Sunday 7 July 2013

More anachronisms in chess games in movies

When making a movie set in the past, film makers have to be careful about what sort of 'chess' they show. For example the makers of "Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows" received technical advice (from IA Adam Raoof I believe), making sure they got the design of the pieces, and the chess clock, right for the time period in question.
On the other hand, there are some movies who don't try quite so hard.
For whatever reason Foxtel turned on the movie channels on this weekend (no charge!), and so I had a selection of movies to watch. Some were good, some were bad, and some you knew what to expect in advance. Falling into the later category was "Black Knight" starring Martin Lawrence, who was transported back 13th century England. At some point he plays a game of chess against the main antagonist, with all the usual clumsy banter about 'sacrificing queens' and 'protecting your knights'. While this is going on he seems to walk into a version of the 4 move checkmate, with the Queen swooping down from the other side of the board. As any pedantic student of chess history will point out, and what the scriptwriters missed, Queens did not get their 'super powers' until a couple of centuries later.

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