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Edward Scimia

Favorite Chess Movies

By March 31, 2012

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Earlier this month, I posted asking for opinions on everyone's favorite chess scenes or moments in films and television shows that weren't actually about chess. Today, the question is a little different: what's your favorite film that's actually about chess itself?

My answer, and probably the easiest answer to give, is the classic Searching for Bobby Fischer, which is all about chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin. But there are plenty of other great chess movies to choose from. Even in recent years, some good chess movies have been released; I recently saw Queen to Play, a very good (if a bit dry) French film about a woman who learns the game and ends up enriching her heretofore unsatisfying life.

So, what's your favorite chess movie? Feel free to leave your pick in the comments section! I'm sure some of our readers have some relatively unknown gems that are well worth checking out. If you want, you can also post your picks for the worst chess movies you've ever seen - I know I have a pick there, but I'll hold my tongue on that one.


April 10, 2012 at 2:04 am
(1) CA says:

I like the Colle. basically , d4 2.e3 3.Nf3 4.Bd3 5.0-0 6.Re1 7.c3 8.Nbd2 9.e4, with White rearranging his move order appropriately. Depending who I’m playing may force me to make changes but this and the added developing the dark-squared bishop on b2.

April 10, 2012 at 10:12 am
(2) Gary Smith says:

My favorite chess show was a Columbo episode in which a chess player was murdered to keep him from winning a tournament

April 10, 2012 at 10:56 am
(3) Michael Knatz says:

The Columbo episode was good since the result of the off hand game played at a restaurant was significant in solving the murder.

Best Chess movies are Chess Fever from 1925 which has a cameo of Capablanca, The Luzhin Defense with John Turtorro, Return from the Ashes with Maximillian Schell from 1965 and the Seventh Seal with Max Von Sydow.

Honorable mention goes to:

Dangerous Moves (1984)
The Great Chess Movie (1982)
Knight Moves (1995)
And the new Bobby Fischer Against the World

April 11, 2012 at 1:17 am
(4) Mpilo says:

My favourite chess movie is Luzhin defence( hope I spelled it right) brilliant film but I don’t want to spoil the ending.

April 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm
(5) Denis Jessop says:

An excellent movie about chess was Black and White like Day and Night, a German TV movie released in 1978 starring Bruno Ganz. His presence alone is an indication of its quality.

April 20, 2012 at 3:27 pm
(6) jimr says:

best chess movie has to be searching for bobby fischer. there isn’t even a second place, it’s so far and above anything else I’ve ever seen.

really hits the multi-nature of chess…is it a science or an art? or a competitive sport? but really, it’s just a game. or is it just “that chess thing”?

best scene: josh remembering his coach saying “let me make it easier for you!” and bashing all the pieces to the floor, during the critical game. josh looks over in the corner of the room where the chessmen are all over the floor, then back at the now empty board to study the position, while his opponent looks at him with a “what are you looking at?” expression.

August 28, 2012 at 4:23 pm
(7) Davy says:

For children 4-12 yrs the Dutch movie Ik ben de Koningin (I am the queen) is the best chess movie ever made.

January 21, 2013 at 2:17 am
(8) Oso says:

Look for a movie called: Fresh (1994) about a kid facing the tough life and chess is a big important part of the movie. Brilliant film.

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