CIPC #218: Frauenarzt Dr. Prätorius

Sad news for the lovers of early music: we’re not talking about the iconic German music theorist and composer from around 1700. Instead, we are talking about a German movie from 1950 based on a play by Curt Goetz who also plays the main role. It’s about a gynaecologist. One of his patients is pregnant but unmarried which is a big problem, as this is the fifties. He decides to go see her father, comments on his well-maintained roses, gets invited in and bam! Chess!

I don’t want to keep this invitation from you:1

Höllriegel: Do you play chess?

Prätorius: Badly.

Höllriegel: All the better!

Yes, that’s right: this is a German comedy! Kind of. It comes to the brink of being funny at some points, but it never quite makes it. Instead, it ends up being relatively serious but without the tension that maintains interest for dramas or thrillers or the like.

But enough about that. The German grundlichkeit gives us some very nice and clear shots of the board so I can present with pride and confidence the exact reconstruction of the position:2

How this came about is an open question. White must have been mucking about on the queen’s side for quite a long time, because getting the knight to a5 and the queen to b3 must have taken at least six moves; more than he spent on everything else. All that to set up a cheapo which doesn’t even work. White is blissfully unaware of that, though, and plays Qxb7, announcing mate. Naturally, black simply takes it with his knight.

What a waste of life.

Realism: 3/5 It is not completely unthinkable that a bad and a terrible player could end up in this position. White has followed a clear if wrongheaded plan and black has developed his pieces to more or less normal places, although he has been doing some odd manoeuvring with his knights.

Probable winner: Black. He has gotten a queen for free.

1. [I also don’t want to translate the dialogue from German to English, but I’ll do it anyway.]
2. [Here‘s how you get as popular as Dr. Prätorius.]