When I play WeiQi (“Go” in English), I constantly run into players who are deluded by their victories. Most victors are humble and polite (one reason I love the game), but some, deluded by victory make the following wrong assumptions.:
(1) I Played one game with you, I understand you: They assume that you always play the same way. One encounter and they understand you.
(2) Your Style is Wrong: Since they won, they assume your style must be wrong. They don’t understand that if your style is played more skillfully, it may actually beat them.
I have been told “you are too aggressive”, “you were too timid”, “you played too narrow”, “you played too wide”. So it is obvious that not only do I play different styles, but I even play contradictory styles.
(3) My Style is the Best: Just like #2, they assume that because they are the glorious victor, that their style is the best. Again, they don’t seem to understand that any style, in the right hands, at the right time, can win. See this post which shows how the styles of the best pros vary from each other.
(4) I won, I am more skillful: I can’t believe how many players assume that just because they won the game that their victory is purely due to only their skill — and you can see how this assumption feeds #1 and #2.. They don’t recognize the luck involved in WeiQi. “Luck”, btw, is heresy in WeiQi where people feel it is the best strategy game in the world largely because it is devoid of luck. And they’d be wrong.
(5) If I am more skillful in WeiQi, I am also smarter than you in every area of your life: Arghhh — yeah, hard to believe, but it happens. Obviously (well, not to them) being horrible at WeiQi may not have anything to do with my decisions skills and strategies in parenting, business, friendships. But you would not believe how many victors are sucked into this delusion and pontificate on life in general.
The Delusions of Success
This post is really not just about WeiQi. It is another post about our cognitive weaknesses, pitfalls, delusions and biases. I see similar delusions of victor thinking by those who are successful in terms of money, status, the lives of their children and other arenas. I see the exact same five WeiQi mistaken ways of thinking in these everyday life folks. I will let you draw the obvious parallels.
Question to Readers: Give an example where you see this phenomena.
Pic credit: A post on wine know-it-alls!