„Long before there was even a trace of scientific thought, man learnt to act strategically in games. The most sublime of these games is the game of chess.“
Emanuel Lasker, World chess Champion from 1894-1921
„Life is a game of chess.“
Miguel Cervantes, Spanish poet
Our life is defined in large parts by planning and making decisions. Be it finding a new home, convincing a business partner, investing money wisely, or picking the right school for our children: by planning and making decisions we set the course for our future. Sometimes we follow our gut instinct, sometimes we rely on cold facts and sober logic. If we are good at both, we can establish optimal conditions for achieving our goals.
In reality, however, we will be facing problems time and again, difficult problems, without a hint at a solution at first. Our intuition may prove to be misleading, our logic defective. We cannot seem to find the thread of Ariadne to guide us through the labyrinth of possible actions and their consequences. Each of us will pursue their own agenda, and often others cannot follow or comprehend it. Business partners, employees, co-workers, friends and family think and plan "past each other". We need to make decisions in the mist of uncertainty and hope for the best.
In face of this scenario, a model would be of great value that can help us organise our planning and take us step by step towards the right solution. Yet, only a system that integrates our intuitive powers and the structuring force of reason will be a realistic and effective one. Only the right combination of both these domains will make for masterly thinking, planning and acting. But where can we find a model for such an integral approach?
Could it not be in the game of chess, or rather in the chess masters thinking, that we find it? After all, what is a game of chess between strong players if not a long series of complex problems and their solutions? The chess master puts himself in his opponent’s shoes and asks at every turn: what will my adversary do and how shall I react? He constantly generates new creative ideas, only to scrutinise them right away: could there be a flaw, and where? He is capable of mentally exploring hypothetic future scenarios and thus find the thread of Ariadne in the maze of variations. His intuition will lead the way in face of an unfathomable number of possibilities, his reason will lend a clear shape to the solution. He needs to be brave enough to take a calculated risk and even ready to burn all bridges behind himself if need be. Any change of the overall situation may demand of him an immediate, flexible reaction or the drawing up of a completely new plan. He has to have the inner strength to accept defeat and learn from it. It is not without reason that various scientists studying cognitive processes and researchers of artificial intelligence have repeatedly reverted to chess as an ideal model of human thinking.
Chess masters have refined their techniques over the course of 1500 years. Current grandmaster chess is extremely demanding both mentally and psychologically. In order to succeed, top players need to develop optimal thinking tools and exceptional mental strength. But how can we make use of these tools for our everyday tasks? Alas, to this day, many of these strategies have not made it past the battlefield of 64 squares.
Now The King’s Plan transgresses the border and opens up the black and white microcosm. It bridges the gap between chess and "the real world". This has been made possible by combining skills that go beyond chess. While Stefan Kindermann could bring in his competence as a coach and a psychological consultant, the academic background of Robert von Weizsäcker, professor for economy, contributed to a no lesser extent to materialising this bold project.
In several years of research, the authors have dissected the defining fundamental tools of the chess grandmasters and made them available for general use. Their King’s Plan model enables the reader to utilise the tools that have been forged in centuries of world-class chess for his own professional or private ends.
Incorporating modern coaching techniques, they have created an integral model. Seven steps lead from the starting point (optimal mental state) to a powerful definition of the objective and, finally, a critical review of what has been achieved. Latest findings of psychology, neurology, decision theory, game theory and economy are also taken into account. In the structure of the book, every chapter corresponds to one of the steps of the model.
What makes The King’s Plan so special is the linkage of a structured and rational approach with intuitive elements. Only by merging a clear systematic approach with our emotional-intuitive powers will we be able to think, plan and act in a masterly way. For the first time we demonstrate concrete techniques to put this insight to practice.
This book serves as a compact compendium to help you quickly find a clear structure for upcoming tasks, professional and/or private, and come up with good solutions.
Vivid chess metaphors, thinking techniques, practical examples and case scenarios from politics, history and economy enable the reader to quickly learn and apply the method.
In principle, The King’s Plan can be understood and applied without any actual knowledge of the game of chess itself. However, it may be of interest, for the reader less knowledgeable in chess, to experience the real thinking processes of chess masters and discover the potential that lies in chess. Experienced chess players will be shown how they can they can apply the skills they have acquired in a more general field of life and career.
With that said, we want to invite the reader to join us on a fascinating journey into the world of masterly thinking and planning.
Reviews (in German):