Life Is Not A Chessboard

Amanda Yuk
2 min readNov 30, 2020

Upon recently finishing the entire series of “A Queen’s Gambit” in one night, many people might be wondering what the fuss is all about. In it, an orphan, whose parents were killed in a car accident before her birth, channels her grief and energy into a predominantly-masculine world of chess. For those who are interested, have played it or who are avid fans of the game, would know that the gameboard is primarily composed of 64 square pieces.

Each opponent takes on either the black or white side, and individual pieces have their unique moves. Think of each piece on the board as a person. He or she has his or her own special defining characteristics. The analogy here is that in a game of chess, it ends when either player calls checkmate. A checkmate situation occurs when the king piece has no room to escape and ultimately results in an endgame or ultimate loss, not to be confused with stalemate, where one player cannot further engage because there is no more moves to make.

Photo by Javier Grixo on Unsplash

Similarly, numerous experiences dictate how we respond to life situations, so you understand the analogy here. From time memoriam, philosophers from as far and wide as Nietzsche, Kant or Freud have sought answers to the question of our existence. Well, the thing is, nobody really knows for sure until the day we cease to exist. Yet, one thing remains true. The Christian belief wherein the premeditated cycle of suffering had already begun the moment our first breaths were taken.

How, then, can we mitigate our personal crises? As a writer vastly interested in the depths of the human psyche, one thing is for sure — Throughout the 289,080 human hours of my very existence, the core of the human spirit comes from the willpower for me to continue living. That encompasses both biological needs for food, water, shelter as well as the higher rungs of the Maslow pyramid, the intense desire for purpose self-actualization.

Let us assume that we will, should robots not take over our lives, continue to exist into “infinity and beyond” (cf. Star Trek) …

We need to unlearn the concept of splitting. This is a term psychologists use to describe the unnecessarily damaging all-or-nothing thought process our minds go through when something bad happens to us i.e. If something is not good then it is extremely bad.

The solution is theoretically simple but not as easy to practice in real life.

It’s the Goldilocks principle — Like a toddler choosing between 3 different bowls of oatmeal for the maximal taste, temperature and texture; always choose the one that is “just right” for you.

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