Chess Hits The Theaters, And Other News

Chess Hits The Theaters, And Other News

| 14 | Misc

Chess news is flowing in from all corners of the world as chess ventures to the big screen, to Greenland and on to Silicon Valley before concluding with a thrilling low-budget action sequence in Ukraine!

Magnus and The Dark Horse Hit Theaters in 2016

The box office has never been the best of buds with the chess community, but in recent years, the number of movies centered on chess seems to be increasing.

In 2016, both Magnus and The Dark Horse will have wide releases. Magnus is a documentary following the world champion from the years 2004 to 2014. While the ending, Carlsen's ascension to the throne, is known to chess fans even diehards will be eager to see the behind the scenes footage promised by the movie.

Carlsen has released a trailer on Facebook and has shown at the Tribeca Film Festival where's own GM Robert Hess attended. Watch for his review on which will soon be posted. The film will see a wide release in the fall of 2016.

What makes the man tick?! Hopefully, for the price of a ticket, you can find out!

Where Magnus centers on the heights of world championship chess, The Dark Horse follows budding scholastic players. The film is based on the true story of Genesis, a mountainous Maori man who builds a chess team in a struggling community. The team, The Eastern Knights, battles their way to the national championship despite long odds.

The film has received widespread acclaim with overwhelmingly positive reviews on and IMDB. “Arguably the best-ever chess-themed film,” wrote GM Ian Rogers. 

Much mention is being made of Cliff Curtis' performance as Genesis. He has already collected the Asia Pacific Screen Award for the performance. The Dark Horse, released last year in Europe, saw a wider U.S. release on April 1st, but currently you will need to be in a larger city to find a screening.


National Scholastic Chess Foundation Celebrates 25 Years

The National Scholastic Chess Foundation (NSCF) recently celebrated their twenty-fifth year of teaching chess. The foundation is run by Executive Director FM Sunil Weeramantry. He's best known for being Hikaru Nakamura's stepfather, but Nakamura is only one of the thousands of children and instructors taught by Weeramantry and his organization over the years.

If you admire the efforts of the NSCF, they welcome donations via their website.

FM Sunil Weeramantry essaying the Spanish Game against a camera.

A Chess Dunking Modem Matchup?!

In a somewhat dubious (?!) promotional event, Qualcomm organized a chess game to demonstrate the efficacy of it's new Snapdragon LTE modems for smartphones. The match featured two players who competed over a dunking booth. After each move, they had to complete a phone call or into the dunking booth they went. Unsurprisingly, Qualcomm's unnamed competitor gets very, very wet.

The incorporation of chess seems to be a means of relating the modem's role (transmittance of information) to a visible activity. Here, the chess moves represent information being transmitted.

As usual, great fun exists for chess players who want to critique the chess on display. How many errors can you find?!

Greenland Hosts Chilly Chess Tournament

While Hou Yifan's intended match in Antarctica did not come to pass, that does not mean chess isn't being celebrated in the most distant and cold of locations. The Icelandic chess club, Hrókurinn, held its eleventh annual chess festival in the tiny and remote village of Ittoqqortoormiit in Greenland on the weekend of March 26th.

Ittoqqortoormiit only has 450 inhabitants and is the most distant of Greenland's communities. The chess festival is one of the year's highlights. Most of the town participates as there is both a village championship and a children's championship.


The best trophy -- chocolate! (Photos from the Hrókurinn chess club)

Fisticuffs Erupt At Ukrainian Tournament

In a recent Ukrainian tournament, tensions between the tournament leaders rose to unusual heights as a fight broke out in the tournament hall. Perennial rivals Vladimir Sakun and Anastasia Rakhmangulova were playing each other in a key game when Rakhmangulova made a mistake and appears to have been losing.

Her opponent seems to have begun toying with her which raised both Rakhmangulova's and her coach's ire. Her coach indulged in a moment of... uh... chivalry?! and assaulted Sakun. The latter suffered cuts on his nose and eye and ruptured blood vessels in his eye. Your reporter thinks that means Sakun acquired a black eye.

While no one in the story comes off looking particularly rosy, it is nice to note that such stories are rare enough to deserve mention. Few miss the days when Rustam Kamsky promised to introduce pugilism at the highest levels.

Perhaps Sakun had unwittingly entered a chess boxing match?!

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