Chess, not Poker, is Now the Ultimate Analogy for the Presidency
Harry S. Truman once said that being president was like riding a tiger. Of course, that's not exactly a comparison that applies to the real world. In the more modern age, that all-American of pastimes, poker, has become the game most likened to the presidency, mostly because countless presidents have enjoyed cards. But that fascinating presidential comparison could soon be usurped by the thinking-man's game, chess.
Ulysses S. Grant played cash games in the White House while vaunted tiger rider Truman hosted weekly games on the presidential yacht. More recently, George W Bush played a little poker during his MBA at Harvard. A favorite among presidents, cards became the ultimate analogy for effective diplomacy. But the blue-collar presidential analogy of cards and reading tells is being replaced by kings, queens, and pawns.
Before becoming governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted that he had toned down his workout regimen in favor of chess. "I play chess. If I read I fall asleep, so I use chess to keep my mind awake," Schwarzenegger told a Spanish journalist in 2003. "Every game is a stimulation of my brain cells. it feeds my mind." More recently, both President and Mrs. Obama are said to be avid chess players. In fact, while on the campaign trail, Michelle Obama was known to pass her downtime by playing chess with her brother while, as an Illinois senator, Barack Obama supported the International Scholastic Chess Convention. In a recent interview with German magazine Der Spiegel, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger even compared President Obama to a chess player. "Obama is like a chess player who is playing simultaneous chess and has opened his game with an unusual opening," said Kissinger. "Now he's got to play his hand as he plays his various counterparts."
These comments from Kissinger come on the heels of President Obama's meeting with Garry Kasparov, the chess grandmaster who has parlayed his chess board success into a prominent place at Russia's political opposition, a controversial place that resulted in his being imprisoned in 2007. So what exactly does this shift mean?
On the surface, it seems to imply a great capacity for much longer-term strategic thinking, as explained by Nation columnist Bruce Shapiro, who in March said “I certainly think that Obama plays the longest chess game and most complex chess game of anyone in living memory in American politics.”
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
Is it "perverseness," the "death drive," or something else?
A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.
- The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
- Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
- Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
It's up to us humans to re-humanize our world. An economy that prioritizes growth and profits over humanity has led to digital platforms that "strip the topsoil" of human behavior, whole industries, and the planet, giving less and less back. And only we can save us.
- It's an all-hands-on-deck moment in the arc of civilization.
- Everyone has a choice: Do you want to try to earn enough money to insulate yourself from the world you're creating— or do you want to make the world a place you don't have to insulate yourself from?
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.