CIPC #177: Alvin and the chipmunks: The squeakquel

My God. What have I come to? You know, I hope you all really appreciate what I do for this blog, because you have no idea. Just two weeks ago, I sat through the entire music video of the 1992 gabberhouse hit song Poing by the Rotterdam termination source in the vain hope that the knight on the cover indicated some chess imagery in the video — and now I watched an Alvin and the chipmunks movie! The second one even, which has a title that is to puns as concrete is to fine dining. And this time there are three more excruciatingly annoying chipmunks running about! O joy!

First some backstory for those of you blessed with ignorance of this accursed collective. You know that old witch doctor song? The one that goes Oo-ee, oo-ah-ah, ting tang, wolla wolla bing bang? Yeah, the guy who wrote that noticed that he could make something really annoying by speeding up recorded voices. He used this for a novelty song by a fictional band of chipmunks and, ever since, humanity has been occasionally plagued by a resurgence of these rodents.

So, for example, in 2009 when the disaster currently under investigation emerged. The writers want us to believe that the chipmunks are highly popular rock stars who are sent to school by their manager and have to win a competition. Their main rivals are a female parallel of their own pitiful band, presumably because all talent has been sucked out of the nation in Space jam fashion.

In the above picture, we have caught the movie in its one relatable moment: a nerd playing chess by himself. The chipmunk in blue is Simon, who has the braincell of the group, and the position is the following:1

This is probably the most realistic thing in the movie.2 It is not entirely clear whose move it is, but if it’s white’s the position is very boring: he takes the queen and wins whichever way he chooses. If it’s black’s move, things are less clear. He should probably try to save his queen and he might want to guard against Qa8+, so perhaps his best bet is Qe5. In that case, white is up an exchange for a pawn, which should probably be enough for a victory but it’s not a foregone conclusion by any means. Especially not if the player that has to demonstrate his technical skills is a chipmunk.

But, while the position seems innocuous, there is something much more sinister going on here. Because the doofus with whom the chipmunks are staying also has a chessboard which, at a certain point long before the scene above, appears on screen. So perhaps, some day, when you feel perfectly safe at home with your computer and a hot cup of tea, you might see me do a sequel to the squeakquel.

Realism: 3/5 To my utter surprise there’s nothing majorly wrong with this position. Sure, king safety has clearly not been a major concern for either player, but that’s not uncommon, especially at amateur — or, indeed, chipmunk — level.

Probable winner: Simon is playing against himself, so there’s a fair chance he’ll manage a win. After all, no one playing with themselves wants it to just fizzle out.

1. [So far, there have been three Alvin and the chipmunks movies. Yet, there still remain a scant few places where one might find solace and a desperate hope for the future of humanity.]
2. [At the beginning, there are some high school students that want to squash the chipmunks, but they later invite one of them to play on their football team, so I can’t reasonably call that realistic.]