"Two things I need", I thought as I entered the Pub, "Beer and talk."

The room was half-full, lovers at the tables, singles at the bar. I saw a flash of red, heard loud laughter, and saw Lily with some men and a woman I had not seen before, wearing a green shirt-waist. Normally I would have joined them, but my mood was one that looked for something different, unusual.

Henry was sitting on his own, a board in front of him, the men set up for the start of a game. I got some drinks - beer for me, double rum ("must be from Barbados") for him - and joined him. He looked earnest, he was always earnest. Drinking umpteen doubles every night, every year.

"Want a game?", he said, "or some puzzles?"

"Puzzles, please" I replied, smiling as I put his rum down by the side of the board.

"I'll give you two. Both bloody hard. Both old and set by an English genius. Here's the first. It was solved by Sam Lloyd, *our* genius. What is the shortest legal game, ending in White stalemated, with all the men still on the board?" He waved his hand over the board, and took a sip at the drink I had bought him. "I'll drink while you sweat!"

"Good one, Henry" and I started to think. It took a long time, two hours or more, with suggestions from Henry, following many blind-alleys, as I fiddled with knights and bishops, trying to bottle up the queen with pawns, before I managed a stalemate, but Henry shook his head.

"Way off. Look, you'll never find it in a night. Not with all those beers inside you. Try it at home. But I'll tell you the answer's 16 moves."

Henry looked thoughtful, "Powers of two - they pop up a lot: 64 squares, 16 moves, and here's 2" He swept everything off the board exept for the rook pawns on their starting squares. "How many ways are there for these pawns to play and get to the last rank? They don't have to play alternately, but there is the usual option of the double move on the first move. When they get to the last rank they just stay there: they do not promote." He sat, looking at me, his rum in his broad hand.

But I did not feel up to it.

"Right now I'm 2 to the 0. It all adds up"

I looked round the pub. The owner's tortoiseshell, an animal of immense size, and famously loud purr, strolled towards a beam of sunlight and plumped down in the warmth.

"That animal is a macro pus"

Henry took another swig, "Karen left you again?"

"Yes - and thanks for the 'again'" I looked around the bar again, "She's always going somewhere. Left two days ago - Australia!"

"Must be quite a fellow"

"I don't know him. I never know them - that's kind of her, you know?

Henry smiled a bit: the type of smile for this type of talk.

"Another beer?"


Your location is the pub (bar, hotel, whatever). The pub is located near the north-east corner of the lake, and backs onto its waters at its southern edge. It has a grassy area out front, and a boardwalk/verandah at the back that hangs over the water.

The pub is located at 10 Lake Circuit.

Finally, the moves have returned to the north of the lake. But for how long?

The pub is a friendly drinking establishment, where residents of the estate regularly meet and wine and dine. It is a place, too, of games and frivolity.