CIPC #338: Diggers ad

We have spotlighted countless advertisements on this blog. For alcoholic drinks, for clothes, for cars, for all sorts of services — but not yet for cleaning products. And that’s changing today, because today we’re featuring an advertisement for Diggers, an Australian brand for customer solvents. In this commercial, they’re using the slogan “Not all contests should be fair”, meaning that germs have no fighting chance against their surface killer spray. To show this slogan in practice, they show a teenage girl playing chess against a full-grown adult. She snaps her fingers, and a chess-playing robot moves up the table, whence the unfairness.

But there is also some subtle unfairness going on. Against Caissa herself: h1 is a dark square! It’s been a while, but it’s back! And why are they using an hourglass instead of a clock? How on Earth do you keep time for a chess game with an hourglass?1

The position is quite clearly visible, but, alas, only the white side. The black side is a lot less certain. In particular, some pieces may be hiding on the last rank and the little clump of black pieces around his king could very well be shaped — or positioned — a bit differently.2

This position is pretty damn stupid and normally I would take plenty of time to thoroughly tear it apart. But not so today, because immediately after this we get a close-up of the robot actually making its move — and the position is completely different in close up! In fact, it seems like they even rotated the board to make h1 a white square.

Again, we don’t get to see the whole board so, again, there might be some more pieces on the board. The pieces that are there are in the correct position, though. Oh, the robot is holding a white rook, with which it captures black’s knight:

After doing so — and without removing black’s knight from the board, I might add — the robot announces checkmate. And that’s about as wrong as any one has ever been. It’s not a check, he’s not your mate, and you’re a shit chess robot. True, if white hadn’t been in check and the white rook comes from e4 you could’ve checkmated black with f4, but if your cat was a cow you could milk it on the couch.

Even putting aside all those problems — and that requires some heavy-duty bulldozers — the position is ridiculous, of course. What’s with the black pawns on the second rank? Why did nobody think about king safety in this game?

There is, in fact, a third completely different position that we see when white throws the pieces off the board. But I am too annoyed already and the quality of the reconstruction would be dreadful,3 so I’ll spare you that. I’ll just leave you with one thought: how good can this cleaning product be if it can’t kill whatever germs led to this?

Realism: 1/5 It’s not a checkmate. And the position is ludicrous.

Probable winner: That’s hard to say. White claims a checkmate, but the claim is not justified. However, black seems to acquiesce in his defeat. Then again, maybe he’s just very annoyed at his opponent’s brazen contempt for the rules of chess.

1. [That would actually be an interesting concept for a tournament. If you make a move quickly, you force your opponent to move quickly too and you’ll definitely have a lot of time on the next move.]
2. [I’m one of the diggers of this diagram editor.]
3. [Not to mention that of the jokes.]