CIPC #379: Honda Ridgeline ad

We’re finally leaving the Lewis chessmen behind, but we’re not quite back to normal pieces: they’re still human sized. And they figure in a commercial of some fifteen years ago for the Honda Ridgeline; one of those ugly and grotesquely oversized pick-up trucks that have been dominating car sales for some years now. The plot of the ad, if you can call it that,1 is that two strongmen are playing chess: strength meets intelligence.

I’m willing to accept the strength bit on faith, but I’ll need some convincing for the intelligence part..One point in favour is that the board is shown very clearly, leaving no doubt whatsoever about the exact positions of the pieces.

They are as follows:2

White has just given a check with his bishop, which, although not terrible, is a rather surprising move, given that he could have promoted his pawn with check. Black spends no time thinking about his reply — a policy he apparently has followed throughout the game — and plays e6.

In any case, there is no extraordinary intelligence on display here. And the narrator of the commercial seems to have caught on to that fact, for the best he can say about the Ridgeline is that it’s “surprisingly efficient”, which may be due to low expectations rather than some particular acumen.3

Realism: 3/5 Yes, it is hard to imagine black’s e-pawn staying on its starting square for so long. No, I don’t see why the kings would be so far away from the action at such a late state in the game. But at least there is nothing obviously ridiculous going on.

Probable winner: White will soon have an extra queen in addition to his extra rook. At that point, you don’t really need intelligence any more.

1. [Which you can. It’s not even hard, in fact.]
2. [Chess diagrams meet intelligence.]
3. [At least, that’s how this blog works.]