End game?

中国日报网 2012-12-04 11:28



End game?

Reader question:

Please explain “end game” in this sentence: We are happy to finally see signs that an end game is approaching.

My comments:

This means the end to some painful course of events is coming and people are happy to see it.

Course of events, like the course of river – with many twists and turns.

The “end game” points to such a long process, a series of related events because this term is borrowed from the game of chess.

In chess, they talk about the game in three stages, the opening stage, the middle and the end, also known as the opening, middle or end games.

The three stages are different in that in the opening stage, you move your pieces around and prepare for battles with the opponent; in the middle game, battles are fought; in the end game, winners and losers are soon decided.

You’ve heard of the term “opening gambit”, and that’s chess-speak for the opening series of moves you play in a particular match in order to place your forces in strategic positions. Strategic means you put your men into situations where they can succeed, with people protecting each other from one and all directions. This is important, especially for the strategic minded people. Lesser chess players are known to prefer fighting the opponent from the word “Go”. They eat as many pieces of the opponent’s as they can and, in fact, as soon as they can – thinking that if “I take all your pieces, I win”.

Good thinking, except that without a clear and coordinated strategy, you expose your own forces to danger from all directions.

Anyways, when the opening moves are make, the real battles begin with each side aiming to penetrate enemy defense from a specific direction. If you play your cards right (a poker term), you may be able to win without too much battle (or bloodshed in a real war) because, after all, the aim of the game is to capture the opponent’s king, not to slaughter all of its troops.

After major battles are fought, of course, we come to the end game, where advantages and disadvantages are now clearly seen. If no mistakes are made, advantages one side has accumulated from the middle game will soon morph into final victory.

If mistakes are made, then the results can be different. Of course. This often happens, as a matter of fact. That’s why some people are good at the end game; some are not. And when they say you don’t have an end game, they mean to say you’re not good at playing the last moves. For instance, after moving wrong pieces or moving them in a wrong sequence you may end up drawing a winning game, or losing a game when you are positioned for a draw.

By extension, if they say you don’t have an end game in business negotiations, they mean to say that you are poor at closing deals. You’re good at making initial contacts, perhaps, to start the ball rolling, and you may even be good at bargaining, but when it comes to closing deals (putting pen to paper and sign names on the dotted lines), you somehow fail to deliver. Salespeople, for instance, often brag about how such and such a big client is on their radar, being closely targeted or right there for the taking, but the big fish somehow always contrives to escape at the very end.

They simply don’t have an end game.

Or they brag too much, which is probably the case with many salespeople anyway.

But at any rate, when the end game is near, the final result is approaching. And if you have endured a long wait, you’ll be happy because that long wait is going to be over and you’re about to see the light.

See the light at the end of the tunnel, that is.

Or to use still bigger words and expressions, the end game is the moment of truth, the Armageddon, the grand finale.

Here are a few recent media examples of “end game”:

1. Liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans are furious at President Obama for approving missile strikes on Libya, agreeing for a rare moment that the president should have sought congressional approval and warning that the administration has no “end-game” for its intervention.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, an anti-war congressman among those hammering the president, said Monday that the killings by Libyan leader Muammar al-Qaddafi did not merit U.S. military action and accused Obama of skirting the Constitution by going around Congress.

“This is a nightmare,” he told Fox News.

Kucinich said Libya presented “no actual or imminent threat to the United States.”

Though administration officials have described the U.S. role in Libya as limited, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have expressed concerns about where the missile strikes could lead next.

British submarines fired two missiles on Qaddafi’s Tripoli compound Sunday. While the British Ministry of Defense said the compound was targeted because of its military significance, the action signaled western forces were looking beyond Qaddafi’s primary defense systems as possible targets.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon, R-Calif., warned that a failure to define the political objectives “risks entrenching the United States in a humanitarian mission whose scope and duration are not known at this point and cannot be controlled by us.”

Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich., called the decision to strike without congressional consent “troubling and unacceptable.”

“The president should immediately return home and call Congress back into session so that this action can be fully debated,” she said in a statement. Obama is currently in Latin America on a diplomatic tour.

“We have seen uprisings across the Middle East over the last few months and in many instances atrocities have been perpetrated,” Miller said. “One now must ask where this administration draws the line.”

Though Obama has called for Qaddafi to leave office, the administration insists the current use of force -- which followed the U.N. Security Council approval of a no-fly zone -- is only to stop Qaddafi from killing his own people.

U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham said Monday that the military is not worried about “mission creep” because the mission is clear.

He added that the coalition is achieving its objectives and stressed that its mission is to protect civilians, not support rebel forces. He conceded that Qaddafi could ultimately remain in power, though he said that would not be ideal.

Kucinich, though, said the call to protect civilians is not justification for U.S. military action.

There’s no end game,” he said. “There's blood being shed all over the world and we can’t control it. We cannot be the policemen of the world.”

- Lawmakers Angry With Obama Over Libyan Strike, Warn Administration Lacks ‘End-Game’, FoxNews.com, March 21, 2011.

2. Two very worrying things have happened in the eurozone in the past two weeks.

The first is that financial markets have started to take seriously the idea that the single currency will break up. The second is that the politicians with the most to lose from that happening have dug in their heels.

Needless to say, the two things are related. Investors look at the political gridlock and they draw their own conclusions.

Today’s meeting of the French, German and Italian leaders is one effort to change the dynamic, but investors are not holding their breath. This morning, we have seen the interest rate on German 10-year bonds actually edge above the yield on similar UK bonds.

In my conversations with analysts, traders and officials, I’m finding more and more of them are talking about the end game for the euro. Not the end, necessarily, but a moment of truth very soon that will either force a big leap forward, or a wrenching break-up.

- Markets and the euro ‘end game’, by Stephanie Flanders, BBC.co.uk, November 24, 2011.

3. Liberty Ross, the wife of director Rupert Sanders who cheated on her with Kristen Stewart, has already seen a divorce lawyer ... TMZ has learned ... but her goal is reconciliation.

We do not know which lawyer she hired, but the picture (above) was taken Tuesday in the lobby of a Century City office building in which a number of divorce lawyers practice – including disso queen Laura Wasser. By the way ... how hot does Liberty look?

Sources connected with the couple tell TMZ ... although Liberty has lawyered up, her end game is NOT divorce. In fact, Liberty and Rupert have already been to a marriage and family therapist. Our sources say, when they were photographed together on Tuesday in Beverly Hills, they were coming out of an office building where they met with the psychologist.

Although Liberty is not wearing her wedding ring, we’re told her goal is figuring out why Rupert cheated and getting some sort of assurance he views what he did as a terrible mistake that he won’t repeat.

- Kristen Stewart Affair Might Not End Director’s Marriage, AntiMusic.com, August 9, 2012.



About the author:

Zhang Xin is Trainer at chinadaily.com.cn. He has been with China Daily since 1988, when he graduated from Beijing Foreign Studies University. Write him at: zhangxin@chinadaily.com.cn, or raise a question for potential use in a future column.


He said, she said

Cookie-cutter excuses?

Playing possum?

Back seat?

(作者张欣 中国日报网英语点津 编辑:陈丹妮)



















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