This has ben percolating in my brain for a long time now, but it finally boiled over last night as a comment at First Draft:
The whole chess thing has to go away. Whoever thought it was a good idea to start using chess as an analogue for how “smart” politicians operate knows absolutely nothing about game theory, and the mindless repetition of the trope, if anything, just hammers the point in about how little the general public and commentators understand it.
Chess is a game of absolute knowledge. Nothing is hidden in a game of chess. There’s no chance, there’s no accident, there’s nothing that can’t potentially be foreseen and predicted. The only thing that can go wrong in chess is that someone makes a mistake. All the pieces are on the board. Their starting positions are set. The pieces can only move in specific ways. The only variance is whether you move first or not. Eleventy-dimensional chess is just twenty-dimensional tic-tac-toe.
But life and politics aren’t like that. An unexpected event (aka “shit”) happens. People lie about what they’re going to do. Or they lie about the facts to the public and dare you to call them on it. That kind of stuff doesn’t happen in chess or checkers or tic-tac-toe. There are a lot of games it does happen in, but success in those games requires a healthy dose of skepticism and a willingness to take chances which have been woefully absent in this administration.