Chess Train the movie
Chess Train’s My Game short documentary premiered during CEZ Chess Trophy 2016 in Prague and was one of the highlights of the festival. The festival is held annually where David Navara plays friendly tournament with fellow chess superstar. In the past the event has hosted such names like Wesley So, Hikaru Nakamura and Richard Rapport.
The Chess Train has been travelling around central Europe each October since 2011. The five day rapid chess tournament begins and ends in Prague. Each day they travel to a new locations while playing several rounds in a train in the morning with a new country to explore each afternoon and evening. London-based Estonian film-maker Maris Flabba attended 2015 Chess Train tournament with her crew, a trip which took in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Poland, Slovakia and back then in the heart of refugee crisis at Vienna railway station.
During the trip they conducted interviews with players of many levels and were shocked by some of the answers they elicited. Most of the participants are full of stories about their chess history. They found out how many of he participants got hooked on chess after Spassky vs Fisher match, how some just learnt chess just to travel during communist era and how to some chess is a rebellion act towards government because it has been banned.
The film concentrated on three central characters from the tournament – GMs Lars Karlsson and Julio Sadorra and English hobbyist Rajko Vujatovic. It follows the trio who represent different levels and backgrounds of chess players. Through the trip they learn about their weaknesses and strengths both on chess board and in life. Sadorra represents the competitive side of chess - how he prepares for each opponent and gives everything for the win. He is contrasted with Karlsson’s loose happy-go-lucky way of being. Both of them are admired by club level player Rajko, who managed to climb up during the tournament to finally play against Karlsson on board one during the last round. Next to them we see colourful chess fanatics from legendary Slovak player Jan Platchetka to 90 year old chess puzzles’ maker Wolgang from Germany who entertains everybody with his knowledge of magic tricks.
Chess to can be many things to it’s enjoyers - it can be fun, it can be pain and it can be an addiction. This is a film that portraits how chess connects and can bring closer people from very different backgrounds.