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Piece activation and development in real life

Chess and life

‘Be the best version of yourself, always’

Little John was playing a thrilling game of chess with his grandpa. It was a Sunday afternoon and he had never won against his grandpa in the game of chess, even after tons of takebacks allowed by his grandpa. It was King’s Gambit Accepted by the little John and this time he was quite sure that he was winning. As expected, Grandpa Shawn resigned on the 5th move. The board was all dominated by the white pieces, 2 pawns on the 4th rank controlling the center, Bishops completely open and activated, Knight ready to start their job, King getting ready for the long castle. Grandpa Shawn had so much to speak about the game and his reason for quitting. But John, was all over the place, singing, and dancing, celebrating his first win against his grandpa. So is the game of chess, no age bar, no gender division, anyone can play and compete against anyone.

Once little John settled down, Grandpa Shawn said- “Let’s analyze our last game, as we always do, for this time you did something excellent, something that I see as a life skill.”

“Yes pa”. Little John was excited to know more and brought his game analysis book for notes.

“We learn about the piece activation and development today. Johnny, This rule is important to be understood and implemented on these 64 square as well as outside in our real-life. Most teenagers and adults are still unaware of it and are wasting their valuable time. When we are young our energy is at its peak, it gets reduced as we grow older with years.”

“I am ready pa, let’s begin.” said little John while sipping the buttermilk from his glass.

“You see, John, the Kings Gambit opening is one of the oldest yet surprising opening for the black. The white opens up this entire Kingside, making it vulnerable. Yet, the white dominates the gameplay initially by focusing on the f7 square. Did you know that?”

“Umm, that was the plan. Yes pa” mumbled little John.

“Hahaha, but Johnny that’s not what we’ll be focusing on today.”

“Yes Pa, It is piece activation and development, right?”

“Yes John, here we go –

While playing chess or in life, we always focus on winning more than overall development. This approach may be the fastest route towards victory unless you get punched in your face. The majority of us are all well-organized until we are struck by one obstruction. Thus, a plan B should be always ready in our arsenal. But, do you think planning is enough?


e4, e5

f4, exf4 – Initiating the King’s Gambit Accepted lines

Nf3(Creating support for the d file pawn and opening development), Bc5(I shouldn’t have played this)

d4(as planned, right?), Bb4+

Nc3,   I resigned.

You see, John, the game was just in its opening phase and I could have won it if you had blundered at some point. But the board on the 5th move looked so fascinating for the white, I wanted it to keep it as it is. It reminded me of the most important thing in life, overall development.

Piece activation and development in chess is one of the important concepts in chess. It’s not the quantitative value of the piece that matters on the 64 squares, a queen being trapped by its pieces is less powerful than the pawn in the pawn chain aiming towards the center. An active piece has better coverage and is more threatening than the piece that is not on the right square. The baseline for this is that – ‘the piece should be at the square where it is happy and useful’

A Knight on the ‘a’ and ‘h’ file or 1st and 8th rank doesn’t have better coverage as it only has 2 to 4 options to go to, whereas, otherwise it has 8 options, which makes it more powerful and dominating. The same is with Bishops, Queen, Rooks, and every piece on the chessboard.

In real life, we tend to have a similar approach towards living,-

we settle for less, we keep ourselves away from the activities that can make us more efficient, sharp, and strong. We never realize the time we have wasted by not activating and developing ourselves until we reach the endgames in life. The endgames in which we do not have enough strength and time to perform miracles and win at life. Thus we again settle and lose.

My dear John, what I want you to do is explore all the possible ways and develop yourself in such a way that you will be ready for everything, whatever the world has to dump on you. The world is advancing and upgrading, and so are we. If we stop and settle, we lose.”

In the concept of piece activation and development, there are 2 simple principles that we can adapt and implement in real life as well, these are-


Aim at the center

In chess, this principle means that the center 4 squares should be dominated by our pieces. In real life, it is important to aim at honing the skills that are more generalized and more useful. Center control also makes us well-balanced and powerful. As the generation and trend change, it is always important to remain in the center of everything, upgraded and sharp, ready for anything that comes up to you on the platter.

‘The ability to upgrade is important’

Occupy dominating squares

Apart from the 4 center squares, the board will have many dominating squares during the game. Whoever is occupying those squares, wins. In life, we face competition at every hour of the day at various places that we have to be. It is always important to dominate wherever we can. Domination can help you avoid unwanted competition. Be that dominating that people should feel scared of getting crushed by you and should avoid coming in your way. How to do that? Aim at the key roles and get them, avoid bad and powerless roles.

‘Dress how you want to be addressed’

These are the 2 most important principles that are important for us to understand and learn in real life as well as in chess according to me. There are, of course, many more principles for you to learn. Chess will teach you all when you start playing it.



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