An Immersive Movie that can Impresses Fans of Cinema and Chess



A wonderfully done chess movie that shows the tension and toll that was taken on Bobby Fisher at the height of his career .

With Bobby Fischer being the influential chess legend that he was, it only makes sense why he has so many movies and documentaries telling his story. Many of these movies and documentaries focus solely on his chess career and how he beat Boris Spassky in 1972. However, what is often overlooked is how much of a troubled life he had lived up until his death in 2008.

“Pawn Sacrifice” does what few chess movies do, by not letting the sole focus of the movie be on chess. Chess has rarely aided itself well to movie form, and will continue to be an incredibly enticing premise to focus on. When making a chess movie, it is hard to not seem condescending or pedantic. This movie does the opposite of that by letting those who enjoy chess able to enjoy the movie on one level, and those who don’t enjoy it can on a dramatic biographical level.

“Pawn Sacrifice” shows the life of Bobby Fischer as he discovers his passion for chess and how he ends up becoming world champion. The movie depicts his struggles with extreme noise sensitivity and paranoia as his love for chess becomes a curse and a burden to bear for the United States during the Cold War.

This movie doesn’t appeal to just the lovers of chess; it excels at being not only a biographical drama, but also a good factual story about Bobby Fischer’s life. Something that this movie does extremely well is make chess the setting, and Bobby Fischer’s mind the subject.

Tobey Miguire does an excellent job of portraying the descent into madness that Bobby Fischer had to endure during his life. In the movie, Fischer is depicted with the extreme sensitivity to noise symbolizing the burden he had to bear about his spatial awareness and his intellect.

“Pawn Sacrifice” is a good example of a movie that can be enjoyed in two different lenses, the micro and the macro. The macro view on this story is how Bobby Fischer might have cooled the raging cold war down by beating Boris Spassky. The micro view is how Bobby Fischer had to deal with his psychological issues during an important chess tournament. The movie can be enjoyed on both levels and never makes you see it in just one way or another.

“Pawn Sacrifice” is by no means a perfect movie. There are many pacing and writing decisions that may take viewers out of the movie. By no means should this film take precedence over any others on your watchlist. However, if there is nothing else on the watchlist, “Pawn Sacrifice” won’t disappoint.