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Lateral Thoughts on Life.

Joachim Low’s Art of War.

One of my favourite books, The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, might be inspiring Joachim “Jogi” Low, the German coach, for it is clear that he has  been following the ancient strategist’s principles in creating his victories on the Football Field at the 2010 FIFA World Cup .

First, before the tournament even started, there was much talk about how Germany would be hampered and weakened by the absence, due to injury, of their star mid-fielder Michael Ballack.
Sun Tzu says “Military operation involves deception, even though you are competent, appear incompetent, even though Effective, appear ineffective.”
Secondly, The prevailing view before the tournament was that Germany was fielding a young team and merely undergoing a rebuilding phase perhaps
aimed at reaching the quarterfinals this time around but certainly not in contention to win. They were simply giving their young players experience in hopes of winning a future world Cup.
Sun Tzu says, “When you are going to attack nearby, make it look as if you are going a long way, when you are going to attack far away then make it appear as if you are just going a short distance.”

Then before they played England the coach of Germany went to great pains not to insult the opponents despite the extremely competitive rivalry traditionally shared by the two nations. He heaped praise on England saying they had learnt alot about football by studying the English.



Sun Tzu says “Use humility to make them haughty.” He also says, “A wise general strives to feed off the enemy.”
Finally it must be noted that the game against England featured one of the most effecient attacks I have ever seen in football. The German goalkeeper actually provided the assist for one of Klose’s goals. The goalie simply booted the ball up into the English penalty box like an American football style punt and Klose got on the end of it and slotted it home.
The simplicity, speed and surprising effeciency of this would surely have gained Sun Tzu’s approval for he says, “Conquer others without siege, destroy others’ nations without taking a long time.”

Sun Tzu  also says “When you do battle even if you are winning, if you continue for a long time, it will dull your forces and blunt your edge, if you besiege a citadel your strength will be exhausted. If you keep your armies out in the field for a long time your supplies will be insufficient.”
Overconfidence and Arrogance can easily creep in when a team smashes others easily like “hammers smashing eggshells”.
To hoist the World Cup the German team must now be wary of one final hurdle, one team that can beat them. The Germans must beware of, Netherlands and Spain yes, but more so beware of, themselves.
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July 4, 2010 Posted by | blog, current news, Lateral Thinking, non fiction, philosophy, Psychology, sports, Strategy, success, writing | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Godfather of All Strategy.

I’ve been distracted from blogging by my first love chess. I’m training and working on my chess strategies, when I can, because I was
invited to take part in a tournament called the President’s Invitational. It’s the first I’ll be playing chess against human opponents in a
while and I am the lowest rated player in the event. This means I’ll be the guppy swimming among the sharks and everyone will see me
as Lunch.
Anyway the invite was quite an honour and a big surprise so I actually feel like Al Pacino in the movie Godfather 3 when he says ” Just
when I think I’m out, they pull me back in !” Chess is like an addictive drug calling me back. They’ve pulled me back into the chess
Mafia but now I have to show that I am still strategically potent.
While I was in this strategic mindset trying to figure out my strategies and wondering if was crazy to even enter against all these top
rated and fearsome opponents the USA Soccer team scored a stunning upset against the top team in the world Spain.
Seeing the highlights of the game and reading about it online after ( I sadly had to be working while the game was going on) was really
a motivating object lesson, a timely reminder, that a well executed plan will always be effective especially against an opponent unwilling
or unable to adapt quickly.
The lesson had already been made clear in the story of David and Goliath and in the fights between Holyfield and Tyson but it’s a
lesson worth repeating.
It also made me reflect on what might in essence be the Godfather of all Strategic guidelines.
“There is only one principle of war and that’s this. Hit the other fellow, as quickly as you can, as hard as you can, where it hurts him
most, when he ain’t lookin ” Sir William Joseph Slim.
“We’re happy with the result and we know we’re going to have our work cut out to get anything out of the final.”“We knew we had to
pick and choose our moments to go forward,” a member of the American team said after the game. The Americans did this very
effeciently. In fact they only made four shots on the Spanish goal but two of them resulted in goals while the Spainiards failed to net
any even after a dozen shots were taken.
Rankings and Ratings don’t mean much it’s what you do on the field of battle that creates victory.

Instead of blogging every day I’m here training and working on my chess strategies, when I can, because I was invited recently to take part in a prestigious tournament called the President’s Invitational. It’s the first I’ll be playing chess against human opponents in a while and I am likely to be the lowest rated player in the event. This means I’ll be the guppy swimming among the sharks and everyone will see me as Lunch.

Anyway the invite was quite an honour and a big surprise so I actually feel like Al Pacino in the movie Godfather 3 when he says, Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in !”. Chess is like an addictive drug calling me back. They’ve pulled me back into the Chess Mafia but now I have to show that I am still strategically potent or it could be quite embarassing.

al_pacino_godfather

While I was in my strategic “Godfather” mindset and trying to figure out my strategies and actually wondering if was crazy to even enter, against all these top rated and fearsome opponents, the USA Soccer team scored a stunning upset, against, the top team in the world, Spain.

Seeing the highlights of the game and reading about it online after ( I sadly had to be working while the game was going on) was really a motivating object lesson, a timely reminder that a well executed plan will always be effective, especially against an opponent unwilling or unable to adapt quickly.

Colonel John Boyd had developed his OODA loops to try and explain battles like this. The lesson had already been made clear in the story of David and Goliath and in the fights between Holyfield and Tyson but it’s a lesson worth repeating.

The lesson could be called the Godfather of all Strategic guidelines and no matter how many times I watch Boxing, or play chess and poker, or read the Art of War by Sun Tzu I can’t seem to put the essence of effective strategy any simpler than this;

“There is only one principle of war and that’s this. Hit the other fellow, as quickly as you can, as hard as you can, where it hurts him most, when he ain’t lookin “, Sir William Joseph Slim.

So effecient. Very effective.

“We’re happy with the result and we know we’re going to have our work cut out to get anything out of the final.”“We knew we had to pick and choose our moments to go forward,” a member of the American team said after the game. The Americans did this very effeciently. In fact they only made four shots on the Spanish goal but two of them resulted in goals while the Spaniards failed to net any even after a dozen shots were taken.

shots

Rankings and Ratings don’t mean much it’s what you do on the field of battle that creates victory.

Instead of just being a guppy, swimming away from the sharks, in a frantic bid to survive, I am actually thinking about how yummy sharks will be to eat. I’m like a Pygmy dreaming of eating a few elephants. A crazy Guppy sharpening his Teeth.

June 25, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments