Early on in life, as much as I wanted to be the World Chess Champion some day, I knew that a lot of things would have to go my way for it to happen. What if I didn’t make it to GrandMaster? Or International Master? Or Master? What would I be if I didn’t have anything to show for my efforts at the chessboard? What if I could not support myself with Chess? That was always depressing because it took me a long time to figure out what I was good at. Even today, I still have my doubts. Whether my accounting knowledge is good enough? If I become a CPA, will I be just another CPA? What impact will I have on kids’ life? etc.
Despite the doubts, I kept playing Chess, and because I loved the game, I read about other Chess players, especially the greats. I saw that we (Chess players) have great Engineers, Architects, Mathematians, Physicists, Musicians, Ph.D s, M.D.s etc – the list goes on. The people who love chess go on to do other things. Life isn’t just about Chess. I can’t believe I said that because Chess was my everything at one point. I still think that I will get back to it some day. I have talked about the chess greats, but there are a million other people whom we do not read about their chess accomplishments but they are or were very good, but they went on to do other things without losing their love for the game.
While writing this piece I decided to research and come up with a comprehensive list of Chess players and what they did for a living in addition to playing Chess. Luckily, I found a nice piece written by Leopold Lacrimosa at Chessville
What I am trying to say is that I looked at all these people, and told myself that I had to have a back up plan to Chess. I had to work hard at school – I had to make sure that I was good enough to make it in college and graduate school. I had to develop the skills that are needed to survive in the work place. Just in case. Here I am not yet a World Chess Champion, but I am paying my bills and looking forward to a brighter day every day/night.
Who were/are your mentors? Were you ever at crossroads between chess and life? What did you do?