In the year 1991, legendary American singer Michael Jackson sang a songtitled Black or White. It was the first single from his eighth studio album, Dangerous. The two lines of the chorus were: ‘But, if you’re thinking about my baby, it don’t matter if you are black or white.’
Almost a decade later, there was another man for whom it really did not matter whether he was opening his game of chess with a white pawn or making the second move with black. Having won the first World Chess Championship in Tehran way back in 2000 and once again been titled the undisputed World Champion at Mexico in 2007, Viswanathan Anand had proved to the world and more to himself that it really didn’t matter if it was black or white.
Mind Master, authored by India’s first Grandmaster with Susan Ninan is undeniably the most awaited book among the chess players as well as the admirers of this board game. No doubt, the immense experience of slaying down some of the toughest warriors of chess like Garry Kasparov and Vladimir Kramnik, this book caters to all including those who are not into chess.
Mind Master is all about right application of ones’ mind in any given situation. It is also about accepting ones follies and overcoming them to emerge into a winner. On several occasions, through this book Anand has given a glimpse into his mindset before and during the tournament. Interestingly, Mind Matter also depicts some of iconic chess moves by Anand thorough chessboard graph explained in chess parlance.
As a reader, it is an enriching experience as one could actually connect ones decision in life to those taken by the Grandmaster on as well as off the chessboard from one chapter to other.
One such mention that caught my attention was when Anand writes: As a long-term strategy, being predictable is not of much advantage – for your career or business, or even for you. Once in a while, you’ve got to take counter-intuitive path, but not without owing responsibility for the consequences – and certainly not without preparation.
In such situations, your attitude should trump the decision itself. When you focus on previously unconsidered solutions to reach your goal, don’t let your mind wallow in indecision or imagined negative outcomes. Instead, push through with execution.
Crisp language and detailed narration of certain incidents give readers an experience of actually visualising some of the incidents in front of them. I would personally recommend this book for corporate trainers, as well as for those who are into leadership building. It really does not matter whether you enjoy the game of chess or no, Mind Master is for anyone and everyone.
Through the book you get to connect with Anand at his chess level, at his personal level, at his teamwork level and above all at his mind level. I have no doubt that after reading this book, whatever your life throws up at you. Be it black or white, you shall always be prepared to make a right move.