Five chess movies to watch on International Chess Day

Five chess movies to watch on International Chess Day

It's International Chess Day today! Enjoy some chess-related movies or series tonight to celebrate!

Chess Day

Chess is a recreational and competitive board game played between two players.

Do you remember Darren playing against seven-year-old Kaylee Budharm from Hopeville Primary in Phoenix, who came second in the African Youth Chess Championship in Namibia. last year February? You can go back and watch how that game went

You'll also want to know how many times Mouse has beaten her father at chess, so listen to this podcast

Now, to the movies: 

1. Queen of Katwe (2016)

Queen of Katwe

Disney presents 'Queen of Katwe', a movie based on a vibrant true story starring Lupita Nyong’o and David Oyelowo, and directed by Mira Nair. A Ugandan girl’s life, Phiona Mutesi, changes forever when she discovers she has an amazing talent for chess, in this celebration of the human spirit. The 2016 film tells the story of how at the age of nine, despite not being in school, Mutesi went on to compete in international tournaments.

It starred Lupita Nyong'o as her mother and David Oyelowo as her chess teacher.

2. The Dark Horse (2014) 

The Dark Horse
Nonna Working

Cliff Curtis plays Genesis “Gen” Potini, a Maori man who might be the greatest chess player in New Zealand’s history, but suffers from severe bipolar disorder. 

Gen ends up, as we see often in chess movies, coaching youngsters to play chess to keep them out of gangs, but the twist here is that Gen is breaking down mentally while still trying to keep his team of kids together. Interesting note -  Curtis gained nearly 60 pounds for the film.

3. Brooklyn Castle 

Brooklyn Castle
Brooklyn Castle

'Brooklyn Castle' came out in 2012 and was widely loved by chess fans, educational professionals, and parents. 

The documentary film follows the successful Intermediate School 318 along with head chess teacher Elizabeth Spiegel in Brooklyn, New York over the course of a year though the ups and downs of competitive chess. I.S. 318 was able to move beyond budget cuts to become the most successful chess programme in the country, winning more championships than any other schools in the country. They were the first middle school team to win the National High School championships!

A heartwarming one!

4. Queen's Gambit 

Queen's Gambit

Set in the 1950, orphan Beth Harmon realises she has a knack for chess when she goes to the basement of their orphanage and finds the cleaner playing. They continue to play, as he subtly trains her. It becomes an unlikely journey to stardom while she struggles with addiction.

Beth Harmon is played by Anya-Taylor Joy. 

5. Magnus


'Magnus' is a Norwegian documentary on the chess prodigy Magnus Carlsen who was a bullied 13-year-old who would one day become World Chess Champion. His parents had introduced him to the game at the tender age of five. He becomes a grandmaster at age 13 and world champion in 2013.

Enjoy these with some popcorn. Maybe you'll be inspired to plan a game this weekend?

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Main Image Courtesy: Pexels

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