Life Resembles Tetris More Than Chess

Games are often used as metaphors for life. Chess is often used as a metaphor, although usually for war, which is more accurate in some ways than in others. Tor Bair beccame intimately aware of chess as a metaphor at an early age, and other games came only later.

From the age of seven, I played chess constantly and competitively. I played in school, online, at national competitions. Chess taught me patience, perseverance, critical thinking — crucial skills for tackling life’s hard problems and difficult situations.

Chess wired me to think causally at a young age. Move your knight here; you’ll trap his bishop. Capture that pawn; you’ll weaken his right side. Every correct move led me closer to a checkmate; every false step brought me closer to defeat.

Chess also introduced the idea of the “other”. Black versus white. Our school versus theirs. And every game was zero sum — there was only ever one point to score, either to be shared or taken in its entirety. No way to grow the pie.

The problem is that chess is logical, and can be as simple or as difficult as your opponent is. Life isn’t logical or simple, even though it can take a lifetime to master, as they say about chess. Bair decided that life is more like Tetris than chess, and requires a completely different set of skills, strategy, and philosophy. Of course, playing and winning are two different things. He lays out four ways Tetris is a metaphor for our lives, and it all makes perfect sense. -via reddit

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