Editor’s note: Charlotte Beat is a regular feature on Wednesdays.“You have to rely on principles to make strategic decisions with limited information in chess – which is very much like what you have to do in business,” says Bruce Pandolfini, America’s best-known chess teacher.

Pandolfini spoke with Local Tech Wire in a telephone interview preceding his appearance at Spirit Square on Thursday evening in an event sponsored by the Metrolina Entrepreneurial Council and Grant Thornton.

Pandolfini, who was portrayed by actor Ben Kingsley in the movie “Searching For Bobby Fischer,” has just published a book about how to apply chess strategy to business moves.

“Through the years I’ve been teaching business people and other professionals chess, they’re the ones who have told me it’s similar to what they do,” Pandolfini says.

“The two most obvious ways: both chess and business are competitions. The principles that apply to the struggle, to the fight, apply to both. In chess, nothing is hidden, but the game is so complex that no matter how good you are, you have to make decisions relying on principles and intelligent planning to get to the next stage.”

In chess, Pandolfini says, “You sometimes have to make decisions that are counter-intuitive. You may have to defy material laws.” Top chess players will sometimes sacrifice a piece, ranging from a lowly pawn to the most powerful piece on the board, a Queen, for an advantage their opponent may not see when seizing the piece.

“You never do it without some reason that it’s a likely course of action,” he adds. “It may be that you’re acting on a hunch based on some knowledge you don’t have in your consciousness,” says Pandolfini, “but you actually have a reason for it.”

Pandolfini emphasizes that he is a chess person, not a business person. “If you have a business problem, you should start by talking to business experts,” he says. “But sometimes it helps to get away from what you do and relax.” Pandolfini of course suggests playing chess for that purpose.

Build A Position

Some of the ideas Pandolfini discusses in his book about applying chess principles to business and will discuss Thursday include:

  • If you see a good idea, look for a better one.

    Chess players usually only think a few moves ahead and the most revealing question to ask is simple: what would I like to do if I could count on my opponent doing nothing? Most people just see a good move and make it.

    “I’ve seen Gary Kasparov practically sit on his hands to keep from making a move,” says Pandolfini. “If you see a good move, look for a better one, that’s my motto,” he says. Great players build a strong position to increase board control so there is no defense when they attack. “You can’t do that in only a few moves,” says Pandolfini. “Play for control.”

  • To win big, think out of the box.

    Bobby Fischer and Gary Kasparov, two of the greatest world chess champions, both favored discovering new unusual moves that would take a game out of the much-studied variations their opponents knew as well as they did.

  • Small advantages produce large results. Simply gaining a slight advantage here, then another there, and still another elsewhere can build to a juggernaut that defeats your opponent.
  • Other points Pandolfini covers in his book and lectures include: mind games are part of the game; never let them see you sweat; mental toughness requires physical stamina; and to learn to win you must learn to lose.

    The event is at 5:30 to 8:30 PM and costs $25. RSVP is required.

    N-Tara Coming to Town

    N-Tara, which sells 3D visualization products, plans to open an office in Charlotte once it establishes business relationships through a sales representative in the city.

    Based in Johnson City, Tennessee, the 15-employee company has a presentation office in the LearnBytes building in Charlotte now.

    “We like to keep costs and overhead low, so we’ll wait until we have two or three longterm Charlotte clients before we set up more of a physical presence,” says Thomas Eorgan, N-Tara’s vice president of marketing.

    The company makes 3D and 2D visualization software that helps companies create 3D prototypes of their products or services to present the concepts for funding or manufacturing,” Eorgan says. “It will produce 3D prototypes or visualization for any scenario where you can’t see a process or it’s too complex to see just on a sheet of paper,” he says.

    In Charlotte, the company hired a former banking industry person as its sales representative and is working on a sales and training program for a large bank, Eorgan notes.

    Funded with about $1 million in private backing last year, N-Tara isn’t currently looking for venture capital, Eorgan says. “We hope to be a $25 million company in two or three years,” he says.

    Pandolfini event: www.runmyclub.com/mec/_files/userfiles/event.jpg

    N-Tara: www.ntara.com