Have a look at the photo that led off our coverage on Wednesday.
If you know Trafalgar Square at all you'll know that this picture was taken from the steps leading down from the National Gallery. We can see the board and the players in their towers - Martin in the Black chair on the right and Ian Henderson in the White chair on the left. Now imagine you're playing White and think of what it is that you'd be seeing if you looked directly in front of you. I think you'll agree that you'd be staring directly at the fourth plinth. That fourth plinth that just 'happened' to be hosting a woman taking an aerobics class.
I think it was Ruy Lopez who counselled his students to ensure that whenever they played chess they should ensure the board was placed in such a way that the sunlight would shine directly into their opponents' eyes. Whether the old Spaniard had anything to say about women bouncing up and down in spangly leotards I'm not entirely sure but I imagine the effect is much the same as he intended.
For those that doubt the impact of this distraction have a look at what happened when our cameraman (I shall withhold his name and merely call him 'AF') was sent to get some footage of a critical point in the game ...
focus ... focus ... oooh what's that?
(Bonus item:- Listen closely and in the background you can hear the announcement of squally showers in Cromarty, Forties and Viking)
My suspicions that
Was it just a 'coincidence' that such a display just happened to be going on at the exact time that Martin's game was played? Did it just 'happen' to be the case that Martin's opponent was sitting in such a position that the fourth plinth was directly in his line of sight? Was something underhand going on? You may think so, I couldn't possibly comment ... but I will say this: Martin is yet to deny it.
To end our brace of posts on the chess in Trafalgar Square we offer you some photographs taken by Martin himself. Rumours that these are pre-games shots taken to ensure that the board had been set-up in precisely the right position are thus far unsubstantiated.