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I’m com­pet­i­tive at heart. Win­ning is ex­cit­ing when you get to look your op­po­nent in the eyes – some­thing we don’t get to do when pitch­ing against other agen­cies. That’s why, although some may laugh, I love play­ing chess. There’s just some­thing oddly sat­is­fy­ing about watch­ing your ri­val’s face crum­ple as they ad­mit de­feat.

Be­fore the age of nine, I was UK ju­nior chess cham­pion. This is where my pas­sion for chess started, but it wasn’t un­til later in life that I learned so many of the skills de­vel­oped from play­ing the game can be ap­plied to my work too.

Its ben­e­fits are huge. Aca­demics have spent years devel­op­ing re­search prov­ing how sim­ply play­ing chess can help to im­prove skills such as cre­ativ­ity, strate­gic think­ing, prob­lem­solv­ing and more. And while I’m no grand­mas­ter, by play­ing chess against dif­fer­ent peo­ple and per­son­al­i­ties I’ve also learned how to adapt to dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions. It makes you very aware that no one sit­u­a­tion will be the same.

That’s why, even now, I still make time to have a game with agency folk or even clients. And if I’m on the move, I play chess on my phone.

For me, it sharp­ens and ex­er­cises both sides of the brain. Think­ing with logic and cre­ativ­ity in tan­dem – two skills any mod­ern-day ad­ver­tiser now needs – can prompt dif­fer­ent res­o­lu­tions to unique prob­lems.

The sim­i­lar­i­ties be­tween chess and ad­ver­tis­ing don’t stop there. Chess has helped me learn how to adapt quickly and make the sit­u­a­tion work in my favour when­ever my op­po­nent or com­peti­tor tries to change the pa­ram­e­ters of the game. That’s why I al­ways make sure my days are fo­cused and ac­tionori­ented, to keep one step ahead.

Chess has given me a rounded view of peo­ple and how to quickly plan and think ahead that I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have ac­quired oth­er­wise.

The rules are sim­ple, but the lessons learned have been valu­able.

PIP HULBERT Chief op­er­at­ing officer, Wun­der­man UK

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