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Monday, October 3, 2011

How chess has economic lessons of strategy too!

Chess blog for latest chess news and chess trivia (c) Alexandra Kosteniuk, 2011

Hello everyone,

What do you have to say about economic lessons learned from chess?

Well, David John Marotta, the Founder and President of Marotta Wealth Management, Inc, has a nice article. He played for the State Department chess team at age 11, graduated from Stanford, taught Computer and Information Science, and still loves math and strategy games!!! 

He writes about how chess has given him economic lessons. He says, "Many people dismiss games as a waste of time. But at their best they teach principles of cause and effect that we can use as paradigms for real life. Of course, some games are better than others. Market games like the CNBC Million Dollar Portfolio Challenge teach all the wrong lessons about investing. Short-term movements are mostly noise. Therefore 10-week winner-take-all market contests encourage diversifying as little as possible and purchasing the most volatile investments. Chess encourages a much longer strategic approach."

"My interest in chess began when I was only four years old. I remember watching my father and brother intently playing a game. I wanted to play. And although they thought the game was beyond me, I insisted on being taught.

There is a beauty to the game of chess. You have perfect knowledge. There are no dice or other random chance. Yet the number of possible moves and games makes it impossible to analyze completely. Even looking several moves ahead is beyond the capabilities of all but the most accomplished masters.

I’ve always found analyzing games even more interesting than playing them. At six I took out the chessboard and tried to determine how to finally beat my father. Finding a weak point, I plotted, challenged my father and then checkmated him in seven moves. A few years later I was beating him regularly, and he took me to his workplace for a better challenge. That’s how at age 11 I found myself competing for the State Department chess team against college-age players.

At that time I played a lot of speed chess. But I needed to learn to slow down. I sat on my hands to keep from moving. And I disciplined myself to ask four simple questions before I made any move: What did my opponent do? What can he or she do? What can I do? What should I do?

I’ve found this restraint helpful in every aspect of strategic decision making. Perhaps the markets dropped precipitously. But what specifically did they do? What dropped the most? What can they do going forward? Perhaps they will drop more, or perhaps they will rebound. Just the fact that chess caused me to separate the question of what my opponent did from he or she could do taught me wisdom."

You can read the full article at this link.
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