The Knights Tour

The American Magician Harry Kellar made this startling trick popular many years ago—and today, it remains as good as ever. The effect is that the Mentalist must ca!l out numbers which represent the squares of a chessboard. Every time a number is called, a knight is moved to that square and the tour from square to square is such that the knight must cover once only every square of the board (64) without touching the same square twice. Additionally, the knight must always be moved in the correct fashion for the-iknighfs move in the game of chess. As most of you will know, this is regarded as the most complicated move of all the chessmen—being one forward and two to the side in any direction. All other men and pawns move in a straight line in one direction or another. The feat therefore becomes more than just a demonstration of your ability to memorise sixty-four numbers in a given sequence (which is quite something) but adds to this the knowledge of a "path" or "route" which weaves intricately around the board.

To the Mentalist this may not mean much, but to Chess-players it means a great deal and to any intelligent lay-audience (non-chess-players) the feat appears incredible. The audience need not have knowledge of the game of chess to appreciate your accomplishment. If they do—the effect is doubled. I have been a keen chess-player for many years and know that this effect performed before a chess club or group is nothing short of dumbfounding. It has been done by pure skill on the part of one or two outstanding chess-masters, but you will be able to do it without so much as having to learn a thing!

To present the effect you need only a piece of paper which is ruled off into a square divided into sixty-four sections (8x8) representing the chessboard. Starting from the top left-hand corner, number the small squares from one to sixty-four. (For large audiences you may use a blackboard). Next inform the audience what you intend to do; emphasise the incredible number of variations and diverse paths for the knight's tour, and how you must remember sixty-four squares and so on. Next designate a member of the audience to mark off the squares as you call them out. You do. not actually need a knight, it is enough to make a small tick to show that "the knight" passed that way. To add to the presentation, we now permit the audience to decide which square shall be used as the starting point for the tour. They can pick any square on the board—simply call out the chosen number which is encircled to show it as the first square. From then on it is easy, you turn your back (so that you cannot cheat and cannot be seen!) and stand well away from the chessboard. To perform the knight's tour, all that remains is to call out a string of numbers reading thern from the chart given in the illustration. It is as well to copy this chart out on to a small card which can be concealed in the hand when in use. (Eric Mason has the numbers written on the edge of his spectacles!) As soon as you receive the starting number, look it up quickly and then read off down the rows and as you reach the end of one row, start again at the top of the next. When you reach number 18—you start at the top of the first row again— number 1. So, for example, we were told to start at number 54. We look it up and then call out 48, 63, 46, 56, 62, etc., etc. You should remember the starting number so that you know when all sixty-four have been called.

Add to the presentation towards the end by quickly counting the remaining numbers and saying: "I see we have nine squares to go—it's getting really difficult now!"

Understanding Mind Control

Understanding Mind Control

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