So .... inspired by Mac's idea about drawing flows and from his blog post "Lifeshape": http://quantumdonuts.blogspot.com/2011/04/lifeshape.html, I started thinking more about the basic 'shapes' of dueling strategy. They all ended up needing to be 4 dimensional and looking like tangled balls of wool with the occasional knitting needle sticking out of them, or else abstract impressionist planes of red with a singular black dot in a far corner .....
Anyway, the basic strategy laid out in the last series of posts, using this idea of relative options is -
Narrow the opponents' options to one (or zero), whilst you remain with as many as possible until you have prevailed.
I guess in some way this is true for other types of combative encounters too, the main difference is that in ambushing, say, your opponent(s) starts with having none/one option if you are doing it right, dueling they may start with as many as you do, and your task is to take away theirs whilst keeping yours.
So shape wise, if you think about 3 dimensional space, you are physically cornering your opponent into 'running out of angle' i.e. options. Time wise (the 4th dimension) you either take it away from them completely, or you gain on them temporally so they are following. You can also 'corner' or freeze your opponent's emotional state by using psychology, their intent too, physically and psychologically. And of course you can use the environment to your advantage if you see it as yours to use.
So ultimately the shape is a corner, or a dead end (LOL) ... but it's a multidimensional corner, and I have no idea how to draw that ....
Finally it seems fitting to look at the view out from this corner, and this brings to mind Rory's comments about luck and chaos - luck being one of the 4 elements present in all interactions (the others being you, them, and the environment).
If you are winning, it's best to lessen the options, lessen the chaos and narrow the potential for lady luck to swing the other way, but,if you are losing ..... it behooves you to increase the chaos as luck is fickle, and if your options are tending towards one/zero you might as well create as much chaos as possible to shake up the many dimensions in which options exist.