All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved. ~Sun Tzu
“And so the game moves forward.” I told him beforehand. It was a literal promise, in a sense. In front of me, now, I have it all laid out. The pawns, rooks, bishops and knights all arrayed in their proper positions. King and Queen of each side watching stoically for their presence to be required. I moved the King back a square, noticing he was dangerously close to some of the opposing side’s.
With the brush of a careful hand, I tipped over a pawn on my side-It would not be playing, anymore, captured by the opposing bishop on their turn. “Well played, black bishop.” I mused quietly to myself. Losses were an inevitable part of the game, really, though I’d always fancied myself able to look beyond the pieces on the board, to survey the entire field at once. In a way, I had to admire the bold moves of those against me. They can be learned from.
It was not one-sided, however. Said opposing bishop became trapped between a rook, knight and bishop, due to its move to take out that pawn. How vital was that pawn, I wonder, that the opposing bishop sacrificed their position of strength, to remove it from the game?
It all comes down to strategy, in the end. Often a vague, intangible thing referenced by the seemingly wise, it takes a true strategist to break it down into its parts and execute it properly. Someone capable of seeing the board as it plays out each day.
—Amdair’s Advice For Future Counts Casterlay—
Grand Strategy – The overall plan, whether we speak of war or politics, needs to be defined clearly as a set of objectives. Crush the opposition? Seize control of important resources? Secure one’s political or military position? Regardless of what the Grand Strategy is, it can be summed up in three words. “What is victory?” Always know the answer.
Strategy – Having decided what victory is, one must then decide how to accomplish that victory. Capturing an enemy territory may require sequentially capturing fortresses and cities. There may be multiple levels of engagement, such as wading through deceptions and lies to find the true enemy, before moving. Strategy is the difference between ideals and successes. Even though strategies adapt, always have three plans prepared. An active strategy, a back up, and a worst case scenario.
Tactics – Now aware of what strategy you are going to implement to achieve victory, the careful planner must now decide on his kit of tools, his individual tactics and ways of handling minute situations that can eventually result in the various outlined goals which accomplish victory. Tactics can be anything; compliments to one person, threats to another. An army, a gold piece, or a well-written document. Take stock of your skills, to know your potential tools. The more you have, the better your adaptability.
The mistake many have made, make now, and will continue to make is that sometimes, achieving victory requires losses which are accrued in very specific manners. The death of a pawn may eventually lead to the capture of a rook or bishop, which, in turn, removes a threat to the King, Queen and other high value pieces.
I stare at the board laid out in my study, each piece carefully labeled and studied, and wonder what my next move should be. The world won’t wait forever, but a well-planned move is better than a hasty move, in almost all circumstances.
Amdair, Q 5th 353