Strategy comes in many forms

13Feb09

Over the past week I have played about 15 games of chess, I am so hooked.  My uncle taught me how to play when I was young but I never really had anyone else to play with.  In college there were a few guys that were interested in playing, but finding the time to complete games was difficult.  Last week however I was introduced to an iPhone app called Chess with Friends.  You can play against a friend (local or online) or they will match you up against a random opponent.  There is no time limit which means there is no need to schedule time to play, you just make a move when you can.  I have 5 or 6 games going at any one time, and having a lot of fun playing again.

I  was playing against a co-worker over the weekend and beat him 3 straight games.  At lunch on Monday he made a wise crack about something and I told him to keep quiet until he beats me in chess (we give each other a lot of shit).  He started complaining about how hard it is to play against me in chess because I have no strategy.  As he put it, I just run around the board collecting pieces.  If there is a piece I can take, I take it.  He went on and on about my lack of strategy.  I laughed, because he was all worked up over it.

Look, I am not very good at chess.  I enjoy playing and can usually hold my own for a bit against better players, but I understand my skill level and play accordingly.  Because of this, as I explained to my co-worker, my strategy is to simplify the game.  I am fully willing to trade pieces of equal values just to get them off the board.  My rationale is that the more pieces on the board the more complicated the game is and I am more apt to get setup by a better player.  Rather than complicate things I come out swinging, smash mouth chess if you will.  After trading 5 or 6 pieces each, the board becomes much clearer to me.  When this happens, I feel pretty confident that I can see a few moves ahead while defending and attacking effectively.  I keep things simple to give me better odds of winning.  So far this strategy has worked so I’m sticking to it.

I give the same advice to people working in security.  Simplify, when possible, in an attempt to be effective and set yourself up to be successful.  I’ve seen instances where admins put layers upon layers of complexity in place without any idea how it goes together and how it all works.  By overly complicating things you do yourself and your company a disservice.  I’m not suggesting you dumb everything down and remove all your layers, we all know defense in depth is necessary, but make sure you can understand and manage it….or find someone who can.

-DanO

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