Lately, a friend of mine suggested to learn and play chess as it can be a great help to excel in my corporate career while having fun. So, I signed up at Chessable; an online platform for chess learners and enthusiasts to learn and improve their game. Recently, I got a book by John Bartholomew on the Scandinavian opening (I chose to start with Scandinavian opening because it is considered to be easy to learn and worth trying out for beginners and club level players). It’s hardly been a week that I am learning to play chess and I can see the results, i.e. how my mind started thinking differently.

Now, I can actually endorse chess as “a must learn game” for all the managers out there. Let me give you a logical explanation of my endorsement.

It’s easy to see some people at the top of the corporate ladder but making a successful climb to that level is intensely challenging.  As a fact of the matter, the steps leading to the top of the corporate ladder are fewer and even if you happen to climb up, maintaining your position and moving to the next step is even more challenging because there is a whole lot of new people climbing the ladder behind you.

In such circumstances, you cannot simply rely on your hard work and loyalty to the organization. You must have to develop skills like strategic thinking, critical analysis, in-time decision making and farsightedness because all these are crucial for any organization to find the right growth direction.

The critical business decisions that a business manager has to take highly reflect the ones followed in the game of chess and in fact, it won’t be wrong to say that, “business is a multiplayer chess!” Playing chess can significantly improve your strategic thinking and the decision making power by boosting your abilities to far see, predict, analyze and evaluate various scenarios in the business world.

Moreover, an organization requires someone decisive with a long-term vision and strategic leadership at the top. Top management without these qualities cannot help the organization to reinvent itself when required. And, we have witnessed that reinvention is inevitable for businesses, especially in today’s economy where technological development is faster than ever before and the customer behavior changes accordingly.

As novice chess players, I tried a few chess openings according to my comfort level, and got hands on a couple of them, but then I realized that chess is a game with thousands of possible moves and a player who knows other opening variations can easily beat me.

Similarly, being a manager I may easily be replaced by someone who is a better strategic thinker than me, has better vision or decision making power. The only way to survive and step forward is to learn, and if you learn something which improves your vision, that must be tried as a top priority.