Chess has had an immense impact on my life. I grew up spending my weekends at an 8x8 board. I read more chess books than novels. I started so early that I don’t even remember learning the rules.
For better or worse, I quit by the time I was 12 and haven’t played competitively since. Yet, it was only recently that I recognized the impact of this game on my life.
Chess is an incredible source of imagination. It is so vast and complex that people can play for decades and continue to learn. It is a game of analysis and forethought. Each move is both an action and a reaction. And while there are rarely “correct” moves, each match teaches you how to operate under uncertainty and lack of full control. The board is the equalizer.
As Susan Polgar says, “Chess is a miniature version of life. To be successful, you need to be disciplined, assess resources, consider responsible choices, and adjust when circumstances change.”
People often think that chess masters are born as such. But the reality is that no one starts as a chess master. They work hard, study, and become a student of the game. They learn that chess isn’t just about aggression, but tactical progression, while mitigating risk. They learn approaches (openings) that work best for them and study their opponents. They learn to win.
“Every chess master was once a beginner.” – Irving Chernev
I think many of the same lessons can be applied to life. Taking on new problems -- some familiar and some completely new -- and learning to tackle them better each time. Perhaps that’s why so many of my childhood competitors have gone onto impressive pastures, from working in venture capital to becoming a famous Twitch streamer.
The scholarship is open to chess players of any level.
This scholarship is part of a 12-part Amplify Scholarship Series, spanning topics including women in tech, continuous learning, environmental science, and more. These scholarships are announced quarterly and awarded monthly throughout 2021. Follow along here!