CIPC #368: Rothmans ad

Hah! I didn’t quit at all! After the utter despair at the end of my last blog post you could have been forgiven for thinking I had left — but no. It was merely a frivolous jape, a simple light-hearted trick, right in time for April fools’ day. Or perhaps I was just lazy. How could you ever tell? But now I’m back.1 And I’m back with a tobacco ad, of all things. I’m not sure when or where it sprung into existence, but it can easily be found online and it appears to be from the late fifties.

Three people are sitting around a chessboard. They’re smoking cigarettes but they are clamouring for different, superior cigarettes.with better tobacco, a finer filter, and king size flavour too. The mere thought of these Platonic ideals of the cigarette makes them smile a king size, finely filtered smile. But sadly for them they’re stuck with Rothmans’ cigarettes.

And they deserve better, for the position on the board doesn’t seem ridiculous at all. Here it is:2

I’m guessing that a move ago, white had a pawn on d4 and the black pawn currently on d5 was on e6. White played d5, setting a cunning trap that his opponent promptly fell for. As the ad points out, white has a mate in three here.

And black, who wishes for a better fate, has to acquiesce in his demise. Like these poor people have to acquiesce in the inferior Rothman cigarettes, dreaming, but dreaming vainly, about other cigarettes — shining beacons of tar and smoke and death. Exactly what everyone involved in Scorpion deserves.

Realism: 4/5 This seems a perfectly plausible position. I don’t recognize it from an actual game, but it may well have occurred in a real tournament somewhere.

Probable winner: White. He ha probably set up this trap on purpose, so it’s very unlikely he hasn’t spotted the mate.3

1. [And soon I might be neck!]
2. [In the fifties, they didn’t even have decent diagram editors ]
3. [And even then he may still stripe it!]