This is going to be a long one, so get your popcorn ready! We’ll be taking a look at chess in the movies. Every chess lover has a favorite chess film. This is a list of our favorite seven. Make sure to leave a comment with your favorite chess movies!
1. Searching for Bobby Fischer
A chess craze in the United States was sparked by “Searching for Bobby Fischer.” The film’s star-studded ensemble included Joe Mantegna, Ben Kingsley, Laurence Fishburne, and Joan Allen. Fred Waitzkin’s book “Searching for Bobby Fischer” was the inspiration for the film, which tells the story of Josh Waitzkin’s chess adventure. A strong international master, Josh left chess to study martial arts in his latter years.
Magnus Carlsen is a household name in the chess community. Before, during, and after becoming chess world champion, Carlsen has been a dominant figure in the sport. Before the Carlsen-Karjaken world championship match, “Magnus” was released as a documentary. Magnus’ ascent to the throne is the primary focus of the film’s portrait of the Carlsen family. It includes footage of Magnus’s early years and the Kasparov vs. Carlsen world championship match in Chennai, where Carlsen triumphed, as well as footage of Magnus’s showdown with Kasparov at the tender age of 13.
3. Brooklyn Castle
When “Brooklyn Castle” was released in 2012, chess players, educators, and parents all fell in love with it. Over the course of a year, the documentary film follows the thriving Intermediate School 318 (I.S. 318) in Brooklyn, New York and its chess instructor, Elizabeth Spiegel. School 318 overcame funding cuts to become the best chess program in the United States, winning more championships than any other school in the nation. For the first time ever, a middle school team has won a national high school competition! It’s a must-see!
4. Queen of Katwe
A film adaptation of the 2012 book Based on Phiona Mutesi’s life, “Queen of Katwe” tells the story of the Ugandan chess prodigy as she grows up in poverty in Katwe. In the local chess center, played by actor David Oyelowo, Phiona, represented by actress Madina Nalwanga, would often be seen. A complimentary dinner initially piqued Phiona’s interest, but it wasn’t long before she learned that she had a natural knack for chess, which led her to fall in love with the game. Achievements at local tournament levels lead Phiona to take on international competitions, where she is able to experience life outside Katwe.
5. Bobby Fischer Against the World
‘Bobby Fischer Against the World’ explores Bobby Fischer’s life and intellect in depth. Interviews with people like Larry Evans, Susan Polgar, Garry Kasparov, and many more who knew Fischer or were inspired by his genius can be found on this site. In a match against the entire Soviet chess empire, Bobby Fischer emerged victorious! Rare video of Fischer’s 1972 World Chess Championship encounter against Boris Spassky is featured in the film.
6. The Luzhin Defense
Actor John Turturro portrayed a gifted chess player named Aleksandr Ivanovich Luzhin in the 2000 film “The Luzhin Defense.” Vladimir Nabokov’s novel “The Defense” is the inspiration for the film. During his trip to Italy, Luzhin meets and falls in love with actress Emily Watson’s Natalia Katkov, whom he meets while competing in a famous tennis tournament. Luzhin’s childhood and the family pressures he faced are revisited in this time period. That his opponent, Dottore Salvatore Turati, portrayed by Fabio Sartor, is unable to deal with the pressure of the match is the opinion of Luzhin’s former coach, Leo Valentinov, played by Stuart Wilson.
As the game comes to an end, Turati gains an advantage. Lucinov abducted Luzhin and abandoned him as soon as the game was over. This incident brought back unpleasant memories of his childhood. Due to Luzhin’s mental weariness, physicians banned him from playing chess in the hospital. Luzhin’s weariness and worry lead him to commit suicide by jumping out of a window. Natalia, Luzhin’s fiancée, discovers the adjourned game’s notes and completes the winning moves against Turati.
7. Pawn Sacrifice
“Pawn Sacrifice,” a highly anticipated 2014 film based on the life of Bobby Fischer, tells the story of Fischer’s development from chess novice to world champion. Bobby Fischer is portrayed by Tobey Maquire on screen, while Boris Spassky, the Soviet World Champion, is played by Liev Scheiber on screen. Fischer’s irrational fears are examined in the film. An important part of the film focuses on Fischer’s early life in Brooklyn and his obsession with the game of chess, which led to his relentless pursuit of victory. Fischer goes into hiding as it is revealed that the mental strain he endured in the lead-up to winning the world title was detrimental to his health.
Is there anything we haven’t covered? You can post your favorite chess movie in the comments section!