CIPC #375: Righteous kill

It’s been almost half a year since we dealt with a serial killer. For this blog, that’s extraordinary. But today we accompany Robert De Niro and Al Pacino as they are put on the case of a serial killer who is gunning down bad guys that have escaped the law. Before they get to that, we get to see Al Pacino playing a mini simultaneous exhibition of two games in a pub somewhere.

.He says that his grandmother used to take him to the park to watch Bobby Fischer play ten games at the same time.1 I take umbrage at that. She used to take him? So this was a repeated occurrence? How often did Fischer play simultaneous exhibitions in the same park? Pacino goes on to claim that Fischer was five, six moves ahead on each table and I take more umbrage at that. How could he have been five, six moves ahead? One of the very first things to learn about chess, before the rules even, is that it’s a turn-based game, for crying out loud!

Luckily, and somewhat surprisingly, both players have a white square on their right hand side. They still managed to set the board up wrongly, though: there’s coordinates that show white is starting on the 7th and 8th rank. I’ll take perhaps a little more umbrage, but not too much: not turning the board when you start a new game with opposite colours is rather forgivable in such a casual environment.

One of the boards is clearly visible:2

By now, the world’s supply of umbrage is growing short, for I take another massive helping here. How on Earth did that black knight end up on e3? Why did black set out to fianchetto his bishop but then think better of it?

The other board, sadly, is only half visible. That visible half looks like this:

And, frankly, this is appalling. Where did all the pawns go?3 And how did that one pawn reach e6?

These positions are terrible and the movie isn’t very good either, but it does give some important insight into Al Pacino’s career: if he plays like this, of course he keeps getting cast as a gangster.

Realism: 2/5 One point for Al Pacino, one point for Robert De Niro — I really can’t justify more.

Probable winner: In the first diagram, whoever’s move it is. In the second diagram it’s not so clear, particularly because black’s king is hidden from view. But judging solely from the king’s side, white is the favourite.

1. [He was very lucky to even have a grandmother. Some people have to make do with an international mother.]
2. [High visibility is just one of the perks of this diagram editor!]
3. [They’ve been righteously killed, perhaps.]