Monday 15 November 1999
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
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
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