Sunday 10 March 2013

Someone's killed the Arbiter!

As had been remarked by numerous people, Midsommer (from the television series Midsommer Murders), might be the most violent place on earth. Not a week goes by without 3 or 4 bodies turning up in the woods, stately homes or church altars, with the victims usually having some previously unknown link.
Of course with such a high murder rate, you would think there wouldn't be anyone left, but you would think wrong. Having disposed of artists, church bell ringers, and miniature wargamers in previous episodes, the writers of Midsommer Murders have know taken to killing chess players. In the episode titled "The Sicilian Defence" the President of the local chess club got bumped off, soon to be followed by the club arbiter. Interestingly this happened in the middle of the Club championships, which for some reason continued as if these events were of little importance.
As a fan of the series I actually thought the episode was a little weak (too many unhinged suspects seemed a bit of lazy writing), but the chess aspects were generally OK. They got most of the terminology correct (eg no fake "The Kizapatserov Gambit" openings) although the history of chess was changed (for plot related reasons). The tournament must have been quite popular as the boards seem quite cramped, and my wife was surprised at the number of female players taking part.
I won't give away the identity of the murderer, but I will reveal the identity of the game that was left as a clue by the killer. Sensibly the writers avoided a really well known game (think the chess scene in Blade Runner), but still chose a high quality one. The game in question was Unzicker v Fischer from the 1962 Chess Olympiad, which Fischer won as Black. Fischer (whose birthday was yesterday btw) no doubt liked the game himself, as it appears as game no. 42 in "My 60 Memorable Games"

Unzicker,Wolfgang - Fischer,Robert James [B92]
Varna ol (Men) Varna (7), 1962

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