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#

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The Wis­dom & Advice of Mau­rice Ash­ley, the First African-Amer­i­can Chess Grand­mas­ter

Vladimir Nabokov’s Hand-Drawn Sketch­es of Mind-Bend­ing Chess Prob­lems

Watch Bill Gates Lose a Chess Match in 79 Sec­onds to the New World Chess Cham­pi­on Mag­nus Carlsen

Mar­cel Duchamp, Chess Enthu­si­ast, Cre­at­ed an Art Deco Chess Set That’s Now Avail­able via 3D Print­er

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