Also, what the hell's going here, Quigley? More chess related material in the puzzle? Last time I checked the name at the top of this blog does not say Matt Gaffney. I go to his site for the esoteric bullcrap about Garry Kasparov. Where's the indie rock minutiae? (Hey, now, take a chill pill and look at 49-Across. See? I got you covered.)
There was a very brief moment in my life (I think we're talking like six months) where I played chess. Lots of it. That doesn't mean I was any good at it. It just meant I played a lot of it. Okay, the one and only chess tournament I competed in I won whatever remedial group I was forced to play in. I think it was called the Nosepickers division, if memory serves. I think I had a distinct advantage over the other sad sacks competing because I knew the forward-thinking strategy of castling.
Chess humor, folks. Embrace it!
Well, anyway, I got this theme the other week whilst IM-ing with Matt. We shoot the shit all the time. Subjects include: puzzles, our new-found celebrity, grainy Belgian documentaries on the Bilderberg Group, you name it. Well, anyway, it's no secret cuz I've said it before, but let me repeat it: when I started off constructing, I liberally ripped off Matt G's style. So let's take a moment to embrace this nod/homage to my homie. Read it and weep, Matt. Read it and weep that I couldn't come up with an ALEKHINE pun.
Programming note: This one was rated Hard based on how well you know your chess champions. It might be a Mard, I dunno. Don't shoot the puzzlemaker.
Share the puzzle. New one on Monday.