Created By: Seguir on February 26, 2012 Last Edited By: Arivne on March 29, 2012

Doomed By Foolishness

Opposite of Xanatos Gambit. Where no matter what move you make next, you lose.

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Trope
A character is doomed no matter what he does, not because the other guy/force is pulling Xanatos gambit, but because they were too overconfident/stupid too see the results of their actions.

Not an immediate cause of failure, because they person still has some time to decide.

Named for the chess equivalent of a catch 22.

Not a Catch-22 where the person is just unlucky.

Devolves into Xanatos' forms as well (Zugzwang Roulette...)
Community Feedback Replies: 50
  • February 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Terrible name. Horrible terrible name.
  • February 26, 2012
    JonnyB
    Agreed. Terrible name.

    JOSHUA deduces that this is the inevitable outcome of Global Thermonuclear War in War Games.
  • February 26, 2012
    Seguir
    It's from the chess term. And pulling that pulling that term means pulling this trope.
  • February 26, 2012
    dalek955
    Sounds an awful lot like Mortons Fork.
  • February 26, 2012
    Seguir
    Except the character got that way by overconfidence/stupidy rather than unluckiness.
  • February 26, 2012
    dalek955
  • February 26, 2012
    Seguir
    that's essentially the basic premise, but the point is to give it a trope so...
  • February 26, 2012
    mdulwich
    I don't have a problem with the name. I'm not exactly a chess expert, but I understood what the title's getting at - whereas I had to look up Xanatos gambit to have any idea what it might mean.
  • February 26, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    The name fits more or less, if you know chess or german("Zugzwang" is "force to move" and is used in English chess as well). Otherwise, it's rather obscure.
  • February 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
    If you don't know Chess or German though it looks like gibberish.
  • February 26, 2012
    animeg3282
    It does. We could comment on the actual name in the description and make up a trope name for this wiki.
  • February 26, 2012
    mdulwich
    ^^ But so does Xanatos Gambit if you don't know the reference.
  • February 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Just because another trope has a bad name is no excuse for making a new trope with a terrible name.
  • February 26, 2012
    Seguir
    You think of a better word. Atleast it 'Zugzwang' matches the definition.
  • February 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
  • February 26, 2012
    Seguir
    But it also includes stupidity as well as overconfidence.
  • February 26, 2012
    shimaspawn
    It's also not a gambit as we define them. It doesn't work with the other tropes that share that name. It's not something that the person is purposely doing as a tactic to manipulate others. The line between confidence and stupidity is thin.

    Doomed By Ego? Doomed By Hubris? Doomed By Presumption?
  • February 26, 2012
    TheEternalChild
    Not sure if this would be any better, but perhaps the name could be based on the Tic Tac Toe version, where if your opponent manages to get three corners, you automatically lose?
    • Heads You Lose, Tails I Win? I feel like that's been done before...
  • February 26, 2012
    wanderlustwarrior
    Don't we already have "Heads I Win Tails You Lose"?
  • February 27, 2012
    ginsengaddict
    I don't care about the title. But I do think we could do with a Counter Trope to Xanatos Gambit.
  • February 27, 2012
    ginsengaddict
    And as for the current title, I think all you who have said you don't like it are being hypocritical. Xanatos Gambit isn't exactly a clear title either. It should really be called Always Have A Backup Plan or something like that, if we really care about clear concise titles.

  • February 27, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ @ginsengaddict: We're trying to avoid giving new tropes names that require specialized knowledge to understand (e.g. obscure Trope Namers like "Zugzwang").

    There are a lot of old tropes whose names violate this rule because they were created before it came into effect and haven't been changed because (a) it would be too much trouble to do so and (b) everyone who's been on TV Tropes for a while knows what they mean (e.g. Xanatos Gambit).

    So it's not that we're being hypocritical: we're just trying to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.
  • February 27, 2012
    Seguir
    Except Zugzwang is used in real life and can be found in the dictionary; also Rule of Brevity.
  • February 28, 2012
    aurora369
    I like "Zugzwang". I'm not a great expert on chess, but I know what it means.
  • February 28, 2012
    FastEddie
    You will have notices that all of those 'Xanatos' forms have been replaced by something that actually describes the trope. Forced To Move is much, much more direct.
  • February 28, 2012
    Routerie
    Not a gambit apparently. The description needn't even reference Xanatos Gambit.
  • February 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^^Forced To Move sounds more like "forced to do something" than like the trope. It doesn't have any implications of "everything will be bad"

    About the Zugzwang part, we'll need some statistics about how many people know the term to see if it's a good name.
  • February 28, 2012
    FastEddie
    Well "forced to move" is what Zugzwang means, so if that doesn't fit, neither fits.
  • February 28, 2012
    mdulwich
  • February 28, 2012
    FastEddie
    I think it is about a person being forced to make a disadvantageous action, whether they were aware of the downside or not, so 'hubris' doesn't fit all the time.

    edited to add: Woops. That is, if it was Zugzwang. It isn't, though. Hubris Trap does fit the description in the OP.
  • February 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Literally, Zugzwang Gambit would mean "A plan that forces someone to make a choice between various bad alternatives"

    I agree that it doesn't fit into the current definitio. Zugzwang Blunder would make more sense (chess term aside)
  • February 28, 2012
    Queequeg
    Zugzwang is a relatively common word and its meaning is exactly perfect for this trope. I say keep the name. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zugzwang

  • February 28, 2012
    Seguir
    yeah but it's a self-caused Zugzwang
  • February 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    A trope that is "A bad decision leaves you with a choice between equally bad things" is better called Zugzwang Blunder. It really hasn't anything to do with gambits.
  • February 28, 2012
    bwburke94
    What about No Win Situation? Custom titled with a hyphen, of course.
  • February 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    That lacks both the "everything will be worse" and the "stupidity/overconfidence" part.

    Remember, non-indicative names are better than misleading ones, since a misleading name is both nonindicative and invites misuse.
  • February 28, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    I know that the admins have been pushing simplicity and description over creativity and wit in terms of trope titles recently, but I think we can make an exception I'm this case.
  • February 28, 2012
    shimaspawn
    The proposed name is both misleading and non-indicative. There is no saving it. It violates all the rules on how to name a trope. This one doesn't work on any level.
  • February 28, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    Yes. Blundering Into A Zugzwang or Zugzwang Blunder could be better, but we need some stats about the use of Zugzwang outside of chess.
  • February 28, 2012
    FastEddie
    Drop Zugzwang. It is wrong and it sucks. We will not be using it.
  • February 29, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    To me Zugzwang appears more like a possibly non-indicative name, "it sucks" like a non-argument.

    Blundering Into A Mortons Fork, maybe?
  • February 29, 2012
    Noaqiyeum
    I don't see what makes this distinct from Mortons Fork. The victim being unlucky, incompetent, or hubristic doesn't seem to affect the idea.
  • February 29, 2012
    FastEddie
    Good point, really. A comment could be made in Morton's Fork about motivations for making whatever bad choice was made, I suppose.
  • March 2, 2012
    Seguir
    @Septimus Rule of Brevity

    @Noaq It's a flipside to Xanatos Gambit, and don't even 'cause morton's folk is just as unrecognizeable as 'Zugzawang'.

    Maybe I should call it 'Zugzwang Blunder' to imply stupidity/overconfidence.
  • March 3, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
    ^People are having issues with "Zugzwang" here. If it should stay there, we'll need some usage stats. At least according to Google, Zugzwang without "chess" or "schach" gives 1 million hits.
  • March 3, 2012
    shimaspawn
    Zugzwang is not an option by Word of Admin. Find a different title.
  • March 3, 2012
    SeptimusHeap
  • March 28, 2012
    Queequeg
    There are tons of pages named for obscure references that don't give a clear indication of the meaning in the title. Why is Chess somehow different from say Seinfeld or Futurama?
  • March 29, 2012
    Routerie
    We wouldn't let you name this after Seinfeld or Futurama either. We'd object more to naming it after either of those.
  • March 29, 2012
    Arivne
    I am changing the title to Doomed By Foolishness just so it doesn't get discarded again. A better name can be picked before launch.

    By the way, we still don't have a single example of this trope in any media. If we can't think of any examples then arguing about the name is fairly pointless.
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