Low End Chess consultant for this Detective Show


This was a chess scene from Elementary which is a detective movie set in Manhattan, New York.  A black man, playing with the White pieces, who was probably portraying a hustler at Washington Square Park was about to pick up his his Knight at e4 to play Nf6 double check and mate.

After the African American set the horse down on f6, he said checkmate which is rarely uttered by players in USCF tournament competition.  His parting comment to the defeated combatant was “you have to watch those discovered checks”.

So it was not difficult to surmise the producers of this criminal private eye show starring  Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu spends much more money on paying their salaries than on the show’s chess consultant. The point being, the theme of  double check was much more relevant than discovered check which, of course, ALWAYS  involves a discovered check. Yes, I feel completely comfortable in my nerd skin here given the demeanor and behavior of Sherlock Holmes.

The postion appears to have arisen from a double king pawn opening where the second player played Bg4 pinning the f3 Knight which was blunderously captured allowing the e4 steed to hop to game ending f6 square. A beginner often overlooks that attacking one of the checking pieces, the Queen at e2 in this case, is insufficient. As Emmanuel Lasker would  axiomatially declare, Double check always compels the harried monarch to move, IF IT CAN. The next game in the scene is Miller’s character playing the Black side of a Petroff’s defense where Holmes sacrifices his pinned Queen to mate the Black man’s King with minor pieces, a well known swindle.


  • Joe Weisenthal, a writer and chess lover, writes about the action at the famous NYC park.


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