In preparation for writing the chess scenes that
take place betweentthe psychostrategist Carnell and the robot V31 during Kaldor City: Taren Capel
Sarah Egginton and I worked the entire game out in
advance, including the notations 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
have further enhanced the descriptions, and also included a key as to who, or what, each piece represents;
please note that the pawns are only used to convey the general
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 — Paullus/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/Paullus
Black Queen — Justina/Fendahl
Black King — Uvanov
Black King's Bishop — Carnell
Black King's Knight — Rull
Black King's Rook — Company Central
V31 ia White and Carnell is Black. The
chess notations in are
the ones directly referred to in the
story. V31 makes his first move at the beginning of CD track 11. The events on the board precipitate those taking place in Kaldor City.
says, this is not, ‘an opening move one would expect”, but
he counters it with, “one equally mysterious.”
moves place the two Knights (Blayes and Iago) in the middle of the
board, forming their alliance. Originally, Carnell wanted to take the
White King’s Knight, but V31 told him that this was not the
3 Kt-KB3 P-Q4
retreats, which looks like a wasted chess move and therefore ought to
puzzle Carnell. His own move appears strong, asserting control over the
centre of the board and preparing the ground for an attack; but he is
unaware that it will 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 would have played that last
move, blocking off his own Bishop. The robot must insist on it.
5 P-Q4 P-KR4
The robot moves the Queen's pawn ostensibly to counter the one made by Carnell, but the real purpose
is to give Landerchild (the White Queen's Bishop) a wider sphere of
6 R-Kt1 P-KKt3
That there is no need to specify which Rook is employed.
7 P-KKt4 PxP
8 RxP P-KB4
wouldn't have chosen to make this move; as it prompts 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 are
sustaining such a heavy incursion that they are starting to panic and
9 RxP Kt-Kt3
The robot's action 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
(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
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, but the robot (who must be
getting totally infuriating!) won't let him. May I suggest that, if
this notation is actually described in the script, the robot should say,
"No, Firstmaster. That Rook is unable to move."? The choice of words
would definitely intrigue Carnell.
We have now reached the beginning of CD track 20.
move threatens both the Rook (Company Central) and the Bishop
(Carnell). And it is here, Carnell realises he 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 (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, in chess terms, a great deal better than the one he in fact makes.
Central falls, leaving poor Rull once more under attack from the Rook
— but now he is totally undefended, unless the King condescends
to move to protect him (which he won't). Rull is in a bad way and must
escape, so he 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.
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 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, as an alternative, that
he moves his own Knight — Iago.
Uvanov, enraged by Carnell’s seemingly bizarre
behaviour, sweeps the pieces from the board. We return to the game with
CD track 24.
15 Kt-KB4 B-B1
moves took place while V31 was restoring the game. Although B-B1 was
taken on Carnell’s behalf, it follows his thought processes, as
he would have realised he was sitting on an undefended square, and that
Blayes was fast retreating. If she made her next move to R3 (as, in
fact, she did) then it would give Landerchild the perfect opportunity
the square she had just vacated and threaten Carnell. It is probable
that Carnell didn’t know that the White Bishop is Landerchild,
but he's not the type to allow himself to be threatened in order to
satisfy his curiosity about the identity of a chess piece!
The infamous illegal move. Since Carnell vacates the office shortly after this
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 to its original place on the board so that Blayes can return to Poul.
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).
Blayes falls back to her starting position on the board.
Now, here is the game again in short algebraic notation:
3 Nf3 d5
6 Rg1 g6
8 Rxg4 f5
9 Rxg6 Nb6
10 Ne5 e6
11 Rg1 c6
15 Nf4 Bf6
17 Rh1 Nd7
18 Ng1 ...