If you haven’t already started watching the chess drama on Netflix, The Queen’s Gambit, I recommend it. It’s an amazing story about a gifted young orphan, Beth, who becomes mesmerized by the game of 64 squares.
There are many parallels that can be drawn from this show to one’s life. One being that in her teens she is somewhat of a misfit who struggles to fit in with the “cool kids”. I for one can relate to this, especially in my preteen years.
As a result of her shyness and awkwardness, she comes across to many as socially inept. However through her passion, the game of chess, she is able to find herself and gain confidence in regular life.
Where many view chess as a game or a sport, she sees something beautiful, something many Martial Artists can also relate to despite the violent characteristics of the art.
As a lifelong Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I notice many similarities between chess and Jiu Jitsu, obviously exclusive of the physical component. One is the very technical and strategic nature of trying to pin and submit much larger and stronger opponents, this could be compared to having a disadvantage on the board such as losing your queen.
For those not familiar with Josh Waitzkin, he is a Chess phenom who wrote the book The Art of Learning. If you are interested in understanding how to reach optimal performance, I recommend it. Josh is also a black belt in Jiu Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia.
In the series Beth also experiences the struggle that befalls every champion, which is the ability to continually evolve and reinvent yourself after reaching success. Something that for many can only occur through failure and loss.