Star Trek TNG: S5E14 Conundrum Troi Beats Data in Chess -

Star Trek TNG: S5E14 Conundrum Troi Beats Data in Chess

Alex Krasny
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I had to capture this footage to be a companion to my blog post about Data losing to Troi in Chess. Here and an excerpt:

“This episode originally aired in 1992. Deep Blue didn’t defeat Kasperov until 1996! The writers (and scientists) at the time were probably working on the assumption that computers will never be better than humans at chess. They probably tried to look it up too, and the only thing they found was Shannon’s Number (more games than atoms in the universe) and concluded, because computers can’t brute-force chess, they can never beat the best human players.

I still think it was pretty bad writing, because during the scene Data lists the correct named response to his named attack. If his attack, and resulting defense are both named move sequences then they have been well studied, surely Data would know the entire “book” on both maneuvers. Which means he would not be surprised by any defense. Even if it was not what he anticipated. But he reported the correct response to his attack, which means that must be the BEST defense. Obviously it isn’t if Troi completely countered the defense and set up Checkmate in the next few moves, that doesn’t make sense. Also, Data clearly puts Troi in check, but she does NOT move her king out of check. In the next move Data can simply capture her king. I suppose the rules of 3D chess are never canonically explained, so I guess we need to accept that “checking the king” doesn’t actually mean anything in this game?”

Read the entire post here:


  1. A scene clearly written and direct by people who don't play chess.

  2. Troi beating data in chess is like a Ferengi beating Troi in a beauty contest.

  3. This is complete bullshit.

    Brains and beauty don’t come together.

  4. The funny thing about her quote at 0:40 is that chess actually is just a game of moves. Today, computers are advanced enough that they can comprehend every single possible move that a player might make, so they're nearly impossible to beat.

  5. I am here to tell the world how much I hate this scene.

  6. Data has grown much from his duel with kalrami or whatever his name was.

  7. So he puts her in check and she just makes some random move?

  8. I’m incredibly surprised he didn’t see that, despite the fact that he knew immediately afterwards the sequence of moves that would lead to mate.

  9. "Intriguing, even though I have checked your King, which means you have to get your King out of check, you are attempting to illegally checkmate me in seven moves"

  10. her move completely ignored data's check. the fuck kind of rules does 3D chess have anyways

  11. I wonder if in the Trek Universe, they have a 3D version of Go. :3 I bet that's far more challenging than anyone can imagine.

  12. I don't think it's hard to believe at all, because Data knows that playing chess is a social activity and that humans enjoy games most when they're fairly evenly matched. And that wagers between friends should be fair. So he would of course set some kind of restrictions or extra challenge for himself. Since the purpose of playing with colleagues is not actually just to win the game. It's probably much more interesting for him if he handicaps himself too.

  13. When news of Troi's chess victory over Date reached Vulcan, it started "Ragnavok" (The great Vulcan Civil War) that almost destroyed the entire Vulcan way of life.

  14. The chess bullshit to make Mr Data appear fallible for a later setup aside, one thing guaranteed about him is he will never welch on a bet and never make one he cannot honour.

  15. to bad we all have to get old. She was so beautiful.

  16. She never addresses that she was put in check… oh, well. It's TV… and she's an alien and he's an android so why not.

  17. Intuition? Chess? Computers have been beating humans for decades and Data is waaaay better than any chess computer. Only way it makes sense is if Betazoids are reading your mind, Can Troi do that to Data? Don't think so. Only explanation is he let her win because he thought he could get to bang her like he did Tasha.

  18. This scene could've been fixed with a simple one-liner; "Congratulations councillor, next game I shall increase my difficulty setting to 'Easy' "

  19. Thank goodness Data didn't go into a self-existential crisis when losing the chess game!

  20. Data realized too late that instead of chess he had been running his tic-tac-toe sub-routine and thought it was going to be a draw.

  21. Sure.
    Troi against Data.
    Don't make me laugh so profusely my dick fall off from the vibrations.

  22. See?!!! Data. That's what you get for trying to be more and more human each day.

  23. This was a great snippet of a friendship we don't see highlighted enough.

  24. This was one of the worst scenes in the entire series. It was nonsense in every way.

  25. Yep, this is a case of horrible writing on the part of TNG.
    However, if you want to compare today's writing on STD or Picard. This will seem like the typical every day writing for these people.
    Every episode of Nu Trek, is written with this quality of writing right here.

  26. Data probably let Deanna win cause he wanted that ass.

  27. I don't believe for one second that Data didn't see this coming….lazy writing

  28. The 3D chess they play on the show is pretty much devoid of logic and rules. They pretty much move various pieces in questionably legal ways until it’s time for the next plot point.

  29. Wow, that was a poorly written scene. A woman's intuition beats a super-computer in a game of chess? 🤦‍♂️

  30. Data didn’t anticipate the response because Troi’s move was illegal, her King was put into check and she didn’t do anything to get her King out of check. Best in universe explanation is that he just didn’t want to tell her the bad news and resigned. Out of universe explanation is that TV producers should actually have chess master/grandmaster consultants in episodes/movies involving “the ultimate intellectual sport”, this scene really irks me as it didn’t even follow basic chess principles.

  31. "As only you can make it Data"

    I am…. uh…. fully functional

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