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Kubrick the chessplayer


faceinthecrowd
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That is a great article. Thank you for posting it.

 

I am a longtime lover of the game of chess. I usually go on binges of intense devotion to the game that may last from 12 to 18 months at a stretch - then I burn out and take a hiatus for many years. I am just now emerging from such a hiatus of 2 years - flexing my muscles at ChessWorld.com.

 

This article contains quite a bit of history and other information - more than a wiki page, at any rate. I've been a casual fan of Mr. Kubrick since 2001: and am pleased to find out he's such a chess player - ver-r-ry interesting :)

 

Thanks again for the article, faceinthecrowd

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Glad you enjoyed it. I've been playing online in real time at Chess.com -- the basic membership is free, and no download is needed. That's an advantage for me, because I always feel nervous about what effect a download may have on my computer.

 

"Chess in the movies" is a subject that has undoubtedly been done. There is *The Thomas Crown Affair,* and *Night Moves,* and a movie (whose name escapes me) starring John Wayne -- who, to my surprise, was an enthusiastic player (once, after a loss to William Windom, he delivered a right hook to the board and sent it flying).

 

And I wonder how many people realize that the first time Humphrey Bogart appears on the screen in *Casablanca,* he's analyzing a chess position -- it was from a game that he was actually playing by mail at the time.

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That John Wayne movie is McLintock! I believe he was playing "Jake Birnbaum" (Jack Kruschen) in his store as he was ignoring "Katherine". Good comedy and play between characters there.

 

>And I wonder how many people realize that the first time Humphrey Bogart appears on the screen in Casablanca, he's analyzing a chess position -- it was from a game that he was actually playing by mail at the time.

 

Coincidentally, I recently posted a photo of Bogie at chess over in The Post an Interesting Pic thread.

 

http://theredlist.fr/wiki-2-24-224-523-view-hollywood-cinecitta-stars-profile-lauren-bacall-humphrey-bogart.html

 

Here's more related stuff..

 

http://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessplayer?pid=65398

This one has 5 of Bogie's games you can replay.

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/6924073.stm

 

This is cool. I'll be much more interested the next time Kubrick's name pops up.

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Thank you for the links, Kid_Dabb. I've bookmarked them, and I'm eager to play over Bogie's games. I see that he liked to play the French -- in fact, that's what he was playing in *Casablanca.* He had the black pieces, and he was holding a white knight and frowning, apparently anticipating a strong move by his opponent.

 

And I want to look at the draw he achieved against Reshevsky in a simul -- although I've often wondered whether Sammy was aware of the publicity value that result might have.

 

About the Wayne movie -- I didn't know there was a chess scene in *McLintock!* The film I was thinking of was *The Fighting Kentuckian,* which also happens to feature one of the few solo appearances of Oliver Hardy. (BTW, when the Duke won, did he growl, "That's checkmate, Pilgrim"?)

 

I now realize that the list of movies with chess scenes is longer than I thought. If memory serves, the game in *The Seventh Seal* wasn't very good -- Death says, "I take your queen," and the Knight says, "I didn't see that." What a time to blunder!

 

And in *The Thomas Crown Affair,* after a while McQueen says, "Let's play something else." You can hardly blame him: Dunaway was never more beautiful than in that film. And I guess her stroking the bishop was very distracting to Steve.

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Reading these comments about this great game, I was trying to think of movies dealing primarily with Chess. Movies like Searching for Bobby Fischer, for instance. There is foreign film entitled Dangerous Moves that deals with a Master chess player. I?m sure there are others. I saw a movie entitled The Luzhin Defense with *John Turturro,* I believe. I remember being annoyed because something transpired that was goofy and unrealistic. I remembering thinking that they should have had a technical advisor to inform the movie makers, hey that really would never happen in chess. I can't remember the details, just as well. I was just now searching but not finding a title of movie I recently watched (Herbert Lom in a supporting role and I believe Maria Schell in the female lead) where a chess master meets a woman who challenges him to speed chess. This is how they meet. So there they are in a tavern playing chess and even using clocks, when?s the last time you saw a chess clock in a movie, ha. Here's a bit of trivia. In From Russia With Love, if memory serves, one of first images we see is game in progress. One of the players moves his King. On the square just vacated is sort of symbol which represents an encoded message. That kicks off the movie. Interesting article about Kubrick, thanks for sharing that.

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I have to note that *Searching for Bobby Fischer* -- unlike the book, which was very interesting -- was guilty of some ridiculous dramatic license. It has Josh offering a draw in the last round even though he has a winning position! In reality, he never had a win and had to fight to get the draw he needed to take first place in the tournament. GM Larry Evans said, "It doesn't ring true" -- a huge understatement. Well, that's Hollywood for you. But if the movie got anyone interested in chess, that's OK with me.

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Update on Reshevsky vs. Bogart:

 

I've just played that game over, and I see that Bogart played 5....Nxd5 in the Two Knights -- the usual amateur's move, rather than 5....Na5, the pawn sac favored by GMs. And Bogie played 6....f6, a move I've recently been trying to refute; I see that Sammy played 7. dxe5, so I'll assume that this is the best answer.

 

As to the final position: I'm surprised that Reshevsky didn't play on. If Black retreats his knight to b6, White can play d5, then maneuver his king to d3, d4 and c5. Black's pawns look a little weak.

 

No doubt there's a lot I'm overlooking here; but that's the great thing about chess: even woodpushers can put their two cents in.

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>GM Larry Evans said, "It doesn't ring true" -- a huge understatement.

 

*Face*: Evans probably deigned to comment on that because of all films, Searching for Bobby Fischer, is a film mostly about the game itself and should therefore get things right. Movies in general and especially Hollywood movies are most often inattentive to correctness with subjects dealing with special categories, for instance, boxing movies normally have unrealistic looking boxing sequences, etc., many other examples I'm sure, movies just don't care. The makers of Searching... should care, however.

 

*Kid:* Wow what a terrific list! I've bookmarked that page. Next time I see a movie with chess in it, I'll consult the list. I would probably be a thrill to find one that is not there. :D

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> Wow what a terrific list! I've bookmarked that page. Next time I see a movie with chess in it, I'll consult the list. I would probably be a thrill to find one that is not there. :D

 

Almost 1800 films.. and that ain't all of them! Many more are in the source book mentioned at the bottom of the page.

 

While I was looking around, I found a short list which contained three films with Bobby Fischer's name in the title and more films about, or otherwise relating to, Bobby. A little film industry must have sprouted during his reign.

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