This may be new for my international readers, but everyone from our little Dutch-speaking nook in Europe knows that pop songs in Dutch are massively more popular now than, say, twenty years ago. Perhaps it is a manifestation of the ever increasing fracturing of our culture. Perhaps it is a sign of people falling back on what they know in difficult times. Perhaps it is because people now know enough English to realize the lyrics of American singers are also inane twaddle. But the fact is undisputed: of the 100 most sold songs in the Netherlands in 2002 only 10 were in Dutch; in 2022 there were 20.1 And yet, even in 2006, Jan Smit managed to get to the top of the Dutch hit parades with his song Cupido. Probably because there’s a chessboard in it.
In the song, Jan bemoans the fact that Cupid won’t leave him alone and keeps using him for target practice. And it really is quite bad: the little bugger can’t even let him be while he’s playing chess.
So at first I was rather hostile to the little cherub. But then I had a closer look at the position. The faint of heart should probably look away now, because I’m going to show it to you, too:2
I’m thinking now that maybe Cupid is a fellow chess enthusiast and just couldn’t bear the sight of this monstrosity. This is really the worst position I’ve seen in a long, long time. Let me count the ways this position is impossible:
- the bishop on a1 is impossible,
- the pawn on c1 is impossible,
- the white rook should have started on a1 and would then never have been able to escape,
- white is only missing three pawns,3 yet black’s pawns must have taken at least five pieces to end up where they are.
The fact that white has two dark-squared bishop would, under normal circumstances, be the main complaint, but here it’s hardly a side note.
So, yeah, even though he’s in the middle of a game and it leads to them upsetting the board and sending the pieces every which way, I wholeheartedly commend Cupid pelting him and his partner with arrows. Maybe it’ll teach him some respect for Caissa.
Realism: 0/5 And I was very tempted to give minus points.4 I think we, as the community of chess players, should get a restraining order against Jan Smit forbidding him to ever come anywhere near a chessboard.
Probable winner: Black is a bunch of pawns up with no compensation, but I don’t think she can to win here. I don’t think anybody can win here. I don’t think even Beelzebub or Moloch would be willing to touch this, — this thing.
1. [For Flanders the numbers are the obviously superior 13 and 23.] ↩
2. [This is the position on the board when it is knocked over. In the screenshot above, you can see clearly that the position is very different. I invite the interested readers to reconstruct that one themselves.] ↩
3. [At least one of which must have promoted!] ↩
4. [Perhaps even complex ones.] ↩