101 Checkmates in Film and TV


Enjoy! Laughing

Movies featured in the chess video: The Luzhin Defence (1), Bicentennial Man, New York (2009), Knights of the South Bronx, Mr. Holland Opus, Wonderful World, Beat the Devil, Anastasia, The Luzhin Defence (2), Charlie Chan at the Olympics, Yentl, House of Frankenstein, Sailor Moon (Ep. 71), Schachnovelle (Brainwashed), Jack the Bear, Criminal Minds (1x2), Friday the 13th - Part 2, The Invisible Boy, Black Knight, Seinfeld (7x1), Psych (2x7), Queen to Play (Joueuse), The Incredible Hulk (3x9), D.C. Sniper, Uncovered, The Three Musketeers (2011), The Other Man, Revolver, Letters From a Killer, Shadowheart, Der schweigende Stern (The Silent Star), Harlem Nights, In Enemy Hands, K-911, Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks), Columbo (3x6), Saturn 3, The Great Mouse Detective, Out of Reach, X-Files (5x20), The Crow: Salvation, Star Trek: The Next Generation (3x24), The Whistle Blower, Siren of Atlantis, Fresh, Righteous Kill, Rocky 4, Wuthering Heights (1939), The West Wing (3x14), Seeking Justice, That 70's Show (4x1), Whatever Works, Python, Lost (4x13-14), Harrison Bergeron, Laputa, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, The Black Cat, Cube Zero, Phenomenon, Harum Scarum, Sugar Hill, Numb3rs (4x14), Bobby, Companeros, Leap of Faith, Columbo (2x7), Knock on Any Door, Balls Out: The Gary Houseman Story, Ravenous, Flashback, The President's Man, From Paris with Love, Final Move, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (1x18), Independence Day, E la nave va, Dirty Dozen - Next Mission, Gargoyles (2x18), Hardware, Who'll Stop The Rain, Headspace, White Water Summer, Waiting For God (2x4), Blazing Saddles, The Simpsons (6x21), Frankenstein: The True Story, Spin City (4x9), Monk (7x2), Bandidas, Seinfeld (3x9), The Contract, An American Werewolf In London, Get Smart (1x22), Time After Time, RoboCop: Prime Directives (Ep. 1), The Left Hand of God, 2001 - A Space Odyssey, Searching for Bobby Fischer, La Diagonale du Fou, Donald in Mathemagic Land.

Because filmmakers are either ignorant, indifferent, or lazy when it comes to "getting the chess right." To them, all that matters is that character A delivered the decisive blow to character B in order to yield the emotional moment for the narrative. Chess is little more than a dramatic tool, and rarely ever the point of a scene.

Has anyone seen the muscial "Chess"

I hate musicals but a lady friend is playing the lead. I'm not expecting too much tactics but is it any good?


Lol 5:20 was great


Every time I see a chessboard in a TV show or movie I feel compelled to pause and then analyse the position :/ Sometimes I'm can't even tell what the chess pieces are, like in an episode of The Twilight Zone where they were made out of nuts and bolts (The Lonely if anyone is wondering what episode).


Yes, chess in movies is often used as some kind of metaphore or simply as background and filmmakers don't pay much attention to the actual position. That's why it's really interesting to look for such details Laughing

There are many more movies and other kinds of art that have some chess themes. Probably the "Chess" musical is a good one, I saw its resume and it looks promising for a scenario but unfortunately I haven't watched it. But I hope I'll do that some day Laughing


In the original Mission Impossible series from the 60s there was a great one where Mr. Phelps (Peter Graves) impersonates a chess grandmaster and they use the idea of cheating with a computer to help him move. This was long before any computer could play at even a beginner level, which made it very interesting at the time. It had the classic line "When in doubt, push a pawn," which was used as a trigger for a post-hypnotic suggestion.


Watch the UCB Comedy Originals - Checkmates on YouTube. It's my favorite :)

twang_guy wrote:

Has anyone seen the Seinfeld episode when George was playing his girlfreind and he leans back in the chair while yammering about bringing the queen out too early and that she (the queen) should stay home and cook and clean; to which she moved a piece and replied, "checkmate."

I never taped it so everytime I watched it I was leaning forward to see if it was legit. Couldn't see it. Anyway George replied, "I don't think we should see each other anymore." Very funny but I just wonder about that.


'What, you think she's one of those feminists looking to get outta the house?'


The Seinfeld mate is at 1:45 in the above clip. Can't see the position, though.


at 7:01 and 11:11 you'll see the board is sideways... a mistake that seems to happen a LOT in movies and TV.  It was wrong even in Shawshank Redemption.  That mistake really distracts me.  With the advent of sites like and the like, you'd think 3 minutes of research would be warranted for a multimillion dollar film.

I've always thought the "checkmate - surprised look" scenario was stupid.  In Northern Exposure they did it more correctly... "Check... mate in two."


where's the clip


There's a Stargate Atlantis episode in which two unnamed characters/extras are shown staring at a chess position. Apparently (according to the commentary) these two people were actual chess players (not clear if they were masters or what) and didn't like the position the director had set up for them, so they changed it to this: 

Hard to see in this picture, but it's actually a tough move (not clear if it's white to move or black to move either).


There's also a great Mash episode when Winchester is playing chess and trying to distract his opponent by constantly humming and bumping the table. Of course he loses.


man i have no clue how you got the idea or how you found all that stuff but thanks a lot. Really enjoying i loved how Bart played simultaniously 3 games, that was really funny.

Back in the days i strangely enough really liked the second last movie.


Great piece of art !

I guess it took you quite some time to collect and cut that.

Thanks for sharing k_kostov !


I haven't actually made the video, I've just come across it and posted it in for you to see. It's an embedded link. Laughing

But really who has made it had quite much patience and determination. Praise to them!