01
May

Q: How many people

Q: How many people at a chess tournament does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Here is the current state of research… You need one to complain about the lighting. A second will say he thinks the light is fine. A third suggests the tournament director be called, and number four fetches him. An aged player (5) reminisces about the lighting levels at Nottingham 1936. The director (6) cant be found, but his deputy (7) arrives. Player eight says that if they increase the lighting levels it will reflect into his eyes. Number nine says they should have fluorescent lighting. Player ten says its just a question of replacing the dead lightbulb, but player 11 thinks the bulb hasnt been working properly since the tournament began. The deputy arbiter asks an assistant arbiter (12) to make up a sign : Bulb defective. A democrat (13) suggests taking a vote on whether to change the bulb and a businessman (14) forms the lightbulb changing association (LCA) as a pressure group to argue for better lighting. The world champion (15) is elected chairman. The FIDE president (16) sets up a working party (17-20) to establish agreed lighting levels with the LCA. The LCA chairman then has a row with its other members about direct/indirect lighting, and storms off with his lawyer (21) to found the Association for Changing Lightbulbs (ACL). The challenger for the world title (22) suddenly says he will not play under FIDE lighting. Three sponsors (23-25) emerge to hold the FIDE (direct light), LCA (fluorescent) and ACL (reflected light) championships, but none can match the interest attracted by Fischer (26) playing Spassky (27) with the new Fischer lightbulb, whose incandescence increases the longer you think. The last sane player on earth (28) sneaks into the playing room to change the defective bulb, but his replacement has the wrong fitting. His scream of anguish reveals him, and he is expelled from world chess for creating a disturbance.

Note: Refers to the way chess tournaments work and also very topical to a lot of recent chess politics. Credit William Hartston in YOU magazine.

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