Wu Wisdom: Chess as an Element of Life

The following is an excerpt from Wu-Tang Manual written by The RZA.

Chess is a very important element of Wu-Tang. It's an important element of life. It teaches you how to exist in the world. It teaches you to think multiples moves ahead, to strategize. It teaches you how to attack, how to defend.

It's one game niggas like to play just to test the mind—it's very relaxing and a good way to release stress. To me that's a perfect afternoon: playing chess all day, watching kung-fu movies, smoking a few blunts, and making a beat—I'm in heaven.

But chess also gets very, very serious. You talk with any true player, he takes it like a life-or-death experience.

I learned chess when I was eleven years old, from a girl. The same girl who took my virginity, she also taught me how to play chess. I started to love the game as a game—it's fun, it's a thinking game. When I was growing up, I used to go to Wall Street and hang at the park and play the old men, get whipped, start playing for money. But as I got older, I realized that chess was more than a game.

It's a strategic game that helps to calculate life, business, power moves. A good chess player can think three to four moves ahead. If you can do that, you can really manipulate a situation so that you're winning.

Additional Reading: Bobby, Bruce & the Bronx: The Secrets of Hip-Hop Chess