It’s easy to understand how there might be a pattern in the market that shows we have an edge or a reason to put on a trade. Maybe some combination of factors or patterns shows us that a market is more likely to go up over a certain time period, so we buy it. That’s pretty easy to understand, and it’s how most people think about trading.
There is another way to think about patterns, and I think this is more powerful. We can take a pattern, and then think several steps ahead. Through much the same process a beginning chess player might go through, in which he thinks “ok I move here and then maybe he moves here… and when he moves there I’ll do this… but wait… if he does this instead, then I would do this…” We can play a similar game with the market, looking at how prices and patterns are developing, and thinking a few steps ahead. Take a look at the chart below, which shows the S&P 500 futures a few days after a sharp selloff. I’ve also highlighted two possible scenarios, in light orange and blue, that might have played out. Here’s the chart: