Rod Rees writes: John Rhys-Davies (who played Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy) once opined that: ‘Spying is like chess: sometimes you have to withdraw, sometimes you have to sacrifice one of your pieces to win – preferably a knight rather than a king or a queen.’
Unfortunately Rhys-Davies was wrong on two counts. The first is mechanistic: you can’t sacrifice your king in chess. But the second is more philosophical.
When you sit down to play chess you can see all the pieces – those belonging to yourselfand those controlled by your opponent – and, moreover, you both know the rules governing the playing of the game. This is not the case in the topsy-turvy world of espionage. Here each side does its damnedest to hide its pieces from the opposition and the breaking of rules is not only expected but positively encouraged. Further, in espionage there is never only one opponent: a nation’s enemies are numerous and even those who evince friendship might, if push comes to shove, reveal themselves as in league with the bad guys.
Read the rest of this post on the Invent-10n blog.