You may have seen the latest Netflix big hit ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ which is the story of Elizabeth Harmon, an orphaned chess prodigy rising through the chess master ranks whilst she struggles with various personal issues. It is Netflix’s most watched scripted limited series to date.

I admit it doesn’t quite sound like a riveting watch given it includes watching many games of chess in different settings and countries. However, it is a very stylish and watchable series and well worth a watch. Now before this newsletter becomes a TV critics review, I should point out that the game of chess has long been said to share many similarities to that of business.

Firstly, the name of the series ‘The Queen’s Gambit’ refers to a chess opening where the player in white who starts the game aims to dominate it via a certain opening set of moves, in the same way a business looks to dominate its market.

Some of the other similarities between chess and business include:

– Both require strategy, tactics and the ability to outmanoeuvre an opponent or competition

– You need to plan several moves ahead and plan before you make a move

– There is an opening, middle and end game in chess which is similar to a business cycle/journey

– You need to know the rules

– Both require offensive and defensive moves

– You need to understand your competition/your opponent

– Need to manage both time and resources carefully

– Don’t play the plan; play the board, i.e., whilst you make a plan in advance, you then react to the realities of what is on the board in front of you, and not just blindly stick to the original plan

Although I did see one slightly disturbing quote on the using of chess as a good metaphor for business competition. It said both are violent sports and when you confront your opponent, you have to crush their ego!! I think someone has been taking their chess games a bit too seriously!!