Friday, July 27, 2012

The Philosophical Side of Chess II

In my bid to explain the idea that in my mind I have stored,
You all have to Imagine the new world as a chess board! 

A boy and a girl delighted by each other's sights,
decided to fall in love as the e4 and d4 knights!
They were so happy with their life,
The girl thinking of her future husband and the boy about his wife!
Each of them controlled a different square,
they considered their love to be unique and rare!
But slowly they drifted apart from each other in search of clothing,shelter and bread,
And on each others feet they slowly began to tread!
Because of the constant interference fights began to grow,
The love quotient that was so high slowly began to get low!
Thought the boy and girl: Each and every square on the board i can control,
Why do i need someone else to be with me to achieve my goal!
With absolutely no love left in their heart,
They both slowly drifted apart!

A wise boy and a clever girl who watched this happen,
Didnt let their spirits dampen!
They too decided to ignite their stove,
And as Bishops on e4 and d4, they fell in love!

Like the Knights at the start, they too co-ordinated well,
Life had become a symphony since the time in love they fell!
Each one decided to keep something lacking in their skill,
And it was precisely this emptiness that the other person was able to fill!

Soon one had to move a little away from the other,
But even with the distance,their love, they never did bother!
Both of them knew,
That on their own they could achieve any feat,
But it was truly their partner's support that made them complete!
Because of their inability, trust and faith in the other breeded,
Both of them always felt loved and needed! 
Very different yet full of Support,
The Bishops love till times immemorial held fort!

Today my dear friends, you have a choice to make:
You can be like how loads of people really are i.e a Knight,
And feel that everything about you is right!
Or you can be a Bishop and join the group of people that is really few,
And let someone special come in your life and complete you!

Friday, June 22, 2012


Leave the comfort zone!

Sitting pretty and strong was the Knight on e5,
Thought I, White just couldn’t lose till the knight was alive,
Every piece would love to find its own nice heaven,
But that just didn’t exist for the poor bishop on d7!
Pillsbury with white who had a position that was so nice,
Did something next, I just couldn’t believe my eyes!
He simply threw all the positional principles into the trash,
And  snapped off the Bishop on d7 with his knight in a flash!
How can a great master like Pillsbury have done what he had,
How on earth could he have exchanged a hero for a piece so bad!
I sat down coolly and for a while I thought,
I started to understand things which superficially one cannot!
Though the Knight was sitting on the best square that one can find,
Wasn’t it true that it was blocking the entire white army behind?!
While for the Bishop on d7 there was absolutely nothing right,
Didn’t it just defend the weakness on e6 with all his might?!
With those two pieces no longer there,
The weakness on e6 now began to glare!
Some wise man had rightly roared,
Its not what comes off but what matters is what remains on the board!
And So I say
Things that you prize the most must be given up some day,
The clouds will have to make way for the sun’s ray,
To become stronger you will have to experience the pain that will make you moan
And for that you will have to come out of your comfort zone!
For in life if your hands are always full with the things you like,
Then by this thought you will be haunted
That there was never enough space for the new things that you always wanted!
                                                                                                                      -Sagar Shah
                                                                                   (Inspired by the game Pillsbury-Showalter 1896)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Winner's Way!

Tough Situations and great Problems! Those are nothing new for all of us! They keep recurring in our lives! And hence how we react to them decides, who we actually are! So what is your usual reaction when you are in a spot of bother ?
From what I have seen, I like to classify people into 3 categories.
2.Normal People

 Losers are those people who on seeing a dificult situation immediately get bogged down!
Their first reaction is not how to find a solution to the problem but to find an excuse which they will whip out the moment they fail! Its no wonder that they keep failing and keep blaming their bad luck!!

Normal People are not the ones who keep giving excuses like the losers. But when faced with grave difficulty they are not able to fight back. No one condones them, for their problems were truly grave.
The normal person will pacify his conscience by saying that it truly wasnt possible. People will sympathise with them and they will feel better and slowly and steadily they forget the event.

And Winners? What are they made up of? What do they do different?
To illustrate this let me give you 3 examples.

Karoly Takacs was in the Hungarian Army and the best rifle shooter in the country! He was going to represent his nation in the 1940 Tokyo Olympic games. He was by far the favourite to win the Gold medal. But in 1938, disaster struck. While on the army drills, a hand grenade exploded and blew away his right arm. His shooting arm. The gold medal winning arm!
At that moment Karoly could have definitely given up. No one expected him to fight back. But Karoly was no ordinary man. He didnt care about others sympathy. He didnt brood over what he had lost but instead focussed on what he had. A healthy left hand!
The world's best rifle shooter turned his left hand into the Gold medal winning hand and won the Gold medal in the 1948 and 1952 olympic games!!

You all must have heard of the great Michael Phelps. How he swam to Olympic immortality by bagging 8 gold medals in 2008 olympics. But just before the 2008 Olympics, Phelps met with an accident injuring his wrist. His hand was plastered. He was not able to swim. While his competitors were busy practising lap after lap, Phelps was lying in the pool wondering what to do. But being the winner that he was, he was definitely not going to give up. His hand was plastered but his legs were absolutely fine! He kept kicking in the water for hours and hours! While it didnt help him to improve his swimming, it surely made his leg muscles stronger.
Fast forward to the 7th race of the 2008 Olympics and Phelps had already won 6 Gold medals. But his 7th medal was in grave danger as he was involved in a stiff competition with Milorad Cavic. They were neck to neck but Phelps finally edged out his competitor by a mere hundredth of a second. When the reason for his victory was analysed, it was seen that in the last 5 metres, while an exhausted Milorad dragged his legs, Phelps used a strong kick to reach the finish line! Those long hours of kicking in the water had paid off!!

The last example is the episode in the life of our very own Anil Kumble.
In the year 2002 in a test match in West Indies, Anil was hit on the face by a bouncer. Blood Splashed all over. Medical reports confirmed a broken Jaw. Anil was heavily bandaged and sat in the dressing room. His flight was scheduled to return back home in a day or two as his medical condition wouldnt allow him to play.
But in the last innings when Brian Lara was in blazing form, a Bandaged Anil Kumble came on to the field, bowled 14 overs and took the coveted wicket of Brain Lara. He could have relaxed in the dressing room. But his conscience just didnt let him do that!
Later Viv Richards said that this was the bravest thing he had ever seen on the cricket field!

From these episodes I can conclude that:
Winners when faced with tough situations, do not think in conventional terms.
They hate the sympathy of other people.
Rather than looking at what they have lost, they always focus on what they are left with.
And then there's this indomitable spirit, the undying will to succeed and self belief in their abilities which makes them achieve feats which are later narrated as miracles!

Next time when you face a tough situation and you are all prepared to curse your luck and give up, think twice! It might just be an opportunity for you to think like a Winner and achieve the unthinkable!!

                                                                                           -Sagar Shah
                                      (Inspired by Prakash Iyer's book The Habit of winning!)