Strategy & Taoism: the chess master’s view

Howard Goldowsky

Some of the first reactions to my book are now streaming in, which is enormously suspenseful for me. You are each projecting yourself into the stories in my book, each finding completely new ways of looking at them and, yes, your own lessons to take away from them. This is just as I intended, so I’m feeling good.

Here, for instance, is an email I just got from one Howard Goldowsky, who happens to be a chess wizard, and thus a strategy connoisseur, as well as a chess writer. Check out his Amazon page.

(By the way, I will never post or publish your emails or other reactions without explicitly asking for permission. So never worry if you want to critique the book to me discreetly.)

Here is Howard:

I think that the last few paragraphs about equanimity sum up your entire book. In a way, what you present in “Hannibal and Me” is almost a Western interpretation of Taoist and some Buddhist philosophy. In my mind, it’s no accident that the book’s finale included a passage from the East. Is not the essence of self-actualization the monk’s daily routine of meditation, ‘chop wood and carry water?’

Chess expertise parallels life more ways than imagined. In chess there is a very distinct line between strategy and tactics. In chess, good players are always trying to level their emotions to equanimity. In chess, we often use our opponents’ aggressiveness against them. In chess, there is a constant balancing act between general principles and specific situations. Too many parallels to mention here….but these are universal truths we’re talking about, so it’s not such a wonder that these parallels exist.