Kaldor City: a Magic Bullet Production


Tournament of Shadows

by Alan Stevens



In preparation for writing the chess scenes in Kaldor City: Taren Capel, Sarah Egginton  and  I worked out the entire game in advance, including the moves that don't actually appear in the script. Sarah also annotated our plan to show how the moves on the board correspond to the strategies and symbolic alliances that appear in the story. I have also included here a key as to what each piece represents, although please note that the pawns are only used to convey the general offensive/defensive tactics.

Key to Major Players:

White Queen's Rook – Landerchild's Residence
White Queen's Knight – Cotton
White Queen's Bishop – Landerchild
White Queen – Fendahl/Justina
White King – Taren Capel
White King's Bishop – Paulus/Poul
White King's Knight – Blayes
White King's Rook –The Church of Taren Capel

Black Queen's  Rook – Uvanov's Residence
Black Queen's Knight – Iago
Black Queen's Bishop – Poul/Paulus
Black Queen – Justina/Fendahl
Black King – Uvanov
Black King's Bishop – Carnell
Black King's Knight – Rull
Black King's Rook – Company Central

  V31 is White and Carnell is Black.

1    Kt-KB3 Kt-QB3
2    Kt-Q4 Kt-K4

Now the two knights are in the middle of the board forming their alliance.

3    Kt-KB3 P-Q4

Blayes retreats, which looks like a wasted move from the viewpoint of the chess game and therefore ought to puzzle Carnell. From Carnell's point of view, his pawn move is a strong one, asserting control over the centre of the board and preparing the ground for an attack; but in fact the real reason for the move (unknown to Carnell) is to leave the square in front of his Queen free for Iago to occupy, threatening Carnell himself.

4    P-KR4 Kt-Q2

There is no way anyone with Carnell's intelligence is going to play that last move, blocking off his own bishop. The robot is going to have to insist on it.     

5    P-Q4 P-KR4

Ostensibly the robot's Queen's pawn move is to counter Carnell's, but the real purpose is to give Landerchild (the Queen's bishop) a wider sphère of influence.

6    R-Kt1 P-KKt3

Note that there is no need to specify which rook moves.

7    P-KKt4 PxP
8    RxP P-KB4

Again, Carnell wouldn't make the move he has just made; it is a totally rash attack which takes away the defence from the knight's pawn. What is clearly happening in real life is that the security forces have come under such a heavy attack that they are starting to panic and overreach themselves.

9    RxP Kt-Kt3

The robot's move leaves Rull under attack from the rook at close quarters. Carnell coolly chooses to ignore the threat (which is not really as serious as it looks), and eventually plans B-QKt5ch. As far as he is concerned, he is moving his knight into a more sensible position to prepare for that, and also to enable his other bishop to defend the highly vulnerable King's bishop's pawn.

10     Kt-K5 P-K3

The knight (Blayes) backs up the rook; the black pawn guards the other two pawns and gives the King's bishop a clear path. Both halves of this move are totally logical.

11    R-Kt1 P-QB3

The rook retreats to safety, still controlling the open file - and that aids the robot's next move. If Carnell were left to himself, he would certainly now play RxP instead, but the robot (who must be getting totally infuriating by now!) won't let him. May I suggest that, if this move is actually described in the script the robot should say, "No, First Master. That rook is unable to move."? The choice of words would definitely intrigue Carnell.

We now reach the beginning of Scene 19 [track 20 for those of you following on the CD]...

12    Kt-Kt6 B-Q3

Blayes now threatens both the rook (Company Central) and the bishop (Carnell), and at this point Carnell realises that he himself is the bishop. That means that he gets out of the way - Carnell will not take the slightest risk to himself, even though it's clear that the rook is the main target, and he will not get involved in the fighting, which is why he doesn't go to Kt2, where he would be defending the rook. The knowledge that he himself is the bishop also makes him suddenly very wary of the move he'd originally planned. which was B-QKt5ch. If he goes to that square at this point, he's undefended, and being Carnell he won't do it. However, had he not realised that he was the bishop, he would have made either one of those two moves, both of which are a great deal better than the one he in fact makes.

13    KtxR Kt-KB3

Company Central falls, and at the same time poor Rull is left under attack again from the rook - but now he is totally undefended and must move, unless the King will condescend to move to defend him (which he won't). So Rull, now in a bad way, finally leaves his original square - but, no matter what state he's in, he's loyal to the last; it's an interesting little irony that by the mere fact of escaping he prevents R-Kt8ch.

14    Kt-Kt6 QKt-Q2

The robot's move astonishes Carnell; he would have expected it to press home its advantage by playing R-Kt7, causing all sorts of difficulties. Instead, the knight is starting to retreat. Carnell at this point wants to play P-R4 (not B-QKt5ch as I originally thought - now he knows which piece he is, he will make absolutely sure he's got the back-up before risking his own neck!), but the robot insists instead that he moves his own knight - Iago.

15    Kt-KB4 B-B1

Carnell realises he's sitting on an undefended square, and that Blayes is retreating fast. If she moves to R3 next time (as she in fact will), then Landerchild has the perfect opportunity to move to the square she has just vacated and threaten Carnell. Carnell probably doesn't know the white bishop is Landerchild, but he's not the type to allow himself to be threatened in order to satìsfy his curiosity about the identity of a chess piece!

16    Kt-KR3   QKt-B1?*%&* ! ! !

The infamous illegal move. Since Carnell immediately vacates the office, I assume that the robot sits there calmly playing out the next few moves on its own.

17 R-KR1 KKt-Q2

The rook moves both to its original place on the board so that Blayes can return to Paullus; poor Rull is taken to a position of maximum safety (he's guarded now by no less than four pieces, if you count the enigmatic Iago).

18 Kt-Kt1

Blayes returns from where she started.

Now, here is the game again in short algebraic notation:

1    Nf3     Nc6
2    Nd4    Ne5
3    Nf3     d5
4    h4       Nd7
5    d4       h5
6    Rg1     g6
7    g4        hxg4
8    Rxg4    f5
9    Rxg6    Bd6
10   Ne5     e6
11   Rg1      c6
12   Ng6     Bd6
13   Nxh8   Nf6
14   Ng6     Nd7
15   Nf4      Bf6
16   Nh3     Nf8?*%&*!!!
17   Rh1      Nd7
18   Ng1     ...

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