Created By: NerdyTimes on September 3, 2012 Last Edited By: Tallens on August 29, 2013
Nuked

Chessmaster Duel (was Xanatos Vs. Xanatos)

Two Chess Masters have a duel of wits

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Trope
Having The Chessmaster as your main character may be awesome, but it has its downsides like him easily becoming a Mary Tzu due to no enemies. Rule of Drama means that such a character must have a rival who is as awesome, or even better. The two must then fight. Usually, this causes a Serial Escalation of Crowning Moments of Awesome.

May result in Xanatos Speed Chess and a Gambit Pileup.

Examples

Anime

Literature

Tabletop Games
  • Chess tournaments in general.
Community Feedback Replies: 52
  • September 3, 2012
    MichaelKatsuro
    Death Note, natch.
  • September 3, 2012
    Bisected8
    Isn't this Xanatos Speed Chess?
  • September 3, 2012
    captainsandwich
  • September 3, 2012
    Routerie
    Also, we must never name any new trope after Xanatos - especially ones like this, that have nothing to do with Xanatos Gambit.
  • September 3, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    In Animorphs, The Ellimist and the Crayack are essentially two near-omnipotent Reality-warping Chessmasters who use the entire galaxy as their chessboard, each constantly trying to one-up the other.
  • September 3, 2012
    SinisterShenanigans
    I tagged it with better name, since the current one is non-indicative of the trope.

    This is not Xanatos Speed Chess, because that trope is when the chessmaster is able to quickly improvise when things start to stray from their original plans; this trope might invoke Xanatos Speed Chess but is more closely related to Gambit Pile Up than anything else.

    Speaking of which, this does sound very much like Gambit Pile Up. From what I understand, this is just Gambit Pile Up, but with the restriction of being between two people, and a duel; unless the idea is that it is a subtrope, and it has enough examples for it to be reckoned as one, there isn't much for this trope to go by.
  • September 3, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
  • September 6, 2012
    Tallens
    A Gambit Pile Up seems to have any number of parties all making plans. This, if I'm understanding it correctly, is The Chessmaster in a gambit battle against just one other. The potential for a pile up is there, but only if another party decides to intrude. Does that sound about right?

    • Nathan Ford of Leverage frequently finds himself in these kinds of matches, particularly when Sterling shows up.

    • This basically defines the relationship between Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty James.
  • September 7, 2012
    Mozgwsloiku
    I don't think we need this one. It's covered adequately by Gambit Pileup
  • September 7, 2012
    robinjohnson
    ^ In the second Guy Ritchie Sherlock Holmes film, Holmes and Moriarty are literally playing chess at the same time as they pit their figurative Chessmastery against each other in the final showdown. edit: doesn't work with the new name!
  • September 7, 2012
    Routerie
    This is probably a better trope than the broad Gambit Pileup.
  • September 7, 2012
    Generality
    Duel Of Wits comes to mind as a title, and I'm reminded of The Princess Bride as an example:
    Man in Black: I challenge you to a battle of wits.
    Vizzini: For the princess? To the death? I accept.
  • September 7, 2012
    KarjamP
    The current 3 examples (and Michael Katsuro's) are Zero Context Examples.
  • September 13, 2012
    Tallens
    Duel Of Wits sounds nice.
  • September 17, 2012
    Tallens
    Leverage just had a line that I think would be perfect for a trope quote

    Sophie: Are you telling me you can't outsmart Sterling?
    Nate: I can't, but he can't outsmart me either.
  • October 7, 2012
    Tallens
    Bump
  • October 7, 2012
    BlueGuy
  • October 7, 2012
    LittleLizard
    No, Battle Of Wits. Also it's a reference to this and we can use one of those images as the image for the trope (I strongly prefer the 9th edition one for this)

    EDIT: Didn't noticed it was already in use...

    EDIT 2: For a name, what about War of Strategists
  • October 10, 2012
    SteamGoth
    Chessmaster Vs Chessmaster, perhaps? Similar vein as the original title, but without the Trope Namer Syndrome.
  • October 10, 2012
    shimaspawn
    <Mod Note>

    The current title does not fit with the Xanatos tropes. As such it is not allowed to be launched with the current title. It will contribute to trope decay on Xanatos Gambit if you do.

    Please change the name to one of the other suggested titles or this trope shall be discarded. Thank you.
  • October 24, 2012
    Tallens
    Seems like the original sponsor have not paid any attention to this since it was first created. Does that make it Up For Grabs now?
  • October 25, 2012
    Arivne
    ^ According to the Up For Grabs page, a YKTTW automatically becomes Up For Grabs when it hasn't been edited by the OP (Original Poster) for two months.

    Since the OP Nerdy Times last edited this proposal on September 3rd, 2012, it becomes Up For Grabs on November 3rd. You could send them a PM (Private Message) and ask them if it's Up For Grabs now. They last changed a trope page on October 12th, so they may no longer be around.
  • October 26, 2012
    Tallens
    We've got a couple of Zero Context Example up there. I don't know enough about either of them to flesh them out.
  • October 26, 2012
    TheHandle
  • December 16, 2012
    Tallens
    I think I might take this one up. Any objections?
  • December 16, 2012
    StarSword
    EDIT: Strike that. Xanatos Speed Chess refers to a Xanatos Gambiteer adjusting his plans as needed.
  • December 16, 2012
    SharleeD
    How about Chess Tournament? :-)
  • December 16, 2012
    StarSword
    ^Oooh.

    Though be sure to add an I Thought It Meant to the page description.

    And, expanding from an earlier Zero Context Example, under Anime and Manga:

    • Gambit duels between Light and first L, then Near, are a major part of Death Note's premise.
  • December 16, 2012
    Voyd211
    Chess Duel sounds like a viable one. Also, Tzeentch is doing this to everyone, including himself.
  • December 16, 2012
    Tallens
    ^That just makes it sound like an actual game. Chessmaster Duel would give a better impression if what it's about.
  • December 16, 2012
    Ryusui
    I prefer Dueling Chessmasters.

    Nothing against Gargoyles, but "Xanatos" as synonym for "clever scheme" or "clever bastard" has got to die out.
  • December 16, 2012
    TropeEater
    ^ I agree. Snowclones are fun in good taste, but this isn't in good taste.

    Since it's Up For Grabs, let's just go ahead and change the working title, shall we?

    Let's organize the proposed titles:

    So, which one do you chaps want? I like Chessmaster Duel.
  • December 16, 2012
    Tallens
    ^So, that's you, me and the guy who suggested it for Chessmaster Duel.

    I'd also suggest that Chess Duel be struck for the reason I noted above. Chess Tournament as well since that is even more suggestive of the actual game.
  • February 15, 2013
    Tallens
    Bump
  • February 15, 2013
    TheHandle
    Enforced Trope in Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality: Eliezer Yudkowsky wants to write a Harry Potter fanfic as an Author Tract. But he wants to do it well. If only so that he can present EY's ideas in a plausible way, Harry's intelligence and scientific culture need to be radically increased; his background is altered accordingly. However, for it to be a good Author Tract, Harry needs ideological opponents in the story, with arguments that are as strong as the author can manage. For it to be a good story, these characters need to be powerful enough, intellectually and magically, to pose, not just a serious threat, but an overwhelming challenge, to the unfair advantage Harry gets from his scientific and logical training, in the scientifically and technologically illiterate world of wizards. And, finally, because of Author Appeal and as a natural result of some plot conditions, some characters further invoke the trope in-universe by promoting chessmastery and magnificent bastardry in their surroundings, and exploit the resulting complications.

    The result, as you can imagine, is a rather epic face-off of tremendously intelligent characters, who repeatedly demonstrate said intelligence in spectacular ways, and who all have complex, well-built, more-or-less sympathetic worldviews. The conflict is not purely strategic (like in, say, Dungeon Keeper Ami), but also largely ideological (and beliefs have a tangible effect on magical abilities). Thus making for a rather interesting example of this trope.
  • February 15, 2013
    Telcontar
    Duel Of Wits is way too general. Duelling Chessmasters might work.
  • February 15, 2013
    Tallens
    Dueling Chessmasters or Chessmaster Duel. Let's pick one or the other.
  • February 16, 2013
    StarSword
    @The Handle: Any way for you to trim that down some?
  • February 17, 2013
    Arivne
    Changed the Laconic so that it makes sense.
  • February 17, 2013
    TheHandle
    Harry Potter And The Methods Of Rationality was designed as vehicle for scientifist ideas (think Feynman or Dawkins) and as an entertaining and interesting piece of fiction. The first mandated that the main character got a dramatic upgrade in intelligence and scientific culture, the second mandated that his opponents, rivals, and allies become more powerful and compelling, both in terms of intelligence and power, and in terms of ideology: you have bunch of Xanatoses with competing agendas living under the same roof. Plotting and mind games ensue.
  • August 27, 2013
    Tallens
    Since this has been idle for a time, I'm going to change the name to Chessmaster Duel. If there are objections feel free to restart the discussion.
  • August 28, 2013
    OlafMerchant
    Literature

    • Romance of the Three Kingdoms: Liu Bei and Cao Cao are portrayed as brilliant tacticians and rulers- one benevolent and cunning, the other ruthlessly devious. Usually played Up To Eleven in movie adaptations.
  • August 28, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    I agree with Sinister Shenanigans; too much overlap, unless this is made a sub trope. Every example of this trope will end in Gambit Pile Up unless subverted.
  • August 28, 2013
    DAN004
    Duel Of Wits plz. BTW examples need context.

    • In One Piece, Whitebeard and Sengoku consider each other Worthy Opponents in terms of strategy. Pretty much the tides of the Marineford War are decided by their calls. Were any of them any less sharp-minded than his foe, one side won't last long in this war.
  • August 28, 2013
    robinjohnson
    "Chessmaster duel" is a nasty mixed metaphor. A duel between chessmasters would be a game of chess.
  • August 28, 2013
    zarpaulus
    • In Doctor Who S 33 E 12 Nightmare In Silver the Doctor and the Cyberplanner (who is trying to seize control of the Doctor) do this while playing chess. Moving around companions and Cybermen while moving pieces on the board. In the end it turns out that the whole reason for the chess game was to trick the Cyberplanner into tying up all of the Cybermen's processing power into the game so the Doctor could take them out.
  • August 28, 2013
    Tallens
    Ok, so is there anything here that is worth its own trope, or do we just have a duplicate of Gambit Pile Up?
  • August 28, 2013
    DAN004
    Chessmaster Duel is often just a battle of plans between 2 prominent Chess Masters while Gambit Pileup is more about how plans of more than 2 people (not necessarily Chessmasters) get in each other's way.
  • August 28, 2013
    crazysamaritan
    No, " A Gambit Pileup involves two or more people with completely separate agendas (or in rare cases, one individual with multiple opposed agendas) each hatching complicated plans. ".

    What is your definition of The Chessmaster?

    Ours is, " Chessmasters tug at their strings of influence, patiently move their pieces into places that often seem harmless or pointless until the trap is closed, and get innocent Unwitting Pawns (Who else?) to do all the heavy lifting. The best will also have layers upon layers of misdirection and backup plans in case some unexpected hero appears to gum up the works. ", which can be summarized as "makes complicated plans". (Note: not all chessmasters are good at it)

    Frequently, when two chessmasters face off, other people try to influence events, which means they have an agenda, which makes it no longer qualify for your definition.
  • August 28, 2013
    Prime_of_Perfection
    Isn't this trope simply Battle Of Wits?
  • August 29, 2013
    Arivne
    ^Looks like it.
  • August 29, 2013
    Tallens
    Very well. Motion to Discard.
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=phvlq8iku23v59970maraxde&trope=DiscardedYKTTW