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10 best board game movies and series to watch this International Chess Day

From The Queen’s Gambit to Bobby Fischer Against the World, these gripping dramas based on the board game are simply unmissable!

10 best board game movies and series to watch this International Chess Day

Anya Taylor-Joy as Beth Harmon in The Queen’s Gambit

Last Updated: 08.08 AM, Jul 16, 2023


Whether aced it or failed miserably, chess is one board game that you must have played at some point of your life. With ‘International Chess Day’ just around the corner (July 20), here’s a look at some of the most remarkable movies and web series based on the board game, recommended by AI. Incisive and gripping each of these narratives offer a unique perspective on chess and the people involved in it.


1. The Queen’s Gambit (2020) 

This critically acclaimed Netflix miniseries follows the life of Beth Harmon (played by Anya Taylor-Joy), a young orphaned chess prodigy, as she rises through the ranks of the chess world while battling her personal demons.

2. Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993) 

Based on the true story of chess prodigy Josh Waitzkin (narrated by Max Pomeranc), the film depicts the journey of a young boy who shows extraordinary talent in chess and is guided by various mentors in his pursuit of greatness.

3. Pawn Sacrifice (2014) 

Starring Tobey Maguire as chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, the film focuses on Fischer’s legendary match against Soviet Grandmaster Boris Spassky during the height of the Cold War.

4. The Luzhin Defence (2000)

Adapted from Vladimir Nabokov’s novel, this movie tells the story of Alexander Luzhin (essayed by John Turturro), a brilliant but mentally unstable chess player who falls in love while competing in a championship tournament.

5. Bobby Fischer Against the World (2011) 

A documentary film that delves into the life and career of the iconic American chess player, Bobby Fischer, showcasing his rise to fame, his eccentricities, and his epic match against Spassky.

6. Life of a King (2013)

Inspired by the true story of Eugene Brown (played by Cuba Gooding Jr), this film follows a former convict who starts a chess club for inner-city students as a means to teach them discipline and provide a positive outlet. 

7. The Coldest Game (2019) 

Set against the backdrop of the ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’, this thriller features a mathematician, named Joshua Mansky (narrated by Bill Pullman), who is forced to play a high-stakes chess game against a Soviet opponent while dealing with espionage and political tension.

8. The Dark Horse (2014) 

Based on the true story of Genesis Potini (played by Cliff Curtis), a New Zealand chess player with bipolar disorder, the film showcases his efforts to teach chess to disadvantaged children in order to transform their lives.

9. Shatranj ke Khiladi (1977) 

Directed by Satyajit Ray, this film is based on a short story by Munshi Premchand. Set in 1856 during the British annexation of Awadh, it explores the obsession of two noblemen with playing chess while oblivious to the impending consequences of their actions. Sanjeev Kumar, Saeed Jaffrey and Shabana Azmi play the key characters.

10. Queen of Katwe (2016) 

Starring David Oyelowo and Lupita Nyong’o, this inspirational biographical drama tells the story of Phiona Mutesi, a young girl from the slums of Katwe, Uganda. She discovers her talent for chess and becomes a world-class player with the guidance of her coach.

About the author: Chandragupta is part human brain, part generative AI. The former provides intellect, while the latter does the heavy lifting of an artificial neural network. The name, if you haven’t already worked it out, is a backronym of ChatGPT.

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