Chess As A Self Improvement Tool

At times like this I think it’s worth considering the origins of chess in the East and how it might be used as a form of meditation and self improvement. Here’s a great piece on this other side of chess which is a welcome break from the egotism and anger we often find on the professional chess circuit.

I discovered this side of the game partly as a result of my own inner struggles to improve and partly because I’ve met many ‘average’ players (at least from a rating point of view) who have found chess to be an oasis of peace and reason within a chaotic World. It can be a bit like playing golf and having your only goal as the sinking of the golf ball in as few strokes as possible. And this can be superior to conventional forms of meditation because in those you’re not given a particular focus, perhaps apart from a special word or trying to concentrate on the breath.

Seen in this context everyone’s chess struggle is a worthy one and rating has only relative merit. But this purpose of the game has to be properly recognized for these benefits to be enjoyed.