ARTICLE #34 [First published in February 1991 Chicago Point]

The Cure

You’re in trouble. You’ve just rolled a horrible number. What’s the right play? Does any reasonable action exist?

Looking at the roll, you may want to just surrender. You react to the subsequent pressures by trying to minimize damage. As plays become locked into automatic, the nicety of options is lost. It’s much too late to change directions now. What’s even the point? There appears to be no escape. The best possible play will likely fail, yet you still search for it. You ask yourself, “How did I get into so much trouble? Where did I go wrong?”

This critical moment captures the drama of the conflict. The problem has been so often depicted that finding a solution to it is the acumen of a great player. What we tend to disregard is that the situation is probably an impressive attempt to correct some previous underlying mistakes.

Fundamental plays are rarely appreciated when they’re made. They might be as simple as establishing an anchor or as subtle as splitting the back men for future flexibility. Preventing problems does not reap the glory associated with solving them. I wonder if sometimes we create these challenges merely to show others that we are capable of finding the cure.

Fortune Cookie
The most effective players are rarely involved in flamboyant plays.

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