CIPC #329: Midsomer Murders S20 E2, Death of the small coppers

It’s been entirely too long since we’ve last talked about cold old British crime television. So let’s return to Midsomer Murders. Exactly six years ago,1 I first spotlighted an episode of the long-running series in which the long-suffering inspector Barnaby solves murder after murder in what is apparently the most dangerous county in Britain. Back then, there was a ritual murder to deal with, now someone had been pinned to the wall like a butterfly with a butterfly painted on the wall against him.

There’s also a high-IQ society, a Danish police inspector on private business, disappearing butterflies, and, most importantly, a whizkid. Important, because the ultimate way to show that any kid is especially whiz, is by showing them kick ass at chess.

And so a images of someone getting electrocuted to death are interspersed with a rather tense scene in which our kid is shown playing a simultaneous exhibition in the local pub. In an unusual turn, he’s playing black. In a very usual turn, the boards are not shown very clearly. I think the position on one of them is this one:2

Our wunderkind has just captured white’s h-pawn. Immediately afterwards, he also captures a piece on another board — using two hands! Ah, the vagaries of youth! His opponent doesn’t seem too worried about this, probably because he realises that after 1. Rxh2 Qxd1+ (after an immediate Nxh2, there’s Qh5+) 2. Kxd1 Nxh2 3. f3 the black knight has no retreat and must perish.3

Sadly, that defeats the purpose of the whole scene. How are you going to convince your viewers that this kid is exceptionally smart when you show him messing up this badly?

Realism: 2/5 Most pieces are on logical places, but the inexplicable disappearance of black’s king’s side pawns is worrying.4 And the rook on h2 would only be logically placed there in and endgame.

Probable winner: White. He’ll be up material and his opponent is playing on two boards.

1. [That’s the first time that’s happened on this blog, right? This is so exciting!]
2. [Although, the knight on g4 is mainly there on an, admittedly wonky, assumption of non-stupidity.]
3. [Presumably by Sir Gareth’s sword.]
4. [Maybe they were the small coppers.]