Eight Awesome Chess Moments in Movies

There are plenty of good chess moments and mentions of chess in movies.   However most are pretty small and barely cover the subject.  But today I wanted to focus on movies that are pretty mainstream and moments that many of us might remember.

I happen to love chess so seeing it in a movie is something I think all of us can enjoy.

Anyway, here are the moments….

Searching for Bobby Fischer

Any chess scene in this movie is pretty much worth a watch considering the entire movie is about chess.   However, I like the scene towards the end when the little twirp kid says “trick or treat” after taking a queen.    Lots of fun times in this movie.

Silence of the Lambs

Lt. Starling asks two “bug experts” for help in solving her case and of course they are playing chess with live beetles.   That’s always fun.

Blade Runner

The chess game between Tyrell and Sebastian uses the conclusion of a game played between Anderssen and Kieseritzky, in London in 1851. It is considered one of the most brilliant games ever played, and is universally known as “The Immortal Game”.

Star Wars

There’s really no mention of the actual game chess in this movie but if you search “Star Wars Chess” you’ll always find this picture so I think it’s pretty cool.


There is a running game of chess in this entire movie that’s pretty awesome.  It goes on between Robert and Miguel (initially Nikolai).   A great moment is when Miguel tells Robert “Rook to Pawn (number).”  It’s a great moment in the film.  The whole movie is nearly a chess game between two assassins competing for targets.

Shawshank Redemption

“Chess, now there’s a game of wits.”   “And a total fu*&in” mystery.”  Great, maybe you’ll let me teach you someday.”   There’s that exchange and of course the ending when Andy says  “And the chess board ready.”   Andy is fond of the game and he takes years to build pieces out of rocks for himself.

War Games

The entire movie is based on a computer learning strategy and finally realizing that some strategies have dire consequences.

Independence Day

Eh, this is just a fun moment when Judd Hirsch loses.



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  1. And to Independence Day for Judd Hirsch for playing the most stereotypical jew in movie history.

    “If it wasn’t for my David…” we get it.

  2. Although very brief I enjoy the game between two old friends, Charles and Erik, at the end of the very first X-Men movie. How it’s a metaphor for the competition for dominance/enlightenment for their own people, and how Magneto submits defeat but only for that battle, and that the war is far from over.

  3. All very good. A few that I like as well

    In X-Men first class is a great scene while they play

    I think the wizard chess in Harry Potter is cool.

    And even though it’s just for a second I love the part in the beginning of Hot Fuzz where he’s playing chess very aggresively

    And even though it’s not a movie the Pepsi commercial where the guy beats the supercomputer in chess is pretty funny.

  4. Odd choice for a list, I like it. I’d like to submit Charlie Wilson’s War. Hoffman and Hanks are talking to a weapons specialist about stuff for Afghanistan at a park where he is simultaneously playing 5 or 6 games of Chess. At one point, someone tells him it is his turn and he screams back a move without even looking at the board. The guy asks “Don’t you want to look at the board?” and he says “Don’t need to” and the guy looks down at the move that was just made and goes “damn”

  5. How about wasted opportunities in chess scenes — in which two characters are playing chess (or really, any other game would work) and the filmakers blew it.

    Like the Harry Potter Wizard’s Chess scene.

  6. I’m sorry, I can’t overlook this mistake… was I the only one to see “Knight Moves,” with Christopher Lambert? The entire movie centers around chess. And, even has the famous chess quote by Thomas Huxley, “The chessboard is the world… the rules of the game are what we call nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us but we know that his play is always fair, just, and patient. We also know that he never overlooks a mistake.

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