June, 2022 3rd Place Winner: The victorious Defeat by Long Tang
The general saw an old man at the park with a Wei-qi game board set up under a banner – “Champion of the World.” Intrigued, the general dropped a copper onto the table and took up the challenge. After easily winning three games in a row, the self-satisfied general got up to leave. “You claimed to be the world champion, yet you lost all three games. Your banner belied your skill.” He pulled down the banner and took it home.
The old man did not protest, he merely nodded, “I am not good enough to play against you. I shall practice and improve myself.”
In the following year, the general returned victorious from the battlefield and found the same old man at the park with another banner – “Champion of the World.” Piqued, the general sat down across the game board to remind the old man of his follies. However, this time, the ever-victorious general got humbled. He was trounced for five games in a row. The next day, the frustrated general returned for a rematch and was again soundly thrashed in another five games. Befuddled, the general exclaimed, “What did you do since our last meeting? How did your game improve so much so drastically?”
“Last year, I recognized you and knew you were about to go campaigning. Then, I did not wish to impair your confidence or diminish your fighting spirit, so I threw those games. Now that you have returned victorious, there is no longer a need to be so courteous.”