CIPC #197: The twilight saga: Breaking dawn – part 1

Few traces of it are left, but about a decade ago, Twilight was the biggest thing in the world. Millions and millions of copies of the books were sold in pretty much any language known to man and the movies were enormous box office successes. But at the same time, there was a huge backlash against it. The characters were deemed flat, old fashioned, creepy even. The story was condemned for being ridiculous. But, as has been pointed out to me recently, there is chess in it.

In other words: this is just Pretty woman with a vampire. Seriously, how is that movie a 7 on IMDB while the Twilight movies are around 5? It’s the same bloody thing, just with vampires and spread out over five movies. Okay, there’s also a an infernal pregnancy and a bit more moping, but it has the same fundamental theme of a woman without qualities saved from a mediocre life by a strong, handsome guy who dotes on her for no reason.

And there’s another strong similarity: the chess scene makes no sense. It takes place at the beginning of the fourth movie of the series. The protagonists Bella1 and Edward just got married and they’re spending their honeymoon on a remote Brazilian island. Under those circumstances, it is obvious that they’re going to play chess.

In fact, we see them at it twice. The first time is on a chaise in a very nice living room with a beautiful view of the sea through the French windows. Unfortunately, the director is distracted by some happenings in the bedroom and quickly cuts away from the board. If it was just this scene, I wouldn’t have been able to do much with it, but there is a second chess scene. This time they’re outside, on a patio of some kind, and we get a very clear shot:2

There is also a black queen which Edward, who has black, uses to knock over white’s king. Not only is that just not done, it also means that white’s last move must have been illegal. Indeed, the very fact that it’s black to move suffices for that. White doesn’t even have the excuse that she had no alternative, for wherever the black queen comes from, it cannot have been a mate.

There is also a third scene in which they’re playing chess, this time on the beach close to the waterfront.3 Again we don’t get a good shot because, apparently, some people want to see them kiss instead. Humph. Weirdos.

Realism: 1/5 Taking the king is illegal, of course, but it’s the sort of thing where beginners might not know that it’s illegal. But even setting that aside that, the position is a mess. What could have caused the strange concentration of pieces around b3? Why haven’t those white pawns on the 7th rank not been taken ages ago? Sparkly vampires, à là, but this is too much.

Probable winner: A queen, two knights, and a bishop for a rook and your opponent is mated.

1. [Her name is Bella Swan, because subtlety is not the author’s strong suit.]
2. [The diagram saga: Breaking pawn part 2.]
3. [By extrapolation, we can conclude that the fourth chess scene would have been underwater. This probably explains why there wasn’t a fourth a chess scene.]