"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Half The Pieces Twice The Speed

“Go find the best chess player you can and offer to play for $1,000 under the following conditions:

  • Your opponent moves first
  • You move twice for every move of his or hers.

“In fact, you can even offer to give up some pieces, to make it more fair. You will find that, unless you are playing somebody at the grandmaster level, you can give up practically everything and still win. Keep the knights and maybe a rook.

This is a graphic illustration of how the smaller side, using agility, can overcome a large disadvantage in numbers”

“The idea that operating at a quicker time pace than one’s opponent can product psychological effects offers a way out of the “bigger (or more expensive) is better” syndrome. An opponent who cannot make decisions to employ his forces effectively—his command and staff functions become paralyzed by bickering and bureaucracy, for example—is defeated before the engagement begins, no matter how many weapons sit in his inventory. In this way, one could truly achieve Sun Tzu’s goal of winning without fighting. [Ed: If you move fast enough, every enemy is effectively incompetent.]“ Link

3 responses to “Half The Pieces Twice The Speed

  1. Giovanni Dannato April 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    Two words: The mongols

    The entire horde only contained about 100,000 warriors and they were never all in the same place at once.

    Their forces were superior in speed and ability to move across deserts and other ‘impassable’ terrain.
    Thus they could always attack from the side least defended and be several steps ahead of opponents who massively outnumbered them.

    • eric1one April 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm

      I remember seeing a traveling Genghis Khan exhibit a few months back. They had trained their horse archers to fire while retreating, and to use feint attacks to maneuver their opponent wherever they wanted them. It’s no wonder they won so often.

      “The battle of Leignitz on 9 April 1241 provides another classic instance of a false retreat. The accounts suggest that Henry the Pious of Silesia sent part of his army on in advance of the main body to pursue what they thought was a retreating Mongol force. Suddenly they found themselves surrounded and subjected to a hail of arrows. A devastating charge followed, and when the main body advanced to help them they were themselves overwhelmed.
      It is interesting to note that the Mongol tactic of a feigned retreat continued to work successfully even after the trick had become well known. As late as 1299 Zafar Khan, the general of Sultan Ala ad-Din Khilji was fighting the Mongols outside Delhi. He had long experience of Mongol warfare, but this did not stop him rushing forward when the Mongol left wing apparently collapsed. However, the reality of the situation was that the Mongols had not been defeated, but had launched a false retreat which they kept up for 36 miles. ”

  2. Giovanni Dannato April 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm

    The Mongols used strategic retreat in order to get the enemy cavalry to separate from the main force.

    The Mongols typically had less armor and equipment than enemy heavy cavalry and their horses were bred for endurance.
    When the pursuers were worn out and isolated, they were demolished at range.

    Then, the main force, even if it was composed of hundreds of thousands of soldiers had no cavalry to protect it.
    The Mongols could pincushion and harass this helpless mass at their leisure. Checkmate.

    The Mongols are a great example because they were masters of using the inertial weight of the enemy’s numbers against them.
    The Mongols deliberately burnt villages and towns. But then rather than killing the populace, they herded them towards the main cities.
    The sudden influx of refugees would quickly drain supplies, swamp logistics, and destroy the ability of the enemy to withstand a siege.

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