CIPC #378: Deadlier than the male

Third time’s the charm! Our subject from two weeks ago featured pieces based on the Lewis chessmen. Our subject from last week featured pieces based on the Lewis chessmen. And our subject for today features pieces based on the Lewis chessmen. And I didn’t even plan it that way! But I’m getting ahead of myself. Deadlier than the male is a British film1 from 1967 featuring James Bond knock-off Hugh Drummond. Although, technically, Drummond existed before Bond in book format, so perhaps we should call James Bond a Hugh Drummond knock-off.

The plot deals with a bunch of important people getting murdered by a couple of attractive women. But then Hugh Drummond gets involved! A good twenty minutes into the movie, Drummond can be seen at the chessboard with a woman who is rather inconsequential to the plot. No Lewis chessmen just yet, but a pretty clear view of the board.

Sadly, it has been set up wrongly, with a1 a white square. Also sadly, a glass of some brownish orangey liquid is obscuring a small part of the board.2

Surprisingly, our hero is playing black and therefore dead lost. He tries Kb8. Mainly, I suspect, to allow for the very cinematic parrying of a check (Qf4+) with a check (Qe5+), which does indeed happen.

But a much more spectacular scene happens almost an hour later. Drummond has met up with Petersen, the mad machiavellian mastermind, in his Big Evil Lair and gets invited to a battle of minds. When he acquiesces, a chess set with enormous pieces rises up from the floor. Drummond opens with 1.e4. It is then that Petersen reveals just how mad he is:3

Petersen: Kind’s pawn gambit. Orthodox reply: king’s pawn to king four.

This is not a gambit, you mush-brained flumpet! And the orthodox opening is a variation of the queen’s pawn game. The game follows a surprisingly reasonable path now: Drummond plays 2. Nf3 and Petersen replies 2. … Nc6. Now we get the somewhat unusual but still perfectly well-known four knights game: 3. Nc3 Nf6. But, alas, here the director leaves the players to follow some sort of matter with a bomb somewhere, and when we get back to the board the position has become impossible to reconstruct. And that’s why Bond won out.

Realism: 3/5 for the first position, the small fragment at the end gets a perfect 5/5, despite the nonsensical Petersen statement.

Probable winner: White and white. In the former case because she has two extra pieces, in the latter case because he’s the hero of the story.

1. [Perhaps the title refers to the guardian?]
2. [Luckily, the diagram editor remains in plain view.]
3. [He reveals a degree three graph without cut-edges that has no Hamiltonian cycle!]