Chess

I'M BACK tomorrow after a fortnight in Budapest, not at a tournament but on location with a film, Luzhin's Defence. This is an adaptation by Peter Berry from Vladimir Nabokov's famous novel (simply The Defence in English) and should come out some time next year. The director is Marleen Gorris and the film stars John Turturro as the Russian grandmaster Alexander Ivanovich Luzhin and Emily Watson as the vibrant Russian beauty Natalia Katkov.

My job was as "Chess Adviser", which entailed collecting more than 50 contemporary (round about 1929) games for the tournament, and about the same number again (here I mainly used recent junior games) for various simultaneous displays and casual games by Luzhin as a boy.

More important, though, was to convey the emotions and body language of a chess-player under extreme pressure - a task that was particularly rewarding with John Turturro himself, especially in a couple of desperate time scrabbles.

Not having been on a film set before, I was struck by the immense diligence required, both in terms of working hours, from actors and crew alike; the painstaking assembly of the image that eventually appears on the screen; and the minute attention to detail required to maintain the integrity of this other world where the action takes place.

In the making of the film, the art department under Tony Burrough (who was Oscar-nominated for Richard III) commissioned some amazing props. These include a gigantic chess set, with the kings and queens taller than a man, made of solid wood; a set so massive that the the original script direction, which entailed a little boy playing Qd1-h5, was physically impossible - so instead I had him "push" or rather heave a pawn. There were also a glass chess set based on an old Chinese design; 10 demonstration boards 6ft square and one huge one 10ft square; and two beautiful wooden boards for tournament cross tables.

Once shooting is completed, the film-makers would be happy to sell these; anyone interested is welcome to contact me and I'll put them in touch.

This classic victory is one of several games of which we see a snapshot.

White: Jose Raoul Capablanca

Black: Milan Vidmar

New York 1927

Ruy Lopez

jspeelman@compuserve.com

1 e4 e5

2 Nf3 Nc6

3 Bb5 a6

4 Ba4 Nf6

5 0-0 Be7

6 Re1 b5

7 Bb3 d6

8 c3 Na5

9 Bc2 c5

10 d4 Qc7

11 Nbd2 0-0

12 h3 Nc6

13 d5 Nd8

14 a4 b4

15 Nc4 a5

16 Nfxe5 Ba6

17 Bb3 dxe5

18 d6 Bxd6

19 Qxd6 Qxd6

20 Nxd6 Nb7

21 Nxb7 Bxb7

22 cxb4 cxb4

23 f3 Rfd8

24 Be3 h6

25 Red1 Bc6

26 Rac1 Be8

27 Kf2 Rxd1

28 Rxd1 Rc8

29 g4 Bd7

30 Bb6 Be6

31 Bxe6 fxe6

32 Rd8+ Rxd8

33 Bxd8 Nd7

34 Bxa5 Nc5

35 b3 Nxb3

36 Bxb4 Nd4

37 a5

1-0

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Office Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Have you been doing a brilliant job in an admi...

Surrey County Council: Senior Project Officer (Fixed Term to Feb 2019)

£26,498 - £31,556: Surrey County Council: We are looking for an outgoing, conf...

Recruitment Genius: Interim Head of HR

£50000 - £60000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you an innovative, senior H...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources and Payroll Administrator

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client, a very well respect...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot