My brain is a constant whirr of activity. It has been this way for years. 

There was a time when I was obsessed with chess playing. I learnt how to play when I was about six and on my second game I had managed to snatch my mother’s queen in four moves. I did not beat her, but she was well impressed. I went on to win championships when I was twelve and thirteen and then stopped quite abruptly because of what I considered to be very unfair play during a tournament. It put me off royally and I would only play for fun after that.
In order to be a successful chess player you always need to be at least four moves ahead…you have to be a bit of a psychic and try to anticipate your opponent’s move. When you know your opponent a little, it’s easier. My mum will not do well if you take her rooks. I had a friend who was a champion with her Knights. I loved chess. The concentration and it is your own little battle and you channel all your power of forward thinking. Your brain goes ‘if I make this move, he will do this, then I will do that, then he will have no choice but to make this move and then I can leave a pawn as bait and take his queen…’ 

And oh! The immense satisfaction when you see your little plan unfold until you say ‘checkmate’ and win the game. 

Because, chess is more than just a game. How you play chess displays what kind of person you are: reckless, vindictive, deceptive, cautious, thoughtful…. 

However a statement I do not agree with is that life is a chess game. Even though life is sometimes like a battlefield with different characters with different levels of power and shady moves, in chess, the amount of moves are finite across a board. It is a game of probability and combinations, of which there are loads, but still finite. The thing is, if you grab a great chess book and learn all the possible combinations by heart, you will win all the time.

Life is not like that. Life has an insurmountable number of twists and turns and people to meet and challenges to be thrown at you. And if you try to plan as you would do a chess game, you would end up with neurosis. 

Unlike chess, in order to stay sane, you have to let go and say che sera, sera. 

I find this particularly difficult. I want to be in control all the time. I want to know what happens next before the present has actually happened. I always have a plan B, whether plan A is sure-fire or not. The windmills of my mind never seem to stop churning.

I have learnt to control it. With music and writing. But most of all with running. Running clears my mind. When I run, the only thing that matters is me and the road. 

And when I run I honestly believe that come what may I can handle it. 

Running is a sport. Chess is considered one too. Who knew that the two could have such a connection?

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