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Documentaries about Chess

Top 8 Documentaries About Chess

Watch the best documentaries about the game of chess

Intro: Documentaries about chess

Welcome to an exploration of the fascinating world of chess! Have you ever been captivated by how this seemingly simple game can foster deep concentration, strategic thinking, and creativity? Chess is a timeless classic that has challenged players for centuries. Its intricate moves create endless possibilities, often drawing comparisons to the complexities of life itself.

The rules of chess can seem intimidating to beginners, but with some practice and patience, anyone can learn how to play. The game is played on a board that has 64 squares, alternating between light and dark colors. Each player starts with sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The objective of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s king by positioning it in such a way that it cannot avoid capture.

Chess is believed to have originated in India. The earliest version of this game was called "Chaturanga" and was played with different pieces, including elephants, chariots or horses, infantrymen or foot soldiers and a king. From there, it spread to Persia where modifications were made to simplify its complexity. It then moved on to Arabia and further developed until it reached Europe in the 9th century. The first recorded chess tournament took place in Valencia, Spain during the reign of King Alfonso X (1252-1284). Today's current version of chess emerged from Italy during the late Renaissance and quickly spread throughout Europe.

One of the most significant changes was when chess transformed from a leisurely pastime for nobles and royals into competitive sport in 1851 during London's first international tournament. Since then, top players across continents have battled for championship titles and millions of dollars worth of prizes. Technological advances also opened up opportunities for online play with anyone anywhere around the world at any time – further democratizing access.

Many players have made their mark on this strategic game. One of the most famous chess players is Bobby Fischer. What made him stand out was his ability to take calculated risks while playing, which often caught opponents off guard. Another notable player is Garry Kasparov, who had a longstanding rivalry with Karpov, and held the world number one ranking for a record-breaking 225 months. His style of play was aggressive and tactical, making him a feared opponent by many. Lastly, we cannot forget about Magnus Carlsen - currently ranked as the best chess player in the world.

In these videos, we’ll delve into the history of chess and its evolution through time. We’ll also explore some famous players who have gained global recognition for their extraordinary strategies in international competitions. So sit back, grab your board, and let’s journey together on this intellectual ride through the wonderful world of chess!

1. Bobby Fischer Against The World - Chess Documentaries

This documentary chronicles the life of Bobby Fischer, one of the greatest chess players of all time. It follows his rise to stardom, his struggles with mental illness and his impact on the game of chess.

2. History of Chess - From the Origins of Chess until Today - Documentaries about Chess

"The History of Chess" is a captivating chess documentary that traces the mystical journey of chess from India to Europe, traversing through Asia and America. The documentary starts by exploring the origins of chess in India as "Chaturanga," which underwent several amendments before it reached its final set of rules. Over the years, numerous legendary world chess champions have competed, with players like Paul Morphy, Bobby Fischer, Mikhail Tal, Garry Kasparov, and the legend-in-the-making, Magnus Carlsen, becoming household names.

Around 1,000 years ago, Arabs introduced an older version of chess, which they had developed from Chaturanga to Europe. Chess quickly gained immense popularity in Southern Europe and gradually spread to other parts of the continent. Over the centuries, the rules of chess have changed, and the chessboard has become increasingly similar to the one we use today. During the Middle Ages, regardless of their social class, age, or nationality, everyone knew the rules of the game and a few essential combinations.

From the 19th century onwards, chess became recognized as a professional sport, and legendary players like Paul Morphy, with his short but epic career, took the scene by storm. In the 20th century, chess reached its peak thanks to eminent players like Capablanca and Alekhine, and the immense genius of Mikhail Tal. The Cold War played its part in the spread of chess, and the Match of the Century in 1972, between the Russian Spassky and the American Bobby Fischer, was watched all over the world. In more recent times, two notable players have catalyzed the chess scene: Garry Kasparov, considered by most chess experts as the greatest ever, and the current number one player, Magnus Carlsen, who has achieved the highest rating in the history of chess and has smashed record after record

3. Recipe for genius: How child chess prodigies master the game - Documentaries on chess

The phenomenal success of Netflix's acclaimed series The Queen's Gambit has reignited widespread enthusiasm for chess, particularly among children displaying prodigy-level aptitude for the intellectual sport. With a deeper exploration, The Fifth Estate uncovers cases of parents determined to nurture their child's innate genius in chess, with drastically different endings.

4. The History Of Chess: The World Chess Championship - Chess Documentaries

Gain knowledge of the legendary figures who have shaped the game, like Paul Morphy, Bobby Fischer, Garry Kasparov, and Magnus Carlsen, from world-renowned players and commentators like Viswanathan Anand, Bruce Pandolfini, Ben Finegold, and Danny Rensch. Learn more about their impact on the landscape of chess history.

5. World Chess Candidates Tournament - Documentaries about Chess

Experience the electrifying journey of Sergey Karjakin's rise to the World Chess Championship. Follow the gripping action as Karjakin of Russia fights his way through the 2016 Candidates match in Moscow, culminating in a thrilling final game and clinching his ticket to the highly-anticipated matchup showdown in New York come November. Get swept away by an edge-of-your-seat film that captures all the intense emotion, perseverance, and skill it took to make history.

6. NatGeo "My Brilliant Brain" featuring Susan Polgar - Chess Documentary

This compelling documentary tells the story of how Susan Polgar's father transformed her and her sisters into chess prodigies. The documentary explores questions such as: Do boys have a sharper sense of memory than girls? Could we train our brains to be more adept? These questions led researchers to uncover the mysteries of the brain and memory.

7. Queen Of Katwe (2016) - Chess Film

This biographical drama tells the inspiring story of a chess prodigy from Uganda who rises to international fame. It follows her journey as she faces the challenges of her life and the game of chess.

8. Game Over: Kasparov and the Machine - Chess films

Arguably the greatest chess player of all time, Garry Kasparov, faced a legendary battle in 1997 when he played against the computer program Deep Blue from IBM. Despite his renowned skill, Kasparov ultimately was defeated by the machine. This riveting film retells the match from Kasparov's point of view, offering an examination of the psychological aspects at stake and exploring the conspiracies that sprung up around the event. It includes exclusive interviews with Kasparov himself, his manager, various chess specialists, and members of the IBM Deep Blue team, as well as footage of their titanic showdown.

This documentary is not available for embedding, can be watched here: Game Over Kasparov and the Machine

Conclusions: Chess Documentaries

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Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash

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