There’s nothing worse than losing when you should win.

I play chess.

I have since I was a kid.  My dad taught me.

I gave it up for a while, but I got re-bit by the bug when I saw Falsettos on Broadway in the mid 90s (the show features so many numbers about the game, the United States Chess Federation should have sponsored it).

I’m a decent player.  As decent as someone who loves to multi-task and has mild ADD can be in a game that requires your utmost concentration for long stretches of time.

The thing about chess is that in the first few moves of every game, you can tell if your opponent is going to be a formidable one or not.  Which pawns do they move?  What about those knights?  Do they try to control the center?

If they don’t follow any of the classic, by-the-book opening routines, you know that they are weak players.

Here’s what happens with me:

When I see a player make a few moves that indicate a lower-level of play, I get sloppy.  I write them off.  I think I don’t have to pay attention.  It’s going to be an easy win, right?  Why work so hard?

And that’s exactly when I end up hanging my queen.

This doesn’t only happen in chess.  It happens everywhere, including business, Broadway, and life . . . where the stakes are much, much higher.

There is no easy show.  There is no sure thing.  Every show you do requires your “A” game.

And if you don’t want to give it, then you shouldn’t sit down at the table to play.

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