Historic Chess Footage Revealed As AP, Movietone Launch YouTube Channels

Historic Chess Footage Revealed As AP, Movietone Launch YouTube Channels

| 26 | Chess Event Coverage

A large collection of historic chess footage has been made available as part of two YouTube channels launched earlier this week by the Associated Press (AP) and British Movietone.

Last Wednesday it was announced that news agency Associated Press (AP) and newsreel British Movietone are bringing their archives — together more than one million minutes of historical video dating back to 1895 — to YouTube. 

The two channels, AP Archive and British Movietone, form a collection of 550,000 videos that will “act as a view-on-demand visual encyclopedia, offering a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history,” according to AP in its press release.

Famous historic events such as the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, the marriage of Marilyn Monroe and Joe Di Maggio in 1954, the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968 and the Berlin Wall coming down in 1989 can now be found online.

As a result, a vast archive of chess footage is now also available. Here is a selection; if you have found other treasures, do mention them in the comments!

Simul by Flohr and Capablanca in Czechoslovakia

A short video about a simul given by Salo Flohr and ex-world champion José Capablanca against 66 members of a club in Czechoslovakia. The year is not given.

Update: FM Feryultra mentions in the comments that the simul is from Prague 1935 and that both players had the same score: 25 wins, 5 draws and 3 losses.

Petrosian-Spassky, Moscow 1966

Footage (without sound) of the first World Championship match between Tigran Petrosian and Boris Spassky. Petrosian managed to retain his title by winning the match 12.5-11.5, but three years later Spassky would beat him 12.5-10.5.

Havana Olympiad, 1966

The video (without sound) shows footage from Cuba, where the Olympiad was held in 1966. We see Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky meeting each other six years before they will play for the title, and a cigar-smoking Fidel Castro participating in a simul given by Tigran Petrosian.

Hastings Chess Congress 1966-67

Footage of 1966-67 Hastings Chess Congress. We see Mikhail Botvinnik, a 14-year-old Henrique Mecking, a 17-year-old Yuri Balashov and a 18-year-old Raymond Keene.

Fischer-Petrosian, Buenos Aires 1971

Images from the playing hall right after Bobby Fischer won the 9th and last game in his Candidates’ match with Tigran Petrosian. The crowd keeps on applauding and starts shouting “Bobby, Bobby!” while a man holds a paper om stage with “Viva Argentina.”

Spassky-Fischer, Reykjavik 1972

A simple “Fischer Spassky” search in the AP channel easily retrieves many short videos of the Match of the Century. The videos shows footage from inside the playing hall: game one, with the infamous 29...Bxh2 — you can see the bishop getting caught on h2.

Spassky interview after the 1972 match

An interview with Boris Spassky after he lost his world title to Bobby Fischer. He says he is not disappointed: “The life for me will be better after this match.” He admits still feeling insulted that Fischer arrived too late for the match, and didn't show up for game two.

Karpov-Korchnoi, Baguio City 1978

The video shows footage of the arrival of Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov in the playing hall during their 1978 World Championship match in Baguio City, Philippines. The video is erroneously described as showing the 32nd (and last) game, because Karpov had White in that game.

Update: Lotsky mentions in the comments that this is game 31. “Towards the end of the video the demonstration board is shown with the position of this famous rook endgame won by Korchnoi.”

A highly recommended 14-minute report on this match can be found here; this one doesn't seem to have been uploaded to YouTube (yet).

Kasparov-Anand, New York 1995

We see Garry Kasparov offering a draw on the 12th move, and Vishy Anand accepting defeat in his first ever World Championship match. Many more would follow.

World Blitz Championship, Rishon-Le-Zion, 2006

We see the first World Blitz Championship, held nine years ago in Israel. Among the participants is a 15-year-old Magnus Carlsen. The video ends with Alexander Grischuk winning the title by beating Peter Svidler in the decisive game.

Thanks to Ian Rogers and Dennis Monokroussos who pointed out some of these videos. If you found other hidden gems, feel free to share those in the comments!

Peter Doggers

Peter Doggers joined a chess club a month before turning 15 and still plays for it. He used to be an active tournament player and holds two IM norms.

Peter has a Master of Arts degree in Dutch Language & Literature. He briefly worked at New in Chess, then as a Dutch teacher and then in a project for improving safety and security in Amsterdam schools.

Between 2007 and 2013 Peter was running ChessVibes, a major source for chess news and videos acquired by in October 2013.

As our Director News & Events, Peter writes many of our news reports. In the summer of 2022, The Guardian’s Leonard Barden described him as “widely regarded as the world’s best chess journalist.”

In October, Peter's first book The Chess Revolution will be published!

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