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Donald Trump chessmaster meme

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Donald Trump the 4D chessmaster was a meme that emerged during the campaign season preceding the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. The meme was a response to what some perceived to be "incredible strategic foresight" demonstrated by then-candidate Donald Trump[1] and his supposedly intuitive use of mass media.[2][3] Scott Adams is credited with coining the metaphor in mid-September 2015,[4][3] when in his blog, he explicitly described Trump's political opponents as having "no persuasion skill whatsoever" in framing the political conversation, with Trump a three-dimensional chess master to their two-dimensional game.[5] According to Know Your Meme, the spread of the phrase as an Internet meme started on 4Chan's /pol/ board on May 13, 2016, following leaks of a 1990 audio recording of an unknown Trump publicist, followed by its spread to Reddit.[3]

Others challenged this depiction; one headline in The New Republic said "he is not playing chess or 3-D chess or even checkers",[6] and after the election, chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov said "whatever Trump's doing, it isn't chess".[7][4] Columnist Jonah Goldberg called the whole notion "frick'n bonkers."[2]

According to CounterPunch, the game of chess has long been used as a metaphor for strategic political thinking, especially in the context of the Cold War,[8] and is implicit in the title of Zbigniew Brzezinski's 1997 The Grand Chessboard.

See also[edit]

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  • Pepe the Frog
  • /r/The_Donald
  • Social media in the United States presidential election, 2016


  1. Herrman, John (2017-05-31), "The Enduring Appeal of Seeing Trump as Chess Master in Chief", The New York Times
  2. 2.0 2.1 Jonah Goldberg (February 14, 2017), "Donald Trump's 4D Chess, Political Master Myth", National Review
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Trump Is Playing 4D Chess", Know Your Meme, 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 Chess grandmaster says whatever Trump's doing, it isn't chess, The Week
  5. Scott Adams (September 15, 2015), "2-D Chess Players Take on a 3-D Chess Master", Dilbert blog
  6. Alex Shephard (March 2017), "Trump's tweets over the weekend proved that he is not playing chess or 3-D chess or even checkers."", Minutes (blog), The New Republic
  7. Edward-Isaac Dovere (November 21, 2017), "Garry Kasparov Would Like You to Stop Saying 'Trump Is Playing 4-D Chess': The retired grandmaster and Putin critic is not impressed with this president.", Politico
  8. Louis Proyect (September 25, 2015), "Chess as Metaphor", CounterPunch

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