There are certain things the internet loves far more than it should. Not that they’re bad per se, but the internet just obsesses over them. Cats, for example, or Keanu Reeves, or The office. Yes, The office is everywhere. The office memes pervade the internet. The office catchphrases have seeped into common parlance. The office fan communities are big and numerous. Myself, I didn’t really get past the first episode; it just seemed to be about mean people being awful to each other. And Pam. But it turns out that there’s a chess scene in the last episode of the fifth season! Is this why people kept watching?1 Is this why people love The office?2 Let’s see!
The guy on the left is Jim, the one on the right isn’t. There are some nasty office politics going on, and these two have taken the wise decision to let it all be and play chess instead. They also have taken the less wise decision to set up the board wrongly, as h1 should be a white square. And there’s more evil afoot.
We get a pretty clear view of most of the board. It looks like this:3
black’s queen’s side is more or less made up, as that part of the board is not in view. What’s so bad here? you might ask. White’s position is more or less normal. It looks like a Maróczy bind setup against a Paulsen Sicilian where white has somehow managed to lose his b-pawn and where black has exchanged knights on d4.
Well, first of all, losing that b-pawn is really bad. Mainly because black should not have had the option to go for it. Second of all, there is another shot of the board, and it is inconsistent with the previous one. It is very clear that no moves have been played, but suddenly white’s f-pawn is on the third rank, the bishop from c5 has moved to c6 and a black pawn has appeared in its place. Heresy! Sacrilege! How do people like this show? Is continuity in the chess scenes not the first thing they judge television series on? People – such bastards!
Realism: 0/5 I am not a chess master, but I have played my fair share of games and never, never, have a seen pawns materialise during a game.
Probable winner: Black. His pieces morph in and out of existence and teleport between moves. His opponent seems understandably befuddled.
2. [Again, no.]↩
3. [If corporate wants you to make a diagram, may I suggest this?]↩