Chess

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How many chessplayers does it take to change a light bulb? Recent happenings have caused a radical reassessment of this crucial question. The problem starts when one player (1) complains about the lighting. Another (2) will immediately say he thinks it's no worse than in Hastings, then a third (3) will peer upwards and identify the faulty bulb. The next player (4) will point out that the bulb has not been working since the tournament began and it would be wrong to alter the conditions by replacing it.

Someone (5) reports the problem to the deputy arbiter (6) who says he can't do anything until the arbiter (7) returns. The arbiter, when he gets back from lunch, says that lighting is the responsibility of the tournament director (8) but the player (9) sent to find him says he's not there.

Meanwhile, back at the board, player 10 says that according to Fide rules, you should have fluorescent lighting, not bulbs. Player 11 disagrees, saying that the Fide ruling was advisory, not mandatory. They ring the British Chess Federation's Fide delegate (12), who says he can't remember, but he'll get someone at the office (13) to look up the rules.

The two players (14 & 15) directly beneath the faulty light decide to take their game elsewhere and, with the help of a lawyer (16), form the Fluorescent Lighting Chess Association and find a sponsor (17) for the FLCA world championship. Garry Kasparov (18) issues a statement saying the new organisation lacks credibility. Anatoly Karpov (19) offers to play a unifying match with the new FLCA champion.

Suddenly, it is announced that Bobby Fischer (20) and Boris Spassky (21) will play a match in Baghdad under the personal sponsorship of Saddam Hussein (22) using the Bobby Fischer Light bulb, a new device that shines more light on your position the more you think about it. Kirsan Ilyumzhinov (23) announces that the roads of Elista will all henceforth be lit by Bobby Fischer street lamps.

A spokesman for IBM (24) says that Deep Blue (25) can play perfectly well in the dark, but Viswanathan Anand (26), challenges Deep Blue to a blindfold match and wins easily when Deep Blue's programmers (27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32) can't read its screen with blindfolds on.

A cleaning lady (33) finally changes the faulty bulb, but by then everyone has gone home.

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