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11 films and documentaries for chess enthusiasts

16 pieces per player and a board of 64 squares. That’s all it takes to play chess, a board game with even more history and is considered sport .Whether you’re an expert like you’re just a rookie, thanks to the collaboration of xmovies8 we offer you a collection of films and documentaries related to this world: from stories of great chess players, through the Cold War that was also developed on the boards and even how chess unites and helps slum schools offer hope to their students.

Brooklyn Castle (documentary, 2012)

“Imagine a school where children belong … most popular chess team.” Fiction? No: the true story of a small school in Brooklyn . Most students live below the poverty line and chess is for them an escape route. In recent years they have been proclaimed over and over national champions and, in fact, the institute is the most championships won throughout its history.

The documentary focuses on the story of five of his students for a year, showing us not only how the chess program your school has been affected by the numerous budget cuts, but also the difficulties and personal challenges that these guys must overcome day to day. It was very well received among critics after being screened at various festivals, which has served for Sony to be set at the history and acquired the rights to make a movie .

Bobby Fischer Against the World (documentary, 2011)

Another documentary, although in this case on one of the most popular players in history not only features interviews with many of his peers, but also shows for thefirst time never before seen footage of the World Chess Championship 1972 it was decided with what was then known as the Game of the Century between Fischer and Boris Spassky Russian archenemy. “One of the most beautiful films ever shot about chess , ” says Federico Marin Bellon.

Pawn Sacrifice (movie, 2015)

If you still want to know more about Bobby Fischer and his story, the film ‘Pawn Sacrifice’ focuses precisely on his life and how, unwittingly, he was caught in the Cold War between the two superpowers of the time. Tobey Maguire gives life to the protagonist, while Liev Schreiber has been chosen to play Boris Spassky.Although he was in some festivals in 2014, it is not expected to be released in theUS until September this year . In Spain we are still waiting …

Searching for Bobby Fischer (film, 1993)

Although named after Bobby Fischer in the title, it has nothing to do with the chess player known (in fact, it is said that he complained to use their name without permission). Instead, ‘Searching for Bobby Fischer’ tells the story of Joshua Waitzkin , a child prodigy who existed (and exists) in reality. His father wrote a book about the chess world, which is where the film is based. And darling ,because if you’re a fan of this discipline, you will find a popular teacher cameo along the tape.

Does your argument? Basically Waitzkin life after his family discovered he had a knack for chess and hire a teacher to teach you how to take advantage of their skills to become the next world champion. Throughout the game various items that have been are analyzed retrospectively by other players. However, some criticize several major flaws that it has and that may go unnoticed to the untrained eye.

Computer Chess (movie, 2013)

A strange comedy , shot in black and white to give more authenticity (no, not a documentary but want to seem). It is set in the 80s, when players began to play against some computers. Its director confesses in an interview that they had only a draft script of eight pages and that most of the dialogue is improvised, so you can imagine the improvisation that is present at all times in the final result.

As a result, and also be such a specific subject, the reviews have been quite disparate : some criticize it and much while others believe that it is one of the best comedies of recent times. Chances are that you like if you’re a big fan of chess or computers (preferably both), but if you can not be quite heavy and boring.

The Dark Horse (film, 2014)

Project originating in New Zealand swept all national awards (and took occasional international) in 2014. The story, though it is told in film form, it is inspired by the life and work of Genesis Potini a popular chess player with bipolar disorder trying to teach the most disadvantaged youth in your community to play chess to prevent them from becoming criminals.

Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine (documentary, 2003)

For those who do not understand much about chess, yes there is a time in recent years with which we are very familiar: the “battle” between Kasparov and Deep Blue . In 1996, this machine designed by IBM faced for the first time against Garry Kasparov, one of the best players in history. He won a game, but Kasparov emerged victorious in the series. Things changed in 1997 with Deep Blue crownedas the first machine winning a World Chess Championship.

However, Kasparov was not entirely happy with the result and even hinted that the movements of Deep Blue had a touch of creativity, something impossible for a machine with artificial intelligence and that only could be explained by the intervention of a human. The HBO documentary echoes these accusations andanalyzes the controversy that then emerged, with interviews with Kasparov himself, people from IBM and other experts.

Long Live the Queen (children’s film, 1995)

It will not win an Oscar because it is not anything special , but this Dutch film 1995 can be a good way to start in chess to the smallest of the house. Tells the story of a girl with a great imagination that he misses his father, a chess champion who has just seen. He decides to learn to play but it does very peculiar way: through a story and enchanted pieces that can speak.

Geri’s Game (short, 1997)

It was the first Pixar short (that position is occupied ‘ Luxo Jr. ‘, 1986), but it is one of the most popular films of the history of animation studio. However, yes that was a pioneer in something: it was the first time that Pixar was a human being in a short.

In ‘Geri’s Game’ is an old man playing against himself in a chess game that develops intensely in a park. It was screened in some cinemas in 1997, although its success came in 1998 after being included in the VHS and DVD of ‘Bug ‘s Life’.So much was the impact that the short film was the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film , among many other international awards.

Chess Fever (movie, 1925)

A silent and black and white movie recorded in Russia in 1925 which is defined as “a story of love, obsession … and chess!”. Although the style does not call too, it will seem rather curious because using some actual images recorded during the annual tournament that year. Jose Raul Capablanca , a Cuban chess player, plays the protagonist, while also reveal, among others, Frank Marshall , Rudolf Spielmann , Carlos Torre and Frederick Yates .

Dangerous Moves (film, 1984)

French – Swiss co – production in 1984 was nominated for several international awards , including the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film and a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, although none of the awards did not take. The story takes place in 1983, during the celebration of a prestigious chess tournament also staged political tensions that existed at that time. In fact, although the title cluelessness, we are facing a new mistranslation on his arrival in Spain ( ‘La Diagonale du Fou’ in the original French, it should be ‘The diagonal of the bishop’ in Castilian, but “fou” also means “crazy”).

While it is a fiction film, has several parallels with some events on chess which actually occurred, as explained by the criticism of Beatlespock in BFI :

The film makes many winks to real chess events: the Match of the Century between Spassky and Fischer in 1972 in Reykyavik and the World Chess Championship between Anatoli Karpov 1978 Viktor Korchnoi and. Pavius Fromm (Alexandre Arbatt) is a kind of mixture of great Bobby Fischer and Korchnoi, a Russian – Swiss; and Liebskind (Michel Piccoli) and his cohort of teachers surely represents the purest Soviet faction manipulates at will to its ablest citizens in favor of communist supremacy. Recall the role of Karpov vs. Kasparov in his memorable duels 80, immobilism against perestroika. ( Critique of Beatlespock in BFI ).

Bonus Track: If you like chess and you’re curious about some of the scenes with board and chips as protagonists, I recommend this collection , where they analyze the positions on the board and also some gaffes.