Unlock Your Potential as an IT Project Manager in AI and Digitalization: Harness the Power of Chess for Strategic Thinking and Decision-Making

“Once We accept our limits, we go beyond them.” – Albert Einstein

As project managers working in the field of digitalization and AI, it is essential to have a well-rounded skill set that includes not only technical expertise but also leadership, strategy, and decision-making abilities. One activity that can significantly enhance these abilities is playing chess.

Unlock Your Potentials as an IT Project Manager in AI and Digitalization  | andersahl.se

As a game of strategy, chess requires players to make decisions based on a set of rules and constraints (Chase and Simon, 1973). It also requires players to anticipate their opponent’s moves and make calculated sacrifices in order to achieve a desired outcome (De Groot, 1946). These skills are directly transferable to the business world, where IT project managers must make decisions and anticipate the consequences of those decisions (Klein, 1998).

Playing chess also improves strategic thinking and problem-solving abilities (Charness et al., 2005), which are essential for IT project managers working in AI and digitalization. The game requires players to think ahead and plan for the future (Polgar, 2005), which can be applied to project management by considering potential roadblocks and creating contingency plans (Project Management Institute, 2017).

Moreover, chess can help IT project managers to understand the importance of sacrifices and trade-offs (Gardner, 1989). In chess, players must make sacrifices for the greater good of the game, and the same is true in project management, where IT project managers must make sacrifices and trade-offs to meet project goals and deadlines (Project Management Institute, 2017).

Playing chess also improves the ability to focus and concentrate (Ferguson, 2011), which is crucial for IT project managers who must manage multiple tasks and deadlines. It can also be used as a form of relaxation after hours at work (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990).

Playing chess is not only a game of strategy and skill, but also a valuable learning experience. Whether you are a beginner or an experienced player, there are always lessons to be learned. In this article, we will discuss five key lessons that can help you improve your operative, tactical, and strategic skills when playing chess.

First, it is essential to always consider your opponent’s potential moves and plan accordingly. As Grandmaster Garry Kasparov states in his book “Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins” (2017), “The most important move in chess is the next one.” By thinking ahead and anticipating your opponent’s moves, you can stay one step ahead and make more informed decisions.

Second, don’t be afraid to sacrifice pieces for the greater good of the game. According to Grandmaster Lev Alburt in “Chess Training Pocket Book” (2015), “A chess player should be willing to make sacrifices in order to gain an advantage.” While it may be difficult to let go of a valuable piece, sometimes it is necessary to achieve a greater goal.

Third, don’t get too attached to any one piece and be willing to let it go if necessary. Grandmaster and chess coach Mark Dvoretsky in “Secrets of Chess Training” (1998) explains that “A chess player should be flexible and adaptable, ready to change plans and tactics as the game progresses.” By being willing to part with a piece, you can be more adaptable and responsive to your opponent’s moves.

Fourth, keep a strong pawn structure to control the center of the board. As International Master Andrew Soltis explains in “The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess” (2011), “A strong pawn structure is the foundation of a successful chess game.” By controlling the center, you can limit your opponent’s options and gain an advantage.

Finally, don’t overlook any opportunities for checkmate, even if it seems unlikely. As Grandmaster and chess author Nigel Davies states in “Play 1.e4 e5: A Complete Repertoire for Black” (2011), “A chess player must always be on the lookout for checkmate opportunities, even when they seem unlikely.” By being vigilant for potential checkmates, you can increase your chances of winning.

To improve your operative, tactical and strategic skills and thinking playing chess, here are five chat prompts that can be useful using ChatGPT in a chess scenario:

  1. “What are the best opening moves to control the center of the board?”
  2. “How can I improve my ability to anticipate my opponent’s moves?”
  3. “What are some strategies for attacking and defending in endgame situations?”
  4. “How can I make the most of my pieces and coordinate their movements effectively?”
  5. “What are some common mistakes that players make, and how can I avoid them?”


Alburt, L. (2015). Chess Training Pocket Book. New in Chess.

Charness, N., Tuffiash, M., Krampe, R., Reingold, E. M., & Vasyukova, E. (2005). The role of deliberate practice in chess expertise. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 19(4), 151-165.

Chase, W. G., & Simon, H. A. (1973). Perception in chess. Cognitive Psychology, 4(1), 55-81.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1990). Flow: The psychology of optimal experience. New York: Harper & Row.

Davies, N. (2011). Play 1.e4 e5: A Complete Repertoire for Black. Gambit Publications.

De Groot, A. D. (1946). Thought and choice in chess. The Hague: Mouton.

Dvoretsky, M. (1998). Secrets of Chess Training. Siles Press.

Ferguson, T. J. (2011). The benefits of chess instruction on student academic achievement and behaviour. Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(2), 497-503.

Gardner, H. (1989). To open minds: Chinese clues to the dilemma of contemporary education. New York: Basic Books.

Kasparov, G. (2017). Deep Thinking: Where Machine Intelligence Ends and Human Creativity Begins. PublicAffairs.

Klein, G. A. (1998). Sources of power: How people make decisions. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Polgar, J. (2005). How I became a grandmaster at age 14. New York: Everyman Chess.

Project Management Institute. (2017). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute.

Soltis, A. (2011). The Wisest Things Ever Said About Chess. Courier Corporation.

#IT #Project #Management #ChatGPT #AI #Digitalization