Yep, It’s Tabiya Time Again!

Over a year ago I mentioned it was Tabiya time. For those who missed this one:

Long before I followed politics I played tournament chess. “Tabiya” is an Arabic phrase that at one time was used to refer to the beginning positions of the chess pieces. As openings became better analyzed and for longer sequences of moves, tabaiya came to be used to refer to a position several moves into an opening that reflects known analysis and marked the point where the “original” game actually begins. In some openings, the tabiya might be reached in five moves…in others it might be closer to 20.

I suggested back then that the same was true in politics, that there were certain predictable positions that politicians would take on certain issues. I went on to identify three clearl identifiable tabiya’s: polling, fundraising, and statistical.

Given recent emails I have received about political debates, I imagine we should add the Debate Tabiya. Essentially, and pared of all rhetoric, it goes like this:

(A) With rare exception those who think they are leading in a race do not want to debate, while those who are not leading want to. The former will avoid debates by talking about their extensive existing schedule, the latter will say the former’s refusal to debate is proof they are unworthy of the high off they seek, cowardly, and basically scared of the dark.

(B) When both parties agree to debate, they will struggle to have the debate at the time that best suits them and in favorable terms and conditions. If one side does not want to debate, they say the other side was too difficult to negotiate with or wanted unrealistic conditions. If one side disagrees with terms, the other campaign will accuse them of duckign a debate. Each side will say their method is better suited to answering the questions of the voter, and that the other side does not really want to debate, but wants a setting that is tantamount to a free display of their best qualities.

Why bring this up? As we enter the finals weeks of a campaign each candidate and their partisans will become more and more engorged with energy and a willingness to glorify their candidate and derail the opposition. The papers and the blogs will trumpet certain claims. I think it important to keep in mind that much of this is predictable, and is in some great part campaign spin. Both sides are trying to win and will frame facts however they need to in order to win.

More will likely occur to me. But in the meantime be warned and keep an eye out for them:

*The Polling Tabiya
*The Fundraising Tabiya
*The Statistical Tabiya, and newest member of the group….
*The Debate Tabiya!

All coming soon to a campaign near you!


2 thoughts on “Yep, It’s Tabiya Time Again!

  1. Hi,

    Having read many chess books (and written written one)I have tried to find a general consensus for meaning of “tabiyah/tabia.”

    After due consideration I think that, as Emanuel Lasker pointed out – chess is a fight. I believe, therefore, that tabiyahs are akin to battle positions. These can be either standard in nature, as in positions that are the result of regularly visited opening sequences or may be personal, whereby a player attempts to reach his own preferential position(s)or tabiyah(s.

    Often such tabiyahs are seminal and full of tactical/positional nuances as in the Sicilian Dragon, for example.

    I would also like to suggest thet there exist “ideal” tabiyahs such as optimum positions to aim for in, say, pawn endings.

    Thus, in sum, there may be Standard, Personal and/or Ideal tabiyahs. I value your reply at my email address below.

    Paul Wiseman


  2. Pingback: Hypocrisy Lives! « Renaissance Ruminations

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