Cox Communications is a company that, among many other things, sells home security systems, including things like cameras, motion sensors, and of course — as it is a modern company — apps. Whether it’s any good or not, I don’t know. But I do know that, a few years ago, they released a commercial. A commercial with chess in it.
The plot, if you can call it that, is that a woman is teaching her son chess and therefore has no time to get up and find out why her horribly ugly pug is barking. But she can look at her phone,1 use the Cox Communications app and see it’s someone she trusts at the door. Hooray.
The director of the commercial kindly shows the position very clearly so, once again I can present to you, with full confidence, the following reconstruction of the position:2
The teacher, I hasten to add, is playing white. Yes. Things haven’t gone particularly well for her. Black is up enough material to make an artificial island with off the coast of Dubai and he has two different mate-in-one threats.4 If she really feels she must continue, the only logical option seems to be Bxh6+. Instead, she plays Qc1. That does parry the Ng2# threat, but not the h1Q# threat. Her son, who apparently has the chess skills of a frozen potato, misses this3 and plays Re5+ instead.
Narrator: […] how proud you are to finally hear him say “check”.
This boy looks like he’s eight– at least! And he just said “check” for the first time? How badly did you mess up his education?! And how is that what makes you proud? Giving a check isn’t impressive. Announcing a check isn’t impressive. Winning this position with black isn’t impressive. Not letting your opponent make a move is not just not impressive, it’s very, very ill-mannered. But that’s what the boy does. While his mom is mucking about on her phone, he plays Qe2 and declares checkmate. He’s probably fed up with her being on the phone during their game.
Realism: 2/5 No piece is in a ridiculous position, but this game should have ended ages ago. Then again, neither player seems to have a clue about chess, so who knows?
Probable winner: Black. Even if he plays just one move at a time, he’s still up a whole army.
1. [And lose by forfeit, of course.] ↩
2. [You can do without the home safety stuff, but you probably need a diagram editor like this.] ↩
3. [As well as various mates in two.] ↩
4. [An attentive reader — apparently I have some of those! — pointed out that there are actually three mating threats: Ng2#, h1Q#, and h1R#.] ↩