If you want the heroes to win, try leveling them up to combat the villain. They start out weak, lose the first few fights, or only win in small ways. Then they learn from observing the villain and come up with plans to counter the villain's plans. Maybe they resort to some of the tactics the villain used. Maybe they get a little tarnished on the way.
Personally, I think Chessmaster
, Magnificent Bastard
, and especially Xanatos Gambit
are overrated as tropes. I like smart villains, but often with these tropes it seems like the villains tip into Villain Sue
territory— they've thought of every
possible situation, and they can't be defeated ever, no way, no how. That's just as boring as the hero winning easily, with an added level of frustration because we're apparently supposed to root for the guys who never win. I can buy it if it ends a story (as with Watchmen), but as an ongoing thing? No.
Is it possible to give an example of the kind of plan you're giving the villain? It's easier to give specific advice on specific situations.