Not sure if this is relevant to chess, so please redirect if necessary. But I figured I would get the best chess-based response here.
How would one apply the principles of chess to everyday life? There is always a lot of talk in fiction about how some character is a great chess prodigy which helps him make lots of money somehow or achieve impossible feats because they can think 20 steps ahead. This causes me several problems:
Often you are thinking of what you want to accomplish, while your opponent is thinking about what he wishes to accomplish. While we can anticipate their reactions to our moves, how is it possible to anticipate all of the variables when considering the opponents desires AND their reactions to our moves.
As a result of Problem 1 above, the equation is constantly changing, not only rearranging but also completely reformulating... all in your head. It is one thing to master maneuvers in the game of chess relative to its rules and layout, but I am talking about translating these skills to any game, or situation in life, and on the fly. Experience in a single task is one thing, but this adaptability I am referring to is another.
As a result of Problem 1 and 2 above, often times our end moves depend on some key decision or action by our opponent, usually at a crucial point that determines if we will continue with our current strategy or not. Better plans would not rely on this, but this seems to be inevitable. Sure, one can bottleneck their opponent into a situation where they are forced to make the move you desire them to make, or make them think that their move is what they want to do, but this reliance has often proven to be problematic. Not only because it is difficult to anticipate all possible moves, but also because of mere chance and environmental variables (completely uncontrollable and seemingly unforeseeable).
As a result of Problem 1, 2 and 3 above, it seems unlikely or almost silly to pick out a game plan to begin with, in chess or in life, and move solely towards that goal. Yes, it is possible to set out on a journey for a particular destination and adjust accordingly to reach that destination when steered off course. It is also sometimes desirable to sometimes "land" somewhere near your desired destination because near enough is good. But when people execute plans that are 20 steps in advance and calculate all possible configurations leaving nothing to chance, this seems to me to be impossible or not a reality for most people to able to perform.
To sum: In fiction and (I think) real life, elaborate plots which involve many variables often tip their hat to a foundation in chess. I understand fiction is fiction, and many of these plots are unrealistic, but is it possible to think this way without being a savant?
I changed the title to reflect that the question is mainly dealing with elaborate endgame strategies. These occurs both in life and also, I believe, in chess. Clearly, I am not an avid chess player, although I have a working knowledge of the game. Perhaps my understanding of how different chess strategies work and how agile they can be, but you often hear about people playing the game in their head before it is actually played which would seem to be a useful skill if applied to a majority of such sequentially reactive tasks. From the answers I have received thus far, it seems that there is very little correlation in between good at chess an then being good at something else with little practice of a result of having their chess skills. When I say "something else", I am mainly referring to life and dealing with its problems, which could be reduced down to a sequentially reactive series or tasks. From what it sounds like, the reverse may be as equally true: someone good at business, sports, military or other strategic game might have a propensity for chess when first beginning.
This is not a philosophy forum, I understand. But if I asked this question in the Philosophy section, how many knowledgeable chess players would be answering?
To finalize my point: mastery of the strategy game "Go", or "Wei Qi"/"Weiqi" in Chinese, is one of the four cultivated arts, and was probably considered this due to the strategy-based techniques it requires and mental abilities it may (or may not) develop. This has not been proven, if you believe what you read in the 'Psychology' section of the "Go" Wikipedia article. This game shares many fundamental qualities with chess, in my opinion, so I was curious if chess also cultivates something more in a human being than, say, playing a musical instrument or a sport.
And then to bring it full circle and lose even more readers:
This question may have been two seperate parts that I was trying to combine into one.
1. Does elaborate endgame strategy truly work despite my claims for Problems #1, #2, #3 and #4 in the original section of this post?
2. Can the elaborate endgame strategy learned and used in chess be applied to life directly?