Play to a Draw

Play to a Draw

How many times have you been told you have to “Play to Win”?  I have no idea either.  Few people play to lose unless they are forfeiting an engagement to saddle the victor with cost of a victory only to re-engage later.  There is a similar strategy called ‘Playing to a Draw’.  It is less common but ultimately very subversive in its threat and it is very difficult to counter.

Essentially, by ‘playing to a draw’ you are refusing or avoiding to play the opponents game.  The opponent may desire to continue to play for a number of reasons.  They might be a weaker player and not desire to fully engage in a battle.  The end of the game may force disclosure of information that if the game is prolonged, will not need to be disclosed.  In some legal battles playing to a draw may often allow certain different statutory limitations to be passed, or past transgressions may be time barred from being raised.  In some international conflicts a resolution would force the population of one nation to focus on internal short comings as opposed to rallying around the flag in a sprit of national defense.

It is a tool of risk mitigation whereby there is a termination of the engagement.  Playing to win may expose one to being open to certain counter attacks.  One must take risks to win, were by playing to a draw one minimizes risks.  The very pursuit of  winning be it in battle or in court, is anticipated by the other side and they will be ready for all of the usual moves. Playing to a draw involves different choices; different actions and responses where by the other side will be caught off guard.

Also, if the opponent is stronger and you know that you cannot beat the opponent this time round you allow the opponent to waste resources until they collapse or withdraw.  A common event when a large company has a red faced moment (RFM) is to avoid exposing or engaging the litigation. Tactics are used to obscure or limit harmful facts knowing that reputational and/or monetary damages are going to occur if disclosure proceeds.  Tactics are used to avoid engagement, thus they work to stall and divert.

Stalemates are useful when one side has a greater will power and knows that any direct confrontation would be disastrous – thus they play to the level to afford the costs of a stalemate and wait for the opposing party to demit.

The strategy of playing to a draw can be very useful.  So many expect the opponent to play to win, it may be years before they even get an inkling that your game is not to engage but to waste their time and resources.

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