the creative mind, chess is more than a game of conquest, conflict,
and competitive skill. Chess is a reflection of life creatively
is worth the time, energy and mindful effort to learn to play chess.
To appreciate its subtleties is to spark the creative imagination.
It takes an artful combination of left and right brain thinking
to maneuver successfully on the board. A game intently focused upon
will produce whole brain thought and allow the mind to flow intuitively
across the checkered landscape.
game of chess was consciously designed to represent the world of
transformations on a restricted field of action. Each player utilizes
the different forces of nature as well as the psychological motivations
hidden within. Chess mirrors our relationship with the outer world,
and allows us to reflect upon our inner self as we warp and weave
our way to victory.
asked, "What is chess?" the Caliph of Baghdad replied
"What is life?" Though the origins of chess are in dispute,
it has been around in many guises for several thousand years. Some
say it originated in India, some Persia, others in China, and the
Chinese have their own version in use today. Regardless of its origins,
to the enlightened mind it serves as a platform for creative transformation
of the mind and spirit.
key to understanding the deeper significance of each piece is the
geometric way it moves. Does the piece move in a straight line,
diagonally along the hypotenuse of a triangle or both? A square
move represents earthly action. A triangular move represents alignment
with the divine within. The divine within is what inspires us to
the chessboard, we see that it has 64 squares of alternating color.
One interpretation indicates that the white squares represent the
path of the intellect and the black represents the devotional path
of the heart. The chess pieces represent the forces of nature, light
and dark, good and evil, opposing forces which permit the manifestation
of all things material. Each piece represents a different position,
power and possibility in the game of life. How you use each piece
and the kinds of risks and gambits you are willing to engage is
a great reflection of your approach to life. Let's examine each
piece and it's potentials.
This is the piece the whole game revolves around and represents
our deeper self, the divine spark within us. And yet, it is the
least powerful piece in terms of ability to move about the board.
It can only take one step at a time, though it can travel squarely
This is the most powerful piece on the board having unlimited movement
in any of the eight directions. She is the power of Nature, reflecting
the light of the King, possessing unlimited potential.
These pieces remain upon their own color throughout the game and
can only move diagonally. One bishop travels the path of the head
and the other enjoins the path of the heart.
The Knight represents the awakening of the spiritual initiate acting
in the world. It moves by leaps of intuition along the sides of
a right triangle. It alternates between white and black squares
with each move, therefore, engaging the head and heart in each action.
Only a knight or a pawn can initiate the first move of the game.
The knight can make a move that even the Queen cannot make.
These are the only two pieces permitted to move strictly along straight
lines in the four cardinal directions. They represent our physical
power to act in concert with the world's material structures.
Pawns represent ordinary men and women attempting to move across
the board of life toward eventual initiation into union with the
divine. The pawn utilizes only the simplest interactions with other
pieces and does not recognize the divine forces behind its life.
It only moves one step at a time. Always forward, never backward.
It can move either straight ahead when challenged, or diagonally,
showing that it can utilize the head or heart in it's progress.
If the pawn gets far enough to triumph over life's trials and adventures,
to the eighth square of the opposing side, it achieves a higher
state. At this point it can transform into any piece is desires.
Usually the pawn is made a queen and thus becomes a co-creator.
Though many a wise man has chosen to become a knight and won a definitive
victory as a result.
to Michael Schneider in his most excellent book "A Beginner's
Guide to Constructing the Universe, "A complete game of chess
is an evolution through a series of geometric transformations of
position and power.... Each combination of pieces in various positions
on the board exhibits the physical configuration of a particular
energy pattern. One way to play the game is to work with the geometric
tensions and make moves that bring the situation into harmony."
minds of history have appreciated the game of chess, among them,
Goethe, Shakespeare, and Aristotle. In the words of Benjamin Franklin,
"Chess teaches foresight, by having to plan ahead, vigilance...by
having to keep watch over the whole chessboard...caution, by having
to restrain ourselves from making hasty moves...and finally, we
learn from chess the greatest maxim in life, that even when everything
seems to be going badly for us we should not lose heart, but always
hope for a change for the better, and steadfastly continue searching
for the solutions to our problems."
of the greatest games in history have been decided in the end game
with only a single knight. Learning never to give up is a necessity
in any problem-solving venture. If the true creative experience
is to live an artful and successful life, then opening the mind
to it's fullest extent would seem a necessary effort.
is an excellent opportunity to study yourself and how you relate
the world. Are you cautious or fearless? Do you lead with your head
or your heart? Can you move between both at will? Can you see the
whole and where it's leading or are you stuck in the isolation of
the moment? Can you forge through to the very end without ever giving
up? These are the qualities a creative mind needs to cultivate.
Take an interest in chess and you can exercise these qualities in
a playful way.