Ninety-five years before the Netflix series The Queen’s Gambit gripped our imaginations Soviet citizens were transfixed by the International Chess Tournament being held at Moscow’s Hotel Metropol in November 1925.
Hundreds of spectators followed the games in the Metropol, whilst tens of thousands watched demonstration boards across the city, and the then up-and-coming director Pudovkin was asked to make a topical comedy about the ‘chess fever’ sweeping the nation.
Chess competitor at the tournament Capablanca plays himself in this fast-paced comedy about a young couple whose love affair reaches stalemate because of the hero’s obsession with the game…
Dir. Vsevolod Pudovkin and Nikolai Shpikovsky | USSR | 1925 | NC U | b&w | 21m | Russian intertitles with English surtitles.
With: Boris Barnet, José Raúl Capablanca, Vladimir Fogel, Anna Zemtsova
Screening material courtesy of Lobster Films
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