At the age of 5, I asked my grandfather to teach me to play chess after watching him play with his brother. Following this introduction to this ancient strategy game, I signed up for chess class.
Mastering chess has changed my perception and helped me gain a greater understanding of the world in numerous ways. Dealing with unexpected moves and changing plans in the game taught me resilience in the face of setbacks in life. I realized I have to put myself in new situations, move on and be flexible to recalculate and create new plans. As an officer in the navy, I brought an outside tester to give me an objective review of my soldiers’ skills and knowledge. When he said there was room for improvement, I checked my ego and changed my way of teaching. One year later, my platoon won first place in a tournament assessing their skills.
Moreover, I learned that in order to be able to navigate and improve a given situation, you have to anticipate others’ thoughts and incorporate them into your decision-making.
As I improved in chess, I started exploring new strategies, methods, and ideas from chess traditions around the world. This multicultural approach inspired me to explore new languages and cultures in life, and I have traveled to more than 20 countries in Europe, North America, Central America, and South America.
Fundamentally, chess is responsible for shaping the ways I think and how I understand the world around me.