Winning the Game

2014-1205 Chess Brain

There are many different ways to measure the success of recovery. Some survivors consider their ability to walk, talk, move, or socialize as the key indicators of success. Others define success in terms of returning to something such as their “old normal, the place the injury occurred, or the activity they were doing when the injury happened (riding a horse, driving a car, playing football, etc.). There is also a view that success is measured in terms of time since injury.

I consider my recovery a success even though I do not walk, talk, move, or socialize well. I enjoyed my old normal, but I enjoy my new normal even more. I don’t know where or when my injury occurred, or what I was doing at the time of injury. I have a very good memory of when the injury presented itself, but no when it actually occurred. None of the traditional measurements are factors in measuring my recovery.

For me, the best measure of a successful recovery is my ability to understand chess. I am not suggesting this is the only real measure of success or that the measure is ideal for everybody.

Although I certainly don’t have the chess skills that Magnus Carlsen displayed in the following 60 Minutes interview. I think the game teaches several important skills that are essential to success such as:

  • Socializing
  • Complying with rules
  • Paying attention
  • Developing figural, positional, and critical thinking skills
  • Choosing the best option (decision making)
  • Planning
  • Reacting appropriately to change
  • Categorizing and organizing
  • Memorizing


Thanks to Magnus Carlsen for sharing his skills and story; CBS News for committing its resources to the story; 60 Minutes for dedicating its resources to producing the video; Google for helping me find the video; and all the other people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture, video, and text I used in this post.

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