Thursday, August 06, 2009


I totally agree when Mr. Jeremy Silman said that 'movies and TV shows make a joke of real chess positions and real chess lingo.' (1) Sparring those chess movies which really portray chess as the main theme or plot, those scenes where the characters played chess just to show that they are geniuses, are filled with fake chess positions and unthinkable chess situations (2) - the boards were not correctly set; the pieces were put in impossible positions; and (the one which I hated the most) the supposedly winners said 'checkmate!' when hardly anybody said that in real life chess games!

I do not want to write about all the chess movies or chess scenes which I have seen or yet to watch, you can read about it in an excellent article at Chessville (3) or watch the pictures at Chess in the Cinema (4), but I want to share here real chess positions from the movies which can actually be set up when chess masters are consulted whenever a chess movie or a chess scene is to be made. Three chess scenes fascinate me because of their authenticity, and I tried my best to pause the movie in order to recreate the positions on my chess board:

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

This position was created by Jeremy Silman, but it was cut by the director for the sake of character developments and therefore lost its chess value. (5)

2. The Luzhin Defense

The credits for the chess scenes goes to GM Jonathan Speelman. This final game between Luzhin and Turatti captured the chess audience completely. (6)

3. The Innocent Moves (Searching for Bobby Fischer)

This is the final game between Waitzkin vs Poe. The position was contrived by Josh Waitzkin himself with the help of Bruce Pandolfini specifically for the film. (7)

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