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Counterplay: turning the tables

Slava the Ukrainian Socialist

Nov 16, 2023

The Game of Kings is a timeless strategy game that transcends its board and pieces. Its intricate maneuvers and tactical brilliance have long fascinated players, with each move carrying the weight of consequences. In the first article of this series, we explored the parallels between the game of chess and real-time world conflicts. We discussed the methods used by imperialists to remain in power. For a long time, the Western Hegemon was able to dictate the rules of the game. In the meantime, however, other players mastered their knowledge of how to play. Today, the empire has opponents like never before. Whether on the 64 squares of a chessboard or the vast geopolitical landscape of global conflicts, the art of war remains a dynamic interplay of strategy, tactics, and adaptability. Let’s look at some of the strategies and possible scenarios in current conflicts. Here we will discuss the strategies of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine and the future of the Israeli genocide against Palestinians.

Opening moves: 

The importance of initiative and setting the stage for success

In chess, the opening moves set the stage for the rest of the game and are therefore critical in establishing control over the board and laying the foundation for future moves. It appears Israel has taken this initiative to control the pace and direction of the conflict. From day one, the Zionists had fake stories ready to be spread all over the news. From “beheaded babies” to a “baby in the oven,” all were quickly debunked. But the damage was already done. Just as in chess, even if you lose a couple of pieces in the beginning, you can still win, though there may be mounting pressure to give up. In the same way, Ukraine has been “winning” the information war. Israel similarly copied and pasted horror stories of rape and torture, seeking to demoralize its opponent from the outset. Propaganda works and Israel keeps churning it out. Yet, despite these efforts, most of the world’s population is on the side of Gaza. The Palestinian resistance has lost many lives, but remains as resilient, courageous, and determined as ever to win.

Controlling the center: dominating key terrain

Controlling the center is a fundamental principle in chess, as this provides greater mobility and influence over the entire board. Where is the center of the world's chess board in terms of these two ongoing conflicts? We know that this three-headed monster is of course controlled by Washington D.C. Whatever messaging the United States considers opportune, its various pundits and vassals know to pick up and follow. This is the reason that Ukraine and Israel expended little time and energy trying to convince the whole world of their narratives. So long as Washington D.C. approves a message, their "allies" repeat it like well-trained Cockatoos. Fortunately, the multipolar world realized this long ago. Few besides the most brain-washed actually believe Ukraine’s and Israelis propaganda anymore. Even Americans in the imperial core increasingly see through the lies and are dropping support for Ukraine and Israel.

Maneuver warfare: outflanking, encircling & seizing opportunities

Chess players often employ strategies to outflank and encircle opponents so as to gain a positional advantage. This mirrors the military concept of maneuver warfare, where forces seek to bypass or surround the enemy, disrupt their defensive lines and isolate them. Following October 7th, Israel cut water, electricity, and fuel for Gaza. Palestinians in Gaza cannot live normal lives so long as they are considering how to survive thirst, starvation, and the constant shelling and bombing. We must continue protesting against this genocide and demand that our government end all financial and military support to Israel. Our strength is in numbers. Since the genocide began five weeks ago, thousands of rallies have been held across the world. In London, up to one million pro-Palestine protesters converged on Armistice Day, demanding an immediate ceasefire.

Defensive structures: castling and fortifications

Just as chess players castle, fortifying their king behind a wall of pawns, military strategists build defensive structures to protect vital assets. The Maginot Line in World War II, a massive network of fortifications along the French-German border, exemplified this approach. However, also like in chess, relying solely on such defenses has its pitfalls should the opponent find a way to breach or bypass them. Until November 7th, Israel likely considered inside a fortress beneath the roof of an iron dome. But for such arrogance had to learn a hard lesson. Chess teaches the importance of counter-play, or finding opportunities to reverse the game's momentum. Similarly, military commanders look for weaknesses in the enemy's strategy to exploit so as to engineer strategic reversals. The Battle of Stalingrad during World War II was a classic example, where the Soviets were able to turn the tide through much resilience and masterful strategic planning. Similarly, Hamas has for years worked on building tunnels to fortify resistance forces. During the Ukraine conflict, nobody in the West expected that the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) trading bloc would protect or support Russia. The West's cocky assumption that it could keep the world under its heel proved wrong. Over half the countries on the map have already chosen the right side of history. The tables have indeed turned.

Endgame strategies: persistence and adaptation/achieving victory

The endgame in chess is the final phase in which strategic planning and adaptability are paramount. Chess endgames require finesse, accurate calculation, and a deep understanding of pawn structures. In real-world conflicts, enduring through the endgame of a war means persistence and the ability to adapt to change. The game of chess ends with one of two possibilities: either checkmate or stalemate. A checkmate is an obvious victory and one which the multipolar world will achieve, given the growing number of countries joining BRICS and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization). Of course, the western media spins the empire's defeats as stalemates, as it recently has with its quagmire in Ukraine. And this will be the subject of the next article in our series.

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