Saturday, August 29, 2015

Facts Sacrificed in "Pawn Sacrifice"

Last night, Bruce Pandolfini [pictured] was one of the spectators at a private showing of Pawn Sacrifice, along with the likes of GM Andy Soltis, GM Irina Krush, IM Jay Bonin, IM Renato Naranja (who once drew against Bobby Fischer), and FM Asa Hoffmann.

According to the movie's credits, FM Richard Berube was the chess consultant for this film.  At least, the kings and queens were set up on the right squares!

Among the many factual errors were these:
1) Paul Morphy did not kill himself;
2) Boris Spassky was not yet the world champion in 1966 at the Second Piatigorksy Cup;
3) Games 4 and 5 of the 1972 world championship match were not played in the ping pong room.

In spite of all this, I enjoyed the film.  I will be surprised if Liev Schreiber does not get an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor.  His portrayal of Boris Spassky was spot on.

Although Bobby Fischer was taller, Tobey Maguire gave a credible performance in the lead role.  His finest moments were on stage during game one (when Fischer lost his bishop) and game six (when Spassky stood up and clapped).

How well Pawn Sacrifice will do at the box office remains to be seen. It will be released in select theaters on September 16th.