Sunday, August 3, 2014

Goal Setting-The lessons from Chess.

I always start my chess lessons by saying that Chess as a game has 4 major components that determines strategy and affect results. Those 4 components are the time frame of the game, your opponents skills and weaknesses, your skills and weaknesses and what is happening in front of you ie the board.

But today let us talk about this from the perspective of goal setting. Can you see that goal setting has a direct relationship to the time frame available?

If you can then I think you will understand why I spend a lot of time to make sure that the goals are realistic within the time frame available.

Lets say you have infinite time to execute a strategy. Under those circumstances does it matter if you get lost again and again? Wandering for 40 years in search of the promise land.

But lets say now that you have a limited time frame or the opportunity may be lost. And lets say that we have decided together that you have a time frame of 5 years to achieve the stated goal measurable in milestones.

Now to achieve that goal in that time frame, do you not have to measure the gap between you and your opponent? Competitive analysis or comparative studies. Take your pick.

Since the agreed goal is now 5 years, does that not dictate the speed that you have to learn to have a fighting chance in 5 years? What percentage chance would you like to have? 50%, 70%?

And are those percentages also not affected by what is going on right in front of you. On the board. The question here is if you continue to make the right decisions would you increase your percentage chance? Before you leave this earth, before the game is over. And if you make the wrong decision, move by move, as you are overwhelmed by your fears, what happens?

I hope you can now see what a double edged sword goal setting is today. Get it right and you achieve your goal. If you are also willing to pay the realistic price that is.

Now do you also see why very very few are willing to set realistic goals? They would rather wallow in the self delusion that they have infinite time rather than strive daily to make the right decisions to get there. Yes? No?

You still have doubts about what I am saying? Lets look at our Vision 2020. What is happening there. Why all that deflection, all that raising of new invented issues that take us away from that goal? Was Vision 2020 realistic? Did we measure the gap and then set our measurable milestones to achieve it? Are we willing to pay the price of success?

Do we believe in ourselves?

Chess is but a tool to learning. It doesn't have all the answers but it is a good start to learning how to think. But only if used properly.

Note: What do you learn when you fix the games? What would that tell you about the state of our chess today? Why has that happened?

Has the model above shown us where we may be going wrong? So what is the goal? And what do we have to factor in to achieve results. Do you have a goal? Do you have infinite time?

Thank you for your time today. Have a good weekend.


  1. I think you have point there. I am currently a amateur player that want to improve, but the state of Malaysian chess is currently so bad that I believe it is very hard to get better without fixing games. I shamefully admit that I have fixed 1 or 2 times with my friends I would not do it again as I look up to you as a good chess coach that teaches the right principles to be not only good person, but a great person. I dont have enough time as I will be going to college soon so yeah, I dont have infinite time. So what is considered a realistic goal? I think getting to 1500 standard is abit unrealistic and even Mark had troubles getting past that mark without help from Paulo Bersamina. So you have been pretty dormant lately. Will please write more as I get alot of information from your blog.