Checkmate! 3 Lessons that chess taught me about Insurance

Posted 31 August, 2018 by Clearly
in Opinion

Being the (ahem) immensely cerebral person that I am, of course the allure of the black and white jungle drew me in for a period of time.

Gambits, sacrifices, positional superiority – these are the nuances that have enthralled many chess enthusiasts into taking the game seriously.

Yet there are so many lessons that can be applied outside of the board, and here are the top three that resonated with me, as it pertains to insurance.

Enjoy the read!


The Order Matters (Immensely!)


Ask any proficient chess player about their aims for the early game and you would find their responses to be eerily similar: set up your pawn structure, develop your minor pieces, jockey for control of the centre, and castle your king if the situation permits.

It is all about setting yourself up for the later half of the game, where your pieces can be moved around freely and support each other with minimal adjustments. Chess can be thought to be maximizing your resources (pieces on hand) to achieve the best possible outcome. Often that boils down to setting the foundation right.


Reigning World Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen


How it applies to Insurance:

Take care of your protection needs before gunning for the investment gains. Too many people chase the sexy idea about increasing their savings/investment returns without first ensuring that their protection needs are adequately taken care of.

For protection we are talking about various types of covers that need to be addressed depending on life stage and personal backgrounds: Death, TPD, Critical Illness, Hospitalization etc to name a few.

Feel free to chase those investment returns after you’ve taken care of all your possible downsides – but never before.


Extra Material is always welcome, but not at the expense losing the game


A free knight to be taken off the board? Why not?
Oh, your opponent is giving up his rook? Thank you!
Her queen for your pawn? Mai tu liao!

9 moves later, you could end up resigning the game. What gives?

Material sacrifices have been one of the key highlights of chess. Infact, the more outrageous the sacrifice, the more spectacular the game. (Check out some of Bobby Fischer’s masterpieces)

Even though material is important, but it is still imperative to keep your eyes on the real prize – which is to win the game.


You wot mate??!! Garry Kasparov, one of the all time greats


How it applies to Insurance:

We’ve documented this at length, as and when we can. (because too many people are still falling for the same old tricks)

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The material gains are nice, but will they let you win the game? More directly, are you being induced to make a decision that you would have passed up otherwise?

These material inducements are most pronounced at roadshows – we are not a big fan. At all. You’ve been warned.


The possibilities are endless – there is no one “correct” way to play the game


Create a positional trap.
Force your opponent into unfavourable exchanges.
Exploit weaknesses on the board.
Behave obnoxiously at the table (frequent tactic at the lower levels of game play)

There are so many different ways to win at chess, and chances are, each and every game ever played will be different.


Hikaru Nakamura, one of the youngest Americans to earn the Grandmaster title at the age of 15 years and 79 days. Also, he looks like a bawse at the table


How it applies to Insurance:

There is no single one “best” way to get yourself covered.

You could have started out with a policy that your parents bought for you.
You could have a family friend / agent that is servicing your needs.
You could prefer buy some plans online.
You could learnt up everything yourself and instructed your planner to simply execute the transactions.

Regardless of how you get yourself protected, the important thing is just that – getting yourself the protection that you need. Ultimately that lets you win at the game of life.

So don’t sweat the small stuff. Go with the flow, pick up what you can, and make the journey as enjoyable as possible.

Oh yeah, before I forget… Check!


Hou Yifan, The Highest Rated Women’s Player and 3 time Women’s World Chess Champion. Featured here because I am such a sucker for the smoking hot nerdy look. Intelligence is sexy! aims to eradicate the knowledge gap between consumers and Life Insurance. Our Vision is that one day, every Man, Woman, and Child will be properly insured.

If you are an avid chess player and have more lessons to share, leave your comments in the section below! If you are Hou Yifan reading this, leave your contact below! <3

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