Neculai Fantanaru

Everything Depends On The Leader

The Chess Game

On June 28, 2010
, in
Leadership Z3-Extended by Neculai Fantanaru

Increases the strength of your character, by constantly keeping your balance mentally and morally impeccable.

April 2, 1520. No other ship has ever reached such a Southern point as Fernando Magellan's fleet. He, knowing his fleet could only reach fertile tropical regions after several months, takes a decision against the wishes of his crew members on the five ships. He orders that the daily food ratio be significantly reduced, and the food be strongly guarded.

The opening phase. That was a fantastic courage. Right here, at the end of the world, to harden the crew that you've already subjugated so many months under the toughest conditions, in search of a chimera. People didn't seem at all willing to accept such a constraint, aware that at least a quarter of them will have to die for the triumph of this commander tenacious till absurd, suffering from hunger, cold, fatigue and hardship.

Undoubtedly, the guilt of this dangerous situation was entirely Magellan's, who didn't know (never knew) the way to the strait he has promised to find. And he couldn't tell the truth: "I left myself confused by false reports and have guided you on a wrong journey." Consequently, Magellan's captains (Gaspar Quesada, Luis de Mendoza and Antonio de Coca) decided to rebel, because there wasn't only their own lives at stakes, but also that also that of the crew put under their command by the king's order.

Leadership: Near your goal do you neglect the fear of not dirtying your image by recognizing a mistake or asking for forgiveness under the pressure of the need to make a quick and unpopular decision?

A move forbidden by regulation. The three captains knew that they had to have power on their side in order to defeat such a temerarious enemy as Magellan. Therefore, they had to act firmly.

After all the lights were turned off, the five ships deepened in the darkness of that long winter night. Nobody could see a thing in the heavy darkness and could hear a thing because of the angry waves bouncing on the broadsides of ships. At that moment, a boat full of armed sailors, including the three captains, slowly disengaged of one of the ships and imperceptibly approached the ship San Antonio.

Double blow. The plan was very well thought out, executed without fail. No night watchman being on San Antonio, the aggressors could climb on board with rope ladders, taking control of the ship. All the Portuguese on board were put in chains: therefore, Magellan's most faithful disciples were knocked out.

In the morning, a boat with five sailors approached Magellan's ship. They handed Magellan a letter through which Gaspar Quesada, one of the three rebel captains, communicated him that three out of the five boats were now under his command, and if he wants to continue his journey, he must meet all of his demands.

Leadership: Is the power of your authenticity to deny the gravity of the immediate reality subordinated to the desire to fulfill your goals to the end, with the risk of misjudging a rule that has been unanimously accepted and recognized by others?

Chess to the king. Magellan couldn't believe that San Antonio fell overnight into the hands of the rebels. He was taken by surprise. He immediately realized the greatness of the danger. Apart from the insignificant ship Santiago, all the other three had been taken by the rebels: San Antonio, Conception and Victoria. The game seemed to be lost.

Magellan was left with two alternatives: to surrender, that is to reach a deal with the Spanish captains and accept all their proposals, or the second alternative, to create a threat to force the opponent to abandon the game. In both situations, he must take the risk of ignoring the basic rule of a captain: resolving conflicts. However, he resorts to a middle ground. He has to gain the credibility of suggesting the adoption of an alternative approach, always speculating the conflicts of interest that arise in the situation.

Like an experienced chess player, Magellan quickly assesses the new situation, weighting in a relatively short time the two alternatives, and then he chooses the better of the two: he will attempt a counterattack against the enemy, a decisive riposte that would paralyze the rebels. But he doesn't starts to attack impulsively, but undertakes something extremely dangerous. If the rebels attacked in the darkness of the night, he would do everything in the light of day, right under their eyes.

The only accessory that awakens the feeling of pride and decides the nature of your character is the eventual satisfaction that springs from not keeping your word, to gaining the power of effectively organizing yourself.

A professional chess player often uses the pawn in order to destroy the protecting device of the enemy. The pawns, though they have the lowest potential on the chessboard, can create a decisive threat, provided that each of their steps be well balanced.

First, Magellan retains the sailors who brought him the letter and confiscate their boat. Then, he embarks on it six reliable men and sends them not to San Antonio, but to Victoria, in order to deliver a letter to the third rebel commander, Luis de Mendoza. No suspicion arouses in the minds of the rebels who watch as this tiny ship approaches their ship. Because how could five people attack a ship loaded with nearly sixty well-armed soldiers?

Leadership: Do you take into consideration the potential impact of detailed viewing procedures of exiting an impasse, guided by the idea that people act blindly to fulfill an order in the conduct of actions?

Once they board the ship, all the rebels surround them. Nobody cares to mount guard. Luis de Mendoza reads the letter from Magellan, in which he's asked for a meeting. But while he was reading, from the second ship that Magellan sent, which nobody noticed, almost twenty well-armed people climbed on board, behind the rebels. Luis de Mendoza is immediately killed by one of the five messengers, and the rebels are ordered to surrender.

The trick in the chess psychology is simply a surprise. If you know to surprise, the game is won. Magellan's plan succeeded. The score of three to two was back again in his favour, thus restoring his supremacy.

The higher the tension created around the holding of power, the greater the interest shown to represent a perspective of supremacy.

The king is the most important piece; the fate of the entire game depends on his situations. Victoria being captured, Magellan has regained his supremacy. He punished the instigators and continued his road. Eventually, it was found that his measure, that of reducing the food ratio, saved the fleet. And more than that, Magellan fulfilled his promise: he found the strait that communicates between the two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Sometimes, in order to win, you must be astute and use tricks. But, for that, you must possess knowledge of strategy and tactics. Magellan proved through his "game" that he's innovative, finding unexpected solutions that gave him the opportunity to win "the game" even if he was in disadvantage, even if his opponent didn't play fair.

The style of presenting an argument in front of a victory can be considered the expression of a sui-generis status meant to distinguish between the passing forms of the most important events and the rational fund of the right to uproot and destroy the power that does not work in a spirit of solidarity to you.

A leader must have a complete training and possess a proper mental state. Also, like a chess player, the leader must always maintain his mental and moral perfectly balanced, especially when challenged. And, above all, he must have developed the sense of real danger, which is to anticipate it and be able to find quick solutions to counteract it.

The leader must have developed the sense of real danger. In critical situations, he must quickly find alternative ways and methods to annihilate any harmful elements from the final goal. Like a chess player, he must find appropriate solutions for the situation created by the enemy. Sometimes, in order to win, you must know how to make use of tricks.

Leadership means growing by reinvesting what you earn after you’ve lost almost everything.

* Note: Stefan Zweig - Magellan , Youth Publishing House, 1955.

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