When I was growing up, my Father used to play chess with me all the time.

He used it to teach me different lessons.

One of his favourite moves was manoeuvring my pieces so that no matter what I did, he could move one of his pieces one way, and take one of mine, or the same piece another way, and take another of mine. No matter what, I would lose a piece and there was nothing I could do about it. He called it "being snookered".

Whenever this happened, I would often become frustrated at the no-win scenario. He would stop, and counsel me on which move to take, which piece would be more valuable later on, how to weigh my options and calm myself and make a good, sound decision. To see the bigger picture. Then we would resume the game, sometimes I moved the piece he suggested to save it, sometimes away, sometimes more aggressively, other times I would rebel and move the other, often acting to save a lesser piece like a pawn over a rook or a bishop.

Then he would crush the other piece, unhesitatingly. Without mercy.

Usually with a smile, when he could see that I'd learned the lesson. Sometimes in life there are no good options, only less bad ones. Sometimes the sacrifice now is necessary for the victory later. Sometimes you can't win, against a better equipped more experienced player, but that doesn't mean that you give up.

Sometimes the lesson was "it's okay to lose so long as you tried your best".

Sometimes it was "suffer now so that you can win later".

"Take the loss now, regroup and don't lose more".

My Father taught me Strength. Mercy. Discipline. Perseverance. How to watch, and listen, and learn.

I didn't believe in no-win scenarios, not then and not now. My Father taught me a dozen distinct lessons from those games, and I wonder if he knew what he was doing consciously, or whether it was simply something that he did naturally and automatically, that flowed from just how good a man he is.

There's a famous speech Captain Kirk gives in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan about the Kobayashi Maru test at Starfleet Academy. It's a no-win scenario, designed to test how the Caption responds when he knows he's going to lose, when the people under his command are going to die. Kirk is the only person to ever "pass" it, and he did that by hacking the computer and changing the rules of the test. The only person who even thought to tear up the rules and make his own.

Reflections of that test in the lessons my Father taught me so many years ago, playing chess.