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wardo 21 ( +1 | -1 )
chess movies or novels Hello all,
has anyone seen or read anything with chess as the theme?

My DVD collection includes:
Luzhin Defense
Searching for Bobby Fischer
Knight Moves
any others you've seen or heard about?
alberlie 6 ( +1 | -1 )
I recently read... "The Queen's Gambit" by Walter Tevis - Highly Recommendable!
schnarre 9 ( +1 | -1 )
Hmmnnn... I seem to recall there was a series in the UK (70' or 80's) regarding Chess, but I can't remember the name of it offhand.
ironbutterfly 24 ( +1 | -1 )
chess books and movies I'll add the intruiging Brooks Hansen novel "The Chess Garden." "The Luzhin Defense" is a *much* better novel than film, though the film is ok; "Knight Moves" is on my list of worst movies of all-time :((; Tevis' book is good.
misato 50 ( +1 | -1 )
Stefan Zweig's "chess novel" Well known in Germany (at least chess players know it), hopefully translated in other languages:
A man knows very much about playing chess but doesn't play. Playing reminds him of his long-term single-prison where he only had a chess book, from that he learnt chess and built the pieces with bread, his personal way not to get mad.
Of course, another guy convinces him to try some games, finally he plays a champion - and the story ends with a disaster ...
alberlie 26 ( +1 | -1 )
Yes... look here: ->

It's called either "The Royal Game" or "Chess story".
tag1153 42 ( +1 | -1 )
I can't recall the author..... ....but I read a great book entitled "The Eight" a while back. It was the story of a "magical" chess set once owned by Cherlemagne. The pieces, when all together, had a magical power to influence both the "good (white)" and "evil (black)" forces of nature and of people. Anyway, the story goes that the pieces were seperated hundreds of years ago and a modern day search for them ensues. It was a great read........
alberlie 19 ( +1 | -1 )
the author of that one is... Katherine Neville: ->
wardo 5 ( +1 | -1 )
movies or novels well thank you very much for all the responses.
gambiter 13 ( +1 | -1 )
There is a movie called "The Mighty Pawns". It isn't that great a movie but it is about chess. I think it is based on a true story.
gfweiss 93 ( +1 | -1 )
Knights of the South Bronx
Knights of the South Bronx is a made for TV movie, it's on the A&E network Tuesday, Dec 6th (tomorrow) at 8P.M. (US Eastern time) and again at 10P.M. and again at Midnight.

Here the website:


and here's part of the synopsis:

Ted Danson stars as teacher Richard Mason, in this heart-warming story of a man who radically changes his own life, and in the process, opens doors to a whole new world for his students. Inspired by the true story of teacher David MacEnulty, KNIGHTS OF THE SOUTH BRONX follows Richard’s mission: he is determined to awaken the minds of his underprivileged students at a poor school in the South Bronx. They have attitude. They are chaotic. They have no faith in themselves, or in the world around them. But Richard teaches his class that if they can win at chess, no one can ever again call them stupid. If they can win at chess, they can win at life.
fmgaijin 17 ( +1 | -1 )
Mighty Pawns/Knights of the SB Both are based on true stories with similar plots. "The Mighty Pawns" was an ABC After-School Special about 20 or 25 years ago but is still broadcast on occasion.
stevestq 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Books Think they may have been mentioned, but Stefan Zweig's "The Royal Game" and Nabakov's "The Defense" are two excellent reads. "Knight Moves" the film, is indeed one of the worst of all time. Pure and utter nonsense.
bucklehead 32 ( +1 | -1 )
Has anyone here read... "The Glass Bead Game" by Hermann Hesse? A friend of mine mentioned it not too long ago saying that, while it's not about chess, the struggles of the narrator to master the game have a very familiar ring. Any thoughts?

But perhaps the best way to find a quality work of chess-related fiction is to write one.
ccmcacollister 56 ( +1 | -1 )
bucklehead ! We are on the same spirit-wave! I was just thinking, hmmm, why not write a Chess novel?! How bout it, shall we race to completion!? My target date is about 1-1-10.
Wondering, has anyone spent money on Chess novels?
I see a lot here that I would like to read. And find it to be a very interesting thread! Good one wardo. Must look into some of these. (I didn't even know Casablanca had a Chess scene/theme in it. Never seen it. Maybe time to?!)
ccmcacollister 22 ( +1 | -1 )
hmmm .... I see this is not the thread that mentions Casablanca. Well, so there's another one with Chess, to note. I know that I did see it just recently here in the GK Forums somewhere tho, or I wouldn't have known about it.
ccmcacollister 66 ( +1 | -1 )
Ah, add one more... There is an episode of the old "Mission Impossible" show (from the 60's or 70's with Peter Graves, and Landau{Martin?!...the guy who also plays Surak, father of Spock in Star Trek} being two of the regular stars) in which one of the agents had to impersonate a GM and play in a tournament or a match. They had him wired up so that the moves could be transmitted to him via sunglasses radio. That's all I recollect on it tho.
Of course Star Trek has used the old 3-D Chess prop several times I'm sure. But not in a very central way ... Except the episode where Capt.Kirk's imtuitive style wins out in a coldly logical effort by Spock. Leaving Spock amazed, if Vulcans could be amazed.
hardland 15 ( +1 | -1 )
Another Film In an Ingmar Bergman's film, which in spanis is called "El séptimo sello" (The Seventh [don' kow how to say "sello"]).

Max von Sydow plays chess with Death
wschmidt 8 ( +1 | -1 )
"The Seventh Seal" is the English title of the movie. I'm sure they were playing the Scandinavain.
schnarre 11 ( +1 | -1 )
A book.. I read some time ago was 'The Dragon Variation' by Anthony Glynn: a respectable story, & read easily.
futile 16 ( +1 | -1 )
A nice little book... "The Chess Companion" by Irving Chernev. Not a novel but a collection of short stories, anecdotes and a handful of interesting games. I really enjoyed its lighthearted style.
futile 11 ( +1 | -1 )
ironbutterfly: by the way, how was "The Chess Garden"? I was recently recommended it but I haven't gotten around to even find out what it's about.
hardland 40 ( +1 | -1 )
The Chess Players I remember another movie "The Chess Players" maybe its English title, in spanish was "Los jugadores de Ajedrez". That film was form India, directed by Stayajit Ray.

About two men who play chess meanwhile the english conquer their country. At the end of the film, the decide to play with English rules, that means, PROMOTION. And laugh about a pawn who could become a Queen.
fmgaijin 66 ( +1 | -1 )
Knight Moves vs. Night Moves "Night Moves" is a much better chess movie than the Christopher Lambert one despite chess being only a small part of the story. Stars Gene Hackman as a former jock now a private investigator who plays through chess games from books as he stakes folks out. One position in particular (a real game where Black missed a chance to sacrifice the Q and mate with a series of Knight moves) become the metaphor for the detective's life: "He must have regretted it his whole life."

Strong supporting cast including James Woods, Kenneth Mars, and a teen-aged Melanie Griffith.
fmgaijin 50 ( +1 | -1 )
"Chess Fever" Russian silent classic set directed by Pudovkin set during the Moscow 1925 GM tournament. It's a comedy where an amateur obsessed with chess keeps blowing his chance with his girl when chess distracts him (great scene where he's trying to propose and puts down his handkerchief to kneel on but then gets distracted because it has a checkerboard pattern--he starts setting up pieces . . . ). In the end he meets Capablanca (playing himself) who gives him advice on balancing life and chess.
fmgaijin 30 ( +1 | -1 )
"Unsound Variations" My favorite chess story, a Nebula-awardwinning novella by George R. R. Martin, who played for Northwestern University back in the early 70's and went on to become an outstanding writer. Contains joke "portrayals" of many Chicago-area chessplayers (physical descriptions and initials intact but personalities changed).
ccmcacollister 37 ( +1 | -1 )
"Unicorn Variations" How could I forget?? A short story or novellette by (greatest writer since William :)
Roger Zelazny. A Fantasy setting where Unicorns will come to supercede the human race unless a man can win a Chess match. He happens to find another Fey creature to match vs the Unicorn, playing off their moves against one another. And a tense struggle ensues . . . !
* * *
fmgaijin 14 ( +1 | -1 )
The late Roger Z. was . . . . . a decent player--not as good as his pal George R. R. Martin, but probably 1600 strength--not to mention that Rog was a great person and a fine writer!
ironbutterfly 36 ( +1 | -1 )
Zelazny's Amber I still think Z's Amber is a wonderful place, right up there at the top of the second tier of imaginary worlds with Riverworld and Shannara, if not as detailed as Jordan's Wheel of Time and Martin's Song of Ice and Fire. Somewhere I have an unfinished manuscript on his work, contracted quite a while ago - maybe thinking and talking about him will get me back to working on it .....
ironbutterfly 39 ( +1 | -1 )
hello futile .... "The Chess Garden" is still on my reading table, sorry to say, and I probably won't get back to it until I'm done teaching full-time in April, but will let you know. I was disappointed in "The Eight" - better than ok, but I don't see how a poll in a Spanish newspaper could have voted it one of the 10 best books of all time, as it says on the cover .... anyone read it and agree with that judgment and want to explain why ??
hardland 11 ( +1 | -1 )
On polls If you make the right (¿?) answers to the right (¿?) People... ¡a poll will tell you what you want to hear!
alberlie 234 ( +1 | -1 )
Hesse - Glass bead game If anyone of you ever decides to read a book of Hesse, read this one (possibe second: Steppenwolf). The rest of his novels (and I pretty much have gone through all of them) are more or less different versions of the same theme.

In the "Glass beads", those Glass beads serve as a metaphor for a kind of "metascience" that would make all different sciences (human sciences as well as "hard" sciences like physics etc.) interactable with each other. All that together becomes a kind of game (or better: the purpose of this interaction of particle physics with some philological results from the writings of Polycarp of Smyrna is to create beauty, harmony and satisfaction in those engaged in it. That, together with the "uselessness" of this endeavor (at least, if measured in monetary terms) gives it strong similarities of a game).
Each of the glass beads has a certain content (be that Keplers 3rd. law of planetary movement or the intro motiv of the c-minor fugue of Bachs "Wohltemperierte Klavier") and those are combined with each other by different players taking turns and (probably) observing some other rules which (of course :o) ) are not given in great detail in the book to create a piece of art that is usually described in musical terms (harmony, introduction of themes, different movements etc.)
As a student of philosophy and theology, I find this metaphor quite apealing (if, sadly, far fetched). After all, that would be like Paradise, only that it's not lion and lamb happily playing with each other (well, if you believe the Watchtower covers, that is ;o)) but Particle Physicist, PHilosopher and Theologist actually agreeing on something:o))

The buddhistic undertones that you'll find in virtually every Hesse-novel, can hardly be missed in this one too.
But the main plot, centering on one of the players of this game, called the Magister Ludi, the Teacher of the Game, is ok (a bit slow at times though) and shows an amount of self-irony about his whole worldview that one wouldn't think possible if one reads only Siddharta, Steppenwolf and then to top things off Peter Camenzind and, still not having enough, Narciss and Goldmund. Luckily enough, I read the Glass bead game after all of those others - so the best one came last :o)
cascadejames 52 ( +1 | -1 )
The Flanders Panel by Arturo Perez-Reverte This is a good literate murder mystery by a popular Spanish author. Chess players and a chess
game depicted in a painting play a central role in the plot. The initial position shown for the
chess game in the painting is a bit contrived, more like a problem than a game, but the analysis
of the play is good. It is unusual because the author works backward as well as forward.
Recommended. Translated from Spanish. I suspect there are a few glitches in the translation of
the chess jargon, but you can figure it out.

alberlie 22 ( +1 | -1 )
Perez-Reverte... He seems to be kind of a "sports"-writer :o)) I have a novel of him centering about fencing. Hardly ever read anything that can convey the beauty of fencing so well to anyone not involved in this sport...
buddie 46 ( +1 | -1 )
Pawn Takes Pawn I vaguely remember a radio play of this title in the seventies.
Plot roughly is this:
The World Champion, playing the fnal game of the match, has just sealed a move (PxP) which when opened the next day will mean he has retained the world title.
That night he visits the previous Champion (an alcoholic), who he had beaten to win the title 3 years earlier, on his deathbed ...

(There's also an entertaining game in Isaac Asimov's Pebble In The Sky)
umpito 13 ( +1 | -1 )
raymond chandler most books by Raymond Chandler mention chess at some point, and I believe The Big Sleep has a chess game as a metaphor.
donf44 27 ( +1 | -1 )
Luzhin Defense I ended up buying the movie on ebay fairly cheap just to watch it. For what it's worth, don't bother. It was a lame movie and even the little bit of chess didn't help. I don't remember what happened to it and I don't really care. Chalk it up to a loss. Take care.
cascadejames 25 ( +1 | -1 )
Amazon list Here is a customer list from of "Chess Novels worth reading."
Most look interesting. I have compressed the URL using