Chess: A Journey of Strategy and Inner Peace

In a world on the cusp of big changes, where global shifts in power and financial uncertainties loom large, I embarked on a new journey - a return to the game of chess after 30 years. My initial experience with chess dates back to my childhood when my father, a seasoned player himself, taught me the basics of the game. He was not just good; he was exceptional, competing in tournaments and reading all those books that talk about the tactics from all grandmasters like Kasparov. But honestly, back then, chess didn't really light my fire.

It wasn't until I found myself in London, reuniting with a friend, that my passion for chess sparked. He started telling me stories of his personal chess adventures, conveying his profound enthusiasm for the game. He introduced me to the exciting world of chess on platforms like YouTube and TikTok. He also pointed me toward an online chess community where I could play with other folks. What really got me fired up was the ability to have a computer analyze my games, giving me tips to improve. And that's how my chess journey began, and let me tell you, it's been quite a ride.

Before I delved into chess, I was a passionate poker player. My university days were a poker whirlwind, involving activities like watching how-to videos on YouTube, reading poker books and blogs. I found myself pouring hours into poker, often at the expense of quality time with my then-girlfriend. My obsession with the game gradually took precedence over other aspects of my life. I remember one particular summer when I'd get lost in poker, whether it was in person or online, day and night. My poker dedication even took me to some offbeat spots, like underground poker rooms and casinos in North Macedonia.

But why this little diversion into my poker days? Well, in some ways, these two games are kinda connected. So, after a few weeks of diving into chess, I decided it was time to get into some real online matches. Honestly, I was pretty chuffed to see my score getting better after winning a number of games. But here's where it gets interesting. After I'd spent hours studying tactics, openings, and watching tons of those how-to videos, I suddenly hit a losing streak. It was a real downer, to be honest. So, I swallowed my pride and reached out to my friend to spill the beans about my recent struggles.

Ramy, provided a valuable perspective: chess is deeply connected to one's mental state. How can you expect to excel when your mind is perpetually wandering? Chess players are poised to seize your pawns the moment you lose focus. It was then that I took a step back and realized the profound truth in his words.

In the weeks leading up to this realization, my life had taken an unwelcome turn. I was dealing with my own personal issues while trying to keep it together for my company. My thoughts were all over the place, bouncing between past regrets and future worries, which reminded me of something Steven Bartlett said in one of his podcasts: "If you are depressed, you're living in the past. If you're anxious, you're living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present."

It was this state of inner turmoil that finally made me understand the essence of chess. I discovered that my only victories came when I achieved a sense of inner peace. Unfortunately, my current circumstances found me caught between living in the past and fretting about the future. But I remain optimistic, knowing that with time and practice, I will regain my focus and look forward to more chess victories on the horizon. After all, the game of chess is not just a battle of wits on a board; it's also a reflection of one's inner journey towards self-mastery.