Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spectator Sport

I was reminded today about this funny Geico commercial. My favorite moment had been that the player on move finishes capturing Nxg4 and then turns his dagger-like gaze on his opponent as if to say, "In your face!" I was curious about Andres Cantor's words, so I found this translation at

Ha sido una partida intensa hoy- (It’s been an intense match today)
Ya veremos qué está pensando- (Now we’ll see what he’s thinking)
Está pensando- (He’s thinking)
Veamos qué va a hacer- (Let’s see what he’s going to do)
¿Moverá a la reina o moverá al caballo?- (Will he move the queen or the knight?)
Qué tensión- (What stress)
Viene - (Here he comes)
Viene Viene Viene (Here he comes Here he comes Here he comes)
GOL! (Goal!)

Commentators at observed that:
(1) the board was set up with the correct light square on the right. But...
(2) White has two light-squared bishops.

It's hard to tell where Black's Queen Rook is (if it's even present), but from examining the video, it seems to be hiding at a8 behind the Bb7. That allows the material to be even in the position which is likely a Najdorf or Scheveningen Sicilian opening. So the initial position seems to be:

Utilizing the guesswork of retrograde analysis that I learned from The Chess Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes, I can devise a plausible (but not realistic) path in which White's f-pawn captures Black's g-pawn and then underpromotes to a Bishop on g8 and then winds its way back to e2 via h7, g6, and h5, after which White plays pawn to g4.

The move ...Nxg4 is regarded as a mistake, but it's not entirely without merit. The idea is Bxg4 h5 (bishop moves) Bh6 pinning the White queen to the King. Unfortunately, White gets a lot of desperado moves such as Nxe6, Ndxb5, leading to a game that is close to equal.

Back to the initial position, the line b4 Nb1 Bxe4 seems preferable, winning a pawn in the center and gaining time. Fritz made up a funny line here: Rh3 d5 g5 Bd6!? gxf6 Qxf6 Re3 Bf4 (pin resurfaces!) with -/+ advantage to Black.

A retrograde problem and a tactical lesson inside a humorous commercial. Fake chess at its finest!