I started playing chess when I was in 1st grade. For years, it was one of the things my dad & I did together.
I’m a fairly intelligent person, but I’ve never been a good chess player. I enjoy the game, and I’ve tried to improve over the years–books, puzzles emailed to me, etc. But I don’t improve. My tendency when I’m thinking deeply is to develop tunnel vision and focus single-mindedly on what I’m doing. That’s good when I’m working on a theology paper or accreditation report. It’s not so good when I need analyze a complicated set of circumstances, like on a chessboard.
It’s really a broad intellectual habit. I’m great at tunnel vision, deep focus. I’m not nearly so good at seeing all the factors & possible outcomes of a given situation, thinking ahead.
A couple of weeks ago, I bought an iPhone app that trains the user in chess tactics. Maybe it will help me learn to see circumstances & possibilities. Maybe I’ll get better at planning ahead.