Chess Edinburgh lewischessmen2-75h 

Chandler Cornered

The Curse on Candle Maker Row




This is my little tribute to the Dr Who story
shown on T.V. on Saturday the 30th April 2005.
It was Brilliant! The best 'Who' ever done.

So two days later it's Monday the 2nd of May.
A Bank Holiday and I'm strolling around town
wearing my new Sandy Bells T-shirt and gloating
like a moron at every jealous look I was getting.

The night before I wore the same T-Shirt in Bells
and you could almost smell the envy it created.
One could see the jealousy seeping through the
pores of their blotchy skin.

Anyway, back to Monday and I'm making my way up Candle Maker Row.
There is actually a Candle Making shop on Candle Maker Row.
I stood looking at myself and my T-shirt in the glass reflection
of the candle making shop. I looked magnificent.

Suddenly this wrinkled old man appeared in the reflection beside me.

"I don't have any spare change." said I lying.

This is how Edinburgh strangers greet each other.
Best to get the denial in first and then see what they want.

"I don't want any money." said the old man.

"I don't smoke." I lied.

"I don't want anything from you. I want to give you something."

"How much?" I asked.

"Look." said the old man, "Do you play Chess?"

"Yes." said I, thrusting out my chest
displaying the Bells badge in all it's splendor.

"Then if I give you this Chess problem do you promise to solve it?"

He held a rolled up piece of yellowing animal skin.

"This guy is a nutter." thinks I, "OK, give it me, I'll solve it."

A smile broke out across his wrinkled and worn face.
He gave me the animal skin and then something
incredible happened on Candle Maker Row.

Right in front of my eyes this old man turned into a young man.
He gave a whoop of sheer joy and ran down the Grass Market.

"Rugger Me Nugs" said I. "I've been given a cursed Chess problem."

I hurried home and checked myself in the mirror.
No sign of ageing. I counted my teeth. I weighed myself.
I checked my height. Nothing had changed. I even smelt myself.
(old people smell of mint and biscuits).
Perhaps the curse did not affect me.

And then I saw it!

My Sandy Bells Badge was beginning to fade.
I could not believe me eyes but it was definitely fading.



"Saps Capristy." said I. The curse was working.

I unrolled the animal skin and saw the Chess Problem.



Written underneath the above diagram were the terms.

White has to capture the Black Knight with the King.
The Pieces all move as in standard Chess.
The Black Knight does not move at all. It stays on e1.
The White King is not allowed on g2 (it would be in check).
It has to be done in no more than 26 moves.

That was it. It reminded me of one of those sliding puzzles.
You know the one I mean. Where you have to get No's 1-15
in order. Sam Lloyd invented that puzzle. Did you know that?

Anyway, with my Bells Badge fading fast I set up
the pieces and started 'sliding' them about.

Wallop me Weepers. This was tough. I kept losing count and
when it seemed I was getting somewhere I would lose the plot.

I needed some way or recording my moves so I could go back
and forth until I solved it. In other words...cheat.

Fritz!

I set up this position in Fritz.



I could jiggle the pieces around in the bottom corner
whilst Fritz moved his King back and forth on a8 & b8.
Also Fritz would keep the move number for me.

And with the 'S' in Sandy Bells barely visible I solved it.

Suddenly the Bells Badge appeared back on my T-shirt
and the animal skin simply withered and turned in dust.

Here is the solution in a moving GIF.





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