Commentator 1: “Welcome to the biggest event of year in the Animal Kingdom – Shah Mat Spider Solitaire! This is a charity event to help raise funds for animals affected by the Virus That Dare Not Speak Its Name …”
Spider GM waltzes around the tables dealing different hands to ten different players.
Commentator 1: “On board 1 we have the eagle. Widely known as the best animal in Poker, she can also play a mean game of Spider Solitaire.”
Commentator 2: “Board 2 is the lion who also knows the game.”
A large crowd gathers as the commentators introduce all the players. Spider GM has the routine task of simultaneously monitoring 10 boards and making sure no illegal moves are played. But he is not complaining. However, all eyes are on the player at Board 10. Conspicuous by his presence, one doesn’t have to be named Captain Obvious to spot the strange-looking player.
Commentator 1: “Not the most exciting of tasks for the Spider GM. But he understands it’s all for a noble cause – wait a minute, who is this Big Shiny Red Question Mark?”
Commentator 2: “Very little is known about BSRQM. His name is N. Kamath, co-founder of some stock brokerage most folk wouldn’t give a rot13(fuvg) about. His Spider Solitaire rating is 800 something … compared to the Eagle who is 2400 something”
The spectators exchange confused glances with one another. They are well familiar with the usual riff-raff animal types from Phil Hellmuth’s Play Poker Like the Pros. But not one spectator has heard of N. Kamath.
Rick Astley (guest commentator): “You know the rules – and so do I. Each player has 30 minutes to win as many games as possible. There is no penalty for losing a game. You cannot move any cards until Spider GM appears at your table. You can resign the current game and start a new hand whenever you want. Undo is not allowed.
Commentator 1: “The name sounds familiar – Kamath used to play Chess …”
Commentator 1 pauses. He suddenly realises this is a charity event after all and nobody is supposed to mention the C word that is rhyming slang for Paul Keating.
With all players seated at their tables and ready to play, the formalities have concluded and the games can begin.
As predicted, the Eagle is the first to win a hand. The Lion does the same soon after. Most of the players perform to expectations. But there are some sharp-eyed members in the audience. Big Shiny Red Question Mark has this weird habit of glancing to his left every now and again – but never when Spider GM has appeared at his table.
The time limit is almost over, and the commentators’ voices reach a crescendo (as one does in the pointy end of horse races).
Commentator 2: “We’re into the home stretch, last five minutes … hey rot13(jung gur shpx)? Big Shiny Red Question Mark is about to win a hand!”
Commentator 1: “I don’t believe it – two suits removed, three empty columns. There is no way he can lose from here. Only two face down cards. Plenty of time on the clock … and”
Commentators 1 and 2 (simultaneously): “Big Shiny Red Question Mark Resigns The Game!!!! Unbelievable!!! Rot13(haorshpxvatyvrinoyr!!!). What is this madness???”
n the post-game interview BSRQM explains there were no useful moves detected – therefore he had to resign. He squirms in his seat while the press continue to ask uncomfortable questions. Thankfully the absolute train-wreck of a post mortem doesn’t last long and everyone can head home. BSRQM is never heard from again and everyone lives happily ever after.
THE MORAL OF THE STORY: Cheats never prosper.