Chess, Thoughts, and Sore Muscles

Growing up, I remember a  nice wooden chess board we had in our house that had green felt on the inside where the wooden chess pieces were stored. I would always play my dad, and would always lose. It wasn’t the winning or the losing that mattered much to me though, it was that each time I played, I got to “see” more and more of what was going on. There was some revelation in each movement of each piece that expanded my mind, and I could actually feel it happening.

You learn to make sacrifices, you learn to think ahead, you learn that there is always something to protect; and that there is always a deep sense of regret with hasty moves. That motto “No Regrets” ought to be preambled with “Only with Prudence”.

I’ve been playing a lot of chess during this deployment out in Africa, so much that I’ve noticed a large improvement in my game from constantly seek playing people better than me. I actually beat a level 10 computer for the first time in my life.

What I learned eventually bled into every other game… even the one of life. Winning became a “nice to have” and oftentimes an optional byproduct of games. These days it’s all about the thrills you create for yourself, the interactions with the opponents and allies (even if that means just getting kicks out of trying to elicit certain reactions from them), and about the little experiments you engage in. This life is so customizable that it would be a disservice to yourself if you don’t take the time or effort to figure out what works out and what does not work out for you.

Then there is losing. Accepting that there is someone who is more skilled than you, more knowledgeable, or just has some insight. Losing then becomes a reminder of an opportunity to grow. Because when you grow and start becoming effective, you help and even inspire others to grow along with you.

“The Game of Chess is not merely an idle amusement; several very valuable qualities of the mind, useful in the course of human life, are to be acquired and strengthened by it, so as to become habits ready on all occasions; for life is a kind of Chess, in which we have often points to gain, and competitors or adversaries to contend with, and in which there is a vast variety of good and ill events, that are, in some degree, the effect of prudence, or the want of it.
By playing at Chess then, we may learn: 1st, Foresight, which looks a little into futurity, and considers the consequences that may attend an action … 2nd, Circumspection, which surveys the whole Chess-board, or scene of action: — the relation of the several Pieces, and their situations; … 3rd, Caution, not to make our moves too hastily …”
– Benjamin Franklin

And to play a little catch up again…

21OCT2013- FUEL: Meal1: Longanisa, eggs, vinegar with crushed red pepper ; Meal2: Boiled Eggs, Sweet and Sour Pork with Pineapple slices, Slimy Steamed Okra. Snacks: Kisses, Dried Mangoes WORKOUT: Overhead Squat 1-1-1-1-1 Front Squat 1-1-1-1-1 Back Squat 1-1-1-1-1-1 READING: Chapter3 ISAP. Tyrion Chapter. GRATITUDE: Measures of Time. With them you find shackles, with them you find the key to freedom.

20OCT2013- FUEL: Meal1: Eggs + Salsa ; Meal2: Grilled Salmon, Tomatoes + Black Olives + Cucumbers, Meatballs Snacks: Ginger Spice Cookies, Pistachios WORKOUT: Recovery Day; GHD situps and Muscle Up skill work. READING: The Ghost of Winterfell – DOD GRATITUDE: Bulletproof Coffee – which I had today. Good jolt of focus.

19OCT2013- FUEL: Meal1: Scrambled Eggs, Salsa, Mushrooms, Oatmeal sweetened with milk and honey and Oreos ; Meal2: Steak, Baked Porkchop, Broccoli, tomatoes and olives, cucumbers; Meal3: Porkchops, 2 Boiled Eggs, Salsa, Tuna Snacks: French Press Choco Macadamia Nut Coffee, Moravian Cookies, Salmon Jerky, Pistachios, Berries  WORKOUT: A, 1RM Shoulder Press then 3×10 Shoulder Presses. B. 40-30-20-10 KBS/Double Unders READING: Chapter 2 of ISAP GRATITUDE: Comfort food on the Plane.

18OCT2013- FUEL: Meal1: Eggs, Mushroom+Onions, Salsa, Honey Nut Cheerios with Milk and extra Honey; Meal2: Fish, Tomatoes with Black Olives, Cucumbers, Sauteed Crab Meat, Beef on Bone Snacks: Coffee with Coffee Milk Biscuits WORKOUT: 1RM Deadlift then 2-2-2 Deadlift. GHD Situps + Hip Extensions READING: The King’s Prize, The Blind Girl and Jon chapter of DOD GRATITUDE: Honey. It sweetens life in place of Artificial Sweeteners.


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