Origin of chess cleared up

by admin on May 12, 2013

The Time Lords invented it! That’s what Doctor Who said on TV last night, and if you can’t trust a fictional time-traveler, well then, whom can you trust?

For those readers who haven’t watched BBC or followed science fiction for the last 50 years, Doctor Who is the longest-running science fiction show on earth and probably in the universe. It debuted in 1963 and is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year (although there was an intermission from 1989 to 2005, which for a time traveler is nothing). It’s also one of the few television shows I watch religiously.

So in last night’s episode, the Doctor (the last survivor of a time-traveling race called the Time Lords) faces a mechanical nemesis that takes over 49.883 percent of his mind, leaving him in control of 49.883 percent, and they decide to play a chess game for control of the rest. (Note: I might not have the numbers quite right, but it was something like this.) It gave the actor, Matt Smith, a great chance to play a split personality, the Evil Doctor against the Good Doctor. At a certain point the Evil Doctor says he is winning, which the Good Doctor says is not possible because “the Time Lords invented chess.”

Just one problem. If the evil nemesis controls 49.883 percent of the Doctor’s mind, don’t you think that the Evil Doctor knew that already? In fact, why does the Doctor even bother talking to himself?

Well, I don’t want to spoil the episode for anyone, so let me just say that the Doctor resorts to stratagems that would get him kicked out of any chess tournament. To find out which Doctor and what stratagems, you’ll have to watch the show.

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