Saturday, June 8, 2002
M I N D  G A M E S

The Japanese chip

Spot kick

In how many ways can you arrange the letters in the word FOOTBALL?

THE doors of the stadium open, as seats slide to either side to form an opening. The football pitch enters, hovering over the arena using air pressure from below. Once inside the Dome, it rotates into position along with the seats. This is Sapporo Dome, an indoor stadium in Japan, built for the soccer World Cup finals. The Japanese get their kick out of creating technological wonders and approach their goal at Godspeed. Pele moved the soccer world and the Japanese moved the World Cup soccer pitch.

It is match time in Yokohama and neither of the teams has arrived yet — something which has never happened before in Japan, much rather in any World Cup. "The teams left the hotel long ago; who could have held the unstoppable?" says the match organiser, pacing up and down the pitch that may well be his grave if the match doesn’t begin soon, as the galleries, too, are getting restless. "Which of the two teams do you refer to as unstoppable?" say reporters.


"I was referring not to the teams, but to the airplane that was to bring them here," says the organiser. Just then, a person rushes in to announce that the teams have got stuck at the airport in another city because their plane has developed a snag. Organiser: "It stopped, but How? These planes have smart chips fitted in." "This plane, too, has a such a chip, but every Japanese pilot has a magnetic personality; and magnet corrupts the chip, so…" says the messenger. Organiser: "All right, we’ll bring them here by bus. These, too, have chips, but the drivers look like potatoes," "Why is it that Japan relies so much on computers and not humans," "We use the chip for precision," the organiser says.

A bus that moves along a 100 km route (from the airport to the stadium) is equipped with a computer, which predicts how much more time is needed to arrive at its final destination. This prediction is made on the assumption that the average speed of the bus on the remaining part of the route is the same as that in the part already covered. Forty minutes after the departure of the bus, the computer predicts that the remaining travelling time will be 1 hour. The fans reoccupy their seats in the stadium when they hear the news. However, this predicted time remains the same for the next 5 hours and the organiser looks for cover under the Dome as angry spectators charge at him. Could this be possible; if so, how many kilometres did the bus cover when these 5 hours passed? Write at The Tribune or The match is played, nevertheless; and Japan wins by a lone goal that comes through a chip shot that the team has perfected.

The Japanese use the chip for precision; true indeed. Footballitis is spreading this summer, so, stay indoors and watch the matches live. ‘Sayo nara’.

— Aditya Rishi