Strategy Vs Tactics

I like story, so what better way to explain strategy versus tactics then in a story. No, I am not going back to Hannibal or Attila of the Huns for that, but in a more modern analogy. In the last Pan Am Game (2015) the final men epee team event was between Venezuela, US, Columbia and Cuba. The US have to get by Columbia for the gold medal match, whereas the Venezuela have to get by Cuba for the final.

Cuba's Ringo Quintero, left, lunges at Colombia's Andres Felipe Campos Zarate (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Cuba’s Ringo Quintero, left, lunges at Colombia’s Andres Felipe Campos Zarate in the bronze medal match at the Pan Am Games in Toronto, Friday, July 24, 2015. Cuba defeated Colombia to win the bronze.(AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)


The US fence all out to get to the final (45-42), but the Venezuela and Cuba end their match in a 3-2 score for Venezuelan to advance. Both team want to rest their fencers for the gold medal match. So the strategy is to exploit the “non-combative” rule and only fence the sudden death last minute to determine which team advance to face the American. The tactics, the fencers from both team refuse to engage the opponent thus trigger the “non-combative” rule, and the next pair of fencers is call up until they reach the last match with a 0-0 draw. At which time the referee draw straw to favor one team over the other on the last minute of the match. If both team remain draw after one minute, whoever won the draw will be declare a winner. Both team want to advance so their best fencer fenced the last minute and the result 3-2 win for the Venezuelan, and they advance to beat the American.

So from a strategic point of view, both team get to rest their fencers and they are in a much stronger position coming out of the gate against the American. By the way the Venezuelan won, obvious the strategy work, it also would not hurt when you have the world champignon on your team.


Note1: for result you can check out “”

Note2:  “non-combative”, in team event if a pair of fencers face to engage each other more than one minute the bout is terminate and the bout will be call where the next pair of fencers now face off with each other.


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