Business chess and its Divine Predestination
An excerpt from the interview given by G.K. OVAKIMYAN
to the newspaper “Noyev Kovcheg” (“Noah’s Ark”), July, 2002
Question. Could you briefly remind our readers what is radically new in the game system you have developed?
Answer. In a nutshell, I seem to have discovered the principal mechanisms of evolution of the social groups depending on the conditions under which they carry out their activities, namely, “branching” and “selection”. It is not surprising that they resemble the mechanisms of evolutionary development in biology: genetic mutations and natural selection. This can only bear out their objectivity. After all the laws governing the evolution of nature are universal. The novelty you are asking about lies in the possibility of applying these laws to understand social phenomena as exemplified by a social group. It is to this end that the Interactive Cognitive Scenario has been developed, which at the same time represents a qualitatively new form of decision making by a group.
Q. But does it have any practical value?
A. Well, just how important it is in everyday life is suggested by the following fact. At present, in practically all socially significant fields of human activity, the preference is given to decisions made collectively, that are to such decisions that are reached as a result of a group discussion. The most common form of group decision making is the so-called brainstorming, which presupposes the freedom of expressing one’s opinion before making a unified decision. After such a decision is reached its fulfillment becomes obligatory to all parties involved. Now practically all group discussions from holding a family council to a medical concilium, a board of directors meeting or a cabinet council to television games of the type of “Question – Answer” have assumed the form of brainstorming. The principle of democratic centralism, which is so popular among politicians, also corresponds with the idea of brainstorming.
However, numerous scientific studies into the effectiveness of group decisions reached through brainstorming have shown that it is very low when complex many-stage issues are discussed. That is, it means that a group starts making inadequate decisions, which in social psychology is known as the phenomenon of “groupthink”. This phenomenon was observed by the ancient Romans, though, who used to say “Senatores omnes boni viri, senatus romanus mala bestia”, which means “Senators are good people, but the Roman Senate is a bad beast”. The scenario I have worked out represents a form of group discussion, which is qualitatively new as compared with brainstorming and which is the only effective form of discussing and solving complex multistage problems. The point is that, in contrast to brainstorming, this scenario makes it possible, in the course of a group discussion, to take various intermediate decisions with the right of individual choice. This becomes possible in case of a multistage solution of problems, and it significantly improves the quality and effectiveness of the group decisions made. Therefore, this scenario may be used practically in all spheres of human activity where such decisions are made.
Q. And why have you chosen chess, in particular?
A. I am sure that if a method is effective and needed by the people it will find its application, one way or another. Although it is possible to proceed more actively. In my opinion, the optimum way for something to be introduced should be in the form of spectacular business games which will suit any domain of activity. Chess is a sporting, universal, as it were, that is, understandable and accessible to all, - sphere of human activity. Unfortunately, in recent years, the interest in chess has declined catastrophically. But may be my system will enable its social significance to be restored?
Q. Still, in what way is the Business Chess fundamentally different from the classical chess?
A. The Business Chess is just the higher – or to put it more exactly – a social level of chess development. My scenario does not change the conventional rules of the game of chess or of any other game for that matter. Its purpose is different, viz., it is to show that the correctly organized joint (or group) intellectual activity may, in many situations – especially in solving complex multistage problems – be more effective than the individual one. Formally, in this scenario, the game rules of branching, selection and passing of chess positions are introduced. These rules enable a team to achieve a harmonious combination of the individual and the group forms of decision making. A free discussion is permitted. As a result, during the entire game there is a stormy discussion, there also occurs a continual change of the so-called branch ratings and the corresponding intrateam social ratings of the participants of the game and their subgroups, the various social roles and structures arising in the process. Previously, no such thing has been in chess. The only earlier proposed teamlike form of the game of chess – a consultation game – is based on the above-mentioned brainstorming principle. That is why it has turned out to be so little effective and nonviable.
Q. What have you undertaken to implement your scenario? And what are your plans?
A. I have prepared, as it seems to, a highly promising project of the Intellectual Olympiad, where my scenario would be used to enhance the spectacular character of such an event and, as a consequence, the payability of popular sporting games, such as the classical chess, shyantsy – the Chinese chess, shogi – the Japanese chess, go, renju, draughts, penta, othello reversi, etc. The attempts to hold such intellectual Olympiads have already been made, for instance, in London, in Cannes, but because of the lack of spectacular character they failed to gain much popularity. I am sure that this time everything will be different.
I also consider another project – Intellectual television – to be highly promising. In that project, qualitatively new interactive television programs based on my scenario are envisaged. Such programs should include not only Business chess events, as well as those of other intellectual sporting games, but also the various discussions having to do with everyday life, economic relations, politics, etc., which are to be based on a multistage interactive discussion of these problems. Such programs have not appeared on television before and showing them may bring essential diversion.
Q. If I am not mistaken, you also propose to use the Business chess in school education. What, in your opinion, may it give to children?
A. The point is that the game of chess according to my scenario requires from its participants the ability to find one’s way not only in the chess proper, but also in the various socio-psychological structures and situations, which arise in the course of a Business chess game. Today all pedagogues agree that children should be taught at school not only the various subjects, but also the intercommunicative skills, the skills to do things together in an effective way. In particular, they should learn how to make effective group decisions, opportunely use such currently popular principles as “You want to be a leader? – Be it”, “Rely on others, but do not fail yourself”, “Divide and rule”, “The power is in unity”, “Do not fight the powerful, do not litigate with the rich”, and so on. You can agree that many children, even having learnt all these principles by heart, would not very well understand their true significance. And today, in an epoch of violent social changes it is simply impossible to understand what is going on around you if you do not have such understanding. Furthermore, in any social group there will necessarily appear the roles of a leader, an expert, oppositionist, their adherents, the outcaste, etc. Our children should not only be aware of that, but should also be able to fight for some or other social role or niche, whatever they are going to do in the future. All this, using the form of a game, may be experienced and developed in the course of games of Business chess. That is, this game may serve as a good social, democratic and even moral trainer for our children, because it will show them the road to God.
Q. Interesting. And how do you see it? You believe in God?
A. I not only believe, I know He is. I can even prove scientifically His existence. In a nutshell, the main arguments may be formulated thus. Everything in this world is interrelated. Therefore, the world around us represents a single system or, as the ancient wisemen put it, God is.
Q. And do you have a more detailed concept?
A. Of course. As a well-known philosopher justly noted, man is not so much “being-in-the-world” as “being-with-others”. In connection with this, it is highly important to understand the role and significance of the Group personality – that is qualitatively higher and more efficient than the individual personality. Vivid examples are such worldwide known Group personalities as the Macedonian phalanx and the Beatles, TsKB “Rubin” and the company Microsoft, Soviet people and Christian Church. None of them can be reduced to any, even the most brilliant individual personality. Psychology has already come up to recognizing the existence of the Group personality. This is the inevitable consequence of the recognition of such fundamental for the modern science notion as the System of elements.
I personally am convinced that it is precisely the System as a philosophical category and its social analog – the Group personality – that are the points of intersection of the apparently parallel straight lines – God and Matter, religion and science, soul and body, moral and business. Hence my conviction that the most significant Group personality for each of us is precisely God. Or, if you wish, you may formulate the same thought in a different way: God finds His social embodiment in the Group personality. It may be a pair of lovers, a family, a company of friends, a sports team, a working collective, a military unit, a political party, a nation, the church or the mankind, i.e., any social group, of which we consider ourselves to be a part. It is these Gods that punish us and show us mercy; it is from them that we seek the truth and justice; it is their opinion that is the most important for us to know, since it determines our behaviour; it is attacks on them that we perceive as especially intolerable; and it is the loss of them that is so painful to us.
Q. And what place in this concept is given to chess?
A. The thing is that the road to God is thorny and, similarly to the game of chess, a complex, multistage variative process. It is thus that the phrase “Inscrutable are the ways of the Lord” should be understood. In such a case, the optimum conditions are created for the application of the Interactive cognitive scenario. Moreover, to reach the divine state of the Group personality is only possible under the supremacy of the Holy Spirit, i.e. under the strict observance, by all participants, of the intragroup norms or, to put it a simpler way, the rules of the game. And this, you may agree, is much more seldom encountered in the real life than in sports, including chess. Therefore, from my point of view, it will be quite justifiable to conclude that the shortest route to God is through the Business chess.
Interviewed by Grigory ANISONYAN