We often use chess as a metaphor for life, business, and other competitive sports, because it's such a strategic game. Coder and chess player Gautam Narula offers us two simple rules that sum up the psychology of chess—and, by extension, winning in other areas.
In an incredibly detailed post about how to quickly get better at chess, Narula says:
If chess is anything, it is a game of second chances. Chess, like life, rewards perseverance. I've turned countless losses into draws and wins because my opponents got overconfident while I dug in. I've also turned wins into losses because I was too intimidated by my opponent's rating or reputation.
Chess psychology can be distilled to two simple rules:
Simply following these rules will add hundreds of points to your rating.
- Don't ever be afraid of your opponent
- Fight as hard as you can until the game is over
There's a footnote to the second rule, saying if the situation is absolutely hopeless, it's good etiquette to resign rather than drag the game on needlessly. However, also tongue-in-cheek (I think), he adds this rule of thumb:
"If my opponent were playing [reigning World Chess Champion and number one player in the world] Magnus Carlsen in this position, would Carlsen be able to win?" If the answer is yes, keep playing. If it is no, then resign.
The whole post is a great resource for anyone interested in chess, but the psychology part applies to us all.