CIPC #198: De regels van Floor S3 E16, Fanatiek

De regels van Floor is a still-running Dutch television series. The title means ‘Floor’s rules’ and the concept is that, every episode, Floor comes up with one rule to help her — and, by proxy, the viewer — cope with the intricate and often baffling trappings of life in modern society. In this particular episode, that rule is “don’t be too fanatic”;1 in fact ‘fanatiek’, the name of the episode, is Dutch for ‘fanatic’. It comes from the fact that Floor’s father gets a little too engrossed in her daughter’s football games. It turns out that the same father also plays chess. Near the end of the episode, he has a tournament that is so important that even his wife comes to watch. We too, of course:

Jan, Floor’s father, is playing on the board in the foreground. He has black.

Let me first gives props to the director for a rather accurate portrayal of a local tournament in the Netherlands. It seems to be played in the gym of a local school, it has the hallmark little plastic boxes with the ubiquitous blue lids,2 there are the old Gardé clocks which were tournament standards for half a century or so, the players seem middle-aged to old — all very realistic.

How about the actual position? Luckily, we get one very clear shot. The position is this one:3

Oh my God! That’s realistic as well! What’s happening? Will I have nothing to complain about here? Well, let’s not go that far just yet. I don’t need much to complain.

One first strange thing is that Jan has taken his wooden chess board with him. Why would he do that? Clearly, plastic boards have been provided by the organizers. Another strange thing: white is thinking in this position, which is a perfectly standard position from the Spanish four knights game. Surely this can hardly be a new position for him? Even if it is, 4. … a6 could hardly have been a surprise. Yet more surprising: the players on the other board are also thinking! Surely, they should also be in the opening phase and playing fast! When we finally do get a move, it turns out to be Bc4. This is certainly not the main line here, but it still is far from a novelty.

And then we get to the moral of the story: Floor, together with a friend of her, start to cheer loudly in the playing hall, throwing a roll of toilet paper on the board, and a banner — all in a show of support for Jan. But, of course, it is not really a show of support but rather a show of how unbearably annoying fanatics can be in sports. Exhibit A: the vuvuzela.4

Realism: 5/5 The circumstances around the game have no influence on the points. Since the position on the board has occurred in several master games, a 5/5 is unavoidable.

Probable winner: That’s impossible to say. The position is such an early one that anything could happen. For no particular reason, I’ll suggest a draw.

1. [As a rule, it’s kind of useless, because it still leaves the important difficulty of knowing how fanatic is too fanatic.]↩
2. [They are always blue. Why is this? Is this a subconscious criticism of the pressure of modern society making people unhappy? Is blue cheaper for some reason?]
3. [The rules of Nikolaas: make good diagrams.]
4. [Also: hooliganism.]