Friday, September 25, 2009

The Battle of Trafalgar II

A couple of days ago we saw how the S&BC's Art Correspondent Martin Smith adopted Muhammed Ali's rope-a-dope tactics to win his game with the giant chess set in Trafalgar Square. Well, they say that modelling yourself on those who have already succeeded is a good path to follow for those who want to get to the top and today we'll discover how everybody's favourite Sister Wendy impressionist also borrowed a strategy from one of the greatest names in chess history.

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 Angus AF may have become distracted were confirmed when I saw the next video clip he'd taken.

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.

Ian Henderson -
could have been a contender had Martin been minded to adhere to the Queensbury rules

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.

As on Wednesday, you can click on all these photographs for a more detailed look


Anonymous said...

Umm... Err...

Actually, I'll gladly admit that I was rather taken by the aerobics lady, Claire Watson, and her ‘troupe’.

I thought their use of the fourth plinth was imaginative and liked that it was for a good cause: to raise money for the Rarer Cancers Forum. Also, their enthusiasm was becoming.

There’s a rather better video than mine, if you’re interested, here.

And Claire’s fund-raising page is here.


Martin Smith said...

Ah...rumbled in the jungle Angus, and me too come to that.

I hope that Ian H. won't mind me plugging his favoured cause for him: Friends of the Earth

Claire said...

It was me... Congratulations Martin, but sorry for the distractions!

Thanks so much Angus :) very much appreciated.


Jonathan B said...

Perhaps if all S&BCers agree to bung Claire a tenner she'll agree to do her stuff behind us at Golden Lane during London League matches?

Tom Chivers said...

Surely a free chess lesson or two would be sufficient payment?

Claire said...

Chess lessons wouldn't go a miss... I think I was taught at primary school, but have forgotten how to play.

Some cheerleading moves could easily be incorporated into a routine. S & BC could be the Dallas Cowboys of the chess world!


Anonymous said...

At least it didn't snow...