CIPC #226: The Perry bible fellowship, Primate checkmate

Today, we go visit the digital lagerstätte and dig up one of the dinosaurs of the internet: The Perry bible fellowship. Before Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, before xkcd and Cyanide & Happiness, even before Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, there was already The Perry bible fellowship. It has won a whole bunch of awards and many of the comics have been collected in actual physical books. One relatively recent instalment features this image:

This is part of the set-up for a meta-joke.1 The round-headed bloke on the left is shown sweating profusely while his monkey opponent confidently makes his move. The idea is, of course, that this suggests an unlikely intelligence on the part of the simian. This is quickly subverted, as it is shown that the man is just sweating because it is hot and that the monkey is very bad at chess.

But judging jokes doesn’t jibe with the goal of this blog. We want to judge chess positions! And there’s a lot to judge here. For example, a1 is a white square. But that’s par for the course here. The real meat of the matter is that the pieces are very badly centred. Black’s queen side pieces are particularly bad: one rook is quite clearly on a8, the other one is quite clearly on f7, and the other pieces form a neat, straight line between these two. My reconstruction is this:2

The monkey, who has white, seems to be holding a third knight which he is moving somewhere in the centre. The next time we see the board it is gone, though, and black has conjured up some extra pieces. It is mainly that point which costs the comic all points; the slightly different configuration of the pieces could be explained by time having passed and moves having been played, but as no black pawns have disappeared in the meantime no new black pieces could have appeared.

That a monkey can’t play chess is not so surprising, but that his opponent can’t even set up the board correctly is worrying.

Realism: 0/5 Pieces cannot appear at random. Well, they can, but it is incompatible with getting points on this blog.

Probable winner: Black. He is up material, and in the second drawing he announces checkmate.

1. [So is this.]
2. [For all your monkey business.]