There is something about chess that no matter where you live, how old you are and what you do is sure to taunt you and follow you at every point. It may be the injustice of a game lost, the beauty of a game won or the feeling of power when you sacrifice your queen to get checkmate.

There is one big secret to chess that seems to have been forgotten over the years and it is this: Chess is the perfect metaphor for life. Like life, chess, is all about winning, losing and learning. The rules of chess are internationally the same and in a way so are the rules of our lives. The way that chess players struggle to win the game and the challenges that they face are the same universal struggles that we all face and we all must overcome.

Thinking of life as a gigantic chess game is a trifle convoluted, I agree, but perhaps surprisingly it works. Once you have learnt the rules of the game you sit down ready to face your opponent and to bring into practice what you have just been taught. The pieces are set, the game is underway and within mere minutes you are looking dumbfounded at the board at your trapped king and decimated position. Thinking this is just a fluke you play again, and then again and again. Each time you lose. But each loss comes with more understanding of how to avoid those mistakes and how to beat your opponent next time, of how to win.

There are many themes in chess that mirror life. You can lose a winning position, draw a won game and unanticipated and seemingly unrelated things can happen that can change the outcome of the game. Just like life events can turn quickly and unexpectedly but it is how you deal with the unexpected things that life throws at you that can determine that game and the others to come.

I have mentioned how chess and life parallel each other and it is my firm belief that if you take certain steps to succeed in chess you can take similar steps to succeed in life. In my opinion there are three main principles that enable you to prevail both on and off the board: discipline, hard work and the ability to deal with and grow from failure. If you do this in chess – and in your life – you have set yourself up for a spectacular win.