Chess and business intelligence

Business intelligence is about being able to extract and analyze business-related data so that one is able to make better decisions.

There is a large number of commercial and open source BI tools, all of which are doing a great job at exposing the data you have, calculating various statistics about your business, slicing, dicing and graphing the data in a visually compelling way.

The dirty-little-secret of BI: in most cases, you are overwhelmed with data and statistics, but you are still on your own to decide: “based on all this data, graphs, and statistics — what should I do?”


How is this related to Chess?

Well, the analogy recently occurred to me:

  1. We continuously improve our chess knowledge: opening theory, end-game theory, middle game tactics, etc. These are the tools.
  2. When analyzing a position, we typically make commentary about what is going on (out loud or to ourselves), like “white is better”, or “this bishop is doing nothing” or “that pawn is weak”. This is like using the tools to compute statistics and create graphs.
  3. The hard part is making the decision: with all this analysis,  what is the best next move? 

With a good memory, pattern recognition skills, hard work, focus, and enough time — it’s relatively easy to be very good at #1 and #2.

The difficulty is with #3.

That’s where the real mastery lies!