Sunday, February 27, 2011

Chess In The West Wing 3x14

In The West Wing 3 x 14, when Toby and Bartlet are playing, Toby plays 1 e4 and Bartlet jokingly accuses him of playing the “Evans Gambit”, a derivative of the Giuoco Piano opening. Toby professes not to know what that is, but after 1… e5 2 Nf3 Nc6 3 Bc4 Bc5, Toby does in fact play 4 b4! which is the real Evans Gambit. Bartlet accepts with 4… Bxb4.

I’m also reasonably sure that the Evans Gambit isn’t as popular today as it was in Paul Morphy’s time, simply because the Giuoco Piano has gone out of fashion.

Charlie interrupts with Sam’s move in a different game, which he states as “Bishop to Queen’s Knight 3”. That’s actually a sort of antiquated chess move system, that was used in the 1950s and earlier, but has died out in favor of the e4, e5, e6 system (where each square has an unchanging, fixed designation of a letter and a number, and pieces are referred to by the first letter of their names). The old system designated pieces by what column they were in with regards to the original starting position; thus, “Queen’s Knight 3” means that the Bishop is three spaces up from the column that White’s Queen’s Knight started in. It was confusing because the system shifted depending on the point of view. Black noted moves from the position of his pieces, just like White. So it would be entirely possible for White to move 1 B-QKn3 and for Black to follow with 1… B-QKn3, without the two Bishops ever interacting. The e4 system makes more sense.

Now that I’ve gifted the world with an utterly pedantic chess shmick, I’ll leave you with one of the most fantastic games ever played. The Opera Game. Enjoy.

Also, do not EVER play this, you will DIE.

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