CIPC #186: Abenteuer 1900 – Leben im Gutshaus E12, Warten auf Nachwuchs

Today, we feature our first German television series. Abenteuer 1900 – Leben im Gutshaus, German for “adventure 1900 – live on a manor”, was shown in 2004 on ARD. It is about a bunch of people trying to live like people in 1900. I do not know whether they succeeded or not, but I can assure you all that there are enough quaint dresses and gnädige Frau‘s to give it a convincing impression. In the twelfth episode, there is the following genuine-looking scene:

The episode is called Warten auf Nachwuchs, i.e. waiting for offspring.1 While they are waiting, they already got one game for the hypothetical kid: a chessboard.

The board itself looks like it could be authentic, but how about the position? If it is the result of some sharp Sveshnikov Sicilian or perhaps even an Alekhine defence this would cast serious doubts on the historical veracity of the whole series.

The position seems to be this one:2

Well, at least I won’t have to worry about such subtleties as anachronistic opening: what little hints there are seem to point towards some kind of clumsy Philidor, and that’s a very plausible opening for an amateur game from around 1900.

However, there are other implausibilities. How on Earth did the white rook worm its way to h8? Why did his black counterpart allow this? How did said counterpart end up on f6? In what circumstances could it possibly have been a wise decision for white to manoeuvre his queen’s rook to c4? What is it doing there?

Waiting for offspring?

Realism: 3/5 A 3 is really on the high side, but this scene profits from low expectations.

Probable winner: White is up a knight and can at the very least play Qxf6, Rxf8+, Rf7+,Rxf6. That should suffice.

1. [It is not clear from the title whether they’re waiting for children to be born or just to come home, but it is the former.]
2. [For old school diagrams, click here.3 ]
3. [Actually, that’s not true. They made far worse diagrams back then.]