CIPC #376: Blonde redhead, Melody

You have probably never heard of Blonde redhead. I, at least, had never heard of Blonde redhead.1 It is apparently an American indie rock band. After having heard one song of theirs, I can confidently say they are like off brand Cardigans2. They’re not big enough to have any hits, but big enough that they have been touring for three decades now. Also big enough to have music videos made for some of their songs. And that’s of interest to us, because in the video for their 2004 song Melody, some of the band members are appearing at a chessboard.

They’re playing with reproductions of the famous Lewis chessmen, but contrary to that famous bunch, some of the pieces are really painted black. But that’s not the biggest problem. Far from it, in fact.

We miss the first couple of moves, but very soon the following position appears on the board:3

To my utter dismay, this position is actually in the lichess database: it was reached in a game played in 2023 by two low-rated players. That’s quite an accomplishment, because white needs to have somehow lost a tempo for nothing. Oh, and he has to have thrust his h-pawn into empty space. We see white play Nd5. Bxb5 was better, of course, but Nd5 is not terrible, as a possible Nxe4 could still be answered by Bxb5.

This looks relatively benign, as far as positions on this blog go. But we need to take a step back here. Quite literally. Before white plays Nd5, we see black play Nd4 in response to it. So this simple little music video apparently does away with linear time. This means that when, later in the song, the singer sings

Makino: Why did you kill that poor old man?

the answer may well be: because he played 1.h3.

Realism: 5/5 I hate to give this grade to this position, but reality, sadly, leaves me no choice.

Probable winner: Very hard to say. Neither player seems particularly well-versed in the ways of chess and checkmate is still a very long way off.

1. [Then again, they’ve never heard of us either, I assume.]
2. [The ones that get holes in the armpits if you just look at them — and that sing worse than Nina Persson.]
2. [Very soon indeed: after only four moves.]