CNBC had a story about 2 months ago on Warren Buffett's Top Three Investment Rules for the Average American, among other things, he discussed the benefits of playing Bridge.
"In bridge, everything anybody does or doesn't do, you're drawing inferences from, including your partner and your opponents. You're working with a partner. If you don't work well with partners you're not going to have a winning bridge team over time. And everything you've learned from the past has some utility on the next hand you play. The next hand, you've never played it before and you'll never play it again in your life. But on the other hand, the problems you've solved in the past are useful in solving the problems there. And you have to keep paying attention all the time. You can't coast."
Let's breakdown the benefits and see if Chess measures up:
"In bridge, everything anybody does or doesn't do, you're drawing inferences from, including your partner and your opponents."
I do not play bridge, but from the little I have gathered, you do not always start with the same "hands"? In traditional Chess on the other hand, the starting position is the same. When you consider Chess960, on the other hand, the starting positions will change, so in a way, you are dealt a different hand? It seems to me that in Chess, there is less inference from what a person is doing or not doing. In Chess all the pieces are in front of you, you can pretty much tell the options that your opponent has. I am not sure how "forcing" Bridge is. Can a bridge player say, I was forced to play that particular "move" or "card"? Chess on the other hand, positions are reached, sometimes from the very beginning, when one of the players is forced to make certain moves. It is "forcing". How is this related to investing? Well, I think that before you invest, you usually do an analysis or evaluation of the company you want to invest in. The Financial Statements are right in front of you. The notes to the Financial Statements themselves are not Gospel, there contain some estimations and "judgment calls", there are Standards that can be followed without necessarily giving out all the information. The fact that "all" the information is right in front of you makes Investing more like Chess. The fact that you look at what's in front of you, and what's going on in the market, and draw conclusions from there, makes it similar to Chess. The guessing aspect of how the future may turn out, is common to both Chess and Bridge. I think that if you are "good", the results of Chess player may correlate more to those of a good investor, [than those of a good Bridge player.]
"You're working with a partner.If you don't work well with partners you're not going to have a winning bridge team over time." Chess is an individual game. You may get help from a coach, some friends, or your computer while you are preparing, but when it comes to game time, you are always alone fending for yourself. It is self-interest and survival of the fittest at its best. How does the collaboration during Bridge work? Can a team mate convince you to play in a particular way? I should point out that, I believe, with this point, Buffett was emphasizing the importance of having good relationships or the ability to work in a team environment - and how that is an important factor in being successful in life and investing. You cannot argue with that. Almost all highly successful people have a team of friends, family, acquaintances that helped them along the way. Even in Chess, one plays with a lot of people along the way, and some become life-long friends and business partners. I am wondering if Chess as a game is a zero-sum game whereby if you have edge or some information that may help you win, you are bound to keep that to yourself until you use it. If you share it, then you may not effectively use it to your advantage during a game. Every new information gets added to the knowledgebase for all to see, and then he who has superior advantage in some way (talent, memory,preparation...) will win. Bridge on the other hand, is not static, probably every game is different? I have seen books on Bridge. Is there opening theory with opening names, middle game, and ending? Is there something like Rook versus Bishop?
"And everything you've learned from the past has some utility on the next hand you play." Much more so in Chess. I am not sure what this has to do with investing. Is it that the information you gather before investing affects your investing moves? Or is he referring to life after you invest? The latter does not make sense, especially in the way he invests, value investing. Since he invests for long term, then his past moves do not have some utility on the next investment. May be it does... if you consider that you have made a good investment, you are getting some returns, and then you are reinvesting those or buying up new stock with those returns, or even consuming whatever you get. Some utility there. May be. If he was talking about life in general, all our actions have some consequences, good or bad. You reap what you sow. Whatever the case, in both Chess and Bridge, "And everything you've learned from the past has some utility on the next hand you play."
"The next hand, you've never played it before and you'll never play it again in your life. But on the other hand, the problems you've solved in the past are useful in solving the problems there." I had debated whether to separate the last sentence (discussed in the paragraph above) from the sentences being discussed in this paragraph. What settled it is the fact that in Bridge you will/may never have the same hand ever again! In Chess, we some times (almost) play a game all over again at different times in our career. I would like to think that Chess then, other than Bridge,is similar to investing than Bridge. If you read the financial statements of a particular company, you may think, "I have seen that before" or "I have read that before". In addition, if you are doing an analysis of a company to see if you should buy its stock, you will probably have some criteria that have to be met. You may say, I want to the Debt to Equity ration to be less than 0.2. or Current Ratio to be greater than 5, whatever. As you analyze hundreds of companies, some things will start repeating themselves and your decisions will almost be already made. I know it is putting it very simply, but in general terms, that is how it works. Of course, Buffett has mentioned about buying companies that have a sustainable competitive advantage, and that can be seen through consistent numbers year after year as you do your analysis. Thus, it appears to me that investing is more science than "luck" or what you are dealt, and thus it is more similar to Chess than Bridge. I have already discussed using past experiences and knowledge as you make your present and future decisions, so I will not revisit that.
"And you have to keep paying attention all the time. You can't coast." Need I say more? Without having played Bridge, I cannot tell how much more attention is required in Bridge compared to Chess. I would like to say that Chess requires more attention that Bridge for this one reason: if people are talking and discussing their next move/play/hand during the game, there may be some distractions going on there. We all know that in Chess collaboration and/or noise is not allowed, which gives the impression that the utmost attention is required at all times. I know that I may not have given Bridge its fair shot because I do not play the game. Warren Buffett did not say that Bridge is better than Chess. This was just to revisit the virtues of Chess
through the lenses of Bridge.
Here is the CNBC story: Warren Buffett's Top Three Investment Rules for the Average American http://www.cnbc.com/id/31849504
Here is a link with some things Warren Buffett said about the benefits of playing Bridge. Of course, it is at a Bridge website, and he sponsors the cup: http://www.buffettcup.com/BuffettonBridge/tabid/69/language/en-US/Default.aspx
Here is a link with a some debate on Chess v Poker: http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/chess-vs-poker
After winning 3 games in a row, I knew that maintaining the wins would be very hard as the opponents would get stronger. I also knew it would be fun playing higher rated players. So, the self-talk began. I suspected that the rest of players I would play would be higher rated than me. I have always believed that I am stronger than my rating (shows). If in truth, I am not stronger than my rating, then I believe I have the potential to go a lot higher than my rating. You cannot argue against potential. So, I kept telling myself that in truth, I am higher rated than I am now, so I had at least equal chances. I also had to fight my doubts about my lack of preparation for this tournament. I told myself that I had won tournaments before without much preparation. I just had to believe that I would do well, and focus during my games. The last thing was a practical thing. When I go through Alekhine's and Fischer's games, I see a lot of things. I think I understand a lot of what happens. That being the case, I would be able to see and understand what was happening on the board with people rated 20xx! At the end of the day, each player gets a turn to contribute on what happens on the board.
So, that was the self talk.
I was a few minutes late for my earlier games because I came out of my room late as I don't like to "fight" with people to see who I am paired with. It messes up my "flow"/rythm. So, I let the games begin, and then peacefully walk to the pairing board to see what board and who I am going to play. The couple of lost minutes are worth it for me.
This game was different. I was a little late, yes, but when I went to the board position, my opponent was not there! Mmnnn! Interesting. I set up the board, waited a few seconds, and made my move and started the clock. My opponent showed up 5 minutes later. He took his time making the first move - (something that I do when I am late - just to compose myself) - I understood that. Then he took time taking off his jacket, getting a pen, etc. So I decided to wait until he was done and ready to sit down and play the game for me to make my second. I just wanted to say: "I know you are not worried about the time, neither am I." May be it was just my "twisted psychology", but that is a little background to the game.
The game itself was very interesting. I think this was my second best performance of the tournament. (I think the next game, round 6, was my best game of the tournament).
Without further ado, here is my fourth win.... two more to come...
I went into my 4th game wanting to maintain the momentum I had (gained) after winning both my games the day before. I am looking at the scoresheet to see what I remember about this game, and it appears it was a pretty quick game. We had 6 hours to finish hour game, and it seems we used less than 2 hours of it. At move 16, I have marked that I had 1hr 26min while my opponent had 1hr 36min. However, it was about that time that I played the move that won me the game, think: 16...f3.
It was a relatively short game, 34 moves.
I do not know what opening I played. I will have to look it up. My first four moves were pawn moves: ...c5, ...d6, ...e5,...f5. I just wanted to attack.
After winning this game, my record was one loss, and three wins; three more wins to come...
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.
The first two games featured "Indian Defenses" and I thought they were King's Indian Defenses. GotGoose correctly pointed out that those were Benoni Defenses. The third game was a Benoni. (Which one? Old? Classical? or...?) I am not an Opening theorist.
What I liked about this game was that I castled pretty late for me. Move 13. Usually, I am an early "castler", but this time around, I waited to see what Black's intentions were, and then declare my own by opening a line/file to Black's King before I castled. Like the second game, I had to balance between defense and attack before going for an all out attack.
At the end of round 3, I had one loss, two wins, ... four more wins to come...
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.
After losing the first game with White, I decided to study/review the King's Indian Defense and use it as Black against 1.d4. In the previous couple of tournaments, I had played the Gruenfeld Defense. Going to this tournament, I had not settled on any Defenses against 1.d4, but after losing to a K.I.D. in the first game, I decided to get over the loss by passing on the pain of losing to K.I.D. to other people. So, here is my annotated first win; five more to come.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.
[I previously posted this at chess.com on 5/27/08]
Here is my first game in the 17th Annual Chicago Open that I played in over the weekend. I was White, and I lost to a King's Indian Defense that I mishandled at various points. At first, I lost a bunch of tempos - (poor/inconsistent decisions). I must, however, commend Greg for exploiting my weakness very well. He was very patient, which sometimes, is all you need to convert a good position into a win.
After losing this game, I realized that the only way to win my section (U2100) or to end up near the top was to win all my remaining 6 games, or win 5 and draw 1. So, here is the annotated loss. The six wins will follow.