CIPC #363: Van der Valk S3 E12, Diane

Time and time again, when I encounter yet another British detective series with a chess scene, I have to write a paragraph expressing my astonishment at the apparently unlimited number of such shows. Screw that. Today, you’ll have to make do with some strangely meta spiel about how annoying writing these introductions is. And then an equally meta and incredibly (but unavoidably) awkward transition to me talking about the show instead.

So, Van der Valk. It’s a British detective series set in Amsterdam, following Piet Van der Valk in his detecting business. In this particular episode, he is approached by an extremely French woman by the name of Diane who has had a suspicious number of her recent love interests die.1 She feels ill at ease about it.

She keeps a chess set around in her apartment, apparently just for the tactile joy of handling chess pieces. Van der Valk also indulges in said joy and can be seen fondling white’s king’s knight in the following position:2

While this is not exactly one of the main lines of modern theory, it is by no means illogical or stupid. But now Diane comes into action and she apparently is illogical and stupid,3 for she moves black’s d5 pawn to e5. Not only is that an illegal move and a bad move, it’s also almost certainly white’s move.

It also makes it much more plausible that someone is trying to hunt her down. It seems pretty convincing evidence that she is severely disturbed and perhaps dangerous. So, Diane, Therapy?

Realism: 5/5 Before Diane’s interference, that is. After that it’s a zero.

Probable winner: Hard to say. Before Diane’s interference, that is. After that, white is winning.

1. [It all started with Actaeon.]
2. [All this time, Diane was just hunting for a good diagram editor.]
3. [Which, to be fair, is entirely in character for a Greek goddess.]