(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/discussion-2/chinese-chess.html)
Wong Chun Yian teaching Chinese Chess
Shaolin Wahnam Ireland
4th October 2011
The ‘Chi’nese Chess
Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,
I always write after a course and this time will not be different. As always, Wahnam courses are so enriching that exceed my expectations.
It has been a while since I don’t practice Western chess. It has been so because I don’t particularly feel attracted by it. But, with Chinese chess, the situation is very different. It is much more fun and much more realistic.
As in all Wahnam courses, the Chinese chess course (1st and 2nd October 2011 in Ireland) is full of philosophy, advices and strategies to apply on real life too. I made a list with the ones that impressed me most:
Situations can Always be Turned Around
In just one move, one can change from an adverse to a favorable situation. Those in the course had the opportunity to experience this when playing with Chun Yian Siheng. In my case, in one of the games, I was in a favorable position and Chun Yian Siheng gave three advices to my opponent and I lost the game. That taught me a lot. If one knows how, almost any situation can be changed.
Don’t Waste Unnecessary Movements
Like in Zen, it is better to be simple, direct and effective. Again, playing with Chun Yian Siheng, I learned this valuable lesson. I was making a short movement and then, I moved the same chess piece again. Chun Yian Siheng told me: “You did two movements to arrive here. That could be done in only one move. You wasted one movement and you gave that advantage to the adversary.”
Have a Whole Picture of What is Happening
Like in life, one tends to focus only on one perspective or view. It is easy to forget that many other facts can affect the game. One chess piece placed on the back can change everything in only a couple of moves. Again, Chun Yian Siheng demonstrated to me this precious advice within the game. Once, I was so focused on my attack that I forgot about the rest of the chess pieces. In a couple of movements, I lost the game. I didn’t pay too much attention of what Chun Yian Siheng was doing with the other pieces.
Many people on the course was attacking without paying attention to defense. What Chun Yian Siheng told us about was: “One cannot think about an attack when defense is weak. First defense, then attack.”
Reduce Your Mistakes
I am very sure that everybody within the course remembers this advice. The more mistakes we were committing, the less opportunities we had for winning the game.
Don’t Lock Yourself
That is another extraordinary advice from Chun Yian Siheng. Within the game, we were locking our chess pieces in order to accomplish one strategy. But, what we forgot, was that we couldn’t use those pieces for the rest of the game because they were locked. Then, most of our resources were wasted and limited. Again, playing with Chun Yian Siheng, he demonstrated to me how important this advice was. He killed 4 pieces of mine with only one piece of him. My other pieces were locked doing something else so I could not do anything about it.
Sometimes You have to Choose to Lose
That is another excellent advice. Chun Yian Siheng was teaching me that lesson as follows: He was placed his chess pieces in the way that always two pieces of mine were in danger. One of them always had to die and I was the one choosing which one of them I was going to sacrifice. Then, I remember in exact words what Chun Yian Siheng told me: “Sometimes, you have to decide what you want to lose in order to get something else.”
It is Better to Lose a Game but Win a Friend than to Win a Game but also Win an Enemy
Chun Yian Siheng finished the course with this excellent advice and quote mentioned by Sifu, Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, his father.
As always, it is difficult to return what Shaolin Wahnam is giving me. I feel very blessed with Shaolin Wahnam family within Ireland. Thanks Chun Yian Siheng for coming to teach us this treasured game. It was a wonderful weekend. Thanks also to Joan Sijie for taken care of me and thanks to all Shaolin Wahnam family, here in Ireland, for making me feel like at home.