I have noticed that in many stories, movies, and other forms of fiction, villains are frequently accused of not fighting fair; often because their tactics are more deceptive, sneakier or more psychology based than those of the heroes. Many people would call these types of strategies "underhanded, dishonorable" or "cowardly". But, have you ever considered what it really means to fight fair? Basically, by following a set of standard rules in a competition or conflict, you're either saying that how you play is more important to you then victory or that you would be at a disadvantage if you and your opponent did not have to follow these sets of rules designed specifically to limit your options within the context of this struggle.
That is what rules are, really. They're designed to level the playing field; to make things more "fair" by limiting the use of a person's various assets and abilities. Using the example of sports, an athlete can use physical speed, strength and agility to win the game (as long as he only does it in a way that's considered acceptable within the sport). However, if he gets too creative with his strategy, then he's breaking the rules (and if he gets much more creative then that, he may be breaking Federal or state laws). The same would apply in a chess tournament; if one of the competitors decided to use his physical prowess, in addition to his intellectual ability (apparently, pinning you're opponent's head to the board does not constitute checkmate by most official tournament standards). The message is clear: if you get too creative, think too far outside the box or do things too differently; then you are breaking the rules. Creativity in fiction can be acceptable to a point, but, any attempt at extreme real world creativity tends to scare the crap out of people.
Many will argue that the whole point of sports and other games is to test those specific abilities of the competitors, and that allowing them to use other attributes would negate that function. Fine, I can buy that. However, I still say that you'd be a fool not to use every means at your disposal to secure victory in a less structured or less "friendly" competition, where there's more on the line than just pride (not to say that pride isn't enough). Whether it be a professional rivalry, with many thousands of dollars on the line, or just a run of the mill fist fight or brawl, where no one is likely to be killed, or seriously wounded; it still makes more sense for winning to be your first priority over fair play or honor. Therefore, you should not be afraid to use any and all forms of treachery in order to achieve victory. The root of this dilemma is a concept that I call "practicality versus principle". Deciding whether you should act according to some version of an abstract and limiting, ethical standard, or do what makes sense according to your own logical self interest; keeping in mind that the world is not perfect and never fair (by the way, this idea is the basis of the Twisted Jenius philosophy in general). Though many people don't like to hear this, the truth is that what we normally considered good and right is often at odds with what works and is effective (we explored this concept further, in The Myth of Goodness rant).
It's always funny to me, to see the hero of a TV show or movie, complaining about the underhanded and deceitful tactics of the villain. This is, in essence, an admission of intellectual inferiority. What the hero is really saying is that he lacks the brain power to effectively deal with an enemy in any manner that is more complex than a straight forward fight. Heroes often represent the virtues held by the common man, and let's face it; your average Joe is not particularly bright (on the other hand, any idiot can go off and risk their own neck, for the sake of doing the "right thing"). In this way, the concept of the "fair fight" obviously favors the more simple minded of the two opponents. And that's exactly what it's supposed to do. It's designed to be more "fair" to the less capable of the two. As a matter of fact, all rules, laws, and standards are designed to ensure the survival of the many, thus impeding natural selection (it doesn't completely eliminate it and ultimately serves more as a speed bump, rather then a wall, on the road of evolution).
Another consideration is the fact that virtually all of the most respected members of our society will usually do what's most effective, rather than what would be called "fair or noble". Although it's no secret that many of our leaders (politicians) are deceitful, as well as many successful businessmen, what most people don't realize (or at least don't talk about) is that even the most "heroic" members of our society have no real sense of fair play. Soldiers are trained to take any order and accomplish a mission at any cost, and police officers will use any deceptive techniques, within the confines of the law; in order to get their job done. These types of people are often considered good or heroic, because they risk their lives to protect the citizenry. But they have no larger sense of honor other than the limitations which are put upon them by their superiors. And the reason? Because having a greater sense of principle simply wouldn't work. To play "fair" would mean allowing their people's enemies, whom they are paid to fight, to be given more of a chance than they already have. Good sportsmanship tends to go completely out the window when the whole point of the conflict is to completely annihilate your competition. The ends truly do take priority over the means and anyone who intends to succeed at anything needs to be aware of this.
As villains, we must not hesitate to secure a victory whenever possible. Of course, part of this means choosing battles that we can win, as well as doing whatever it takes to win them. Despite what many people will say, there is no shame in using whatever assets or abilities you have to secure victory; and we must not allow others to con us into playing by rules which favor them. In a world where most people walk around like simple minded samurai; straight forward, and hypocritically noble "good guys", we must learn to be as ninja: sneaky, deceptive and utterly ruthless (also, most likely, donning a lot of black clothing). Honestly, with so many self righteous, sword wielding, mentality defective, asses running around; who in their right mind wouldn't prefer to stay to the shadows? And for those of you who still feel a great sense of fulfillment and joy, from merely playing fair and doing your best; just wait till you try winning!