Strategic Patience in Conflict

Ukraine’s Masterful Chess Game Against Russia

2 min readJan 26, 2024
The endgame is no place to blunder one’s pieces

Indeed, the Ukrainian counter-offensive strategy reflects a sophisticated understanding of the art of war, one that prioritizes strategic gains over mere territorial conquest. This approach is reminiscent of the ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu in “The Art of War,” where it is advised to “know the enemy and know yourself; in a hundred battles, you will never be in peril.” Ukraine’s focus on securing strategic advantages rather than engaging in costly and uncertain land battles aligns with this timeless principle.

The choice to secure control over maritime resources rather than engaging in a direct, large-scale land offensive demonstrates Ukraine’s acumen in identifying and exploiting Russia’s vulnerabilities. This move not only deprives Russia of key maritime advantages but also bolsters Ukraine’s position by securing essential resources and logistical routes. It’s a chess game where Ukraine is thinking several moves ahead, understanding that in the intricate dance of war, sometimes winning doesn’t always mean taking the most land but rather making moves that strategically weaken the opponent and strengthen one’s own position.

This approach also underscores the importance of patience and preparation in conflict. Ukraine’s strategy of amassing and training troops, gathering veteran units, and waiting for the opportune moment to strike resonates with the principle of ensuring victory before the battle is even fought. It’s a testament to the understanding that in the complex geopolitics of modern warfare, victories are often secured through careful planning, strategic insight, and the ability to anticipate and outmaneuver the opponent’s moves.

In this geopolitical chess game, Ukraine’s moves reveal a deep understanding of the broader picture and the patience to wait for the opportune moment to secure a decisive advantage. This strategy contrasts sharply with Russia’s approach, which appears more reactionary and less attuned to the long-term implications of each move on the chessboard. As this conflict unfolds, the wisdom of strategic patience and foresight becomes ever more apparent, harkening back to age-old truths about the nature of war and victory.