And it turns out Ferguson's success against the new president was shapped by the lessons he learned from his years in chess.
In a guest column published this week in TIME magazine, Ferguson says Trump's aggressive method for securing electoral victory in November was the equivalent of the King's Gambit chess move. The Gambit overwhelms unprepared opponents but for those who have studied the unconventional manuever, vulnerabiities are there to be exploited.
That's why Ferguson and his team were ready to pounce when Trump put forth the travel ban.
One of the keys to the counteroffensive was changing the terms of the engagement. Ferguson writes:
"...we did not accept Trump's playing field as he presented it. We blunted his action by moving the field of battle to the courtroom. In that setting, Trump was on the defensive. After all, it isn't the loudest voice that prevails before a federal judge--it's the Constitution."