Chess in Film
Chess has been around for nearly 2000 years. It has been played by scholars, nobles, despots, politicians, peasants... the list goes on. It comes as no surprise that such an influential game on human history should play a role in film. On screen, the game of chess is played by intellects, villains and prodigies. As a result of how chess is portrayed on film, many non-chess players perceive players of the beautiful game as highly intelligent...better for us, right?
Below is a list of some of the most famous, and my favorite, chess scenes in film history.
NOTE THAT THE LIST IS IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER, AND THAT I LIMITED THIS LIST TO FILMS WHERE CHESS ISN'T THE MAIN THEME.
1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
In this rather bizarre variation of the game called Wizard Chess, where players ride the pieces, upon eating pieces are smashed to bits. I've never figured out how they get rebuilt...magic I guess?
In this scene Magneto and Xavier from X-Men go head to head in a battle of chess played with plastic looking pieces.
3. The Shawshank Redemption
One of my favorite movies of all time - Shawshank redemption. Andy Dufresne uses chess as a cover-up for his real plans... escaping prison.
4. Sherlock Holmes : A Game of Shadows
Sherlock Holmes played by the actor Robert Downey Jr. plays a game of blitz chess.
5. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Astronaut Frank plays a game of chess with Hal, the computer.