummaryThis book stresses the importance of wanting to improve the way you do thingsIt is also important to understand why you are doing what you are doing