Chess is inspiring, it’s about strategy and life lessons

The game comes from rich a history and is believed to have originated in India. It is a game of strategy and problem-solving


Ahmed Waqqas Alawlaqi

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Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

Published: Sun 31 Jul 2022, 10:14 PM

Last updated: Thu 23 Nov 2023, 1:01 PM

My typical day includes waking up in the morning, training, playing chess and sleeping. The life of many chess players sounds boring, but is it really the case?

I am a 15-year-old international chess player from the UAE and have played the game for seven years. It sounds unusual for people my age to play such a fascinating game and achieve high rankings.

Known as the game of royalty, chess gained its “sovereignty” during the Cold War between the soviets and the Americans. The game comes from rich a history and is believed to have originated in India. It is a game of strategy and problem-solving. Some call it a game of “war” due to the arrangements and value of the pieces: the Knight, Queen, King, Bishop, Pawn and Rook.

With the technology taking over many things in the modern world, it has also greatly affected chess. Devices and software are used to analyze the games of top chess players (Grand Masters). In chess, I relate fellow chess players to machines. Sitting on a board for hours, thinking and imagining many ideas that are limited to 64 squares with complete silence is just phenomenal. The web series ‘Queens Gambit’ put the focus back on the game and is named after a chess opening. It is about an orphan prodigy who learnt chess in the basement,

For me, chess is quite interesting and fun. It has completely changed my life. It has changed the way I think, interact, and act. It has helped mold my character. On a personal scale, it has been all good until now but I have seen many players who have gone “crazy.” They would become introverts; they focus greatly on details, and they are just depressed. That perspective is also covered in the series. It is very true yet quite sad to note.

Chess takes a huge chunk of my life. I have slowly understood that training mentally is much harder than training physically. I have been sitting on a table for a minimum of 3 hours, analyzing moves in 64 squares using 8 pieces without saying a single word or using a single organ other than my brain. It is understandable that rare cases of depression come from ches but this fascinating game has many realms that I am still discovering as I improve my game.

The Abu Dhabi chess club administration, including my trainers Zuhair and Mohammed, in addition to my first trainer and coach Naji Mekky, have inspired me to improve with every game and move. They have not only made me a champion, they have also helped me strike a balance in life. As a kid I would see old people entering the chess club drinking coffee and playing with their friends. My friends and I would watch them play Blitz games while laughing and having a wonderful time. It would always be full on Fridays

I have made friends from many nationalities through chess. After a game, your opponent would let you know of your mistakes or his errors. We would then have wonderful conversations on all things chess and sportsmanship.

The chess community is intellectual. I would be honest here and say that they are rarely funny. Yet their perspectives are just as impressive. A game of strategy and perspective, a game of emotion and intelligence, a royal game of “sovereignty”. I have never regretted any second that I have spent practicing this beautiful game.

The writer is a FIDE-ranked player from the UAE.

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