CIPC #340: Doctor Who S14 E17, The robots of death: part one

Doctor Who is perhaps the biggest thing we haven’t covered yet on this blog.1 It started all the way back in the sixties and ran for a millionty billion seasons with a gazillion episodes per season. For the uninitiated: it’s a show about a supernatural dude2 and his natural companion going through mostly unconnected science-fiction stories. Usually, there are some suspiciously human-looking aliens, a couple of easily filmed mines in Wales, and perhaps a matte painting. In this particular, episode, there are also killer robots. And a chess game.

It takes place near the beginning of the episode. The captain of a mining spaceship is facing off against one of the ship’s robots. At this point, the robots are not of death yet, but they seem to be merciless with their opponent’s pieces.

Or perhaps they’re just better at identifying the weirdly shaped figures. Because apparently the elegant and convenient Staunton figures have been given up in the future to make place for ugly stacks of disks that are hard to tell apart. In fact, the pieces even seem to be different for both sides. The best I can do in the way of reconstruction is this, but most of white’s  pieces are obscured by pieces that have already been taken:3

The robot announces mate in eight moves here, to which the captain reacts with incredulity. Understandable, because there is no way it takes eight moves to checkmate black here. Three should suffice.

Not for the authors, though, as they needed three parts for the Robots of death storyline.

Realism: 2/5 That number is very dubious, though, as the reconstruction is very doubtful.

Probable winner: White. Even ignoring the mate, white has a huge material advantage.

1. [Barring Betelgeuse, perhaps.]
2. [Isn’t it nifty how supernatural is a sort of antonym of super natural?]
3. [What’s the bets diagram editor? Who knows!]