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CHESS in movies Samuel Jackson

Chess in Films

by WIM Carolina Blanco

Chess has been part of numerous films around the world and although sometimes it is not the subject of the movie, there are many scenes in non-chess movies featuring a chess set or something related to the game. Below are my favorites and I recommended all of them for children and adults.

The Search for Bobby Fisher (1993). Perhaps one of the most famous films about chess, this film paints a beautiful story of a shy kid that has great talent for the game. With the help and support of a coach, he becomes a champion. It is based on the prodigy chess player Joshua Waitzkin and adapted from a book written by Joshua’s father.

Long Live the Queen (1995). A beautiful Dutch movie that tells the tale of a little girl who learns to play chess thanks to enchanted chess pieces. Sara is an imaginative little girl who lives with her mother and her grandfather. She dreams of reuniting her mother and her father, a national chess champion. When one of her school classmates introduces her to the world of chess, she creates an imaginary scenario involving the Queen, who is tired of the King’s laziness. Together, Sara and the Queen attack their rivals in order to bring Sara’s parents back together.

Knights of the South Bronx (2005). Based on the true story of David MacEnulty, this movie is about a teacher who helps students with troubling home lives succeed by teaching them to play chess. The movie shows that no matter life’s obstacles, you can still achieve your dream.

Brooklyn Castle (2012). Despite not having the financial means, a New York inner city junior high school chess team has won more national championships than any other in the country. The film focuses not only on the chess wins and losses, but the kids’ personal struggles as well. For more information or to view the trailer go to: http://www.brooklyncastle.com/

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001) and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002). In both films, kids will enjoy the wonderful computer imagery of the magic chess board. A very interesting analysis of the game played in the Sorcerer’s Stone, which is designed by IM Jeremy Silman, can be found at: http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/features/essays/chessgameinsorcerersstone

There are a number of other films (some that may not be as appropriate for children) that feature chess including Casablanca (1942), Star Wars (1977), Blade Runner (1982), The Shawshank Redemption (1994), and X-Men (2000). What are your favorite chess movies or chess scenes in movies? Leave your answers in the comments section below!

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