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Famous Chess Games in Popular Culture

  • #1

    I need to embed a few games into a website I am creating for a project, so I will share some of filmmaking's most definitive chess moments.

    2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

    (from http://www.chess.com/article/view/2001-a-chess-space-odyssey)

    In one of the most famous human vs. machine moments in history, astronaut Dr. Frank Poole is bested by the supercomputer HAL-9000 in a game of chess. While the moves played during the movie are somewhat silly, the starting position was taken from an actual game,  Roesch vs. Schlage, Hamburg 1910. 


    Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)

    This film shares a trait with only a handful of other works - the plot revolves entirely around the game of chess. The movie follows young prodigy Josh Waitzkin, and time and again alludes to the disappearance of Bobby Fischer after his famous 1972 match with Boris Spassky.  The focus of the film is on young Josh's refusal to play the game with the ruthless, impersonable style of Fischer. The film follows Josh through a number of tournaments, all the way up to the final tournament - the U.S. Primary Championships.



    The tournament in the film was meant to resemble Waitzkin's 1986 U.S. Primary Championships, in which he drew a tough opponent named Jeff Sarwer (who Jonathan Poe is meant to characterize), to share the championship title. The final game occured as follows.


    Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (2001) 

    Who can forget young Harry, Ron, and Hermoine's journey into the bowels of the castle in search for the sorceror's stone - with three headed dogs, asphyxiating vines, razor sharp flying keys, and homicidal chess pieces all trying to stop them? In the third room, Ron gets his chance to shine in a game of wizard's chess. IM Jeremy Silman was tasked with creating a dynamic position for the movie.


    The Game of the Century (annotated by Robert Wade)

    While it's not technically featured in any movie, these games surely define chess for what it is. 

    The Immortal Game (annotation author unknown)

    Feel free to add some of your own. Perhaps we can make a database of all famous popular-culture chess games! 


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