A new year, a new British detective series. Well, new isn’t exactly the right word, seeing that it aired in 1969. It features, as title rather unsubtly hints at, Randall and Hopkirk, the latter being deceased. He still haunts his old haunts as a ghost and uses his invisibility to help his still-living partner. In this particular episode, though, the bad guys have a medium1 who can also see him and they use this to feed the detective, and thereby the police, false information, thus shielding their operations. Meanwhile, Hopkirk (deceased) is feeling worse and worse. Probably because he can’t use chess pieces any more.
But the baddies can! And they do. Some twenty minutes into the episode, two of them can be seen at the board while their cronies make fake plans. As can be expected from villains, they’re using pieces that look more expensive than convenient. In fact, it seems to be one of those designer sets made to be put on a table, possibly with a sacrilegious flower pot on it, and never to be touched by the hands of anyone but the cleaning lady.
The reconstruction of the position has caused me some problems. I think it’s very close to the following position. In any case, all relevant details are correct.2
The medium who can see Hopkirk (deceased) plays black. He plays Rxc2 — which is not terrible — and announces check — which is. Unless that knight on f6 is actually a bishop, but that would be even worse. And, to be honest, I think the check was a bit of a joke, since white pays it no heed whatever and plays Nbd2. Then again, she has apparently ignored any previous threat, so who knows what’s going through her mind (quite possibly deceased)?
Realism:1/5 There is no possible justification for this position (deceased). But that’s still no reason to treat it like this.
Probable winner: Black is up an enormous amount of material. Possibly because he’s some kind of clairvoyant, possibly because his opponent is dreadful.