Archive for the ‘Documentaries’ Category

2 Kings 1 Crown

In the construction of this documentary a strong commitment towards research appears, and makes it commendable. It’s been well-shot too, making it watchable for we documentary lovers.

Worth watching too, featuring Smyslov (obviously) and Tal too!

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Clean cut narrative

Although watching films or documentaries about chess or chess players is generally inadvisable if you yourself are a chess player who both reads or watches material critically: to our disdain every so often someone churns out something. Some productions are more laudible than others but as you might expect, a lack of imagination prevails and the subject matter is narrow indeed. Yet again Fischer is the one cashed in on, as shown in the link below. Why on earth someone would want to watch something about that poor irascible soul beyond the chessboard I don’t know, perhaps it has something to do with the belief that television can make the unglamorous glamorous, and that’s good enough for them because anything that’s been filmed must be entertaining and educational for all documentary makers ever do is ‘try to get the story straight’. At least the documentary does point out early on the importance of Slater doubling the prize money for without such generosity the match in 1972 would most likely not have taken place. And furthermore, it has been emplotted with content not normally shown, illustrating more clearly than most -if not all- previous productions of what went on. It is unflinching in its expose of how Fischer was abducted, arrested, imprisoned and tortured by US officials, although nothing is said of whether the US government has continued to torture national chess champions since Fischer -presumably not! The claim that a life of chess begets torture in various forms anyway, is however, touched upon at various points without poignancy.

Something more gentlemanly, something more aplomb, and rightly so, can be found below.

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Here is the trailer for the latest documentary on chess. Certainly one to look out for.

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1. Surveillance Chess -arty and quite interesting.

2. Checkmate -great animation about an unusual game of chess.

3. Nar mobile ad -chess in Azerbaijan.

4. Burger King Chess -a talented chicken plays chess.

5. Street Stories, Saravuth Inn – A well-shot story about a chess hustler in Union Square, NY.

6. How chess pieces are made.

7. Village Chess Shop -an old chess store in NY.

8. The Chess Pavilion -chess in Lincoln Park Chicago.

9.Players -nice time lapse.

10. Playing with senses -chess in its rawest form.

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The documentary ‘Chess Kids’ can be found in the following link

http://documentarystorm.com/chess-kids-special-edition/

It’s well-handled and worth a watch.

Answers to two wins & a draw

1) Ra8+ Kxa8 2.Qa1+ Kb8 3. Qa7+ Kxa7 4. Nc6+ (the move I couldn’t see) Ka6/a8, 5. Ra1++

2) I thought this was quite pretty. As you have probably noticed, black is already close to stalemate, so…1. Re1+ Kh2 2.Qg1 Kg3 3.Rd3+! Qxd3 (Kg4 will ose to Qd1) 4.Qe3+! QxQ Stalemate. Easy but pretty.

3) 1. Qa8!! (at first sight, counter-intuitive but winning). The rook cannot be saved, black can safely resign here.

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I have stumbled across another documentary on chess, entitled ‘Chess – A state of Mind’. It hails from the 80’s and accredits Bill Hartston as the writer. Leaving the narrative aside, there’s lots of rare footage to be seen making it worth a watch. There’s Bent Larsen discussing the stories he told Fischer as a child and a few glimpses of Smyslov here and there. You might even see Raymond Keene out jogging with Michael Stean and Korchnoi, a sight for sore eyes certainly.

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The 2nd Norway No Logo Tournament has started with some exciting games already. Following it closely I noted during the blitz that Short mentioned Aronian had told him there were no good players from the 80’s. With Garry Kasparov becoming the world champion in the 80’s and joining the show the day after the blitz, I thought I would ask the commentary team what Garry thought of that remark. To my surprise it was the first question they asked him and it produced much lively discussion. You can find it by clicking on the link and going to 1:03:30

 http://www.livestream.com/norwaychesscam6/video?clipId=pla_47442fb8-3770-4470-85a7-2e60acdf7076

Some confusion reigned however because Aronian was not there to qualify his remark. I think Short put his finger on it by saying that it was the failure of the youth to supplant the old guard that Aronian was referring to if he were being serious. A charge which cannot be levied at our modern age of course.

The following link contains more Kasparov. It appeared on the Irish programme, The Late Late Show and makes for uncomfortable viewing indeed. I don’t think I’ve seen a chat show host become so flustered and make so many mistakes.

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Kasparov at Fischer’s grave. Image courtesy of Memory Chess.

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The Love of Wood

No this is not a post about a gung-ho policeman and his truncheon but a link to a Dutch documentary from the 70’s; lovers of chess, long-hair, questionable attire, smoking at the board, wooden sets, an endless cacophony of plosives, and shoddy camera work may read on.

When they are not misreporting, posting dubious academia that cannot find its way into print or getting carried away with hyperbole, sometimes Chessbase posts content worth paying attention to. I was delighted to see the documentary ‘The Love of Wood’, which can be found here:

If you are interested in the games mentioned within it, you can find links to them below the video itself. I haven’t linked the original Chessbase page as several of the claims made are, as per usual, inaccurate and the aforementioned games cannot be found there either. It’s dated 17/02/14, so find it yourself if you’re interested.

A point made by Chessbase that is worth mentioning, however, is that the documentary is made for chess players, and doesn’t shy away from the more technical aspects of the game. This should please us chess fans. Donner makes a number of interesting claims, and the interview with Euwe was well-handled I thought. You may need to tweak the options button to get the English subtitles.

Well worth a watch.

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Over the last half century the television interview has given us some of TV’s most heart-stopping and memorable moments. On the surface it is a simple format – two people sitting across from one another having a conversation. But underneath it is often a power struggle – a battle for the psychological advantage.

Sir David Frost

Click on the following link to find Sir David Frost’s interview with Kasparov, which he gave shortly before his sad demise.

Given that Mr. Frost is past his prime and that Kasparov is wily enough to evade clever questions, I think its fair to say that the interview isn’t a classic. It is, however, professional and probing enough to keep you watching -they even managed to get the history right too! But in chess terms a theoretical draw perhaps, with neither player spending much time outside their preparation. Anyway, its always a pleasure to see chess being handled well by those in the media who are unfamiliar with it, I’ll leave the final words to Sir David Frost.

Don’t aim for success if you want it; just do what you love and believe in, and it will come naturally.

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I found a new documentary on chess, the link to it on imdb is here:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1800266/?ref_=sr_1&licb=0.19220617203973234

You can find the trailer here:

I only watched it once and don’t intend to watch it again so its best that I keep this as brief as possible. Wiseman’s ‘High School’ ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0064429/?ref_=fn_al_tt_2 ) is the most accomplished documentary I know of that tackles school life. It exemplifies a level of control and finesse which is noticeably absent in Brooklyn Castle. At the risk of sounding old-fashioned, I found it’s modernity to be annoying throughout let alone the shoddy camera work. More importantly, I felt there were unresolved tensions from the pre-production phase, as the film-making is standoffish in places. Moreover, I couldn’t understand why there is little chess to watch, and why in places it is completely absent, forcing the viewer to become reliant upon descriptions of games rather being able to watch them unfold. This becomes particularly annoying when we have characters in the documentary breaking down into tears over what they did wrong. Couldn’t the reasons have been shown rather than told? I wondered if this was due to a lack of interest in the subject or perhaps an attempt to draw attention away from the quality of the chess played instead. As a viewer, I found myself guessing far too often as to what was really occurring over the board, and thought frequently that the over-reliance upon statistics to show how the tournaments unfolded was a cheap way out. Many parts of the doc feel rushed, poise plays truant in this production.

We do have balance though: this a documentary that gives equal consideration to the various aspects of the lives of its subjects, and in this respect it is to be commended. The biggest mistake documentary makers make when turning to chess is that they fail to remember that the subjects have lives outside of chess and show them as nothing more than chess players. Such a criticism cannot be applied to this doc.

Overall, my feeling was however, that it was a case of nothing ventured, nothing gained. Certainly nothing much learned… .

MJM

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