Battles Decided By A Chess Game

Okay, I’ve read this several times where someone casually tosses off the comment that battles have been decided by a chess game, meaning in the sense that they used it, the two leaders of opposing sides sat down with one another and played a game to determine who won, and not that the actions taken on the battle field were akin to those used in chess. So, what battles were they?

I’ve never read this and have a hard time believing it. I would think it would refer to the latter idea, that it’s an analogy. Cite?

Hmm, I’ve stumbled across it so many times that it’s difficult for me to remember where I’ve read it. In every case where I have read it, it was tossed off in the manner that “this is something everyone knows.” Which, of course, they don’t. I’m wondering if it’s not some kind of historical UL, that has been thrown about so many times that people are GAAFing it (Generally Accepted As Fact), without bothering to check it.

I have a hard time believing this. It makes no sense, since the only reason a general would even agree to this would be if he was at an extreme disadvantage. But the general with the advantage probably wouldn’t go along.

I bet it’s something someone misunderstood. For instance, they heard that a lot of 17th and 18th century battles used precise movements to outmaneuver and gain undeniable tactical advantage, forcing the opposing general to recognize his impending defeat and surrender, similar to a chess game. This developed into battles decided by chess games.

Well…there’s a popular chinese story that is translated below (badly, by me :wink: )

During the Three Kingdoms period, there was a long battle between the armies of two countries. The generals decided that, to prevent excess casualties, they would have a debate. One of the generals were very smart, and the other was a Dubya. In order to ascertain the latter’s mental abilities, the former asked his sister (a very learned woman) to debate with the other general in sign language.

She began by making a lage circular motion, to which the general responded by holding up three fingers. She then held up eight fingers, and the general slapped his thigh.

She then told her brother, “He is very smart, you’d better just give up.” He asked her what happened. She explained that the first gesture showed the country of China. The three fingers signified the three kindoms in which it was divided. Eight fingers meant that her brother had 800,000 soldiers under him, and slapping his thigh meant that (it’s a bit hard to translate…it’s an idom meaning ‘I could care less’.)

Back at the other camp, the stupid general’s advisors asked him what it was all about. He reponded:

" I don’t see what’s so hard about it. She first indicated that she had a (food similar to a pancake but salty and more filling) of large size. I said that I could eat three. She offered me eight, but I told her that I would then have indigestion."

Just a fun little story, but I thought I’d post it :slight_smile:

Yes, but what if both sides are evenly matched? If both sides have fought long and grueling battles with one another and neither side has enough edge to claim victory, then I can see the two leaders sitting down with one another to try and decide things over a chess game. (Doesn’t mean it happened, of course.)

The game of ‘Go’ is reputed to have been used to resolve a battle without unnecessary bloodshed. See here

Maybe future wars can be decided by a big LAN game of Battlefield: 1942 or some such.

Hmph, reminds me of that Star Trek episode where they have simulated warfare, but the people who died walked into death booths. O_o

In those situations, the common practice would be a truce. Again, the most you are going to get here are aprocyphal stories from long ago, I think.