Luther sounds like it should be a documentary series about the eponymic theologist and his ninety-five theses, or perhaps about his royal namesake. But no. It is about a certain John Luther, played by Idris Elba, who works as a detective in London. Yes, we are back to the good old crime series. Obviously, chess pops up. In fact, it pops up where it should: in the first episode of the first season, right after the opening credits have ended. That way, you can skip the rest of the series.1
Luther is the guy on the far right, slumping so far back that he is pretty much lying down. In fact, he seems almost bored with the game. He’s probably worrying more about his back than about his position. During the reconstruction of the position, it became clear that this is not unreasonable.
We get a relatively clear view of the queen’s side, but what’s happening on the other side is unclear. Here’s my best guess:2
But the most interesting thing is not on the board: on black’s left hand there stands, towering over a couple of plebeian pieces, stands a white queen. This explains why Luther is looking so down, because there does not seem to be much in the way of compensation of that queen.
And this also solves an age-old theological question: why on Earth did Luther not just come up with a few more theses to get to a nice round one hundred? The answer suggested here is clear: there were five more theses, but they were about chess and were excised because they would outshine the nonsense about indulgences.
Realism: 3/5 None of the pieces are in ridiculous places, but that’s the best I can say. There seems to be no reason for the lack of development or for white to have given up his queen.
Probable winner: Black. He has a queen for pretty much nothing.3