‘Chess teaches Critical Thinking, Next it creates healthy competition and comradery, and third it creates a desire to learn. That is why you should learn to play chess.’ Paraphrase from an unknown chess book.
One family vacation I decided to improve my chess playing skills. So I took a couple of books out of the library and read them while also playing a number of games per day. I didn’t really get that good at chess. But I did get a lot of wisdom for life and I came to appreciate the dedication it takes to become a chess master.
In learning chess there is so much to learn that has nothing really to do with chess. For instance that quote that I paraphrased came from one of the books I was reading. Chess is a complicated game that takes time and dedication to learn with no practical results. Yet, we see that there is a great deal of actions that can be applied to other things.
Cooking on the other hand is very practical and creates, or recreates something that your body needs. Yet learning to cook and learning to play chess are both experiences that will help you develop as a person. Learning something new will help you develop confidence and discipline.
When I was young my mother used to use cooking to teach me math, as I got older had a desire to be better and learn new and better ways of doing things. I gained confidence in my ability as a cook. Learning took place because I wanted to improve the results not because I wanted just to know, but I wanted to do.
As I studied I learned about nutrition. I learned about science. I learned about how to make things better.
So how can learning to play chess, help us learn to cook? Here are five ways that Learning to play chess and learning to cook are similar.
- Chess it is a pattern. Each player has his own style that he likes to follow. Beginning chess players will stick with their favorite moves and pieces. As they improve and they sense they are being read, they learn new moves and change the way they play.
When learning to cook find a few techniques that you really love. Find a few recipes that you can master. Then as you gain confidence you can move into experimenting and trying new things.
- You cannot become a better chess player by reading about it. When I was reading books to be better at chess I was also playing some games with friends and family. Every time I read about something, I wanted to try it. When I did, it would mess up my game and I often lost. There was a joke that every time I read the chess book I would lose. There was just to much going on in my head at once.
Cooking takes practice. When you are alone and there is no pressure, spend some time practicing what you read or learned on youtube. Spend time with other people who like to cook and learn from them. Learning to play chess takes a few minutes, Mastering chess takes a lifetime.
- Chess is reactionary. When you play chess you are constantly making changes to the plan based on what the other player does. If the other player starts with pawns when you expected knights, your whole game has to change.
In the same way cooking is often in response to what we have been given. The roast has to roast at different temperatures based on what cut of meat it is. You might find something on sale or something unique at the farmers market. Or your beans might not be ripe when you want, or you might be getting a bumper crop. Your plan has to be flexible.
- Chess takes a lifetime to learn. Even people with natural aptitude spend hours pouring over past games looking for an edge against their next opponent.
Don’t stress if you cannot cook well the first time you try, or the second, or the third, or ever. Cooking is always a learning experience. You will mess up every day, at least I do.
I have been making some new recipes at work and working with some new equipment. Both of which are a lot of fun. But there is also a lot of mistakes to be made. I had a complaint just yesterday that the honey mustard chicken was too dark.
- There is always another game. It is exciting to win and accomplish a good meal. But there is always a do over if you fail.
There is a saying that a chef is only as good as his last meal. When I first heard this I didn’t like it because to compare someone to the last thing they did seems unfair. But when you totally mess something up, it is good to remember, in cooking and chess there is always a new day and a new game.
So what do you think is learning to play chess and learning to cook similar? What other analogies to cooking can you think of?