Chess is pretty often compared to many things, but are analogies with chess and other various subjects really relevant ? Perhaps not always, but lawyer Stacy Jacob draws us a really pertinent description of the overall immigration laws and justice system in which she puts side by side the divergence of the immigration policies and the consistency of the rules of chess.
Ms. Jacob previously worked within the Department of Juvenile Justice (now called ACS) at which point she identified the sport as a great tool of redefining some of the youth’s strategic approach on their perception of any situation. In fact it forces players to keep an objective mindset along the games to better their chances of thriving and winning. Moreover anyone involved with regularly playing the game will benefit from a physiological well being, for instance Stacy noticed that chess allowed young people in detention to “refocus their energy onto something more positive and constructive that consistently helps with their brain development and their ability to think in a more strategic fashion.”
Today she concentrates on immigration law and she’s been successfully overcoming its constant modifications. Indeed if we take a look at it over a period of 30 years we’ll see that “the forms changed, the processes changed and there’s a certain adaptability that is necessary when working with the immigration system”. At this point I’m sure you see where this is going. Yes ! Similarly to a chess game, asylum seekers for instance seem to be “moved about like pawns, like chess pieces, and not necessarily appreciated for what their contribution is”. And that is why thinking like a chess player could allow you to somewhat catch up with the ramifications of the politics and the laws, by recognizing your role on that board, sometimes sacrificial, even though “every member is important from a strategic point of view”. We’re not saying that Gambits are bad and we all know that Magnus Carlsen played the Benko when he was a teenager, but as he ever lost against one ? Maybe on a bad day.
Unfortunately “from the government perspective not every member is treated with that necessary respect, so in some ways the immigration system ends up looking like a chess game for better or for worse. An attorney will have to fully understand the aspect of immigration to understand how they can help their clients the best.” Moreover there are many particular chess opening just like there are different types of immigration, and “if a person is doing asylum and their expertise is in asylum then they’re called up to understand all aspects of that and keep current with any changes”. In like manner if you play the King’s Gambit you better have opened a book or two before moving your King to c1 or you may lose your cool at some point.
Now “fortunately with chess the rules generally don’t change unless you adopt something special for anybody else or you say we’re going to set a timer to it, or some specific general aspect of it, somebody may agree to change, but the rules are the rules and you can depend on that internationally. Unlike immigration it is not an internationally dependent matter. If you go to a different country their rules of immigration are going to change. Chess is chess whether it’s in Russia or Malaysia or America, for the most part. In our country, how we do immigration is very specific to our needs” and the way chess established its own set of universal rules centuries ago, without adjusting any of its core values and principles, demonstrate a certain coherence and cohesion with the worldwide community that’s grown around this amazing sport while the continual revisions of immigration laws demonstrate the absence our absence of stability compared to how do do chess in America.
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