CIPC #234: Lewis S4 E3, Your sudden death question

After well over four years of weekly blog posts, it’s becoming harder and harder to come with real novelties. But today, I have found it. Today I have a conception that will shock the world of art. I will talk about the same show two weeks in a row! So get ready for some never before seen entertainment! Yes, we’re revisiting inspector Lewis. This episode features Alan Davies,1 paradoxically in the role of a quiz master. He organises a quiz weekend in Oxford for teams of two. One of the participants turns up murdered, so Lewis appears on the scene, his assistant in tow.

The scene above occurs when they want Alan Davies2 and all quizzers to list their whereabouts at the time another participant was strangled in her room. There is one team consisting of two Oxford dons, and after they filled in their forms they decided to wile away the time with a game of chess. A wise decision, which earns them a spot on my site. You can tell that they are real Oxford dons by the fact that a1 is a white square.

The shot we get of the chessboard is reasonably clear, although it could be a bit closer up. I suspect the position being discussed is the following, although I’m not completely sure about the identity of black’s rooks and knights.:3

If so, that would be very weird, because what the hell is there to discuss? White is done fore! He’s down two rooks and even if we take those off the board black still has two very scary pawns on the king’s side.

The weird pawn structure on white’s queen’s side might kindle a faint glimmer of hope that perhaps they are solving a retrograde analysis problem, but there is really not sufficient retrograde content.

Some twenty five minutes later, we get a look at another game. This time, there is not the slightest doubt about the position. It is this one:

White plays Bxa6 here, and I can’t really blame him for that. I can and do blame him for putting his king on b3 though.

Also, how did these guys become Oxford dons? Who made them professors? Hell, what are they even professors of? Blasphemy?!

Realism: 1/5 Neither position is illegal, but they’re the next worst thing. The pawns on d3 and c4 in the first diagram are ridiculous, of course, and we can only wonder how on earth the second one came about.

Probable winner: Black in the first one, white in the second.

1. [Including the phrase “fingers on buzzers”, which is the most quintessential thing for a British panel quiz show.]
2. [One of his rounds is called only connect and I am slightly annoyed that it has nothing to do with Victoria Coren Mitchell’s show. ]
3. [I hope my sudden death question will be: how do you make nice diagrams?]