We heartily congratulate Derek Lim, 6, on his winning the Under-7 title at the World Schools Chess Championships in Halkidiki, Greece. According to World Chess Federation General Secretary Ignatius Leong, “It’s the first time any Singaporean has won a world title in chess.” It’s a real achievement.But what we would like to know is: Did he create any ghost in his journey to the top? In chess, a ghost is an imaginary threat on the chessboard. More generally, it is also an example of misdirection.Misdirection is found in jokes like the following. Question: What can you never eat at breakfast? Answer: Lunch and dinner. Question: Why does Phua Chu Kang wear yellow rubber boots? Answer: To protect his feet.Misdirection is a key technique in magic—to make the audience look away from the secret move. Try this: Pretend to throw a coin to the ceiling, and look up to some likely point on the ceiling while hiding the coin. Onlookers will follow your eyes—and ignore your hand. This is how magicians make airplanes, elephants and mountains vanish into thin air.Misdirection is a war strategy. We quote from Sun Tzu’s Art of War:I.18 All warfare is based on deception.I.19 When we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.I.25 These military devices … must not be divulged beforehand.VII.19 Let your plans be dark and impenetrable as night …VII.22 He will conquer who has learnt the artifice of deviation.In politics, the technique is used to focus attention on a minor issue so as take attention away from a more important action. What’s this all about? How should we know? This is a piece on misdirection.Hmm. Maybe it’s about whether Singaporeans saw any ghosts last week.