Two games, both played to the limits of excellence by only a few in the world, both singularly simple in design, and complex in execution. Both have lessons for business. One relies entirely on perfect information and total transparency, the other on perfect instinct and a level of opacity.
I speak of course, of Chess and Poker.
Chess is a game of strategy where all the players have total transparency of information about the pieces and their positions, nothing is hidden, but the thrust and counter thrust of competitive play is designed to outmanoeuvre your opponent, although all the information needed for analysis of options is available there’s too much variation to make perfect choice.
Poker is a game of instinct and bluff, where none of the players have total transparency about the cards and how they will fall, but seek to interpret, through the actions of others, what the true situation is.
Chess is market/territory domination, Poker is fiscal domination. Neither can be won or lost by following a script and both need sharp witted quick decisions based on experience and analysis.
In business too, you can’t say that you need more analysis if you are in an imperfect opaque world where data is missing, but you can seek to infer the missing elements and sometimes bluff your way to success. Nor can you seek to take all the time needed to analyse the masses of information that you can see or predict the choices of your ‘opponent’ more than a couple of moves ahead. Even in a world of perfect information we have to make imperfect choices.
Play chess or poker for the craic, but what do they teach you about your decision making style?