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Quotes: Xanatos Speedchess
"To play humans you need less of an ability to see many moves ahead, more of an ability to adapt swiftly, to keep your eye on one or more goals simultaneously, and to be prepared to add human free will into your own equation."
Senna Wales, explaining the importance this trope has to any skilled Chessmaster.

"I see only one move ahead, but it is always the correct one."
Jose Capablanca, chess world champion

"No plan survives contact with the enemy."
Helmuth von Moltke the Elder

"In preparing for battle, I've found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
Dwight Eisenhower

"Well, I can't say that any of this mess was part of my original plan. But it's all working out so beautifully, I can't complain."

"You see, I was chosen for this role because I am very good at improvising when things go wrong. So really, I'm in my element right now, wouldn't you say?"

"Fortunto's plans were often little more than an awareness of the most probable possibilities and a list of options to execute should they arise."
Void Dogs, Chapter 82

"According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans."
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

"Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing."
Sun Tzu, The Art of War

"Only a fool expects everything to go the way they plan, Raphael. Another lesson for you. Success doesn't depend on having the perfect plan. It depends on changing plans to match circumstances fast enough for the changes to be effective. And that means spotting deviations from the predicted course of events early enough to have time for those changes."
Michael-lan, The Salvation War

"Holy crap, guys! Plans do fail. 'Perfect strategy' does not mean one perfect flawless genius plan! It doesn't mean you never lose! Look, you've taught me a lot, so let me teach you something, 'k? This is strategy. First...you have a goal. Then, you list objectives in support of that goal, in order of importance. Then, you weight the costs and accomplish the most you can, however you can. Without even fighting, if possible! You've got bluff, subterfuge, diplomacy...lotta the time it's just 'watch what the enemy's doing, and hit him where he's weak and you're strong. But, y'know...he's doing the same to you. And you can't be strong everywhere. So you fall back where he's stronger, and sometimes you do lose. But you roll with it. Yes, you plan. Okay? But the enemy won't follow your plan. So the trick is to be fluid, hit him on the fly, define his choices...watch for opportunity, like when he boops up. You have to know more than he does about what's going on. Which is why you don't withhold information from the guy who plans your battles!! You see?"
Parson Gotti tells us how it's done.

And it was also clear that Potter was brilliant, and a whole lot more than just slightly mad, and playing a vast game that Potter himself mostly didn't understand, improvised at top speed with the subtlety of a rampaging nundu.
Draco's musings on Harry Potter in Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality

Dominic: You played a good hand, ma'am.
Adelle: I played a very bad hand very well. There is a distinction.

The Doktor: But, Major, now that they know of our plans—
The Major: Ah, her Doctor, but that is the plan. Now that they know our plan they will plan around our plan. And so we shall in turn plan around the plan that they are planning around our plan!
The Doktor: Your brilliance knows no bounds!

"They may snap at me or plot and that makes them the kind of sons I want. I've snapped and plotted all my life: there is no other way to be a king, alive and fifty all at once."
Henry II, The Lion in Winter

I was never in control of any pony's fate, Twilight. I never had any grand master plan, and I still don't. In the end, I'm playing it by ear, just like every other pony. Hoping and praying and guessing and, and improvising.
...
Well, running a government is like being in the middle of a thousand carefully arranged plans—- all of them on the verge of coming apart at the seams, every single minute of the day.
Princess Celestia in two separate speeches, Parting Words

Goku: "Ha ha ha! Piccolo's showing up the most! The fused kids went back to normal. You're out of time. Too bad. You've also lost a lot of power. I'm disappointed. Gohan could beat you now."
Majin Buu: "I left some insurance in case this would happen."
Goku: "What do you mean by insurance?"
Majin Buu: "This part of my antenna that you cut off... why didn't you think I grew it back?"

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