CIPC #238: The untouchables S4 E3, The chess game

The untouchables were originally a special team of incorruptible agents tasked with fighting organised crime in Chicago. It then became the title of an autobiographically book by one of them, which in turn was made into a massively popular television series. In the third episode of the fourth season, Eliot Ness, who usually takes on Al Capone and gangsters of that ilk, fights Ira Bauer, one of the most hardened criminals in the city, one of the greatest threats to not just to Chicago but to all of the United States: someone who sells champagne. Yeah, prohibition was pretty stupid.

This Machiavellian genius that has come up with the astonishing idea to sell people standard supermarket ware is blind and an avid chess lover. In the picture above, he is playing a nice game against Eliot Ness. Well, a game at least. The board is rotated 90°, as it is in about 50% of the cases.

There is a pretty clear shot of the board right before this, so the following reconstruction is pretty reliable. The one thing I’m not so sure of is which pieces are the queens and which are the kings. Oh, and the bishop on g4 might be a different piece.1

You’re probably thinking something like: this is a disaster of a position. Are we really supposed to believe the white pawns went on strike and that white never bothered to get a piece of the back rank? This on its own would be enough to earn the  position a very low realism score. But it gets worse.

Bauer (who has black): Knight to king 3.2

Okay, that’s impossible. There is no knight that could conceivably go anywhere near King 3. Ness’s response is to move black’s c8 knight to d6, which would of course be knight to queen 3. Also, white is in check, so it shouldn’t be black’s move at all.

Ness: Knight to king’s rook 3.

Well, at least that’s a possible move. If we ignore the fact that white is in check, that is.

Bauer: Ha, that’s the stalemate.

Now pray tell what the fucking shit you’re blathering on about, you useless plonker? Stalemate? You have more moves now than in the bloody starting position! And one of them is taking your opponent’s king! Do you even have a brain? Could you describe it for the missing poster?

A bit later in the episode, another position is shown but I’m not even going to look at it. If it’s anything nearly as bad as this one, I might get an overdose and die from a brain aneurysm or something. These simpletons are damn lucky they’re untouchable.3

Realism: 0/5 Whether the piece on e1 or the one on d1 is the king, white is in check. That black move costs every last fraction of a point it might get for realism.

Probable winner: No one. They’re both too bloody stupid to win anything, I suspect.

1. [You can pick the one you prefer here.]
2. [The thirties is about the last time this descriptive notation was used, so that’s believable at least.]
3. [Also dead, I guess.]