Chess in Movies/Fav chess movie

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #1


    Chess has a long history... in that time it's even made several notable cameo's in hollywood pictures.  And even managed to score itself a couple "best supporting" type rolls.


    So, to the "raised by pop culture" masses out question is simple.  What are your favorite chess movies, or movies where chess makes an appearance.


    As far as full out "chess" movies... i guess the simple answer might be that "searching for bobby fischer" movie... but there was a movie with John Tuturoro (just googled it) the Luchzin Defense  ...which I thought was much better, and not nearly as hyped, or leaden down with that awkward "does daddy love me" element of the little kid movie.  Tuturoro, being an odd looking bird, beautifully plays off the "tortured genius" vibe... but the real high light i thought was his wife/girlfriend character.  The struggle of her loving an oddball chess nut, and his oddball behavior being an oddball chess nut, all set against this crushing stress of life and having to face a tough challenge.   ...decent flic.


    as far as little "chess" moments in movies.  ones that spring to mind.  The chess moment in Blade Runner...that allows roy batty to confront his maker. The wizard's chess elements to the Harry Potter movie.  The immortal quasi-chess moment in Star wars... between C-3po/R2D2 and chewbacca and also...maybe that creepy super computer in that "war games" movie ...ready to launch thermonuclear war, but decided instead... after a maddening several thousand rounds of tic tac toe....settled for "how about a nice game of chess?"

 's friday.  



  • 9 years ago · Quote · #2


    I absolutely love Searching for Bobby Fischer because in that movie while Bobby, as a  young boy, is playing at the park with some other chess players and if you notice carefully, you will see that they show the board  something like this, (Diagram 1)










     Then later the board might be this... (diagram 2)





    And then the next time you see something like this.  I find this quite humorous because they are talking during this match and so when they take the best shots for the film, the game doesn't really end up correct.  You only see parts of the board at a time but I think that it's something that could be put in this topic. (Diagram 3)


    If you didn't see the changes I made, the main one is the pawns moved back after being pushed. LOL 

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #3


    I believe you meant young Josh, the movie is about Josh Waitzkin, in the movie "Searching for Bobby Fischer".  In the Early 90's there was a Christopher Lambert (Highlander) movie called "Knight Moves", where he played a chess master in a tournament.  The movie is a murder mystery because the main characters lover is fund dead and he is the prime suspect.  A more recent chess movie which is a good film is "Knights of the South Bronx".
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #4


    Yes, I meant to say Josh Waitzkin is the main character in the movie... searching for bobby fischer
  • 9 years ago · Quote · #5


    I too, loved the Luzhin defense and recommend it to those few to whom I have retained credibility.  Original story by Nabokov of Lolita fame.  He was also an excellent chess player and I believe, (should have Googled it before posting here) there are opening variations named after him.  Wonder if Luzhin is a pun on losing?  Favorite line from fiance's mother "Why do you hate me?" when she hears who her daughter intends to marry.

    Several good games. 

    Child beats father with the famous B

    lackburne shilling gambit.







  • 9 years ago · Quote · #6


    Sorry about the above.  My first post with a diagram and everything I ever do for the first time is somewhere between pathetic and egad.

    Blackburne Shilling Gambit above.  Note that all white's moves are specious, ie apparently correct and logical.  The Luzhin Defense just barely shows it, but it is decipherable.  They also show a first rate dailypuzzle type of position at the end.  The position essentially kills the hero.  My loaned out copy ($3 at Big Lots) will have to be returned before I can post it.  All about love and evil and, of course, chess and sex!!!  It also has a "daddy doesn't love me theme" but daddy didn't love him and Nabokov wasn't dumb enough to say it.


    Also thought "Searching for Bobby Fischer" was a charming flick.

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #7


    There's also that great scene from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, wherein the ship's computer HAL 9000 gives a verbal analysis that deliberately (?) misrepresents the position in the game it's playing with astronaut Frank Poole.


    Some folks have analysed the game and assert the theory that this is an early (and VERY subtle) indication that HAL is becoming conflicted, and that it has the capacity to deceive the crew of the Discovery.  (Kubrick must have been quite the chess enthusiast.)


  • 9 years ago · Quote · #8


    Here is an article on the chess game in the Harry Potter movie, designed by Jeremy Silman. 

  • 9 years ago · Quote · #9




  • 8 years ago · Quote · #10


    Any movie that stars Humprey Bogart is a great chess movie!  he was a very good player in real life and the chess game from Casablanca was actually one of his correspondence games that he was playing.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #11


    DeepGreene wrote:

    There's also that great scene from Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, wherein the ship's computer HAL 9000 gives a verbal analysis that deliberately (?) misrepresents the position in the game it's playing with astronaut Frank Poole.


    Some folks have analysed the game and assert the theory that this is an early (and VERY subtle) indication that HAL is becoming conflicted, and that it has the capacity to deceive the crew of the Discovery.  (Kubrick must have been quite the chess enthusiast.)



    That is one of the first foreshadowed events of HAL actually lying.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #12


    Knights of the South Bronx was really cool (maybe I'm biased cuz I'm a substitute teacher who plays chess with my students when their work is done).  Wink

    I love the X-Men, and chess was one of the recurring themes of the trilogy (especially the 3rd film).

    Chess has made SO MANY cameos, I don't know that we could possibly list them all.  Just a few that come to mind (that haven't been mentioned yet) are: Bedazzled (Elizabeth Hurly as the devil playing at the end with the angel), My Cousin Vinny (Joe Pesci knocks over the pieces in Fred Gwynn's office), The Three Amigos (El Guapo moves the pieces when his lacky isn't looking to win the game), Phenomenon (John Travolta comes back in the bar to win after getting "knocked down by the lights"), The Blade TV Series (flash back to when Blade was a kid playing chess with a neighbor - who's later killed and Blade finds the Dark Knight in the victim's mouth), Star Trek: Voyager (Tuvok is playing some Vulcan game that ensign Kim refers to as "Vulcan Chess."  Tuvok says that this game "is to chess as chess is to tic-tac-toe.").  I also remember some movie back in the 70's (I was to young at the time to remember the name now) in which a jewel thief leaves chess pieces in place of the things he steals.  The police challenge him to a game where he must turn himself in if he loses.  As he makes each heist he leaves a note announcing his next move (that he gets from some "super computer") - the ultimate correspondance game).  I think Steve McQueen was the thief, but don't quote me.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #13


    just a few nods for me...

    Searching for Bobby Fischer -my sister HATES chess and she liked the movie, so it's gotta have something going for it.

    Knight Moves - The part where the one boy stabs the other with his pen, oh man, that makes me laugh SO hard.

    Seventh Seal - Chess game against the Black death!! Superawesome. And you all thought Kaspy was scary to play against.

    and one last movie, the one with the worst use of chess to hack through a scene of poorly written exposition.....

    Independence Day - Checkmate by the aliens...ZAP suckers!!

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #14


    Rocky 4 between the russian and rocky's trainer.

    X-men was great because you could defenitely see the two old friends sitting down for a game of chess even if they were arguing about a lot of things.

    The movie "Revolver" with jason statham has A LOT of chess in it.  Its a crazy movie that might drive you crazy at the end but i like it!

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #15


    oh and obviously i like Searching for Bobby Fischer! 

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #16


    Here is my list of movies with chess scenes in it.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #17


    I remember a Stephen King movie named "Creepshow", with five different short stories in it, and in one part (in my opinion the scariest) called "The Crate", the two protagonists (Hal Holbrook and Fritz Weaver) play a game of chess after a creature from the crate has killed two men at a college science building, and then one character's shrew of a wife ("Just tell it to call you BILLIE!!"),  and as the husband tries to calm his friend so he can discuss rationally a plan to dispose of the creature and to cover up its carnage.  The idea was that both men found their comfort in chess, a haven from the worries of college life as professors, and domestic difficulties for the spouse of the shrew (played campily and wonderfully by Adrienne Barbeau).  The chess in this film was calming, and mixed with some low lighting and brandy has the desired effect of bringing order to the chaos of the evening..........funny movie in many ways, and with one part a really corny performance by Stephen King as a hayseed farmer.  I highly recommend it for some scary fun, even if it is nearly 30 years old.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #18


    The movie Hatley High is hilarious. It's a typical high school sports comedy, however the cool football team is replaced by the chess team.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #19


    Don't forget that in the old William Holden movie, Stalag 17, the German spy uses a hollowed out King to put notes inside for the camp guards.

  • 8 years ago · Quote · #20


    Ah yes, jswilkmd, that was Peter Graves as the spy, was it not?

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