Claymation Film Recreates Historic Chess Match Immortalized in Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey

Fans of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey will remember the scene: On a long journey through space, astronaut Frank Poole plays a casual game of chess with the HAL 9000 supercomputer … and loses decisively. No doubt about it. Watch it down below.


Passionate about chess and notoriously obsessed with detail, Kubrick based the scene on a chess match that took place in 1910, pitting the German chessmaster Willi Schlage against a fellow named A. Roesch. Whether Kubrick was personally familiar with the match, or simply found it by perusing Irving Chernev’s book The 1000 Best Short Games of Chess (p. 148), it’s not entirely clear. But what we do know is that Kubrick’s scene immortalized the Schlage – Roesch match played all of those years ago. And it inspired animator Riccardo Crocetta to recreate that 1910 match in the fine claymation above. The notes accompanying Crocetta’s film on YouTube record all of the original moves. Apparently the ones featured in 2001 come after black’s 13th move.

Game: 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bb5 a6 4. Ba4 Nf6 5. Qe2 b5 6. Bb3 Be7 7. c3 O-O 8. O-O d5 9. exd5 Nxd5 10. Nxe5 Nf4 11. Qe4 Nxe5 12. Qxa8 Qd3 13. Bd1 Bh3 14. Qxa6 Bxg2 15. Re1 Qf3 16. Bxf3 Nxf3#

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  • ejh says:

    Game, not match. A match is a series of games between opponents, or a number of games played simultaneously between players of opposing teams. One individual contest between two opponents is a game, not a match.

  • Sean says:

    Nice queen sac and knight mate.

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