Jones cries out in pain and thereby breaks a vow of silence which he has kept for eighteen years. Brian pleads with him to keep quiet and not attract the attention of the mob, but as Jones points out, after eighteen years why should he bother?
Brian: Oh please, could you be quiet just another five minutes?I was reminded of this scene when reading the chess column in El País yesterday which was devoted to Juan Manuel Bellón López, the veteran Spanish grandmaster whose 57th birthday the column marked. The writer, Leontxo García, made the following claim which seemed so remarkable that at first I was sure I must have misunderstood the Spanish. According to García, Bellón:
Hermit : Oh, it doesn't matter now, I might as well enjoy myself. The times in the last eighteen years I've wanted to shout, and sing, and scream my name out!
jámas ha ofrecido tablas desde 1978.So I checked and it means exactly what I had thought it to mean. Since 1978, he has never once offered a draw.
This is such an astonishing thing to say that far from wondering whether it is true, I assume it is. You couldn't make something like that up. If I seem at all doubtful it is only because one would have thought that a record like that would be so widely-known, so widely-discussed, that we would all have known it already.
All sorts of questions arise. Why? Has he assumed the other player will always offer one if it's appropriate - so he doesn't need to? Did he have a bad experience offering a draw, like finding he'd had a won position, and decide "never again"? Against whom was that final, 1978 draw offer made and did that game contribute to his decision? Does he readily agree draws other players offer, but just decline to offer them himself - or does he have a wider objection to the agreement of draws? When he's lost, do his opponents ever wind him up and say "you know, you had a draw for the asking if only you'd offered it"?
I wonder if he will play Benasque this year. If he does and I am drawn against him, perhaps I should accidentally step on his foot and see if that causes him, like Terry Jones' hermit, to speak without meaning to - and accidentally offer a draw. You never know, it might set him off and he might find himself offering draws in every game he plays. Just to see what he's been missing. Just to make up for his twenty-nine missing years.